Enticing business back to the central city

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 14:16 11/01/2012

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Recovery authorities are asking businesses, property owners and customers what will entice them back into earthquake-stricken central Christchurch.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton said the central-city commercial property study would help authorities make decisions about rebuilding in the central business district.

"This information will give us, the Government and the Christchurch City Council a strong platform from which to action the central-city plan," he said.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the survey would give central-city businesses and property owners a chance to have their say.

Questions include asking central-city businesses and workers where they have relocated to, whether their current location meets their needs and what would encourage them to return to the CBD.

It considers shopping, parks, restaurants, bars and sports facilities, as well as the importance of services such as banking and accounting.

The survey also asks respondents to consider whether they would return to a high-rise building and if the noise of construction would be a deterrent.

Businesses, workers and the public are invited to take part in the 15 to 20-minute survey by going online here.

The survey findings will be handed to Cera in February.

The council formally endorsed the draft central-city plan - recovery authorities' blueprint for rebuilding Christchurch's CBD - last month, passing it to Cera, which will accept further public submissions until February 3.

The final decision will be made by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Last month, a survey of 100 former central Christchurch businesses found that only 40 per cent wanted to return and 38 per cent were unlikely to do so. Twenty per cent were unsure.

The survey also follows the decision by two government departments to sign nine-year leases on offices near Christchurch International Airport.

Inland Revenue and the Social Development Ministry expect to move 500 workers into a new 5000-square-metre office at the Airport Business Park in Russley Rd in December, locking them into the site until late 2021.

Inland Revenue was previously one of the biggest central Christchurch government tenants.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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