Development hold-ups blamed on political dithering

6:08 am on 16 June 2011

A former Christchurch property developer and member of the Performance Urban Planning organisation says political dithering has held up decisions about land development.

The region has been hit by two major quakes: on 4 September 2010 and on 22 February this year, which killed 181 people. On Monday, there were two significant tremors which has caused more damage and one death.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister John Key said the Government has a clear picture of what areas may not be able to be rebuilt following the Canterbury quakes, but is not yet revealing where they are.

There have been calls for the Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to release geotechnical information on which suburbs in the city can be repaired and which are beyond hope.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is canvassing ideas about where to move people to, asking private property developers to submit their plans for the next five years by this week.

Hugh Pavletich, a former property developer in Christchurch, says a decision on what land could be opened up for new developments should have been made months ago after the quake on 4 September.

Mr Pavletich says it was important to get the construction industry underway as quickly as possible after the 7.0-magnitude quake so new stock could be got in at affordable prices.

Mr Pavletich says Christchurch residents have been caught up in the bureaucratic process waiting for decisions about land to be made, and most of them know if their house is habitable.

Bottle Lake Forest suggested

A former president of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects has suggested the damaged eastern suburbs be relocated to Bottle Lake Forest, 10km north-east of Christchurch.

Di Lucas says the 800 hectares of pine forest has not been affected by liquefaction and it is on robust dune country.

Bottle Lake would also offer residents the chance to stay in the east, which is what many have indicated they would like to happen, she says.

Another option being suggested by Maori tribe Ngai Tahu is for subdivisions in Wigram, Lincoln and Prestons, where it has plenty of land available.