Consents for workers' beds to be 'streamlined'

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 10:02 26/09/2012

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Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has used his extraordinary powers to force changes to city and district plans to speed up consents for temporary workers' accommodation.

The changes would allow temporary buildings to house up to 200 people in central-city areas zoned ''mixed use'' and up to 20 people in some residential and commercial zones.

Brownlee said today that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act had been used to ''streamline'' the Resource Management Act and Building Act consenting processes for the Christchurch City and Waimakariri and Selwyn district councils.

The changes would ensure the process for developing worker accommodation was simplified and offered more options, he said.

The changes were made in conjunction with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and would provide ''certainty for councils, developers and communities on possible locations for workers' temporary accommodation''.

"Each district's plan has specific objectives, policies and rules for worker accommodation and each council is still the first point of contact for prospective developers, but in adapting the plans using the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act we have enabled this process to move quickly and ensure the anticipated demand will be catered for,'' Brownlee said.

About 30,000 short-term workers were expected to be needed for the Christchurch rebuild.

''Those workers won't all be needed at the same time, but as the rebuild progresses there will be an ongoing need for temporary housing,'' he said.

"The ability for developers to work through the consenting process with councils in a timely way is important, and by adapting the district plans we can make sure this process runs smoothly."

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