Property Council says Christchurch rebuild too green

The Property Council has called Christchurch's draft central city plan overly restrictive and slammed it for favouring sustainability over economic viability.

The Property Council has hit out at Christchurch's draft central city plan for favouring a green city over an "economically viable" city.

The council seems to take the stance that the two are mutually incompatible and in a submission to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority labels the plan restrictive and damaging to the rebuild effort.

Property Council South Island branch president Graeme McDonald warned that the plan failed to acknowledge the challenges facing existing owners of commercial property in Christchurch while placing increasing conditions on the construction of new buildings.

“The current draft plan includes ideological restrictions on building height, placement, floor area and parking needs, favouring a ‘green’ city over an economically viable city.

“There is insufficient incentive for property owners to rebuild or reinvest back into the CBD. The local economy will be severely at risk if capital exits the Canterbury region altogether, hindering the rebuild efforts even further.”

He also criticised government policy that denied depreciation deductibility on buildings.

This would remove incentive to reinvest and force higher rents for businesses as landlords look to recover lost tax deductions, he said.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said the organisation supported the Green Building Council  along with its green build tool for Christchurch.

“What we are against is a regulatory approach to the rebuild, pushed in Christchurch City Council’s draft Central City Plan. We believe that too much red tape will put off developers and stifle the rebuilding efforts in the city.
“In the current economic climate, a tough regulatory approach is simply not viable. However, Property Council will support the City Council’s aspirations for a green rebuild, if these aspirations are market-driven.”

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