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.
Education been in the spotlight in recent months – and a shake-up of the sector has been long overdue.
The most significant development has been the decision on the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE), with 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics to be merged into the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) from 1 April 2020, and a handful of Workforce Development Councils to be created.
We look forward to seeing greater collaboration between training providers and the business community to ensure training is fit for purpose and aligned with the skills needed by the industry now and into the future, and to support economic growth, taking into account regional nuances. With the announcement of the NZIST Establishment Board being based in Christchurch, this invites an opportunity to present a strong business case to house the national head office in Christchurch, creating over 100 jobs and reinforcing our position as a national centre for education and innovation.
It’s also imperative we focus on lifelong learning and integrated education that responds to the changing nature of work. That’s why we welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of an additional $14.5 million to the employer-led workplace literacy and numeracy fund – bringing its total contribution to $45 million over the next four years.
Lifelong learning gives employees the opportunity to continue with personal development, enabling them to step into higher-level roles or learn new skills to carry them through different jobs and industries. It also enables the employer to increase productivity meaning that re-training and re-deployment is a priority now more than ever.
Recently, the Christchurch City Council released details of its draft global settlement agreement with the Crown.
Since then, there has been much interest in what the city might get out of the agreement, or be left with, as the Crown and Council advance their objective of increased local leadership and normalised arrangements.
As foreshadowed in June, the agreement also includes Regenerate Christchurch developing and implementing a plan to transition our responsibilities to locally based agencies that will be responsible for delivering long-term regeneration beyond our limited lifespan.
With the Crown and Council’s view that regeneration has become embedded in the everyday work of their agencies, the transition will provide an opportunity for us to strengthen that further to ensure the city is set up to achieve long-term regeneration.
This will happen in parallel with our ongoing work programme which will continue to focus on unlocking impediments to regeneration, which differs from some of the larger-scale, ground-up work we have completed since our establishment in mid-2016.
It is likely this will include utilisation of the powers within the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016, under which we operate. Already, we are assessing a proposal by the Canterbury Cricket Trust to use the Act to make changes to the District Plan to allow more domestic and international cricket matches to be held at Hagley Oval.
This type of work represents the opportunity, while the Act is still in place, to ensure the benefits of the significant private and public investment in our regenerating city are fully maximised.
No sooner had we started construction on the Metro Sports Facility that the questions started coming in about car parking.
It’s great that people are so excited about the facility, so let’s take this opportunity to look at what lies outside of the building.
A significant portion of the site is being made available for parking. There will be around 550 car parks for people visiting and working at the Metro Sports Facility. By comparison, the similarly large Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre has 459 spaces for visitor use.
Access to the Metro Sports Facility car park will be managed by the Christchurch City Council, as the owner of the facility.
The Metro Sports Facility’s location on Moorhouse Ave will also assist with parking as a lot of the businesses in the streets to the south operate during standard working hours. This means there will be additional on-street parking available in the area in the evenings and weekends; the facility’s busiest times.
Of course, a car won’t be your only option. The Metro Sports Facility sits on the major St Asaph Street and Antigua Street cycle routes.
It’s also about 900 metres away from the Bus Interchange and one block away from the Health Precinct bus stops. The Health Precinct stops are the busiest in the central city and we are currently giving them a major upgrade that includes large shelters.
We want this to be a facility for people of all abilities, ages and stages, and the accessibility of the location is integral to that.
The new face of Christchurch city has prompted many of us to look at the CBD afresh and appreciate all it now has to offer.
I’m certainly aware that my own family and I spend much more time in the city on the weekends than previously to take advantage of the rapidly improving facilities and the ever-increasing array of shops and cafés.
The re-energised city has also made me appreciate anew the foresight of the founders of Cathedral Grammar. Our school truly is part of the fabric of Christchurch’s central city. As our roll grows, many parents tell us that the CBD location is a key part of the appeal.
Far from being closeted behind school gates, our boys and girls are out in the city, enjoying the wonderful nearby resources.
The fantastic new central library, Tūranga, where some students are involved in an Enrichment Programme, is a focal point, together with our art offering at the Museum and the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Students also head to Ara Institute for Engineering and Food Technology, and Christ’s College to study Hard Materials.
Whether it be training for a duathlon, having rugby practice, going for a run or playing bullrush, we too, like so many people in the CBD, enjoy the wonderful resource that is Hagley Park.
These are all exciting opportunities to enrich and extend our current learning programmes inside and outside the classroom. Better still, they’re all within walking distance.
We love introducing a new generation to the new generation Christchurch.
July saw an impressive bump of activity in the city’s startup and innovation ecosystem, beginning with a visit from Minister Megan Woods at one of our city’s young tech companies, Orbica (orbica.co.nz).
After checking out Orbica’s location-based data platform, Minister Woods took the opportunity to announce an important update to the government’s research and development Tax Incentive scheme.
The update puts early stage startups in a better position by providing for a limited form of refunds in the scheme’s first year as well as providing a wider definition of research and development that ensures its application to tech startups.
Over at the airport, Lightning Lab’s tourism accelerator kicked into full gear with several startup teams from across the country quickly building their sustainable tourism ventures and preparing for the Demo Day on 20 August at the James Hay Theatre.
Another large scale national accelerator programme running from Christchurch is the NZ Aerospace Challenge which is looking for breakthroughs in agritech inspired by aerospace technology and data available from satellites and UAVs. The incubation programme for the semifinalists is running now and we are looking forward to seeing how far they’ve come in a few months’ time.
And – don’t forget to book your tickets now for the upcoming Canterbury Tech Summit. This year’s lineup is awesome with former CEO of Facebook Australia and New Zealand as well as the co-founder of Sharesies and Nigel Latta sharing the mainstage. See you there.