22 Aug 2018

Financial incentives could be on the cards for developers who commit to building new housing in Christchurch’s central city.

At a meeting today Christchurch City Council’s Strategic Capability Committee sent a clear message that it wanted to make residential growth in the central city a real Council priority.

Central city housing.

The Council wants an extra 8000-plus homes in the central city within the next 10 years.

A new programme called Project 8011 is being launched by the Council to help boost the number of people living in the central city from the current 6000 to 20,000 people by 2028. Project 8011 takes its name from one of the central city’s postcodes and from the approximate number of homes needed for 20,000 people.

On the back of strong presentations from Property Council and Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, the Strategic Capability Committee is recommending the Council ask Chief Executive Karleen Edwards to set up a Central City Development service as soon as possible to assist developers through regulatory processes.

It also wants the Chief Executive to provide advice on financial incentives that could make developing housing in the central city more attractive.

“We need more people living in the central city so we are committed to removing the barriers that are stopping residential development in the CBD,’’ Mayor Lianne Dalziel says.

“We’re looking at what incentives could be put in place that would make residential development a more attractive option for developers and unlock the feasibility of empty or land-banked sites.’’

Central Ward Councillor Deon Swiggs reinforced the need for the central city maintenance contracts to be well monitored.

“We have pockets of awesome from the Margaret Mahy Playground, to New Regent Street, to Cashel Mall, so it's the pockets in-between that we need to keep a careful eye on,’’ he says.

The Mayor says the Committee has also asked for work to be done on different housing models that could be used in the central city as it realises that home ownership patterns are changing and that it is becoming more difficult for people to get into their own homes.

“Our intent is to use all the tools we have to fast-track residential development in the central city so that we end up with a good mix of housing and strong population base to support a vibrant, prosperous central city.’’

The Development Forum chaired by Councillor Jamie Gough will get the opportunity next week to consider the Strategic Capability Committee’s recommendations and to review how its work aligns with the Council’s goal of getting 20,000 people living in the central city by 2028.

“We are going to have to work in partnership to achieve that target so it is important we work closely with the private sector and other organisations and agencies to ensure we are all pulling in the same direction,’’ the Mayor says.