A 'roadmap through the rebuild'

Posted 31 May 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
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Daniel Tobin

Earthquake recover minister Gerry Brownlee announces the launch of the recovery stategy for greater Christchurch.


Gerry Brownlee yesterday launched the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's greater Christchurch recovery strategy, which he described as a "roadmap through the rebuild".A recovery strategy "marks a new direction" for earthquake-hit Canterbury, the quake recovery minister says.

It sets goals for community wellbeing, built environment, natural environment, the economy, and culture and heritage. Other recovery plans would sit under the over-arching strategy.

This strategy was the "how-to guide" for every sector involved in the rebuild and would improve the region, Brownlee said.

"For the purposes of this strategy, recovery does not mean returning greater Christchurch to how it was on September 3, 2010. It needs to be better," he said.

Priorities included investment, infrastructure, supply of land, communication, the central city, suburbs and regional towns.

The strategy document spelt out that the recovery would not be rushed.

"Recovery activities need to be sequenced carefully to avoid bottlenecks and minimise frustrations. Although a fast recovery is desirable, going too fast can create further problems," it said.

Brownlee said it broke new ground because New Zealand had never before needed a long-term disaster recovery strategy.

There were some "incredibly bright things on the horizon".

"Think back to the days after February [22, 2011] when all sorts of pessimistic predictions were around about the future of Canterbury and the possibility for communities to continue living here,'' he said. ''I think we've been able to minimise the worst effects."

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the strategy's development was a year of trying to bring together "all the different players".

Partners included Ngai Tahu, the Christchurch City Council, the Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils and Environment Canterbury.

The public contributed through community workshops and online submissions.

"While it's got the Cera name on it, it's very much a document which the wider community can own and feel that we can go forward with," Brownlee said.

Positive recovery signs included government and private enterprises such as AMI Stadium and the Re:Start shopping area, and community-led initiatives like Gap Filler and the new Court Theatre.

"This strategy is about making sure all those things come together so it's a much better integrated city than it was before," Sutton said.

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said the strategy release was "months too late" and should have been prepared before other recovery plans.

A small group that included members of the Wider Earthquake Communities' Action Network protested outside the launch venue yesterday.

Group spokesman Mike Coleman said a strategy released 21 months after the first quake should have better addressed "real issues on the ground now".

Details of how quake-hit residents' lives would be improved were needed, he said.


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