Worker camps idea backed

A proposal to build "working men's villages" in central Christchurch has met with mixed reaction.

Yesterday, The Press revealed plans for up to 10 security monitored camps to be built on vacant sites within the four avenues, each housing hundreds of workers.

Several major construction, infrastructure and property investment companies have been working on the project for more than a year and organisers said the villages were "very close to coming to fruition".

Business leaders and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee supported the idea, yet scores of outraged comments were posted on

Tenants Protection Association manager Helen Gatonyi said the proposal was "absolutely necessary for the rebuild".

"Sure there are going to be criticisms about the potential problems they could cause but if they are done properly, I can't see it being a bad thing," she said.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend and Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale both backed the concept.

Brownlee said it was an "interesting and creative suggestion", but he did not want to see "1930s-type workers' camps emerging throughout the city".

Labour's Earthquake Recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel raised concerns over the lack of official involvement in the planning.

The idea of the villages had stemmed from similar overseas projects but Dalziel said overseas temporary camps attracted workers with large wages, but "those wages aren't going to be paid here".

The Press