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Christchurch Central Development Unit Announced
The Draft Central City Plan was delivered to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery in December 2011. On 18 April 2012, the Minister announced the establishment of a new business unit tasked with coordinating the rebuild of the Christchurch CBD. The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) will operate as a unit within the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), and work collaboratively with the Christchurch City Council. It will be led by Warwick Isaacs, previously the General Manager Operations at CERA.
The Minister explained that the central role of the new unit is to "facilitate, coordinate and direct the development of the central city." The first task of the CCDU over the next 100 days is to create a blueprint for the delivery of the Central City Plan (the Plan). The CCDU will then be responsible for the implementation of the Plan.
There are two volumes to the Plan. Volume 1 sets out the vision for the rebuilt city, while Volume 2 sets out changes required to the current District Plan to achieve this vision. The Minister has decided to accept, in the main, Volume 1 of the Plan. However, two topics have been put on hold pending further assessments - the Minister has decided that transport and financing will require further inquiries before decisions can be made. Volume 2 of the Plan will also be set aside until the CCDU prepares its blueprint for implementation.
Over the next few months, the CCDU will be looking at anchor projects, such as a new Convention Centre, to kickstart development and investment in the CBD. It will be identifying location options; preparing concepts and coordinating with other government departments, local government, iwi, and investors, to launch the CBD rebuild. Alongside this, consenting processes are likely to change to allow for a streamlined planning process to be put in place the CBD.
The instigation and operation of the CCDU is another example of the use of additional powers of the government under earthquake legislation. It is also another situation where central and local government have and will continue to work closely together in an effort to keep recovery efforts fast-paced, with planning processes tailored to ensure timeframes can be met.
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