New staff hired to speed key Christchurch building

3:34 pm on 6 August 2013

The organisation responsible for building most of Christchurch's anchor projects is hiring more than a dozen new managers to speed up progress.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) - a branch of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority - is restructuring because it now knows which projects it's responsible for.

In June the Government announced its cost-sharing arrangement with the Christchurch City Council for 10 key projects. It was revealed $1.9 billion would be spent on the facilities, with the Government picking up 60% of the cost and Christchurch City Council the other 40%.

The CCDU is leading seven of the projects which has prompted the organisation to bring in about 15 new staff.

Director Warwick Isaacs says three new management positions will focus on communications, commercial, and capital and investment. The rest will be new project managing roles for things like the convention centre and new stadium.

Mr Isaacs says design work is under way for most of the building, and there should be tangible results within a year.

The CCDU's restructure follows a call for change from the Property Council, which has criticised the unit's understanding of investment and communication with the private sector.

Council chief executive Connal Townsend says a year on from the launch of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, he expected more progress.

"We had some particular concerns around their ability to tap into capital markets. Certainly we'd heard anecdotallyfrom people both in Christchurch and also in the rest of New Zealand that some initial offers they'd made to get more involved have been somewhat ignored."

Mr Connal says he hopes the changes lay the foundations for improved performance, but won't sing the unit's praises until it proves it can work better with the private sector.