The opening of the Riverside Market on the corner of Lichfield Street and Oxford Terrace is yet another milestone in the regeneration of our city.
The enclosed, seven-days-a-week market is another reason for residents to spend time in the central city, and also provides exposure for local producers to the thousands of tourists who will come here with the Riverside Market in their itineraries.
The commitment of those behind this development is to be applauded, as is the commitment of other private developers and investors in our city. Their confidence in Ōtautahi Christchurch is something for us all to be heartened and inspired by, particularly in an environment where regeneration challenges remain.
Regenerate Christchurch is committed to working in partnership with other public sector agencies and the private sector to ensure the considerable progress that has been made to date is maximised and new opportunities investigated.
Most recently we have been working with the Canterbury Cricket Trust to develop a proposal to use Section 71 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act to amend the Christchurch District Plan to permit changes to the use and operation of Hagley Oval.
We must also remember to celebrate the visible progress that has been made and continues to be made, and I encourage you to make the most of what is on offer at the Riverside Market and in the broader central city area.
Many of us have spent much of the past few weeks staring at rugby fields as the World Cup rolls on.
Put two of these fields side by side and you’ve got an area similar to that covered by the Metro Sports Facility, which we currently have under construction.
We’re now into the thick of the foundation concrete pours on the site that will support the nine indoor courts and the competition, diving and leisure pools.
In total, the project will require around 16,000m3 of concrete and 3700 tonnes of structural steel to build. That’s only slightly less than our other major project, Te Pae, which everyone can clearly see is a substantial central city building.
Once all the foundations are poured for the Metro Sports Facility, people travelling along Moorhouse Avenue and St Asaph Street will start seeing the structural steel going up early next year.
We know that thousands of people will visit, and dozens of events will be held at the Metro Sports Facility each year once the doors are open, providing an economic boost for the city. But it’s worth remembering the build itself is also doing that, with over 300 people expected to be working on the site at the height of construction.
That’s a big team, doing an important job, but I appreciate it’s not the main sporting fixture we’re all focused on at the moment.
I believe a better future is when we can look at Christchurch and see a place that we are proud to call home as New Zealand’s second largest city. We can see that it offers the next generation the opportunity to live, work and raise a family here.
However, often we do not act like a city and more like a large town that questions the relevance of a stadium. For us to grow and fulfill our aspirations, we need to change our mindset and act like a city that is progressive, offering opportunity and platforms for our young people to aspire to perform.
We have the best opportunity of all New Zealand cities to grow, and grow at scale, but we need to ensure growth is at a sustainable rate and accessible for future generations to enjoy. We have the available land, and we could absorb significant increases to our current population. But to achieve growth, we ourselves have to be positive advocators of our city. We need to lift our aspirations and restore pride back to this great city of ours and if you look around, we have a lot to be proud of.
We have been blessed with local investors who have reinvested into the future of our city. They could have moved and invested outside of Christchurch but they chose to stay and invest here. So as residents and investors in Christchurch, let’s become positive advocators and build a better future.
One of the most exciting projects for the city right now is the Metro Sports Facility and it’s really ramping up, with the first major concrete pour for the site carried out recently.
Ōtākaro have poured around 1100m3 of concrete for the foundations of the site. This is the first of around a half a dozen large concrete pours that will create the foundation for the largest sport and recreation venue of its kind in New Zealand. It was great to see to a procession of around 200 truckloads of concrete arriving on site.
The Metro Sports Facility will cover an area about the size of two rugby fields and require around 16,000m3 of concrete and 3700 tonnes of structural steel to build, making it one of the largest projects in central Christchurch.
Once all of the foundations are poured, people travelling along Moorhouse Avenue and St Asaph Street will start seeing the structural steel going up early next year. This is just another of the visible signs of increased momentum in the recovery, with the opening of wonderful new projects like the city library.
This is also great news for the local economy. Over 300 people are expected to be working on the Metro Sports Facility at the height of construction, so it will be a hive of activity before the doors even open to sport and recreation enthusiasts. That’s 300 people with good, high-paying jobs, not to mention the economic boost to the central city once the project is complete.
We were so excited to bring the Westpac Champion Business Awards to Canterbury once again – and what a night it was!
Both of our Supreme Winners demonstrate the innovation and adaptability Canterbury has become known for – Ethique aims to rid the cosmetics industry of plastic bottles and make beauty eco-friendly; TASKA produces the world’s first waterproof myoelectric prosthetic hand, designed to restore ability and confidence for amputees worldwide.
These organisations aren’t just leading the way in our city or even our country – they are world-leading, and we’re proud to have them as Canterbury businesses.
The black-tie event was delivered to over 1100 members of the business community and regarded as the best awards yet – no small feat considering it was our 17th year.
We were also delighted to present special awards to Anton Matthews from FUSH who was recognised with the Emerging Business Leader Award for his dedication to revitalising te reo in Ōtautahi, and also a Special Commendation to Bruce Irvine who has given so much to the city and our region through his commitment to business, governance, the arts and his philanthropic generosity.
Category winners included Mount Cook Ski Planes and Helicopters, Christchurch Engine Centre, Tuatara Structures, Barker Fruit Processors Ltd, The New Zealand Merino Company Limited, Ethique, YWCA Christchurch, The Christchurch City Mission, Medsalv, RuralCo, Canterbury District Health Board, and TASKA Prosthetics.
These organisations reinforce our positioning of Ōtautahi as a city of opportunity and innovation.
