A smaller, greener, lower-rise central Christchurch with new community facilities is revealed in the blueprint for the rebuild of the earthquake-devastated city.
The design for the central business district has been in the making for the past 100 days by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and was unveiled tonight.
The plans reveal a more compact city centre, with large green spaces lining the banks of the Avon River and "anchor" projects being sited close to Cathedral Square.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the plan is not something "that's been cooked out of nowhere".
He said it makes the CBD less spread out, makes the city pedestrian friendly, transport easy, and enhances the Avon River.
Over 70% of buildings in the central city have been or will be demolished.
The new CBD will be framed by Hagley Park and a new L-shaped green space as well as an extended park-like area on the banks of the Avon River.
The anchor projects within have also been laid out.
A New Zealand-first performing arts precinct will be built very close to Cathedral Square and will sit alongside a new convention centre incorporating two hotels.
Across town by Hagley Park will be a new health hub in the form of a large sports centre with swimming pools and indoor courts.
The blueprint also includes a 35,000-seat covered stadium, touted as a short three-minute walk from the centre of town.
To turn the vision into a reality, the Government will need to buy out masses of land using its powers to force land-owners to sell up.
"It's not a case of us buying everything, it's us organising it to give effect," said Brownlee.
There are 800 property owners within the four avenues and the Government still has $3 billion of the $5.5 billion dollars it put aside to make that happen.
Prime Minister John Key says the Government will work fairly with people.
"We're certainly not trying to rip anyone off. The other side of the coin [is] obviously we've got to get value for money for the taxpayer."
Warwick Isaacs, director of the CERA unit that devised the plan, says red tape will not get in the way.
"We'll work closely with the city council to make sure regulatory issues don't become a blockage," he said.
A height restriction on buildings will be enforced with most areas to have a limit of seven to eight stories.
Work will begin in the next few months on the Avon River precinct.
A group of people living in the TC3 residential green zone protested with placards outside the Christchurch City Council building today.
The group says it feels ignored, abandoned and forgotten by the Earthquake Commission over issues with their zoning and housing repairs.
The TC3 Facebook page has close to 1000 members already.
But three CBD property owners who will be selling their properties to the Government to make way for the rebuild say the master plan is bold and insightful.
The Green Party has also welcomed the blueprint.
The Government's purchase of land to the south and east of
central Christchurch to "frame" the city's central core is sensible
and a good move towards rebuilding Christchurch as a modern green
city, Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage
"More people living in and close to a more compact central city will help create a lively and vital city, enable more efficient public transport links, and help reduce urban sprawl," Sage said.
However, she said the devil will be in the detail - particularly the rules around building development, controls on "big box" retail and the opportunities for public input.
And the proposed sports stadium should be low priority compared with wider community needs such as core infrastructure and public transport hubs, Sage said.
Convention centre welcomed
The planned new convention centre will bring millions of dollars into the city and give the tourism industry confidence to move forward, industry leaders say.
They have welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that a new state-of-the-art convention centre will be built in Christchurch in a prime central location near the Avon river.
Covering 24,000 sqm the convention centre will be able to cater for up to 2000 delegates and will be configured so that as many as three events can be run simultaneously. It will also include two hotels and retail on the ground floor.
"This is the news we have been waiting for and we're thrilled there is now some certainty around the planned new convention centre," said Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter.
"The new convention centre will form the core of our tourism and hospitality sector and is going to be a catalyst for further hospitality-related investment."
Hotel investors have been holding off on making decisions about where they are going to build until a decision on the location of the convention centre had been made, but now they can start actively planning for the future, Hunter said.
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