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UC student accommodation to be included in Dovedale plan

UC student accommodation to be included in Dovedale master plan

A proposed 250-bed student accommodation on the corner of Solway and Parkstone Avenues will not proceed in time for the 2015 academic year, but will be included in a detailed Dovedale Campus master plan, UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says.

Dr Carr told a community meeting at the Dovedale campus this evening that although UC urgently needed student accommodation, UC saw little value in rushing to complete a building now unlikely to be completed in time for the start of the 2015 academic year. Short-term options had been developed by the University in the last four months, which had relieved the immediate pressure.

“There’s massive demand for construction in Christchurch and it was increasingly apparent it was going to be difficult to complete this building in an appropriate timeframe. Meanwhile, we have created some short-term breathing space to enable further investigation, including an audit of car parking, which will be completed in the first quarter of this year.

“Tertiary education in Christchurch will only grow, and the Dovedale campus provides the capacity to cater for that growth. A master plan for the Dovedale campus, in the context of the master plan for the Ilam campus, will set out how we propose to progressively develop the Dovedale campus. The community will clearly have some thoughts on that.”

UC has previously proposed a mixed-use concept for the Dovedale campus, including student accommodation, commercial/retail use and leisure activities that would be available to students and the surrounding community.

Development of the Dovedale campus for education purposes, including student accommodation, is a permitted activity in the C4 zone, meaning no resource consent is required. The City Plan requires 40 percent green space to be retained, meaning UC can only build permanently on areas that are already developed. The recent Waimairi Village development on the Ilam Fields car park is allowed, but is only temporary.

“Being a good neighbour has always been important to UC and we want to continue to engage with the community. We hold regular community meetings and Cr Raf Manji has been identified as liaison for UC at Council level. We’ll engage further through the Community Board and other mechanisms that are appropriate.

“Feedback from the community via our on-going public meetings shows the community shares similar concerns to UC on parking and traffic issues, and the impact of further development on the surrounding community. The community also has views on student conduct, although last year, UC’s 12,000 students generated just 13 complaints to the University,” Dr Carr says.

“More than half of UC’s students come from outside Christchurch, contributing to the economic, cultural and social life of the city. Accessible, affordable accommodation is a pre-requisite to them coming and making their overwhelmingly positive contributions to the city.”

ends

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