Lyttelton Port recovery to be fast-tracked

BATTERED: Lyttelton Port suffered tens of millions of dollars in quake damage.
BATTERED: Lyttelton Port suffered tens of millions of dollars in quake damage.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee will use his extraordinary earthquake powers to fast-track the redevelopment of the badly damaged Lyttelton Port.

Brownlee today announced that under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act he had directed Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the Lyttelton Port Company to develop a recovery plan for the port, which would sidetrack the standard Resource Management Act process.

"Lyttelton Port needs certainty about repairing, rebuilding and reconfiguring its operations, and this plan will deliver that.

"The port is the major gateway to the South Island for goods freighted by sea and it makes a significant contribution to the regional and national economy.''

The plan would ensure ''safe, efficient and effective operations'', he said, while also taking any potential effect on the coastal marine area and the community into account.

Brownlee said Lyttelton residents were ''passionate'' about their town and both the port and ECan would be required to consult with the community as the plan was developed.

"There have been no decisions made on how the port should be redeveloped, but I have determined that a recovery plan is the best tool for timely redevelopment to be achieved."

A recovery plan would see the redevelopment happen faster than under the Resource Management Act, Brownlee said.

It would be a similar process to the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and the Land Use Recovery Plan.

Once consultation had taken place, ECan would develop a draft plan, call for written comment and then hold a hearing.

It was expected the draft recovery plan would be provided to the Earthquake Recovery Minister in July next year.

The Press