“Make sure it’s environmentally friendly,” said everyone from my 81 year old dad to the neighbours to my kids. “Make it about people. About bikes and pedestrians more than just cars. Make us the safest city in the world.”
Today the Christchurch City Council adopted the draft Central City Plan which will now go out for consultation. When the CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act) legislation was passed in April, we were given 9 months to develop an implementable vision for our destroyed central city. Today we moved into the second phase of a three step process.
Since April, the council has met at least weekly on the plan. Our incredible staff and consultants have worked the most phenomenal hours. Together we identified the key themes and strands of the plan. They were teased out through the Share an Idea programme of consultation. Our staff brought back in distilled form the 106,000 opinions and suggestions offered by our community.
Our debates have been behind closed doors, and for good reason. Some of the ideas we canvassed were wild and wonderful and would have made great headlines that would not have helped move us forward. Our discussions have been free and frank. At times there have been cross words, stormy departures.
There was none of that today. The plan was adopted unanimously and consultation opens on it next week.
My kitchen played host some of the first informal discussions on the plan. When the senior staff saw my stove I had to stop pretending that I can’t cook. Even feeding them didn’t seem to alter their perception.
Our staff today looked absolutely knackered. The hours they have been putting in are just mind-blowing. I’m shattered after today. If they’re not tucked up in bed by now (it’s just past 8pm) I will be very surprised.
I’m going to offer more detail on the plan over the next couple of days when I can keep my eyes open properly. In the meantime, here’s the link so you can have a look at it yourself – www.centralcityplan.org.nz
What I will say to you is it’s green, it’s people focussed, and I don’t think Dad will be disappointed when he reads this first draft. I hope that he (and you) will take the chances starting from next Tuesday and again share your thoughts on it. This plan needs to belong to us all.
Very tired. Bed beckons. Going to leave you with this lovely comment from Suzy who brought tears to my eyes when I read it.
“I’ve just read the plan cover to cover. I had expected to be disappointed however it’s bold and visionary. Inspirational even. It makes me want to stay, to live and to invest. It gives me hope. What an incredible gift it is to this city. To those responsible – thank you.”
Suzy – right back at you. To you and all the 106,000 contributors, to the staff, the consultants, my colleagues, I thank you too.