| Latest Christchurch News | Monday July 30 2012 5:26
A vision for Christchurch's new CBD will be unveiled today.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee describes it as an "exciting" blueprint for the future of the quake-torn city.
Labour MP Lianne Dalziel is moving to reassure residents worried the CBD rebuild is taking priority over other areas.
She says it's not a competition, both issues can be considered together and a new city is crucial to attracting people back to Christchurch.
She's hoping it lives up to expectations.
"Certainly had some very good minds applied to it and of course there have been all those ideas distilled from those that put ideas forward through the Share an Idea campaign that the Christchurch City Council ran."
Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend hopes it provides certainty.
"That's what we're all hanging out for, we want to know what our city's going to look like and that's what the blueprint is intended to do. If it delivers on that I think that'll be a great step forward and I think people are ready for it."
He says it's a big day.
"I think it'll probably be the most significant announcement since September 2010."
Mr Townsend expects it will be welcomed by the business community.
"We've already had companies indicating that they will be coming back into the city if the blueprint delivers up to business expectations and I fully expect it will, there'll be a lot more people pledging to come back into the city in the future."
The man who's led the team putting together CERA's blueprint for the central city says it's fantastic.
Warwick Isaacs is director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit which had 100 days to put the plan together.
The blueprint will pinpoint where key facilities will be located, including the convention centre, metro sports facility, a new stadium and a precinct for justice and emergency services.
Mr Isaacs says they've taken notice of the council's Annual Plan and the Share an Idea campaign, but there will be some surprises.
"I think there's some radical elements in it, absolutely, and I think that those radical elements - people will just go 'wow, this is just so exciting'."
Mr Isaacs says it consists of two documents: a 100 page Recovery Plan and a 90-odd page document containing planning rules.
He's looking forward to the unveiling.
"I'm very, very excited about it and I think the people of Christchurch (will be) very excited as well."
And CERA boss Roger Sutton is also looking forward to it.
"I've spoken to a lot of people as we've been developing this plan. From people involved in property through to professional people who think about how you plan cities, and they've all been really excited by what we've got here so I think the overwhelming response to this is going to be really positive."
But Mr Sutton adds the central city blueprint is just one part of fixing Christchurch with a lot of work going on in the suburbs too.
Prime Minister John Key's seen the blueprint, and says he's genuinely excited by it.
He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking it will knit together a range of civic and commercial needs.
"Some of the problems with the old CBD, which was it was sort of rambling along and actually not instead of successful in parts of it and everyone remembers the square and some good bits of nostalgia, but there were bits that weren't working."
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says the plan will be welcomed by some but others may struggle to understand why it's a priority.
"When there are so many people who are still waiting for clarity from their insurance company, and from EQC, and that's a very easy and emotional and real perspective to understand."
He says it is a hugely important plan that will encourage investment in the rebuild.
"Investment will mean jobs, jobs mean that as a city we have a future, we have a heart, so I see it as an incredibly important and a very positive moment for Christchurch."
He says it's a vital document that sets out some major investment in the city.
"My hope is that it will send all of the right signals to everybody. You'll never please everyone, we all know that, that's reality but I think there's a lot in there for us to look forward to."
Mr Parker says the blueprint reflects the council's Annual Plan and the information gathered in the Share an Idea campaign.
Developer and central city landowner Ernest Duval says it's a huge day.
"In many cases it's probably going to be well received by property owners, in other cases it may not because if you're a property owner and you have plans for a site, maybe that's not going to happen, but really it's how you're compensated."
Mr Duval says it's the most important day for Christchurch in at least 50 years with the rebuild having been on hold pending the release of this plan.
"There won't be a property investor or developer in town who's not tuned into that."
He expects the plan will be bold, brave and controversial.
"Most importantly it's going give everybody certainty to go forward and I would hope that it would reengage the inner city property owners, mobilise their resources of capital and land, and really be the start gun for the rebuild."
Mr Duval says while the plan won't please everyone, he's confident it will be good for the city.
He says the rebuild's been on hold, awaiting the blueprint's release.
"That certainty is going to really trigger everyone into a redevelopment mode - the architects, the engineers, the bankers, the builders, everybody, and that's going to be great for our city."
Details of the blueprint will be released at 6pm this evening.
There are signals the Avon River will be a centrepiece of the plans.
Photo: NZ Herald