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Much to like but who’s paying for the half billion$ stadium?




The Government’s Central Christchurch Blueprint –

Much to like but who’s paying for the half billion $ stadium?

SUSTAINABLE OTAUTAHI-CHRISTCHURCH welcomes the blueprint for the central city but with reservations.

Sustainable Otautahi – Christchurch (SOC) is a city-based organisation working to promote strong sustainability. SOC Chairperson, Tom Taylor, expressed initial enthusiasm for the blueprint as it was released. “We are pleased to see many of the green concepts from the City’s draft have been carried forward into this blueprint. In particular, we are pleased to see walkways, cycle ways and open spaces next to the Avon River. These will be a great asset to the city.”

SOC members met several times and contributed extensively to the “Share-an-Idea” process. “It is good to see so many of those themes coming through to this stage,” said Taylor. “In particular, we wanted to see the CBD reduced in size to allow more scope for green spaces, parks and higher density living options. So the frames to the East and South are a good idea. We are hoping to see the new building developed to the highest “green-star” rating that is possible, and we welcome initiatives to bring people, families and children back into the heart of the city.”

SOC and its members are looking forward to working with the City Council and with CERA with the intention of developing projects that will lead to a more sustainable future for the city. “Positive partnerships are the key here,” said Taylor.

SOC warmly welcomes the idea of putting the Central Library on Cathedral Square. “People visit The Square to get away from commercial pressures,” said Chairperson Tom Taylor. “A library is perfect for that.”

Taylor did raise some questions about the plan as it was announced. “No city can function without effective transport connections and transport formed a major theme of the City Council’s draft plan. So we will be watching closely to see how the CCDU proposes to solve some of the inevitable transport issues in the next 100 days”. If Christchurch is really to be a city of the future we will need to get out of our cars. SOC hopes that the CCDU transport plan will do everything possible to encourage walking, cycling and public transport. “One way to achieve that is to have people living close to the facilities they need to use,” says Tom Taylor, SOC Chairperson. “Another way is to severely restrict opportunities for car parking.”

Similarly, energy use is a major concern for anyone looking to a sustainable future. “The earlier drafts of the plan had a centralised energy scheme. We hope that hasn’t been lost in this new blueprint.”

Taylor also raised some questions about the priorities suggested by CERA in the blueprint. “Getting on with the river-bank parks makes sense, and we accept the need to move quickly on a sports hub for the benefit of local people. However, the proposed Convention Centre appears to offer little to the people of Christchurch. Similarly, we should all learn from the experiences in Dunedin before we rush to spend money on a new stadium.”

Overall, Sustainable-Otautahi (SOC) was pleased to be part of the “Share an Idea” process and pleased with the draft plan produced by the City Council. “This blueprint is very similar to that draft, and as such we welcome it.” said Chairperson, Tom Taylor.


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