Since submitting the draft Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor for consideration by the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Regenerate Christchurch has provided advice to the Crown and Christchurch City Council on leadership and governance of the area.
We have recommended that an independent charitable trust be established to provide strong governance and independence from central and local government, while allowing local community input and influence, to support confidence and certainty in the future of the area.
The trust would be a single point of contact for private sectors and community interests. But to be successful, it would require a clear mandate established through empowering legislation and a skills-based board that would consider how best to engage and include local community leadership, iwi and local institutions.
We have also recommended that ownership of land in the regeneration area belonging to the Crown and Council be transferred to the independent charitable trust.There are examples where regeneration projects have benefitted from special, collaborative governance arrangements – particularly where this is backed by bespoke legislation. A local post-earthquake example is the Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Act 2015.
Legislation also sets aside Hagley Park as a public reserve. Conversations between the Crown and Council about leadership and governance of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor are already underway. But a real sense of momentum is required to ensure current proposals and expressions of interest in the area do not become lost opportunities.
‘Building places for people’ is Ōtākaro’s mantra and through this mild autumn it’s been satisfying seeing locals and visitors alike enjoying the public spaces we have created.
We have been especially heartened by the public response to the new City Promenade, our conversion of two kilometres of Oxford Terrace from a conventional street into a shared space, primarily for pedestrians, cyclists and the ubiquitous scooters.
The Promenade really accentuates the river waterfront as a key feature of central Christchurch. A nurse at Christchurch Hospital at the western end of the Promenade told us how much she enjoys her stroll to and from work along the Promenade and the owner of a local backpackers says he gives his guests directions to many city attractions like the Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery or Antigua Boatsheds in relation to the Promenade.
It was great to see the Promenade used as an event space during ChristchurchNZ’s wonderful Lantern Festival. We now have a large events area that links Cashel Mall with the ever-popular Victoria Square, which we restored earlier last year.
In the East Frame, we are also seeing more people in Rauora Park, particularly cyclists and pedestrians using it as a thoroughfare, and new businesses and other amenities are helping to create activation around the lanes and gathering spaces in the South Frame.
There is still much work for us to do to complete the Crown-led anchor projects and we are very proud of our contribution to creating a vibrant CBD for the people of Christchurch.
One of the things I’m most proud of being able to help deliver as part of our Government is Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow – a new mental health programme that gives every young person in Canterbury access to a mental health worker through their school.
This policy is now fully rolled out, with 219 different primary and intermediate schools in Canterbury now being part of the programme. This offers children who need it one-on-one and group sessions to help them deal with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
We know that mental health is a major issue for our young people. The shock of the earthquakes and the trauma of the slow, grinding years of recovery have seen demand for mental health services amongst young people in our region reach twice the national average.
Teachers and parents will have seen this for themselves – young people unable to learn because of anxiety and developmental delays. That’s why we’ve invested $27m in getting every child in Canterbury the support they need.
In just one year, Mana Ake has supported 942 children individually and 578 children in groups. That’s a lot of children that have been listened to and had their issues taken seriously. We’ve also heard from parents who tell us Mana Ake was a huge help for children in the wake of the 15 March attack.
This is a Government that is taking mental health seriously, investing in our children’s wellbeing and tackling the big, long term issues in our community.
Results for the Christchurch City Council’s Life in Christchurch survey are out for 2019 and nearly two thirds of respondents say they feel positively about our central city.
This is good news and probably in-line with expectations given the progress we have seen over the past 12 months. Hospitality tenancies on The Terrace are performing exceptionally well and The Crossing’s retail offering is equally popular.
The EntX cinema complex is proving to be a significant drawcard along too with the two major completed council projects, the Central Library (Tūranga) and Town Hall. The final piece of the retail precinct is just around the corner with the Riverside Market set to open this spring – something I am very much looking forward to.
Understandably 93 percent of respondents feel the central city provides a range of restaurants, bars and cafés; 70 percent feel it is safe for pedestrians; 76 percent of respondents would consider living in central city terraced housing compared to 65 percent in low-rise apartments.
The trends are often more interesting than the numbers themselves and encouragingly, whilst only 20 percent travel to the central city 2-4 times per week, this is up from 13 percent the year prior. The importance of expediting the remaining anchor projects cannot be underestimated nor can incentives for increasing inner city residential developments and residents, which is key.
There are certainly some encouraging signs but it is clear we are going to have to step up and do things differently if we are to be anywhere near satisfied when we see the 2020 survey results.
There is no doubt that our region has been through some challenging times over the last few years, so coming together for something positive has never been more important. That’s why we are so excited about our upcoming Westpac Champion Business Awards.
The Chamber has been organising these business awards for over 16 years now and we are proud that they continue to be an opportunity for the Waitaha Canterbury business community to come together to showcase their success. They are a real celebration of our region’s best, recognising and rewarding the organisations that embody innovation and excellence and ultimately help to shape the future of Canterbury and Aotearoa New Zealand.
The awards are a fantastic way for businesses to showcase their team’s achievements, and even just being nominated can contribute to a positive, engaging culture. It’s always so heartening to see the immense pride on the faces of all those involved at the end of the programme.
If you are a local business or not-for-profit, we encourage you to enter your organisation in these awards. To reflect the truly diverse nature of our region, there is a whole range of categories this year, including social enterprise, so there is something there for everyone. We also hope you will be able to join us and over 1200 other local business people at the awards ceremony on 18 September to help us celebrate what drives success in Canterbury.
At Ministry of Awesome, we support innovation and high growth startups because we know that a dynamic startup ecosystem will transform this city with future jobs, industries and global relevance.
