Govt mum on Christchurch rebuild land costs

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2012
Avon River Precinct
AVON RIVER PRECINCT: This will be bordered by green space, cycleways, and pavement cafes.

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The Government will not say how much it will cost to buy the Christchurch land required for the new city centre.

More than 840 properties are affected by the CCDU blueprint's anchor programme, many of which the Government will have to buy or compulsorily acquire.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee would not comment on how much that would cost, but Prime Minister John Key said he had a "broad sense" of the total bill.

"We've got a sense of what that cost will be. We're not going to go and detail that [now] for obvious commercial reasons but the Government's made it clear it's got a vision and it's backing that vision."

Some of the initial cost would be offset when land within the "frame" was made available for sale under its new designation, he said.

"There's an initial purchase phase and we'll be working with those land owners to try and do that on a consensual basis [and] beyond that there'll also be a sales process."

Land acquisition was a necessity, he said.

"It's really the only option if you want to get an integrated, co-ordinated 21st century city, otherwise you would require organic growth and it would be very hotchpotch, certainly not the result we want for Christchurch.

"We'll work very fairly with people. We're certainly not trying to rip anyone off. But on the other side of the coin we've got to get going . . . the land's not worth a lot in it's current state."

Key labelled the central city blueprint "a vision for Christchurch".

"It's been a very tough time for the people of Christchurch . . . but they've held on to hope and hopefully this plan rewards them with a vision for Christchurch.

"Cantabrians have had an opportunity to have their say and their say has been fed very much into this plan."

Private investor interest was already high, he said.

"I think the issue will be there'll be so many people interested in taking part. While it's not exactly a blank canvas it's pretty close to that so you've got the opportunity to put together a very liveable city."

Brownlee said the blueprint heeded the key messages put forward by Cantabrians in last year's Share an Idea programme. "This plan keeps faith with all of those requirements as well as adding in some locations for some very sharp, new civic facilities."

Announcements on the redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital, a technology hub and education facilities would come later in the year, he said.

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