Christchurch rebuild seeks Nelson expertise
Nelson businesses "with smarts" are being encouraged to get down to Christchurch to build and invest in the future of the city.
A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) roadshow travelling New Zealand to highlight rebuild efforts met Nelson building and construction industry leaders yesterday to entice them to get involved.
Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) deputy director of implementation Baden Ewart said it was seeking private-sector businesses to bid for contracts in the city centre anchor projects.
He said 85 per cent of the work needed in Christchurch would be done by the private sector, and Nelson businesses would be useful for their "innovative approaches" to building.
"[We want] people with smarts. There's quite a few businesses up here prepared to do things differently. I think there are likely to be many opportunities for smaller businesses in niche markets in Christchurch, working alongside larger contractors."
About 60 people from the Nelson building and construction industries were at the event.
Mr Ewart spoke about the development of the city, which has been divided into precincts and projects, most of them led by the CCDU. While most were still being designed, they were expected to be completed in 2017, he said.
Mr Ewart conceded that the timeframes were "ambitious" but he believed that with the help of the private sector, they were achievable.
The plans include a 3.2-kilometre park along the Avon River, a convention centre, a health precinct, a bus interchange, sports facilities, and an innovation precinct aimed at start-ups and high-tech organisations.
Mr Ewart said the CCDU was focused on the recovery but also wanted to "reinvent and reset Christchurch city".
Mason Fisher, from Nelson Pumpjack Scaffold NZ and Maximum Safety Products NZ, was among those at the roadshow. He worked in Christchurch after the earthquake, supplying safety equipment and scaffolding. He said he wanted to ensure the rebuild was done safely.
Mr Fisher said he was working with "innovative products and systems" but legislative barriers meant his efforts were being slowed down. He also felt that areas of the rebuild were being monopolised by bigger contractors.
"We are finding that it's not quick enough to be able to capture the opportunity to make it safer. I find it frustrating that things are held up with legislation."
Absolute Energy insulation specialist Paul Brockie is leading a team of 20 Nelson businesses to work in Christchurch and collaborate with other businesses there.
He said it was good to hear that Nelson businesses were needed for the rebuild, and that collaboration efforts were being encouraged. His group, Project, was meeting in Christchurch today with Canterbury businesses to discuss opportunities and plans for the rebuild.
"We want to be a point of contact to help out."
Construction manager for Kidson Construction, Rob Edmonds, has been working on projects for the rebuild, including pre-cast panels for supermarkets. He said he attended the roadshow because he was concerned about payments for local subcontractors. He wanted to see them paid up front, which was not currently happening.
If companies were paid up front for their work, this would produce more employment and help the growth of Nelson, he said.
He also felt that the timeframes for completion of the anchor projects were unrealistic.
"A lot end in 2017 and start next year - it's a lot of work to do. There are constraints on subcontractors - only so many people can do so much at one time - but they are going around it the right way on the roadshow."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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