A group of Christchurch business leaders are welcoming engagement from the Christchurch City Council (CCC) following a briefing meeting held last night on the staff recommendations on the CCC draft Annual Plan.
The meeting between CCC representatives Tony Maryatt and Paul Anderson, and members of the Canterbury Business Leaders Group (CBLG) and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Board (CECC), showed a shared commitment to the successful rebuild and recovery of the region.
CBLG spokesman Dr Don Elder says the meeting was a positive and constructive step towards a collaborative approach to the recovery.
“The council’s willingness to engage with the business community is welcomed and we really want and encourage these conversations to continue throughout the decision making process both with staff and Councillors. There is a strong need and desire for open and constructive relationships.
“The successful recovery of the city will rely on a number of organisations working together, particularly given Council has identified the need to look at innovative ways of delivering recovery projects and strategies. This may include options such as Public Private Partnerships [PPPs]. ”
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC) chief executive Peter Townsend reiterated the need for individuals and organisations and business to engage in the consultation process.
“We welcome the fact that the city council has invited us to be involved in a continuous consultation process. We now need to play our part by taking the time to review the detail and rationale behind some of the recommendations and provide constructive and innovative thinking and feedback.”
“The council is in the unenviable position of having to make some hard calls about ‘public’ assets. Like all organisations, Council has finite resources and have had to think creatively about how to or whether to repair, or replace facilities that have been damaged beyond repair, or recreate new facilities. A key challenge for Council now is to identify ways to keep the community, including the business community, fully involved and well informed throughout the process.”
Meeting attendees agreed that the challenge now facing Christchurch residents was to look at the CCC’s recommendations and plans holistically and take a big picture perspective.
“As individuals it will be tempting to dive into the detail of the specific issues or facilities that most affect us personally, however this recovery will only be successful if we are all able to consider the best outcome for our city as a whole,” adds Elder.
“Last night’s meeting was a great first step, but what comes next in terms of feeding into the thinking behind the decision making is even more important,” says Townsend.
“As we go forward together as a city we need to be heading to a new, innovative, smart and enticing place – not heading back to where we came from. We have one opportunity to create an iconic city, and we cannot afford to let this go.”
About Canterbury Business Leaders Group (CBLG)
CBLG formed in February 2011 as an immediate response to the February 22 earthquake. The CBLG Executive committee includes, among others, Don Elder, Solid Energy; Greg Campbell, Ngai Tahu; Tom Hooper, CDC; Peter Townsend, CECC, Rod Carr, University of Canterbury and Grant Close, Placemakers. Organisations represented within CBLG come from industries as diverse as dairy, education, telecommunications, mining and professional services.
About Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC)
The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce is the largest membership-driven, not-for-profit business support organisation with approximately 3,000 members. CECC’s primary role is to assist members' enterprises to be as successful as possible, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that greater Canterbury becomes the most desired place in New Zealand in which to live and do business. The organisation has, and will continue to take a leadership role in actively supporting those businesses impacted by the earthquakes to recover and grow.