Parker wishlist comes with $823m bill
What is the most important item for you in Mayor Bob Parker's big-ticket wishlist for Christchurch?
Mayor Bob Parker has unveiled his $800 million big-ticket wishlist for the new Christchurch.
He will ask councillors on Monday to sign off on his annual-plan recommendations for the city – the most ambitious of his mayoralty.
The city council's final draft of the 2012-13 annual plan will be considered on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week after a long public submissions and hearings process.
It covers community facilities, infrastructure and support programmes deemed critical to the city's recovery.
Ten big-ticket items have been identified, costing $823m over the next six financial years, with most of the cost budgeted for 2013-14 onwards.
The most expensive item is a $220.7m convention centre, which would rely on a $70m government contribution.
Parker said the council's plan was "utterly unique" and a fair budget for ratepayers.
"I don't think any councillor or mayor would ever have been considering so many projects at one time," he said.
Wins for residents include a rates remission package for earthquake-hit properties, which would be extended to the 2015-16 financial year, temporary repairs of the Centennial Pool for use until a new central-city multi-sport facility was under way and a possible aquatic and indoor sports facility at the Queen Elizabeth II Park site.
The Town Hall could be partly demolished, with the auditorium retained and new facilities built around it.
One recommendation is to build an uncovered rugby stadium seating 35,000 spectators to replace the damaged AMI Stadium.
The city's rugby fraternity had lobbied for a covered stadium.
Residents with uninhabitable homes may have failed in a bid to secure 100 per cent rates relief.
If approved, the amended plan would see an overall rates increase of 7.63 per cent, up from the originally proposed 7.5 per cent.
This includes a one-off 2 per cent charge for the rebuild of major community facilities and a slightly increased special quake charge of 1.8 per cent.
If Parker's recommendations are approved, the annual-plan spending will total nearly $309m.
Small-ticket items include repairs to the Akaroa wharf, $450,000 for cordon management, a $556,000 contribution to a third hockey turf at Nunweek Park, a 25 per cent discount to community card holders for swimming coaching programmes and getting the trams running again by December.
Parker said the annual plan was "a fair budget" based on the huge repair costs facing the city.
"Absolutely we can afford the plan," he said.
"The question is, can we afford not to do it?
"We have shown a confident belief in our future [and] we don't have to sell down a pile of assets at the moment to get there," he said.
The 10 big-ticket items were "important facilities".
Once the 2012-13 plan is approved by councillors, the central-city projects may have to be adapted to fit with the Central City Development Unit's (CCDU) blueprint due to be released on July 27.
Parker said he was confident the council and the unit were "on the same page", but he expected minor amendments would have to be made to the council plan once the blueprint was released.
"I'm very confident we will get a great outcome," he said.
Prime Minister John Key's office referred all questions on convention centre funding to Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.
A spokesman for Brownlee said yesterday the minister would not comment on any of the anchor projects until the CCDU blueprint was complete.
CCDU director Warwick Isaacs was not available for comment yesterday but has said the unit would work closely with the city council.
The draft annual plan received a total of 2678 submissions.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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