10 May 2015

Brownlee defends delay of anchor projects

4:51 pm on 10 May 2015

The Earthquake Recovery Minister is defending the delay of three so-called anchor projects in Christchurch, saying it is important to get them right.

A concept image for the Convention Centre Precinct on CCDU's website.

A concept image for the Convention Centre Precinct on CCDU's website. Photo: CCDU

Three of the Government's key projects for the city have been pushed back due to their complexity.

The projects are the Metro Sports Facility which will take two years longer than planned and now not be completed until 2020; a new convention centre which will take 18 months longer than planned and will not be opened until the end of 2018; and the Margaret Mahy playground which was promised for mid-year will now not be opened until the end of this year.

A statement from the Christchurch Central Development Unit said it was still working through business case modeling and contract negotiations, which were complex and would take time.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the three projects would cost about $1 billion between them, and it was important not to rush them.

Mr Brownlee said the last thing the Government wanted was for ratepayers to be left with assets that did not work.

However, some developers in Christchurch feared the delays to the completion of the projects would have investors leaving the city.

A spokesperson for the City Owners Rebuild Entity, Ernest Duval said no private sector developer could make plans with the current level of uncertainty.

He said the Christchurch Central Development Unit has had to stump up with specifics about what it was going to do and when.

Mr Duval said the anchor projects were lauded as catalysts for development, but the delays were slowing the rebuild, and dragging down the local economy.