By Thomas Mead
Moves by the Government to acquire Christchurch property to make way for the rebuild have been dubbed “dictatorial” by one community group.
More than 100 independently owned properties are currently occupying space marked out for redevelopment and the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has today sent letters to affected owners.
The letters outline plans to take land through compulsory acquisition, the first solid sign the Government is willing to force owners to sell up.
But CCDU director Warwick Issacs says the letters were sent to smooth out the acquisition process.
“For us it’s just a placeholder with those owners, in case we don’t get to a satisfactory end conclusion with them so at least we can still get on and purchase the properties,” he says.
However, Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan!) spokesman Mike Coleman said the CCDU’s rebuild blueprint was an undemocratic draft which had been imposed on citizens.
“There seems to be a dictatorial approach in terms of moving people on so they can do what they want to do,” he says.
“[They aren’t] listening and consulting to determine what impact the decisions that they’re making are going to have on businesses and ordinary people lives.”
He says it is the same approach CERA continues to demonstrate over the course of the rebuild.
“If those decisions they’ve made in red zones are anything to go by, the business owners in the city are going to have a seriously disastrous time,” he says.
“CERA seems to have no concern about how this impacts people.”
Mr Issacs said the majority of business owners were complying with the CCDU’s requests.