Govt unit to oversee quake rebuild

By Jarrod Booker, Newstalk ZB staff

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has released details of  a new  Government unit set up to oversee the rebuild of central Christchurch.   Photo / Greg Bowker
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has released details of a new Government unit set up to oversee the rebuild of central Christchurch. Photo / Greg Bowker

A new Government unit has been set up to oversee the rebuild of central Christchurch after the city council was initially leading the way with a vision put together with public input.

Speculation has been rife in recent days that the Government is planning to take over responsibility for the reconstruction of central Christchurch after the devastation of the February 2011 earthquake.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has released details of the new unit this morning in Christchurch.

It'll be called the Christchurch Central Development Unit is an extension of the Government's Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and will be led by Cera demolitions boss Warwick Isaacs.

It will work in partnership with the city council, with council staff working alongside Cera staff in the unit. The unit will have 100 days to put together a blueprint for the the rebuild.

The city council's draft plan for central Christchurch has proposed a $2 billion smaller, greener, low-rise city centre.

Mr Brownlee said volume one of the council's Central City Plan - featuring the vision for the city centre - would be accepted in the main, but transport aspects would be "put to one side for the time being".

Today's announcement was not a commitment to financing all projects in the plan, Mr Brownlee said.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker called the unit a "true partnership".

It was the best way of handling the important task of rebuilding the central city, Mr Parker said.

Property developer and head of the City Owners Rebuild Entity Group, Ernest Duval, says it's a positive step forward.

"For this unit our role will be to fast track consents and resource consents and really to adopt a can-do attitude towards development.''

Ernest Duval says he understands the unit won't be taking any powers away from the Christchurch City Council - but rather they'll have to work together in a collaborative fashion.

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