Christchurch City Council is going to take back responsibility for the work to develop a regeneration strategy for Southshore and South New Brighton.
Regenerate Christchurch was originally charged with leading the work on the strategy but after carrying out a review late last year, it has recommended the Council take over the project.
Today the Council unanimously agreed that was the best way forward.
“This project has moved more slowly than anyone would have liked. We have heard the concerns and disappointment expressed by the affected community about the lack of progress,” says General Manager Strategy and Transformation Dr Brendan Anstiss.
”We have also received strong feedback from residents in Southshore and South New Brighton that their immediate priority is understanding and resolving the outstanding impacts of the earthquakes.
“The Council has therefore agreed that the best way forward is to split the project into two separate projects, but have them running simultaneously so we can avoid delays and get things back on track as quickly as possible,'' Dr Anstiss says.
The first project will be an urgent investigation into the estuary edge. This will build a comprehensive picture of the changes that have occurred as a result of the earthquakes and to identify any outstanding community needs. This work will include specific actions and opportunities to mitigate inundation and erosion that addresses earthquake legacy.
“At the same time, Council staff, together with the community, will also do more detailed planning on the adaptation process for the area to respond to climate change, so we can be very clear about what is required over the longer term for this project to be a success,'' Dr Anstiss says.
Staff will report back to Council in August for decisions on next steps for each project.
“While the leadership of the project might have changed, we haven’t lost sight of the importance of putting community at the centre of the project. Council will be working with the engagement approach developed by members of the Southshore and South New Brighton communities – the ‘How Team’. There is an ongoing commitment to work with community groups and the wider community as these projects progress,” says Dr Anstiss.
The decision has been met with strong support from the community groups who were present at the Council meeting.
Lynda Burdekin, Chair of the Southshore Residents Association, says: “As a community we have struggled to have the pre-existing earthquake issues recognised. We are very encouraged that this damage has been acknowledged today, and a pathway created to affect repairs. We are overjoyed with the Council’s decision and we can now give our support to working in partnership with the Council.”
Simon Watts, Chair of Christchurch Coastal Residents United, says: “This was always a journey we would make together or not at all. Today the decision was made to make that journey together.”
Kim Money, Chair of the Coastal Burwood Community Board, says: “I want to thank the community and all the residents who have put their hands up to support this place. I also want to thank my colleagues on the Community Board, Councillors and Council staff. It has been an exhausting journey but today was a milestone.”
Councillor East echoed Mrs Money’s comments. “I am exceedingly pleased with the outcome and very appreciative of the cooperation and collaboration we’ve seen between the community groups, elected members and staff in coming to an agreement on this, and a pathway forward.”