City blueprint to be revealed in July

9:10 am on 15 June 2012

Christchurch residents will find out next month what sort of central city they will end up with, with a consortium of architects due to report to the Government on their plan for the CBD.

But with the heart of the city still resembling a demolition site and many central city property owners unwilling to re-invest their insurance payments back into Christchurch, questions remain over how effective the plan will be in helping to inspire confidence among investors.

In April, the Government set up the Central Christchurch Development Unit. Headed by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority demolitions manager Warwick Isaacs, it has 100 days to come up with a blueprint for the CBD.

What will be in this blueprint will be revealed next month, but architect Ian Athfield says the central city is likely to have a very different feel to what it had before.

''Its importance might be less than the CBD of Wellington or Auckland,'' he said.

However, he said there were still some landmarks that would continue to provide the city with its unique character.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the blueprint will draw heavily on Christchurch City Council's draft central city plan.

This includes 10 key anchor projects, including sport and recreation facilities and a convention centre, which, it's hoped, will attract complementary developments such as hotels, bars and restaurants.

But before any projects can get off the ground, the demolition of 1800 buildings inside the central city needs to be completed.

After predicting large parts of the central city would be open by the middle of this year, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is now refusing to put a date on when business can resume in the CBD.

More about the pace of the rebuild in Christchurch can be heard on Insight on Sunday.