As the rebuild takes effect, Christchurch has a golden opportunity to become New Zealand’s number one city of choice, says outgoing Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend.
Townsend says Christchurch is back and running after 11,000 aftershocks, 53 of them over five on the Richter scale.
Currently $83 million is being spent in rebuilding the city every week, and by the end of this calendar year 75 per cent of the housing stock will have been repaired and rebuilt. A total of 70 percent of the commercial building repairs and rebuilds will also have been completed, he says.
The cost of the Structural side of the rebuild so far is $33 billion. But there is still a massive amount to do. The total cost of the whole rebuild is still estimated at somewhere between $40 and $50 billion.
EQC insurance proceeds have accounted for around $11 billion dollars of insurance monies injected into the rebuild with other private insurance contributing another $20 billion
“There is nowhere in the world where around $30 billion dollars of insurance proceeds have been applied to the rebuild of a city of 400,000 people”.
“The Government have injected around $8.5 billion into land, infrastructure and amenities”.
Townsend makes other factual and compelling points about Christchurch and Canterbury, as it becomes a city of choice.
• A total of 1100 commercial buildings in the city were lost in the earthquakes but they might be replaced by just 400 buildings.
• By the end of 2020 Christchurch is going to have as much hotel accommodation as it had before the earthquakes.
• Christchurch will be the safest city in New Zealand because all the shonky stuff has gone.
• The city will be the most energy efficient city in New Zealand because it has rebuilt to a new code of double glazed windows, better insulation, heat pumps under the floors to heat the concrete pads and it all results in much cheaper electricity.
• A total of 25,000 Christchurch houses were destroyed or had in excess of 100,000 of damage in the earthquakes.
• There is no other city better equipped in primary, secondary and tertiary education, by a country mile.
• Canterbury is regarded as having one of the top six health systems in the world.
• Christchurch is going to be the most accessible city in the country as its traffic infrastructure is taking off with the southern motorway, the northern arterial route and the west diversion.
• A taxi driver told Townsend that many of his overseas passengers says the drive from the airport into the city is the most beautiful airport to city drive in the world
• Christchurch is the only city in the world with under a million people that has a daily Airbus 380 service
• The city is a target for medical specialists and doctors wanting to live and work in Christchurch. Why – Brexit, Trump, lone-wolf terrorism and Christchurch is seen to be a safe bolt-hole for people to live and bring up their kids; it’s really a compelling proposition.
• Canterbury is not all about dairy. Canterbury grows 68 percent of the world’s radish seeds and 34 percent of the world’s carrot seeds
• Finally, the rebuild of the ChristChurch Cathedral over the next seven to 10 years must be a tourist attraction.
Townsend says, why not, instead of fencing it off and wrapped in white plastic, why not put glass panelling around the outside of it? Why not put a couple of grandstands in the Square so people can look into the rebuild? And why not make the rebuild of the ChristChurch Cathedral a positive experience for tourists.