Having spent a significant amount of time over the holidays reflecting on the year past and considering the year ahead, I’ve come to the conclusion we’re in a pretty good space in Christchurch.
2016 is going to be the year when the inter-dependency between the rebuild of our city and the prosperity of our region is more fully appreciated.
We are going into a year of much more certainty that we have had in the past. We know much of what is going to be done, when it is going to be done and what impact it will have on us.
We are now much more accepting of realistic timeframes for the rebuild and of course 2016 will be the year that we will complete more than half of the total rebuild.
Bringing the vibrancy back
In late 2015 we enjoyed the opening of the Margaret Mahy playground which at the time of writing this piece has attracted 85,000 people to enjoy its offerings and the re-opening of the Christchurch Art Gallery with a similar number of attendees.
They are both very significant steps back to a vibrant and inviting central city.
The Justice precinct is well advanced and making a very visible positive statement in terms of the Government’s commitment to the rebuild of Christchurch.
Our central city retail precinct will be more or less complete by October 2016 offering an extraordinary mix of high end retail and quality office space for thousands of central city workers.
Of course Victoria Street is now well bedded down with a modern day offering and Durham Street is marching ahead in leaps and bounds.
Intolerance for unnecessary delay
2016 will be the year that we cross off most of the big gnarly bits yet to be resolved including the future of our Convention Centre and Christchurch Cathedral.
Defining of these projects will have a significant impact on surrounding investment activity and that part of the central city will be excellent to see certainty around their future.
What I’m hearing from my Chamber members is there is increasing positivity especially around the central city and there is an appreciation of more certainty as to where we are going.
Importantly there is also an increasing level of intolerance for unnecessary delay in the regeneration process.
It is my firm view that this year will be the year when the optimists (and I’m one of them) will be rewarded.
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce