Views on the city blueprint: part two

KATE PREECE
Last updated 10:13 25/10/2012

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Those immersed in Christchurch's sports, health, justice and innovation sectors share their views on the blueprint.

Cricket Oval and Stadium

Sir Richard Hadlee, former New Zealand cricketer

The proposed development of Hagley Oval as an international cricket venue can only enhance Hagley Park and the city.

While Hagley Park has a green, clean look, sport dominates the area. The oval is two per cent of Hagley Park's land mass and its new design has minimal infrastructure, with only a new pavilion and toilet facilities to be built. There will be no permanent sightscreens, gaudy signs or fences (outside match days), and the public will have full access to the grounds.

Being near the city centre, the venue will encourage people to watch games at lunchtime and after work.

The boutique-type cricket ground will have a special feel to it, with raised grassed embankments allowing for a picnic-type atmosphere ideal for families. Night cricket will return, which will certainly please fans.

Test cricket has not been played here for five years and the last one-day international was played two years ago. If we want to host matches during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Christchurch needs a facility capable of staging international matches. As it is, without QEII and AMI Stadium (Phillipstown), most of Canterbury Cricket's home matches are being played at MainPower Oval, in Rangiora.

A new facility is important for cricket's survival in the region. We have been starved of top-class cricket and seeing some of the best players in the world play in our city. With a new facility, young players will start dreaming of playing for their province and country again. There is something very special about playing an important match on your home ground. A new facility will attract cricket interest and enthusiasts back into the region, as well as providing a venue for other sports and outdoor concerts.

The city vision to have a new covered stadium is of low priority to me. We already have a rugby stadium that can host international and first-class rugby matches and attracts very good crowds. Perhaps some time in the future, it might be a good thing to have, but the cost will be massive. Financing it and keeping it financial viable will not be easy, as proved by the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The priority is to rebuild Christchurch's broken homes, build new homes for the displaced and mend broken hearts. Building sports facilities is still very important, as the city has an obligation to provide them for all residents and others to use, but it is about finding that balance.

 

Health Precinct

Dr Rob Corbett, paediatric oncologist at Christchurch Hospital

Side quote: The plan will make medical services an integral part of the city, living and breathing alongside other components of the plan.

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 The co-location of facilities housing knowledge and expertise is a fantastic idea. Despite technology, people still need to "rub shoulders" for the best to come out. Having education and research close to hospital services will attract ambitious clinician/researchers, providing a great platform to educate students and keep local expertise in New Zealand.

The plan creates a patient-friendly "flow" vastly different from the hospital's current chaos, with respect to access and location of services. Clearly, the idea of medi-hotels is of enormous benefit to those who have to travel to access medical care.

The current site is tight, to say the very least, but I don't agree with those who say it would be best to move to a greenfield site. I think we underestimate the value of having Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens nearby.

What's missing, however, is a children and youth hospital. There is a unique opportunity to design a children's hospital within the new acute hospital, with a distinct entity that respects and addresses the particular needs of children and young people. Young people (teenagers) get a raw deal as things stand currently. Addressing their needs is vital to the success of a modern medical service. 

Metro Sports Facility

Anna Simcic-Forrest, former Commonwealth Games swimming champion and Olympic competitor

The Metro Sports Facility will positively enhance the city and be well used across many sporting codes. Many high-performance athletes have left the city because they could no longer train here, with all the facilities damaged or destroyed.

I guess people contest a sports facility being built in the central city, as we are used to having these in the suburbs. If there is a good transportation system, then it will be accessible. If there isn't, I believe it will be harder for families to access.

It will, however, bring people into the central city and it would be awesome to see some big international competitions held there in years to come, so our children can experience top-level sport first hand.

I can see myself and my children going to the Metro Sports Facility for a fun family outing, but also to participate in sports and watch sporting events that we have not had access to in the past. The sooner we can get this facility up and running, the better it will be. I would hate to see a generation of top-level athletes lost because we don't have facilities to house them.


Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

Judge Jane McMeeken, Christchurch District and Youth Court judge

There are benefits to having the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police,

and Department of Corrections in one place. Many people going to court must meet with probation officers, and some probation officers attend court, so it makes sense for the Department of Corrections to have offices nearby. People held in cells at the police station have to appear in court, so there are efficiencies in having the police cells easily accessible to the court, too.

While I am unsure of the advantages of having the justice sector and emergency services together, the precinct's location is a good one. It is in the interests of those required to attend court and the various professionals involved, that the courts are centrally located, and parking and public transport is available. I will miss the views of the river, the trees and Victoria Square I had from my chambers, though.

It has not yet been decided whether the Youth Court will be included in the justice hub. We have a great opportunity to think about how justice is delivered, how the courts operate and whether there are better ways to work. We don't just have to replicate what we had.

 

Innovation Precinct

Colin Andersen, executive director of Effectus Ltd and co-founder of Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC).

Within the Innovation Precinct there is likely to be a broad range of companies from one-man bands through to multinational companies specialising in information and communication technology (ICT), high tech and innovation. The vibrant area will lift inner-city activity and retail and social areas, as ICT and high-tech staff tend to have a high disposable income.

The precinct is designed to attract and retain skilled talent by creating an enviable work environment. Through collaboration, there is the potential for tenants to be exposed to global opportunities unachievable on their own. The idea is to provide high-quality facilities and shared services to help optimise build/lease costs per staff member.

It is still early days to know exactly the role and scope of activity for EPIC in the overall Innovation Precinct. Our vision is for EPIC to be a key component driving the development of a world-class innovation campus, housing over 2000 staff.

We are very keen to see active linkage between the tertiary education providers and EPIC. The concept of satellite offices on campus, student secondment into campus companies, and PhD students doing projects with commercial companies are all on the table.

 

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