New rebuild agency Regenerate Christchurch brings hope to New Brighton
The new joint agency charged with helping regenerate Christchurch will make the rebuilding of New Brighton one of its key focuses.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced on Friday the Crown and the city council were jointly setting up a new agency, called Regenerate Christchurch, to oversee the long-term development of the central city, the residential red zone and New Brighton.
Dalziel said New Brighton was being singled out for attention because of the extent of the damage to the suburb and its close proximity to the residential red zone.
"Its location in terms of the residential red zone means it is absolutely core critical that the regeneration lens is applied to New Brighton. I represented that area prior to becoming the mayor of Christchurch and I have sat through revitalisation programmes, master plans, you name it and the intention has been there. This actually provides a model for delivering the outcome that the people of New Brighton have been seeking for years," Dalziel said.
Details of exactly what powers Regenerate Christchurch will have are sketchy but Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has indicated it will have the ability to put together regeneration plans that carry statutory weight.
It may also be able to designate land for special purposes and compulsorily acquire property.
New Brighton Business and Landowners Association manager Paul Zaanen said a regeneration plan for New Brighton was crucial and he was thrilled that both the council and the Government had finally recognised that.
"To have another tier of support come in and from such a high level is really good for this area and it is needed. It needs a helping hand. For us it is positive, positive, positive. It is really enthusing to see people are starting to wake up . . . and make things happen. It is a huge win for this area. It is overdue and we are ready for it," Zaanen said.
The community had come up with solutions to help the area but up until now it had not the ability to implement those solutions, he said. With Regenerate Christchurch's assistance, it could finally start to make things happen.
"We're not asking for people to come in on a really big horse and with a knight in shining armour but we've certainly been asking for those partnerships and endorsement of the work we've been doing," Zaanen said.
Regenerate Christchurch will be governed by an independent board that will report to both the Crown and the council. After five years, it will transfer to the city as a fully Council Controlled Organisation (CCO).
It will develop plans and strategies to assist with regeneration and work in tandem with the council's newly established development company, Development Christchurch Ltd (which will be the first point of entry for new investors in the city) as well as with a Crown-controlled company being developed.
The move to set up Regenerate Christchurch comes as the Government prepares to replace the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act with new legislation that will formalise the transition of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's (Cera) functions to other Government agencies, local councils and Ngai Tahu.
The new legislation, the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill, is expected to be introduced to the House next month and will provide for the establishment of Regenerate Christchurch as a joint entity.
"This is a unique partnership and offers a new way of thinking about how central and local government could operate in the future. Christchurch will be leading the way and the rest of New Zealand will look to this partnership as a new way of working," Brownlee said.
Dalziel said community engagement and participation would be important to the success of Regenerate Christchurch so residents could expect to hear from the new organisation as work got under way. The first step would be to jointly appoint a chairperson who would guide the Regenerate Christchurch Establishment Unit.
"The structure of the new entity allows for community engagement in the decision-making progress, which is crucial to the future prosperity of our city," she said.
Regenerate Christchurch is expected to be fully operational by April next year.