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New unit for the rebuild of central Christchurch

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

18 April 2012 Media Statement

New unit for the rebuild of central Christchurch

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced the establishment of a new business unit inside the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to focus on rebuilding Christchurch’s CBD.

“The Christchurch Central Development Unit will provide clear leadership for the rebuild of the city and work in a positive partnership with Christchurch City Council, which remains the consenting authority,” Mr Brownlee said.

The unit will be led by Warwick Isaacs, who is presently CERA’s operations manager responsible for CBD access, building deconstruction, and the Cashel Mall restart.

“This is a great day for Canterbury as it’s another tangible milestone in the recovery process,” Mr Brownlee said.

“It marks a shift in focus from demolition to building the new, vibrant, distinctive and green central city the people of Christchurch told their council they wanted.”

In December last year the council submitted the draft Central City Plan to the government for approval, following a highly successful community consultation process.

“The plan reflects a great vision for Christchurch and since receiving it we have been focused on how it can best be implemented,” Mr Brownlee said.

“This approach reflects and draws on international best practice for the recovery of major centres following disasters, or where communities have decided to embark on a significant urban renewal process.”

Over 15 international examples of redevelopment structures were reviewed to examine powers, processes and implementation of city recovery. These included the redevelopment of Beirut’s CBD, Lower Manhattan, London’s Docklands, and Brisbane’s Southbank Development Corporation.

“Our focus has been on the best implementation strategy for a new CBD and how good planning can support that,” Mr Brownlee said.

The new unit’s first task will be preparation of a blueprint for the implementation of the Central City Plan inside the next 100 days. The blueprint will give property owners, developers and business sectors a lead on how the city will look and how they can be involved.

“This blueprint will be vital to achieving a coherent roll-out of a number of anchor projects such as public buildings and strategic city blocks, and will provide important guidance to the market.

“It will also identify how to streamline consents and look at what, if any, land amalgamation is required to support anchor projects and developments.

“An example of an important anchor project is the city’s new convention centre. Delivering certainty about that project will begin the process of reviving the city’s hospitality and tourism sector.

“Hotel developments are unlikely to proceed until the location of the convention centre is resolved.

“Reviving the central city’s hospitality and tourism sector will attract other businesses in and encourage service sector, retail and hospitality development.

“The blueprint will deliver the sort of market intelligence the commercial property and business sectors need to invest with confidence. This is all about getting momentum in the rebuild,” Mr Brownlee said.

More detail on the Christchurch Central Development Unit is available at www.cera.govt.nz

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