Billboards to attract business to CBD

20:51, Apr 09 2014
billboard times square
TIMES SQUARE REIMAGINED: What Christchurch could look like.

Central Christchurch could soon be lit up like New York City's Times Square.

Christchurch City councillors yesterday talked about ideas to encourage businesses to build in the central city.

Councillor Jamie Gough told the District Plan review workshop the council should consider allowing businesses that built within the four avenues to place a billboard, or multimedia billboard, to the side of their buildings.

He said it was worth exploring ideas that could help businesses thrive that would not cost the council money.

Many businesses were choosing to develop outside of the city because it was cheaper and worked for them.

"The ability to incorporate outdoor advertising, such as billboards or multimedia advertising, into a central city development ‘as of right' opens up an added and attractive revenue stream which, at the same time, adds to a sense of urban buzz and vibrancy that probably wouldn't have been appropriate in the suburbs."

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Gough said businesses were motivated by the "bottom line", and while cutting the cost of construction would be a great way of promoting development, it was not something the council controlled.

He said ideas, like the billboards, could help offset costs to even the balance between "cheaper outskirt" developments and the more "financially challenging" central city redevelop-ments.

"It's more a case of enabling more things that could be done instead of simply adding to a list of things that you can't do."

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said signs had been vital post-earthquake for businesses in suburban areas, and this could be a mechanism for providing incentives for businesses to build, relocate or rebuild in the city's centre.

The council had to make recommendations to the Government if it wanted to include "non-financial incentives" as part of the Land Use Recovery Plan and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

She said the council had been criticised as preferring development in the CBD over suburbia, but this was not true.

The council has previously come under fire as under the city's draft district plan review rules would ban new office, retail and hospitality buildings in light industrial (business 4) zones essentially trying to stop the haemorrhage of business from the central city by clamping down on commercial growth in the suburbs.

This would halt construction in most parts of Addington, Lincoln Rd, Blenheim Rd and much of Moorhouse Ave, where new buildings have sprung up since the earthquakes.

It would also affect many suburbs and land near the airport.

Gough said he would prefer to offer incentives to developers, rather than wielding "big sticks" to stifle urban sprawl.

The Press