Red zone 'conversations' on the horizon for Christchurch

Regenerate Christchurch's chief executive Ivan Iafeta says the public will be at the forefront of decisions about the ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Regenerate Christchurch's chief executive Ivan Iafeta says the public will be at the forefront of decisions about the red zone.

Christchurch's new recovery agency wants to start putting plans in place for the city's residential red zone by the end of the year.

Regenerate Christchurch is the joint city council and Crown organisation, tasked with developing regeneration plans for New Brighton, the central city and the red zone. It also has the power to develop plans for other parts of the city.

Chief executive Ivan Iafeta has been in the role for just over two months and said next month would bring the first of a series of "public conversations" about the future use of the residential red zone.

The vision for Christhurch's Avon River red zone, developed by the Avon-Otakaro Network. 
A = Urban Farm
B = Riverside ...
AVON-OTAKARO NETWORK/SUPPLIED

The vision for Christhurch's Avon River red zone, developed by the Avon-Otakaro Network. A = Urban Farm B = Riverside Heritage Garden Park C = Eden NZ D = Flatwater Sports Lake E = Food Growing Network F = Eco-Sanctuary G = Bexley Wetlands Park

Iafeta, the former red zone general manager at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, said he spent the last eight weeks meeting with community groups, residents' associations and business people.

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While there was an imperative "to get on and do it", people did not want decisions about the future of the red zones to be rushed, he said.

An aerial view of part of Christchurch's residential red zone.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

An aerial view of part of Christchurch's residential red zone.

The organisation needed to decide whether to develop plans for each of the residential red zones – the Port Hills, Brooklands and the area that follows the Avon River from the central city to the coast – or a single plan for all of them.

Iafeta wanted to submit a regeneration plan "outline" to Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee by the end of the year.

An outline will identify what the objectives of a regeneration plan are, the geographical scope of it, the time frames and opportunities for public engagement.

Regenerate Christchurch wanted all "strategic partners" on board before it submitted anything to Brownlee, Iafeta said.

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If approved, the organisation would then develop a draft plan, he said. Brownlee would publicly notify approved regeneration plans.

"I'd like to submit one [an outline] this year but . . . it's more important to get the process right than drive to a timeframe."

Many people wanted to see technical information about the state of the land and what constraints different natural hazards might pose, he said.

Community groups were helping to design a set of "engagement principles".

"The [red zone] is a conversation we want everyone in Christchurch to participate in, but we need to approach that in a meaningful, respectful and sensitive way.

"There are still property owners living in the residential red zone so we're talking about the area immediately around their homes and it affects them."

The organisation is on the hunt for a chief operating officer and general managers to oversee the residential red zone, regeneration planning, partnerships and engagements and corporate services.

In a letter of expectations to Regenerate Christchurch, Brownlee and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said they wanted the organisation to be lean and draw on council and Crown resources.

Iafeta expected the organisation would have a core team of about 25 people over its five-year life.

The process for deciding how to use Waimakariri's red zones is far more advanced. Earlier this month Brownlee released the draft recovery plan for the Kaiapoi, Kairaki and Pines Beach red zones.

Residents have until September 1 to submit their feedback.

 - Stuff

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