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Call for Formal Review of Christchurch Draft District Plan

Media Release

16 April 2014

Property Council Calls for Formal Review of Draft District Plan

Property Council has grave concerns for the future of Christchurch as Christchurch City Council reviews its District Plan.

The outcome of the District Plan review must result in a plan that encourages and enables investment into Christchurch.

South Island Branch president Glenn Taylor says the city is at a critical crossroads and our District Plan will serve as a powerful investment signal.

“We are in the unprecedented and tenuous position of having highly liquid and portable capital markets post-quake, thus the Plan must enable growth by sending the right indicators to the business community for the city’s recovery,”

“We are not satisfied that the draft the Council has delivered will do that,” said Mr Taylor.

Property Council has reviewed the draft Plan and received comment from many of its members. The overriding response has been far from positive, with many indicating that the revised draft is of even poorer quality than its predecessor.

Council has indicated that it wants to ensure Christchurch is a good place to do business and is promising a Plan that provides the foundation for that. Property Council is not convinced that the Plan, as drafted, will deliver on that promise. As a result, Property Council is requesting that an independent review be commissioned.

As the draft stands, there is no clear, overarching vision. The policies, objectives and rules do not fit coherently together and the resulting framework is fragmented, complex and difficult to navigate.

Although the Council has tried to move away from an effects-based Plan to a more activities-focused Plan, it seems to have failed to do this properly in many parts of the Plan creating a hybrid that serves neither approach well. This will likely result in even further complexity and consenting requirements.

This is the exact opposite of what the Council say they were intending.

“If that is not what the Council want then they need to have the draft reviewed and the errors corrected – we must have confidence in the Plan and in the ability of our Council to draft it properly.” Mr Taylor said.

Property Council’s concerns are such that it has written formally to the Council requesting an urgent independent review be undertaken particularly if the Plan is to go through a fast-tracked process which will deny appeal rights. A formal review is viewed as being a vital part of the checks and balances needed to ensure that the final Plan is a quality document.

“Getting this wrong has the potential to be catastrophic for our city. Investment will leave and never return, and Christchurch will simply never recover.”

END.

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