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Wasteland: Courtenay Place

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by Alana Bowman
The usual scene in Courtenay Place has been replaced by the new usual scene in Wellington and around the world – empty streets.

It’s a good thing, and it shows we’re all doing the best we can for ourselves and everyone around us – staying off the streets or, when we are there, keeping our distance.

Walking through Courtenay Place the other day (part of my officially approved exercise circuit) I was able to document a bit of history as it is being made.

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It is quiet – not still like a meadow or around a lagoon – but no noise. When a car or a bus passes it is noticeable and almost jarring.

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A single car waits for a traffic light with no other vehicles in any direction.

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The bus schedule sign is lit and indicating that buses will arrive soon. But there is no one waiting for them. And across the road: the long-abandoned Readings Courtenay Central cinema multiplex – its American owners having shown no sign of wanting to reopen it, even before the pandemic. And the city council having shown no interest in encouraging them to reopen.

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It’s late in the afternoon so soon the streets should be filling with party people – but not tonight. And good on every one of the party people for staying home. We will certainly party again.

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