A bleak car park in Rangiora could be a catalyst for the town's commercial renewal.
Ownership of a block of land on High St dominated talk at the district council's recent annual earthquake recovery meeting.
The North of High St Recovery Plan calls for Waimakariri council to settle private land sales or access agreements, much like the Government is doing in the central city frame.
The council is talking to landowners in the hope it can settle property agreements before the end of the year.
In a few months, the council could ask Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to order compulsory purchase if necessary, council senior analyst Heike Lulay says.
The block is fronted by the High Street shops and enclosed by Durham St, Blake St and Good St.
Much of the area is owned by the district council as a car park, but negotiations are under way to turn part of the western end of the Blake St frontage into single-storey retail, with public parking above.
The eastern end of Blake St would also house commercial premises, as would land facing High St. Pedestrian laneways would link the developments.
The council had a large-lease holding in the area through its ownership of the Blake St car park.
The council must submit a precinct recovery plan for Rangiora to Brownlee by December 6.
The plan and the pivotal Land Use Recovery Plan would enable the council to "overcome barriers" to development if it wasn't able to negotiate successfully with private landowners, Lulay says.
This year's Rangiora Town Update session was upbeat, Lulay says, suggesting people sense the town was recovering.
"We're really moving out of that phase of people being inconvenienced with the earthquake effects and we're really moving into more of a planning and construction phase," he says.
This stage had been capped by recent confirmation the cornerstone Farmers department store on High St will be rebuilt.
- The Press