“The announcement by the Government today that a specialist unit inside CERA will lead the redevelopment of the centre of Christchurch is a welcome sign that we are moving out of 18 months of uncertainty,” the Chairman of the Future Canterbury Network, the Hon Philip Burdon, said today.
“Canterbury and Christchurch have struggled to cope with the impacts of the earthquakes since September 2010 and often we have looked for a vision and for leadership from those in charge.
“The Minister’s announcement will give people and businesses hope that someone is in charge who can make the hard decisions which are needed to take the city into the future.
“We are encouraged that there will be a blueprint within the next 100 days. Hopefully this plan will give investors, homeowners and the insurance sector the confidence they need to start making the investment decisions on which the new city will depend. If not, we face an exodus of investment from the city which will damage it for many years to come.
“There will be many important questions to be answered about the central city. But, in addressing these CERA must not lose sight of the pressing need to give certainty and confidence to the people of east Christchurch and the hill suburbs – many of whom as still living without basic services such as sewage.
“We must do something urgently about the provision of housing so we can accommodate the workforce which we need to undertake the redevelopment of our city.
“Other urgent questions surround the future of the Anglican cathedral and the Roman Catholic Basilica. The way in which these questions are resolved will have profound effects on people’s perceptions about our city.
“As others have said, central Christchurch is facing major redevelopment which means that a rebuild of what was there before is impractical and undesirable. We need to develop a forward looking city which our grandchildren will want to live in. Greater Christchurch has been pummelled by an unprecedented disaster which has led to increasing frustration as people have looked for, but not seen, the vision and leadership they expect – the challenge now is to have the courage to take the bold steps which are needed to give people hope,” concluded Mr Burdon.