The recent announcement of the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration’s decision to approve the Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor is a significant milestone for Christchurch.
It is an exciting time for the city as the plan will guide long-term investment and commitment from multiple parties over the coming decades. Its vision of the river connecting us together – with each other, with nature and with new possibilities –reflects the community’s priorities for the area.
The opportunity to create an exemplar of climate change response that will benefit people and countries around the world will further enhance Christchurch’s national and international point of difference; and an 11-kilometre Green Spine will connect the central city to New Brighton with a mix of recreational, commercial and community uses.
Since delivering the Regeneration Plan for the Minister’s decision-making, Regenerate Christchurch has also provided advice to the Crown and Council on leadership and governance of the area.
We have recommended an independent entity to provide strong governance and independence, and we welcome the inclusion of a governance entity in the Christchurch City Council’s Global Settlement Agreement with the Crown.
The Regeneration Plan supports environmental leadership whilst also providing flexibility to accommodate changing community views and technological advancements that might emerge over the course of the coming decades.
It identifies land uses that are best for achieving the vision while anticipating and accommodating the potential for change over time. This, I believe, will prove to be one of its greatest strengths.
While it’s a scenic part of the city, the riverside section of Oxford Terrace between Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, known as the Avon Loop, also currently features a mix of overgrown plants and broken asphalt as a result of the earthquakes. So, we are looking forward to getting work underway in the area later this year to make this section of Oxford Terrace a safer and more pleasant place to be.
A smooth pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, boardwalk, canoe/kayak ramp, native planting and new lighting will be incorporated into the area, along with some car parking.
The Loop will also be the pedestrian/cycling connection between our recently completed work on the City Promenade and any future developments in the Residential Red Zone.
Most of the homes in the Avon Loop were removed a long time ago but we know that many former residents are still passionate about the area. While we are not carrying out any work on the former residential land, everyone agrees this project is an important step in revitalising this part of the city.
It will enable and encourage people to come back to the area by creating an easy to follow route from the Avon Loop to other key city features like the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, Victoria Square, Te Pae, The Terraces and the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.
We are currently evaluating tenders for the construction work and look forward to keeping you updated on our progress throughout the project, which we expect to have completed early in 2020.
In a day and age where everything happens at lightning speed, there are still times when it pays to take your time – planning a holiday is one of them.
While the internet is packed with DIY travel agencies that can see you booking a holiday with a few clicks of the finger, this is one area where faster isn’t necessarily better and there are plenty of benefits to booking through a professional travel agency.
Firstly, an agency isn’t necessarily more expensive! With long-standing relationships with airlines and suppliers, House of Travel consultants can provide great deals to locations all over the world. In addition to competitive pricing, they’re privy to many websites the public can’t access.
This also enables them to create the trip of your dreams – after all, holidays are about so much more than flights and hotels! They can create bespoke holidays with every client’s tastes, preferences and visions in mind. Once you’ve decided on where and when, they’ll also make sure everything is easy. They can book rental cars, day trips, tours, and even sort the right travel insurance to suit you and your budget.
A big part of the fun of planning a holiday is looking through the incredible options available, but it can also get a little overwhelming. House of Travel consultants are trained across all aspects of the industry and, because they’re world travellers themselves, they can provide you with local knowledge and secret spots to help make your trip the experience of a lifetime.
If the last few months of winter 2019 had a theme for our city’s startup and innovation ecosystem, that theme would be startup funding.
As you know, our government’s Wellness Budget allocates $300 million to a fund of funds for startup investment managed by NZ Venture Investment Fund. While our local startups have decent access to early seed funding, they’ve not been able to easily access the larger sums required for global growth. This has impacted our speed to market and our ability as a country to be competitive with homegrown innovation. The NZVIF fund of funds is set to change that.
There’s also been plenty of activity from international venture capital groups. Blackbird Ventures have recently announced they are setting up an Auckland office, raising a seed fund dedicated to Kiwi founders, and running their community building Sunrise conference in Auckland in October.
Christchurch has also recently hosted Innovation Bay – an Australian tech investment network – with two events run in the central city. The first event had local startups hearing from a panel of leading Australian VCs. The second was an event where handpicked NZ startups pitched to Australian investors.
An increased level of interest and activity in NZ startups from international investors is encouraging. However, we’re looking forward to seeing our homegrown investor ecosystem catch up quickly so that we can ensure that NZ innovation builds the NZ economy rather than moving overseas to access foreign investment.
Nine years on from the September earthquake, one of the most difficult issues still remaining for people in our city is the case of on-sold overcap properties.
This is where a home is damaged in the earthquakes, has an EQC claim or repair, and is then on-sold, only for it to be discovered there is still damage that was missed or not fixed properly, that pushes the home over the statutory cap on EQC payments. For years this issue has trapped some Canterbury homeowners in limbo – they can’t get private insurance to cover it as they aren’t the original owner and they can’t get further EQC payouts beyond the cap.
Recently, our government has stepped in to help people who have been trapped for far too long. We’ve put $300 million dollars on the table for ex gratia payments, above the EQC cap, to people trapped in an on-sold mess. This funding will help people be able to finally repair their homes and get on with their lives.
Claimants will have 12 months to get their homes checked and apply for funding. Homeowners will have 12 months to make a claim to EQC for defective repairs or previously undetected damage. EQC will then work with the homeowners to agree a payment amount so repairs can be made.
This will change lives for people who have been trapped for years and help people get a sense of hope back for their future.