$14m plan for rebuild in suburbs

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013

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The Christchurch City Council is proposing to spend nearly $14 million on helping the city's quake-hit suburban centres rebuild.

Councillors yesterday voted to make funds available for some of the projects outlined in the suburban master plans prepared for Sydenham, Lyttelton, Linwood, Ferry Rd, New Brighton, Sumner and Edgeware.

Those centres were among the worst-hit by the quakes.

The master plans the council has drawn up for those centres carry no statutory weight but provide a framework for how the areas could be redeveloped.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told councillors yesterday he felt it was important the council demonstrated its commitment by putting some money aside in its draft three-year plan for key projects.

"This is to ensure that as the community begins to fill plans out with bricks and mortar we are able to be there to play our part with the streetscape," the mayor said.

He recommended the council put aside $13.8m over three years.

The council will borrow the money and then repay the interest and debt through the Capital Endowment Fund, which it set up in 2001 using the $75m it received from Orion's sale of its North Island gas network.

Resolutions passed by the council at the time mean the council cannot dip into the fund's capital without the approval of 80 per cent of the council, but it can spend income from the fund.

Last year the council decided to suspend the inflation-proofing of the fund for two years so it could make an additional $5.2m available for community projects. Now it is proposing to suspend the inflation proofing for another three years so that it can free up more money.

Cr Tim Carter said it was appropriate the council made some funding available for the suburban master plans but he was still concerned they carried no statutory weight.

The council should consider asking the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority to use its powers to make changes to the district plan so the council could have more say how private land in the suburban centres could be developed, he said.

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- The Press

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