Warwick Isaacs: Blueprint a mammoth task
It was a source of great pride to see the Prime Minister launch the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan last night, writes Warwick Isaacs, director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU).
So many people worked so tirelessly to bring this plan to fruition.
Warwick Isaacs will be live on press.co.nz from noon to answer your questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The CCDU was launched by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee on April 18 with a bold plan to take the vision produced by the Christchurch City Council in consultation with the public, and within 100 days come up with a Blueprint for a new central Christchurch.
It has been a real pressure cooker situation. As a team at the CCDU, we have all worked very hard over those 100 days. We haven't had too many weekends. But we were energised by the rare opportunity and the importance of the task put in front of us.
I think one of the things many people thought at the start of the 100 days was that a lot of the work had already been done and we were just polishing it off. Nothing could be further from the truth. The day of the CCDU launch was the day the team began its task.
It has been about giving back to the community what has been taken away.
From my point of view, I think the plan we have produced is absolutely outstanding. I think it will not only deliver a central city that the people of Christchurch and New Zealand will be proud of, but one which will be attractive to investors here and abroad.
It has been a privilege to work alongside a group of such talented people who are among the very best in their fields. Often their views and outlooks were quite different to mine and I learnt a lot from them along the way.
We also worked closely with other organisations like the city council and Ngai Tahu to ensure they had input into the plan.
It has been exhilarating to have been able to take the city council's draft plan, built up with the public's views through the council's Share an Idea campaign, and to bring the Crown's focus to it.
We want to create a central city that people wanted to spend time in, whether it be working, shopping, cycling, playing sport or just relaxing. It is important that people feel comfortable there. If someone wants to ride to work, or go for jog or swim or play sport after work - it will all be there for them.
I think what people will see coming through in this plan is the vision that thousands of people contributed their ideas to. I have no doubt it will be close to the dreams and aspirations of those who took part in the process.
Now that the plan has been launched, we enter a new stage of promoting this plan to people around New Zealand and abroad so that they have the opportunity to be a part of it.
I believe it will inspire people to be a part of the new central Christchurch or to invest in it. We expect the philanthropists out will also see reason to give to the many projects within the plan that will benefit the people of Christchurch.
Within five years, the goal is to deliver anchor projects like the Frames of the new CBD, the new convention centre and metro sports facility. But we also have to be mindful of not sacrificing quality for speed of development.
The bottom line is that this bold plan we have produced is crucial for this city and New Zealand.
Christchurch was and still is New Zealand's 'second city'. We need a strong capital in the South Island. We need a strong second city.