If you own, manage or occupy a building that’s a workplace, you should be up to speed with some regulations that will affect you. On Wednesday 4 April, 2018, important sections of the Health & Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations came in to force. There has been a two-year grace period to get organised and the deadline is now here.
What does this mean for you? In short, if you know (or ought to know!) that asbestos is likely to be present in your building, you need to be actively managing it. You should be well on your way to preparing an Asbestos Management Plan by now.
This important document outlines where asbestos is and how it will be managed. It must include information about the location, how you will manage associated risks, what procedures you’ll follow if you need to disturb it, how you record incidents and emergencies relating to it and a timetable for activities, such as regular reviews.
Anyone undertaking maintenance or repairs in your workplace should be asking for a copy of your Asbestos Management Plan, prior to commencing works, to ensure they don’t expose themselves or others to asbestos.
WorkSafe has produced some great guidance on the new requirements. Check out their website for more information. Ignorance will no longer be accepted as an excuse for not actively managing New Zealand’s number one workplace killer: asbestos exposure. Be proactive and don’t get caught out.
The success of the recent Lantern Festival has given Christchurch the first real taste of what a spectacular stage Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct can be for this city.
Thousands of people made their way along parts of the riverside promenade to find a vantage point on the steps of the Terraces or Worcester East punt stop. It was great to see this new space embraced in such a way.
It is easy to go past the remaining sections of the Avon River Precinct that are currently under construction and mistake them for roadworks. However, this project will see the riverside promenade stretch some two kilometres from the Hospital to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground when completed at the end of the year.
While the Avon River Precinct will bring more greenery to the central city and create an entirely new way to move across it, more importantly it is a catalyst for private development along the river.
Leading the charge of course, have been the hospitality ventures between Hereford and Cashel Street. We’ve also seen an impressive restoration of the former Café Roma building and the Public Trust building will follow suit. The Re:Start Mall site is also now making way for the start of works on the Riverside Farmers Market.
With Avon River Precinct works underway on the riverbanks between Victoria Square and the playground more opportunities will open up.
So, thanks to ChristchurchNZ and all those who attended the Lantern Festival for reminding us of the potential that lies along the river.
In mid-March, our organisation Regenerate Christchurch published some recently taken drone images of the Bexley Wetland and Southshore Spit on social media, and the photos generated a large amount of positive engagement with our online audiences.
The positive feedback we received – and continue to receive – reflects the importance that the areas of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and the Avon Heathcote estuary holds to so many people. This space is a valuable resource for the community, not just from an ecological point of view, but also for its potential to be an incredible place for bold ideas and innovation to be showcased both for Cantabrians and greater New Zealand.
We’re excited about the potential the area has to become a world-leading living laboratory, where we learn, experiment and research, test, and create new ideas and ways of living, such as how we adapt to sea-level rise and climate change.
Meanwhile, on back-to-back weekends in March, the Children’s Day and Polyfest events were held in the former residential red zones on the corner of New Brighton Road and Locksley Avenue. Both days transformed the ‘Regeneration Area’ into a thriving, bustling carnival-like atmosphere as crowds of happy people enjoyed great music, performances, food, activities and games.
These events, and other transitional uses of the 602-hectare Regeneration Area from Barbadoes Street to the Bexley Wetland, provide a glimpse into how the area can provide immense benefit to Christchurch and New Zealand in the future. There are some very exciting times ahead.
Christchurch has been presented with a unique opportunity to redevelop itself. While that comes with a price tag, we should ensure we deliver an experience and standard of living that reflects the fact that we are New Zealand’s second largest city.
We need to create a city that attracts the best talent and businesses who will invest and contribute to our economy; a city that draws visitors from across the world to experience end explore our unique offering; and a city that provides its residents with rich cultural, social, sporting and commercial activity.
We’re starting to see businesses base themselves here in Christchurch – let’s make it easy for them to succeed, enable them to achieve the very best outcomes they can and attract and keep the talent they need to succeed.
One such business said recently, “Christchurch really stood out when we were evaluating locations as it not only met all of our requirements, but had the added bonus of a thriving and collaborative technology and startup community… It’s inspiring to see the amazing transformation that the city is undertaking and it is obvious that Christchurch is a city on the rise.”
Let’s make sure we deliver on these expectations and start talking about what we expect from the second largest city in New Zealand.
We’ll need to be creative about how we pay for the new city and prioritise the things most likely to deliver the positive experience for residents, businesses and visitors. But let’s make sure we have the discussion. We can’t afford not to.
One of the biggest remaining challenge of our rebuild is the ongoing mental health impacts of the earthquakes – especially for our kids. As well as the initial trauma, there have also been the years of slow grinding recovery, which has been especially hard for the people still stuck in broken homes and battling EQC or their insurance companies.
That is why there has been a 93 percent increase in demand for mental health services for young people in Canterbury since 2011.
This is something that our Government is committed to taking action on. It is why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced we will give every child in Canterbury and Kaikoura access to a mental health professional through their school.
We will spend $28 million hiring a range of mental health professionals from counsellors to psychiatrists to work alongside schools and teachers to help our local kids get the support they deserve. The roll out will start in the east of Christchurch and Hornby and will be completed by mid-next year.
This policy has been designed alongside experts at the CDHB. They have been some of the unsung heroes of the recovery, providing mental health for people who need it most. By working in partnership with local experts, we have been better able to understand the needs of Canterbury kids, and have come up with a plan that I believe will make a huge difference for our young people.
According to the 2017 report ‘Future demand for construction workers’, released by the MBIE, construction investment growth is set to peak in 2020 and increase the requirements for construction-related occupations until at least late 2022. This means employers are facing an increasing skills shortage and having to alter the ways they recruit and retain the best staff.
