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Revitalisation Call From City Council

Christchurch City Council from today's launch of the City Centre campaign 10.30 today Heart of Our City - Revitalisation of the Central City (Tuesday 15 August 2000)

Community Involvement In revitalising the heart of our city we need input from all parts of the city. This means those who live, work, shop and play within the Four Avenues and those who live, work, shop and play in the suburbs. This is about our city's long-term health.

Why? The heart of our city affects Christchurch city as a whole - a healthy central city heart supports healthy residential suburbs, and vice versa. Conversely, an unhealthy "heart" leads to the threat of an unhealthy greater Christchurch.

There is some threat of a long-term central city 'doughnut' hole - where central city commerce, retail, and residential lifestyles are so undermined as to physically hollow out the centre of the city and threaten the long-term viability of Christchurch itself. This is a classic problem in many American cities (St Louis, Detroit, etc.), and one which in the long-term also threatens Christchurch. What we do not want is an empty central city - resulting in an unsafe, unhealthy and unpleasant area for all residents.

What we want is a vibrant central city - a great place to play, work, socialise, live, shop and invest.

What this process is about is celebrating our successes and building on them and part of that is about partnerships with our community, and partnerships between the public and private sectors. This campaign to revitalise the heart of our city is for all residents, to engage our entire community for a healthier Christchurch.

Vision Having a plan or vision for the heart of Christchurch is nothing new. The original Wakefield plan of the 1850s, upon which Christchurch was founded, had a strong vision. A similar vision and long-term central city strategy was developed in the 1960s and a lot of the assets in the heart of the city now, such as Worcester Boulevard, Victoria Square, The City Mall (Cashel St) were a part of that central city plan. However, most of the visionary elements of that 1960s plan have been completed and it is now time to develop another long-term strategy to take us where we want to go in the next 25 years.

Goals The overall goal of the central city revitalisation campaign is about people - establishing a great place for people to play, live, shop, work, meet, and invest.

The process ....

* It's about people and community visions * It's about developing a long-term strategy for the heart of our city * It's about establishing priority projects for public and private partnership

Issues There are a number of issues which will need to be addressed including perceptions that our central city is unsafe, that development opportunities are difficult (eg, that it is easier to develop in the suburbs), that parking and getting around town is a hassle, and that downtown streets and public spaces are not as pleasant as they could be. These are only a few of the issues we want to explore over the coming months - but as a result we've begun to generate some ideas to stimulate discussion.

Some Ideas and Concepts Some exciting ideas have begun to emerge from initial feedback we have received to date. A few of these are included in the following pages. One concept views the heart of our city as a number of neighbourhoods or precincts celebrating existing character and maximising future potential. In addition, there are some suggested key themes for enhancing the city's natural attributes such as the Avon River, its heritage buildings and the 'greening' of its streets (see following pages). Community Feedback In the August issue of the Council's residents' newsletter, City Scene, distributed today, there is an article which introduces the Heart of our City campaign and specifically seeks feedback from all sectors of our community on their ideas (a postage-paid response form is included in the article).

In addition, we are in the process of developing a discussion document to take to a series of public meetings scheduled for September and October with residents, retailers, interested community groups, etc. to discuss their ideas, visions, and provide clarification. We will notify you once these are confirmed. This feedback will help us form a draft strategy for the heart of our city, which we hope to complete prior to Christmas.

The Central City Mayoral Forum The Central City Mayoral Forum, chaired by the Mayor Garry Moore, includes community and business leaders, along with elected representatives. The Forum will be taking a lead role, working with the City Council, in establishing a revitalisation vision and central city strategy. The Forum has a facilitation role, encouraging private and public partnerships in establishing a long-term community vision for our central city.

"We have a draft pattern for knitting our City together. How dynamic and colourful the finished product is will depend upon all of us." Garry Moore, Mayor of Christchurch, and Chair of the Central City Mayoral Forum.

Anyone can forward his or her ideas to:

Project Manager - Heart of Our City
City Council PO Box 237
Christchurch


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