For those who missed it, the following appeared in this week’s Northern Outlook.
2014 should see progress in a number of areas over which residents have expressed frustration in 2013.
The future of the District’s residential red zones has been an issue since their announcement in June 2011. They are now in a very sorry state with their empty sections and abandoned houses – not a great environment for those still living there and nearby. The government and CERA now indicate they are willing to think about these zones’ future and they have agreed that the community and the Council will be involved in determining that future. I expect to see real progress this year along with developments on the Kaiapoi riverbank.
The Kaiapoi and Rangiora town centres have a lot ahead of them. I expect to see owners making decisions for the Rangiora rebuild early in the year as they engage tenants. Work should be getting under way soon on one of the Kaiapoi gaps and during the year final property purchases should enable construction to start on the Red Lion corner realignment and at least the design work by new owners for the Hansens site in Kaiapoi.
At the time of writing, the three main controversial “in limbo” buildings had not had their futures announced by their owners. The John Rhind (former BNZ) building in Kaiapoi (empty since September 2010) and the Farmers and Robbie’s buildings (both empty since March 2012) will soon have those decisions and hopefully reconstruction under way. Work should start on the West Eyreton memorial arch in the second half of the year.
By the end of 2014, much of infrastructure work, mainly in Kaiapoi, but also in Pines-Kairaki , Rangiora, Waikuku and Cust, should be completed. The recent cost-sharing agreement with the government is certainly a help there.
The major projects already started or with contracts awarded will be either completed or nearing completion: the Kaiapoi Library, Museum and Service Centre, the Ashley Bridge and the Rangiora and Oxford Town Halls.
This community has been facing the biggest natural disaster in material terms in NZ history. We are now on the way out with the biggest works programme ever undertaken in North Canterbury.