The Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan has been publicly released following Cabinet approval of the document this week. The Recovery Plan, prepared by CERA's Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) over the past 100 days, includes implementation timelines, a blueprint for 17 "anchors projects" for the area, and numerous amendments to the Christchurch City District Plan.
Prime Minister John Key has said that the anchor projects will include entertainment and recreation venues as well as education, justice, emergency and health facilities. The Government takes primary responsibility for the latter, while funding for the former, such as a new stadium, convention centre and metro sports facility will, according to Mr Key, "need to be worked out between the Christchurch City Council and the private sector."
Approval of the Plan means that discussions about the transfer of land ownership in central Christchurch can now be initiated. It was not possible for the CCDU to start direct negotiations with Christchurch landowners while working on its 100 day work programme.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has said that while the Crown has the power to compulsorily acquire land under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, strong preference is for negotiations to commence between relevant parties with a view to concluding purchases by the Crown on mutually agreed terms.
Mr Brownlee says that, without precluding the ability for parties to negotiate agreement in the first instance, the tight timelines set out for Christchurch's recovery mean the first steps of compulsory purchase can be expected to be taken this year.
Prices for all land acquisitions in the central city (other than the red zone residential areas declared earlier this year) will be based on market values at the date the land is acquired, to reflect the variable nature of inner city land and improvements.
The Recovery Plan directs that by the end of next week, land required for the city's anchor projects will be designated in the Christchurch City Council’s City Plan. Designation will mean that present owners will have to seek the consent of the Minister (as the requiring authority) before they are able to alter the way the relevant land is used.