Central city  |  18 Feb 2021

The Co-Creation Award 2011 that adorns Mayor Lianne Dalziel’s office wall is a tribute to the Share an Idea campaign that kick-started the rebuild of Christchurch’s city centre.

“When I reflect on the extent of the damage to our city centre and the obstacles we have had to overcome,  the progress to achieve the vision created by Share an Idea has been remarkable,’’ the Mayor says.

“After the earthquakes our Central City was shut down and businesses relocated to the suburbs while hundreds of buildings were demolished and areas made safe.

“As the rebuild has progressed, people and businesses have gradually returned and we now have about 42,000 people back working in the city centre.

“Our goal is to have 60,000 working in the Central City by 2028 and we are now on the way to achieving that,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

The new central library, Tūranga, and the Margaret Mahy Playground have brought families back into the city centre while the development of the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct has strengthened the city’s connections to the river and created a world-class waterfront.

“One of the positives to come out of the rebuild is that we’ve had the opportunity to reconsider how we acknowledge our pre-European settlement history. I am pleased that in the public realm space we now  reference the heritage and places of significance to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu,'’ the Mayor says.

New hospitality and retail developments, like the Riverside Farmers Market and The Terrace, are also helping to revitalise the Central City.

Retail spending growth in the Central City has been increasing, with monthly year-on-year growth rising by 5 per cent, on average, since 2016.

“While large areas of the Central City have been rebuilt, we still have over 450 vacant sites that have not yet been developed,’’ says Mayor Dalziel.

“We want to encourage the owners of those vacant sites to develop them, but in the meantime to find short-term uses for their land that contribute positively to the city’s appeal and vitality for residents, workers and visitors,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

“We are also continuing to try and get progress on the unoccupied or fenced-off buildings that remain in the Central City. The ‘Barrier Sites’ programme has helped reduce the overall number but there is more to be done.’’

Mayor Dalziel says the regeneration of the Central City will get another big boost this year when the new convention centre, Te Pae, opens. 

"Although COVID-19 has delayed the opening, the pre-COVID bookings indicate great interest in the centre.''

This year will also see designs for The Court Theatre’s new home in the performing arts precinct finalised so that construction on the building can begin in 2022.

The design will also be finalised and contracts awarded for the construction of the new multi-use arena, which is going to be built on the two blocks of land bordered by Hereford, Tuam, Madras and Barbadoes streets.

“The arena is going to be a game-changer for the Central City and will help to re-establish Christchurch and the region as the sporting and entertainment capital of the South Island,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

Next year construction will be completed on the Metro Sports Facility, which will be the largest aquatic and indoor recreation and leisure venue of its kind in New Zealand.