Review of Draft Recovery Strategy

Please download the pdf version of the article, including Appendix A.

September 2011


On 10 September 2011, the draft Recovery Strategy was released by CERA for public consultation. The Recovery Strategy is an overarching long-term strategy for the reconstruction, rebuilding and recovery of greater Christchurch. Once operative, the Recovery Strategy will take precedence over RMA planning documents.

The draft Recovery Strategy provides a vision and goals for recovery and sets out a broad framework to achieve the vision and goals. This involves a series of recovery plans and programmes covering a range of matters including development, education and heritage. The draft Recovery Strategy includes detailed timelines for the preparation and implementation of these recovery plans and programmes.

The Vision and Goals

The broad vision of the draft Recovery Strategy is that Greater Christchurch recovers and progresses as a place to be proud of – an attractive and vibrant place to live, work, visit and invest for us and our children after us.

This vision is supported by a series of goals which seek to:

  • Revitalise greater Christchurch;
  • Strengthen community resilience;
  • Develop integrated strategic and community assets, housing, infrastructure and transport networks; and
  • Restore the natural environment.

The Recovery Plans and Programmes

The vision and goals are to be achieved through a series of recovery plans and programmes. The priorities have been identified and will be the subject of Recovery Plans, specifically relating to Land, Building and Infrastructure, Built Heritage, the Central City, Financing and Funding, Economic Recovery and Education Renewal. A summary of the key timelines for these plans is provided in Appendix A at the end of this article.

Other issues will be the subject of dedicated work programmes including the Worst Affected Suburbs Programme, the Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Programme the Natural Environment Programme. 

In an earlier article we gave an indication of what we thought the draft Recovery Strategy might cover. The draft Recovery Strategy generally responds to these issues and provides guidance on key matters, such as the removal of cordons. However, the draft Recovery Strategy is light on detail, with many of the important decisions and actions to be outlined in subsequent recovery plans and programmes. 

Land, Building and Infrastructure Recovery Plan

This is a critical document for recovery. A key objective is to identify when and how rebuilding can occur. This will address many important issues, including the decisions on the remaining orange and white zones. The draft Recovery Strategy indicates that this plan will include a timetable, with decisions in the Port Hills white zones to be completed by November 2011 and the final orange zone announcements by December 2011. There has already been some slippage with the dates of some orange zone announcements.

This plan will also consider where people displaced from the red zone can rebuild.  There has been considerable discussion about whether the usual resource management processes for land development will be amended. The draft Recovery Strategy gives the strongest indication to date that this may occur by indicating that this plan will include programmes and sequencing of areas for rebuilding and development. The programmes and sequencing in a recovery plan will take precedence over existing RMA plans.

Economic Recovery Plan

This Plan aims to ensure that Christchurch can retain and develop business, attract investment, generate wealth, and increase exports. An important element of this is the removal of cordons around the central city. Cashel St is aimed to be open by the end of October, with all demolitions completed and cordons removed by the end of April 2012.

Have your say

The draft Recovery Strategy is currently open for submissions until 30 October 2011. A summary of the draft Recovery Strategy and a comment form will be delivered to all households in Greater Christchurch on 17 September.

Apublic hearing is a legal requirement. However, no details of the hearing have been released. This leads to uncertainty about the nature of any hearing, particularly given that the short timeframes between the close of submissions and the draft Strategy being sent to the Minister for approval.

We recommend that you be realistic about changes that might occur through the submission process. The recovery process is well underway and many of the decisions that will underpin the recovery have already been made. While there may be scope for some changes on details, a wholesale change is approach is unlikely at this stage.  

One matter that could be submitted on is the timeframes for the preparation of recovery plans. For example, the draft Land, Building and Infrastructure Recovery Planwill not be completed until April 2012, and may not be finalised until the second half of 2012. Taking into account the subsequent planning processes that may be required to make land available for development, questions arise as to whether this timeline will meet the immediate needs of those currently displaced from the red zone.

Finally, as mentioned above, much of the important detail that will have the most direct impact will follow in subsequent Recovery Plans. However, there is currently no indication as to whether the public will have an opportunity to comment on these Plans before they are finalised. A submission could seek that the Recovery Strategy include more detail about the consultation process that will be followed for Recovery Plans, including any rights of submission or hearing that will be provided. 


DISCLAIMER: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.

Posted on Monday 19th September, 2011 at 04:22 pm