Christchurch city’s largest online recovery community warns that clear leadership and vision is required following the Government’s announcement of plans for regeneration of the city.
Executive Director of Rebuild Christchurch, the city’s largest online recovery community with over 50,000 followers, Deon Swiggs says yesterday’s announcement is a significant step change for Christchurch but cautions that there are many still on the pathway to recovery for whom the plans may have little resonance.
“While this is an incredibly positive step for Christchurch, the transition needs to bring everyone along with it, as there are many still facing first-step grassroots recovery,” says Swiggs with more than 8,000 under cap claims and 9,000 over-cap dwelling claims still be fully settled.
“This is the most important conversation the city has had since the earthquakes and it’s critical that we all understand what is proposed and actively provide feedback but it’s difficult when you’ve still got thousands going through the strain of settling their earthquake claims,” says Swiggs.
“Given the significance of the transition process, it’s disappointing that the public only has one month to provide feedback, consultation must be meaningful and community engagement has to be credible,” he says.
“This is where real leadership and vision for the city and greater Christchurch is required for the community to have confidence in their future, investors to have confidence to invest and developers have to confidence to develop.”
“The Christchurch City Council has the leadership qualities to make the most of this step-change foundation for the city to work hand-in-hand with the Government in setting the direction and vision for the rebuild and regeneration of our city.”
“The opportunities are significant and our city leaders must unite behind a shared vision that will take us forward.”
“People must feel optimistic about the future and be part of the progress they will see and experience. In five years’ time the people must have a strong sense of ownership and pride in the regeneration of their city and region.”
“It’s critical that the CBD redevelopment is completed with urgency and delivered seamlessly across the Crown and Council’s respective asset holdings. A jointly-owned Crown and Council agency will be the key to success and will better facilitate transition to local ownership in years to come.”
“It also makes sense for the various government agencies to take responsibility for issues within their portfolio, as long as the unique circumstances of the Christchurch recovery and appropriate programme responses are not lost in a business-as-usual approach,” says Swiggs.