Budget limits for anchor projects

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 17/10/2012

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As preparations for the rebuild of Christchurch's civic facilities step up, Mayor Bob Parker is assuring ratepayers the city council will keep a tight rein on costs.

Expressions of interest have been called for two of the anchor projects included in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan - the Avon River and convention centre precincts - and more projects will get under way in coming months.

Who will take the lead on the anchor projects and who will pay for them is still being worked out by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) and the council, but Parker said the council would not commit any money beyond the $632 million already budgeted through the annual plan, without consulting the public.

"We've got a quantum of money that is assigned to a group of projects and any significant change to that would require us to return to our community," he said.

The council would be involved in the design and development of all the anchor projects to "varying degrees".

"In some cases we will have the final say; in other cases we will be one of a collaborative group around the table," he said.

The CCDU is taking the lead on the development of the convention centre precinct, to which the city council has committed $220.7m, less a $30m insurance payment.

It has asked the Government to put $70m into the project, but it has yet to commit to that.

Last week, interested private parties were asked to put forward initial proposals for the convention centre, its parking area, connected retail and commercial operations and a five-star hotel. Their proposals must include an outline of the proposed design and options for funding.

The CCDU said yesterday that matters of design, cost and the financial model to be used for the convention centre precinct would be worked through by a project team comprising representatives from the council, the CCDU, the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry and Ngai Tahu.

Key decisions on the project would be made by the Crown and the city council on the basis of that team's recommendations.

The CCDU is also taking the lead on the development of the Avon River precinct, to which the council has committed $6.4m at this stage.

Council corporate and financial committee chairwoman Helen Broughton yesterday acknowledged there was potential for conflict between the council and the CCDU over some of the anchor projects because the council's coffers might not be deep enough to fund the projects to the specifications outlined in the central-city blueprint.

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- The Press

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