Christchurch CBD plan to make smaller, more compact central city, with clear precincts for different activities, PM Key says

Christchurch CBD plan to make smaller, more compact central city, with clear precincts for different activities, PM Key says

Christchurch's central business district (CBD) will be more compact and pedestrian friendly, and divided into precincts for different activities, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key, along with Earthquake Recover Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will this evening release the city's CBD plan after 100 days of consultation and planning led by Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs.

Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast programme on Monday morning, Key said he felt the planners had "got it right" with the CBD blueprint, building on an original plan from the Christchurch City Council.

"I think the consensus will be they've got it right. It's smaller, and it's more compact, but if there's any good that comes out of these earthquakes - and you've got to argue that's pretty minimal - it's the capacity to really get it right in terms of a vision for Cantabrians," Key said.

"They're trying to make sure that things like the stadium and high performance sport, health, are all in their own precincts, but very much within the CBD broader area," he said.

"It will be a very livable city. I think when Cantabrians see it, the question won't be, 'do I want it or not,' I think it will be, 'when can we have it?' I'm quite excited by what I see."

As planners were starting pretty much from 'base zero' they had a capacity planners in other cities like Auckland did not have - "Eden Park's in one place, the thing's all over the show".

"They've really got the capacity [in Christchurch] to do that all in one place. So that's great. Obviously we're trying to retain the green, garden city feel to it. That's really nice. I think people will be able to live and play, and do lots of things in one space, and definitely walk around," Key said.

A potential NZ$7 billion price tag was likely a worse-case scenario.

"But there's a combination of people that are involved in making this thing a reality. The government will have to step up, and we intend to do that, the council have a responsibility here, [and] there'll be a lot of private sector people because there's different stake-holders," Key said.

"So if it's a health precinct, and it's a hospital, that falls pretty squarely on the government. Others are more debatable, and it will depend on what sort of civic assets they want. I think a debate will rage for some time on whether there should be, for instance, a covered stadium," he said.


The Press reports the plan is likely to include indicative locations for 12 planned anchor projects in the CBD, including a new convention centre and public transport hub.

On TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the plan was "fairly exciting." It took into account ideas put forward by 106,000 people in the greater region.

"What I can tell you is the government will be announcing [on Monday] its part of giving some effect to the shape of the new city. And then in coming months, you’ll see the Government be able to make announcements about things like the hospital, the Advanced Technology Hub, what we’re calling the justice precinct, etc," Brownlee said.

"They are very big public assets that are also places of considerable employment. And so that is a pretty significant step in letting other investors know, ‘Actually, there is going to be a dynamic here that works,'" he said.

In terms of who would meet the costs of rebuilding the CBD, Brownlee said the vast majority of property in Christchurch was owned by the private sector, "and there are numerous investors both in this city, outside the city and internationally who are looking at the prospects of being able to rebuild what will be the centre for a population of about 560,000".

"On the civic type of assets, you would expect that they would eventually be Christchurch City Council assets. And the Christchurch City Council has identified some projects they want to move with over time, and they’ve also committed in their latest budget around NZ$790 million towards those projects," Brownlee said.

"So there will be a discussion that goes on from [Monday] about how you sequence those things and what our timeline might look like for their delivery," he said.

The government had already committed NZ$5.5 billion towards earthquake recovery.

"A lot of that money is being spent here in the city right now for the horizontal infrastructure rebuild, for the land purchases that we’ve done so far, things like that," Brownlee said.

"Over and above that, we’ve stood behind EQC, which affects the whole country. So that’s another seven that we could be up for. And then there is the projects that have to be done in education and health and innovation, those sorts of things. So it’s very hard to put a total quantum on it. Some of it is provisioned. Some of it is actual. It will be many billions," he said.

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Is it me or is JK actually telling us what we should think when the plan finally comes out?
Also, he uses 'we', was he involved in the plan then?

"Over and above that, we’ve stood behind EQC"
That sounds like they had an option to let it go bust ...

Christchurch's central business district (CBD) will be more compact and pedestrian friendly, and divided into precincts for different activities, Prime Minister John Key says.
Sounds like a smaller version of disneyland, with the different precincts.
But to be serious, restricting areas like that doesn't work, it has to grow organically. The old Christchurch CBD was gying before the EQ and was too spread out, so a smaller cbd makes sense, especially as many have taken their insurance money and moved elsewhere. I say move the CBD to an area that doesn't have sesmic land problems, otherwise people who own buildings are going to face large insurance bills due to the high risk the land has.

This is not my battle but I would have thought an express commuter rail service would be a nobrainer now that the city has been 'opened up' so to speak, and included in any future plan...thats if the surrounding towns, which are on better ground, are to soak up a lot of the future growth.... the new greater Christchurch urban area of the future will be much larger.

The commuting corridors should be the very first item on the planning agenda. Everything else follows.

I agree with Rob (above) that Christchurch's centre was not that flash pre-earthquake and was not necessarily the employment and retailing hub of the city. The main argument against commuter rail is that the travel patterns are too diverse - there are too many people going from too many places to too many different places at too many different times.

Given Jolly Kid's lack of success in his country-long bike trail , I'd have thought he'd have been less ambitious in  his plans for Christchurch .......
...... he could've got the key infrastructure mapped out  :  where the parks , the toilets & the rubbish bins are to go ....
And let the property owners themselves decide upon how and where to rebuild their businesses ......
...... silly me , I keep thinking that NZ is a democratic capitalist state ..... I really must get over 1985/6 ...... we've moved on ........

"Planning is what people do instead of thinking" - Sir Terence Pratchett, British author.
Maria Thackwell on Morning Report got it exactly right when she said this planning exercise has taken focus off the people in the suburbs. While Jerry and Bob have been reviewing the wine list, approving placement of logos and fine tuning "messages" there are kids all over Christchurch watching 6 degree frosts and now driving easterly rain through the walls of their bedrooms.
There have been communications coming out of CERA and EQC about the phenomenal progress being made. Remember the 80/20 rule: they have made awkward progress on the easy stuff but the 80% of effort still remains.
Instead of doubling down on the hard stuff the "trust us" brigade have moved instead to the bread and circuses phase.