Moving university 'too expensive'

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker

Prime Minister John Key has dismissed Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker's suggestions that the University of Canterbury should move into the new-look central city.

Parker said Christchurch will become a "glossy rest-home" if the Government does not reconsider its plans for the city.

Parker was particularly concerned about the lack of incentive for young people to stay.

A combination of the ageing population and the number of people leaving the city would mean in about 20 years half of the city could be older than 65, Parker said.

One solution Parker proposed was moving the University of Canterbury back inside the four avenues.

Speaking yesterday, Key said Parker's suggestion was not practical.

"I don't think the Government would support that view. He said it would cost "billions and billions of dollars" to move the university into the heart of Christchurch's new-look CBD.

"It's a nice idea but the capital costs of doing that would be far too expensive. The concept of actually picking up Canterbury University, and moving it into town, abandoning all those buildings, all that infrastructure is just beyond the stretch of the Government."

Key also disagreed with Parker's view that the changing demographics were a worry for Christchurch.

"There's been some reduction in school children but there's an awful lot of young people pouring into Christchurch because of the job opportunities and that will get even larger over the years as the rebuild goes through."

He said predictions people would flee Christchurch in their droves after the spate of quakes were not the "facts".

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has told The Press he would talk to the mayor about his concerns.

The Press