For NZ startups, it’s been challenging to access the capital required to scale global from NZ. But the fundraising landscape is changing quickly. Our angel networks are getting stronger, new funds are being established and interest in NZ startups is gaining ground.
According to New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), total annual investment in NZ early stage ventures was around $100m in 2018 – an extraordinary rate of growth compared to the $30m invested in 2007.
Then there’s the brand new Simplicity KiwiSaver fund managed by Icehouse Ventures – a fund completely designed to help Kiwi startups accelerate and go global. This means that everyday Kiwis can fuel and benefit from homegrown startup growth rather than external investors who frequently require Kiwi startups to relocate to wherever the fund is. This means NZ loses out on the upside of their success including the creation of new jobs and innovation.
Later this month, the official opening ceremony of Christchurch’s Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth and Innovation hosts Mark Bregman, a prominent California based venture capitalist. Mark is currently raising a $40m fund for NZ tech startups and his interest seems to herald a wave of global interest in our country’s startup and innovation landscape.
I was interested to read recently a submission by the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce on the Christchurch City Council’s 2019/2020 Draft Annual Plan, and to note the shared thinking between the Chamber and Regenerate Christchurch on what is needed to ensure Christchurch achieves long-term, sustainable regeneration.
A key element, as noted by the Chamber, is best-for-city decision-making across a public sector that is committed to genuine partnerships with the business sector, to not only support the private investment and leverage the public investment that has been made to date but also encourage further investment. In other words, to demonstrate that Christchurch is open for business.
Nationally, the urban development and planning sectors are talking about this type of collaboration being critical for success. But they are also talking about a need for streamlined tools to expedite planning processes and provide more certainty.
In Christchurch, we already have bespoke legislation available to us that mandates and drives greater collaboration and delivers a capability to streamline processes that other cities and centres can only talk about. It represents a genuine opportunity to address some of the urban planning and development challenges that can create roadblocks.
We do not have long, though, as the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act will expire in two years’ time. But the legislation, in isolation, will not be enough and a firm commitment to genuine collaboration is critical.
Construction of the Metro Sport Facility gets underway next month on the former Canterbury Brewery site. That’s good news regardless of whether you like to get active from the top of a 10-metre dive tower or the comfort of a spin bike.
We recently awarded a $221m contract for the construction of what will be the largest sports and recreation venue of its kind in New Zealand to CPB Contractors Limited and expect the build to be completed late in 2021.
In addition to the obvious wellbeing benefits, the economic impact of the Metro Sports Facility is worth considering. Christchurch City Council will operate the venue and expects it to host eight to twelve national and international events each year, which will bring coaches, family and supporters from all around the country, and they’ll be using our hotels and motels, eating out and going shopping.
Building the Metro Sports Facility will also be of great benefit to the local construction industry with at least 80 percent of the sub-trades to be sourced domestically. We expect more than $60 million in wages and salaries will be paid to the local workforce throughout construction, with more than 400 people employed on site at its peak.
It is tremendous to be able to take this step forward. As we’ve seen with Te Pae, getting a contractor on site and a building out of the ground does a lot for people’s confidence in Christchurch.
International and national investors are continuing to show strong interest in the Christchurch commercial property market. After the earthquakes, a lot of those buyers shied clear of the city but that’s certainly changed now with more and more enquiry from buyers outside the city – for both bare land and significant commercial and industrial buildings.
As Auckland becomes more expensive with accompanying low yields, Christchurch returns are looking more and more attractive, especially considering the comparable quality of buildings and tenants. In the past two years, there have been numerous chunky sales to national and international buyers totalling more than $200 million.
High profile syndicates such as Auckland-based Augusta Capital, are particularly active, most recently spending $53.75 million to add Castle Rock Business Park to its industrial property portfolio. The deal is believed to be the largest industrial property sale in the South Island. Of the four bids we received for Castle Rock, three were from North Island interests.
Another Auckland syndicate, Silverfin Capital, bought Metro Glass in Hornby, a private Auckland investor picked up the Online Distribution building in Woolston, the sale and leaseback of the Turners & Growers was to an Auckland buyer, as was Tait Technology Centre.
Inner city offices PwC and Duncan Cotterill Plaza attracted the attention of an international buyer in off-market deals while Queenstown-based syndicate Mitchell Mackersy recently bought Opus House in Moorhouse Avenue. This sort of activity certainly augurs well for Christchurch and we don’t see it waning any time soon.
March was a month of total gratitude for our fellow citizens who, once again, pulled together and looked after one another. The whole world has taken note of the power love can wield against fear and hatred. Let’s hope humankind can carry on down this path.
The team at Ministry of Awesome (MoA) celebrated the early days of March with the launch of the NZ Aerospace Challenge driven by Airbus, MBIE, ChristchurchNZ, Blinc Innovation, and Spacebase. The purpose of the competition is to use space technology for innovation in agritech. We are fortunate to have Emmeline and Eric Dahlstrom, Spacebase founders and space technology pioneers, here in Christchurch as guides for the duration of the competition.
March also marked the launch of the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards (EoY) – the most prestigious business awards in the world. The launch took place at MoAs new HQ, Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth and Innovation. It was wonderful to see so many potential future winners in the room – all from Ōtautahi.
Another March highlight was a visit to AI Day in Auckland. Most attendees were thrilled and concerned in equal measure at the developments that have taken place in the field of artificial intelligence in only a few short years. It’s clear that the coming impact of AI on our world is enormous and we must prepare to harness AI for positive world impact.