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Council moves on central city revitalisation

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Council moves forward on central city revitalisation

Christchurch City Council has approved a package of strategies and projects to help ensure a vibrant city centre that regains its status as the city's commercial and social heart.

Mayor Garry Moore introduced the topic, saying the downtown area of Christchurch had been slowly declining for about 30 years. Instead of looking at projects piecemeal, the council was seeking to spur a revitalisation with an interconnected range of changes and improvements.

"It's taken eight years to get to this point and these are a series of actions that tie into each other," Mr Moore said. There's been a huge amount of work by a whole range of people - staff, councillors and people with an interest in the area who have assisted and stuck with the central city. I'd like to acknowledge them all."

As a result of today's decisions, the council will put some projects before the public and will consider that feedback before final decisions are made, including a plan for the redevelopment of City Mall. It will be out for public consultation from mid September until late October, with hearings in the first week of November. The mall area, overdue for refurbishment, is vital to the city's wellbeing.

The scheme set out in the mall consultation is the result of an open design process which has involved landowners, retailers, the public and other organisations like the Discovery 1 and Unlimited schools.

A decision about whether Lichfield Street should become two-way will be made later in the year when the council decides what to do about a new or expanded Bus Exchange.

Also approved was stage II of the Central City Revitalisation Strategy, an umbrella document which covers issues of high priority for the council and the public, including transport and parking, improving living conditions and the environment, safety, increasing activities, heritage retention, development of the Avon River promenade and improving retail and business opportunities. Stage one of the strategy was put together after public consultation in 2001.

Funding for four projects was approved to spruce up lanes in the centre, including Struthers (South of Lichfield Project) and the Lichfield Lanes area. A draft lanes plan, which seeks to guide council involvement in further development of a network of small city lanes and backstreets, will be open for feedback soon, primarily with property owners.

Councillors discussed how the stage II strategy (and an associated plan concentrating on the area south of Lichfield Street) would contribute to a goal of having 30,000 people living in the central city. As a result, the council asked staff to report on changes to its City Plan to support further intensification of the residential area that support the Urban Development Strategy goals.

"We will have to be the key agency ensuring the mix includes affordable housing," Mr Moore said.

ENDS

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