Christchurch businesses get set for rebuild

By Ben Chapman-Smith

More cranes should start appearing on the Christchurch skyline. Photo / Geoff Sloan
More cranes should start appearing on the Christchurch skyline. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Encouraging signs are emerging that commercial businesses in Christchurch are getting ready to kick off major building projects, says the City Council.

Resource consent has been granted to $80 million worth of commercial building projects in the past 13 weeks, according to Christchurch City Council (CCC) records.

In the last week of March this year, $9.1 million worth of commercial projects with a value over $1 million were granted building consents. By the end of last week this had increased to a total of $89.1 million.

The figures showed confidence in the rebuild from the business sector, said Ethan Stetson, CCC building operations manager.

"This is a very encouraging trend in a short space of time.

"There is no doubt that the rebuild is providing us with some challenges, but there also seems to be a determination in the commercial sector to get the rebuild going."

The figures cover the value of 32 projects and include repairs, new builds, and existing customers being granted further building consents for the next stage in their project.

Nine of the projects are within the "Four Avenues" of the city.

Mayor Bob Parker there was a growing sense of faith in the rebuild.

"The commercial sector appears to be moving into a position where the rebuild can get underway.

"There are a number of businesses who clearly want to start up, or stay in Christchurch, and they are doing something about it."

Stetson said the Council's aim was to issue building consents in 20 days or less.

In July 2010, 87 per cent of building consents were issued in 20 days or less. This was up to 97 per cent in May this year.

To meet those targets, the Council needed applicants to provide complete and accurate details from the start, Stetson said.

Steve McCarthy, resource consents and building policy manager, advised applicants for major commercial projects to attend a pre-application meeting to find out if they needed a resource consent.

"My advice is spend a few hours with us early in your project. Not only will it help get your business moving it will help us end up with the city we want as a part of the overall rebuild."

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