Businesses within commercial or residential construction now have the opportunity to grow. The issue stopping them is being able to get the right staff members to take on those projects and deliver quality work.
There’s no area where there’s an abundance of staff, from labour to carpenters to subcontractors such as plumbers or electricians, right through to site-based staff like site managers and supervisors, quantity surveyors, project managers and site engineers. Every single area of every project is very difficult to recruit, making it hard for people to fill up their business with top-notch people.
We do look to Australia, which is obviously fairly close by and has a similar way of building, but we do a lot of work with attracting people from South Africa and the UK as well, and we have also sourced candidates from the US.
Retention is probably one of the biggest focuses any [construction] employer has at the moment. People are moving much more frequently than they have done in the past and that’s because it’s so competitive a lot of employers are looking to attract people from other businesses who are already trained in a similar method of construction.
Christchurch’s rebuild is an opportunity to transform our city and leave a legacy for future generations, something which requires public and private organisations to partner together. Exploring these new ways of working together has long-lasting, far-reaching benefits for all of us.
I’m really pleased that Regenerate Christchurch has now signed agreements with both the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University. These will enable new and innovative opportunities for research, teaching and learning, particularly around the environmental and social regeneration, and ecology of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Area – the former red zone.
We’ll share resources and knowledge, and collaborate with two of New Zealand’s most recognised universities to create new learning experiences for local and international students, communities and visitors.
We’d like to establish a world-leading living laboratory, where we learn, experiment and research; testing and creating new ideas and ways of living. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate how to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by natural hazards, climate change and a river’s floodplain.
Long-term, we want to see Christchurch recognised as a leader in developing technology for communities to adapt to climate change, and see an increase in science and technology-based jobs in our city.
These partnerships between Regenerate Christchurch and tertiary providers will provide opportunities for staff and students, such as trialling ideas and projects that could also lead to commercial opportunities, involvement in internships, community engagement, research, and investigating the long-term impact of regeneration.
New Zealand was recently named as the most prosperous country in the world by The Legatum Institute. The London based think tank has recently released its annual global Prosperity Index for 2018, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous nations.
New Zealand now outranks Finland – a country we are often highlighted as performing poorly against. Since the index was first founded in 2007, our lowest place was fourth and we have taken out the top spot seven times.
Given recent newspaper headlines outlining our childhood poverty statistics, the housing crisis and rivers we can’t swim in, this came as a surprise to me. So, I did a little more research and thinking on this topic.
The Legatum Institute doesn’t view prosperity as being just the amount of money that a country has. It compared 104 variables in developing the rankings, including personal freedom, natural environment and social capital.
Further reading of their website provides more detail. It’s well worth a look – just visit ind.pn/2Ex2S0j.
When reviewing these results, it seems to me that all of us have a role to play to ensure that our collective prosperity is spread more evenly. We are doing ok, but we can do better.
Smart central government policy and investment are obviously key, but these wheels take time to turn. In contrast, a nimble, grassroots-engaged, fact-based charity or social enterprise can make an impact quickly, if it is well supported.
It’s not often that you get involved in a construction project where the aim is to keep almost everything the same, but after 13 months of work the fully restored Victoria Square was reopened to the public this month.
No major work had been carried out on Victoria Square since the 1980s, so time and the earthquakes had taken a bit of a toll, with cracked pavers and ponding proving hazardous.
A significant 40,000 man-hours, 2100 metres of cabling, 800 metres of pipe and 170,000 pavers later, the space has been returned to its former glory, with wider paths and additional lighting making Victoria Square more accessible.
Australasia’s first illuminated electric fountain, the 87-year-old Bowker Fountain, is also back to its colourful best, with new pumps and lights.
Additional features like the brass and concrete Kanakana table recognise the site and the city’s bi-cultural heritage.
All this effort went into Victoria Square because it is somewhat of a central city linchpin.
It sits along the river promenade that’s currently under construction, its neighbours are the Performing Arts Precinct and the Town Hall and people using the Convention Centre’s meeting rooms will be gazing out onto Victoria Square every time their eyes wander.
This restoration ensures the best of Christchurch is on show for anyone in the central city.
So, on a sunny day, why not come grab a Vanilla Ice, take a seat by the Bowker Fountain and reacquaint yourself with this restored space.
A city is a brand. Just like any great brand, we need to be clear on who we are and what we stand for. We need to be aspirational to inspire bold thinking to attract great talent and interest in our city.
ChristchurchNZ are in the midst of redefining our city’s identity. As they work with various stakeholders, it’s clear innovation is key to our city’s brand.
Innovation has always been in our blood with business pioneers like Angus Tait (Tait Communications), Bill Hamilton (CWF Hamilton) and Sir Gil Simpson (Jade Software) leading the way.
I am privileged to see outstanding innovation and creativity every day. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. In addition to more established companies, we are lucky to have many young, passionate entrepreneurs making their mark locally and internationally. Young companies like Banqer, Ethique and Corvecto reinforce that innovation, creativity and experimentation stretches across generations.
In February, Christchurch launched Yoogo Share – the first in the Southern Hemisphere. We also heard a great international tech company has chosen to base their APAC office here, choosing Christchurch over Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. We are on the right track to redefining ourselves as a place that embraces and nurtures open-minds, experimentation, creativity and innovation.
We have an exciting opportunity to reposition our city and must ensure the vision is bold, yet ensure we are able to deliver on the promise. Businesses and entrepreneurs must continue to be supported by a strong, connected ecosystem, and local and central government policy must nurture an innovation-led economy.
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