More funds for anchor project

sports-03The Government is pledging additional money to Christchurch’s metro sports facility but will not reveal how much.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced Tuesday Cabinet had agreed to increase Crown contribution to the major anchor project, above the $70.3 million planned in the 2013 cost sharing agreement with the Christchurch City Council.

The council committed $147m to the project.

“To ensure maintenance of a competitive tendering process, we won’t be revealing the agreed financial cap on the Crown’s commitment to delivery of the facility at this time,” Brownlee said.

While the design of the facility was still to take place, the agreed funding package meant it would include:

– An indoor aquatic hall with a 79m, 10-lane competition pool and spectator seating for 1000 people

– A 10m diving tower and warm water pool

– A learn-to-swim pool

– A leisure water area, with outdoor hot pools and two hydroslides

– Nine indoor courts for sports such as netball, basketball, futsal, floor ball, and other indoor sports, including retractable seating for 2500 spectators and function/VIP areas

– Sport New Zealand’s high performance area, which will include facilities for athletes and space for administration

– A large gym/weights facility, with up to five group fitness/multi-purpose rooms and sports health consulting rooms and facilities

– Four studio spaces for movement activity like dance

– A Sports House for administration of different sports

– A café, childcare facility and car parking for 500 vehicles (with the ability to expand in the future)

Previous plans for the facility included a 50-metre competition pool, and an complex with eight indoor courts and 2800 seats.

Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloonsaid it was great to finally have details of the project.

“We’ve been waiting for so long. It’s a great day for us,” he said.

The sports community could now plan transitional facilities and future competitions and events with more certainty.

“Now it’s about urgency to get the thing built and utilised,” Falloon said.

Netball Mainland chief executive Brigit Hearn said she was “extremely excited”.

“It’s fabulous news. It’s the end of the tunnel for us – now we can move forward and plan ahead.”

Netball Mainland had advocated for 12 courts but Hearn said getting nine courts was “certainly an improvement from where we’re at at the moment”.

The metro sport facility was initially planned to be built by early 2016 but the Government earlier this year pushed the completion date to 2020.

It is understood the business case was rejected when it finally reached the Beehive in May because costs had blown out.

Brownlee said Tuesday the intention was to open the facility to the public in 2019 and the remainder in 2020.

“As we work through the facility’s design and construction we will be looking closely at what opportunities there are to shorten those timeframes,” he said.

The Government had already purchased most of the land required to develop the facility on a central Christchurch site spanning over 70,000 square metres between Moorhouse Ave, Stewart St, St Asaph St and Antigua St.

The business case for the facility was “strong”, with more than two million visits to the facility a year expected once it opened, Brownlee said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the announcement.

“The earthquakes have had a massive impact on the region’s sporting facilities and I’m confident this new centre will reignite sport and recreation participation rates, and be another good reason to live in the central city,” she said.

Source:

  • Stuff.co.nz

Christchurch Soldiers On!

1431085048320Construction activity in Christchurch may well have plateaued, but rumours of the demise of the earthquake-induced construction boom have been greatly exaggerated, says Hugh De Lacy. You can’t drop $40 billion in insurance and government money on a region of fewer than half a million people without creating a construction boom, even if initially most of the money is spent on urgent demolition and repairs. Once those two phases were completed, new construction would continue to drive the regional economy for years to come.

That would seem to be the wisdom derived from Canterbury’s recovery from the earthquakes of 2010-2011, and rumours that the reconstruction phase has run its course and there’s a rapid wind-down in effect simply can’t be substantiated. The fact is that while most of the demolition of buildings, and the repair and reconstruction of infrastructure are well advanced, and despite Fletcher Earthquake Recovery (EQR) winding up its $4 billion residential repairs programme at the end of this year, construction is still booming in Christchurch and throughout the Canterbury region.

That’s not to say there isn’t a shakedown under way, and that a lot of smaller companies are dropping out of the game, especially in the painting and decorating niches of the building construction sector. But according to John Ombler, acting chief executive of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), there’s still growth in overall rebuild construction.

“The forecasts tell us that we can expect peak activity in construction through to about 2017, before an easing expected in 2018,” Ombler told Contractor. There are, however, variations in the level of activity of the various construction sectors.

“For example, EQC’s [the Earthquake Commission’s] Canterbury home repair programme is largely complete [but] at the same time there is still considerable repair and rebuild happening, and a huge amount of public sector work still in the pipeline.” This includes schools, tertiary institutions, health facilities like Christchurch hospital, the Metro Sports Facility and the East Frame residential neighbourhood. “We have just seen the opening of Christchurch’s new $53 million Bus Interchange, and work on the Justice and Emergency Precinct is well progressed.” Ombler said that overall building consent figures are on “a steady upward trend that we have seen every year since 2012”.

He noted that SCIRT, the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team of leading contractors charged with the rebuild of the city horizontal infrastructure, is 70 percent of the way through its work programme. “Indicators such as economic growth and employment continue to show Canterbury leading the performance of major centres in New Zealand,” Ombler says. That may well be the case overall, but at the lower end of the food chain there are persistent reports of smaller entities falling over or copping out.

Paul Robertson, the principal of mid-sized construction and earthworks company Civil and Land, based in Amberley, North Canterbury, reckons there’s a slump in the work available for companies like his, which has a permanent workforce of about 20.He cites the case of the Hurunui District Council, the northernmost of the three districts and the city affected by the quakes, tendering out a five to 10 year road maintenance contract. “I’ve never seen so many contractors apply for it: you usually only get two or three, but 12 main contractors have applied for this one – which just shows there’s no confidence in the rebuild because contractors are now looking for work in the longer term,” Robertson said.

However, he did cite meeting health and safety (H&S) and compliance measures as a major burden for smaller firms. Fletcher EQR’s arrival on the local residential scene turned it upside down with its insistence on big-company H&S and compliance standards, and its assigning work to only those contractors and subcontractors who had passed through its induction process. Even in things like traffic management, small companies are struggling to get employees formally qualified to put out traffic cones, just so they’re entitled to tick the appropriate boxes on the paperwork. “Everything is bits of paper today, and if you don’t pull your bits of paper out you don’t get started,” Robertson says.

But while painters and decorators might be abandoning Christchurch for the fairer fields of Auckland residential construction, they’re not flooding car yards with second-hand ex-leased utes at Christchurch Airport as one rumour has it. David Crawford, chief executive of the Motor Industry Association of New Zealand, was quite upbeat when contacted by Contractor.

Sales figures of light commercials are still “staggering” nationwide, having gone up 25 percent in 2013, 19 percent in 2014, and 14 percent in the year to date. Crawford says luxury vehicle sales, the lead indicator of demand changes for new vehicles – which forewarned of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis by slumping 12 months before it, and afterwards began to recover about 10 months before the rest of the market – were still going strong, up “very slightly” this year compared to last.

And Dion Jones, general manager of Turners Auctions, the country’s biggest motor vehicle auction house, said repossessions and arrears in the light commercial sector were “as low as they’ve ever been”. This was despite companies “discounting the pants” off new vehicles to encourage buyers to ante up the extra couple of thousand dollars for a new vehicle rather than a used one.

So the shape of the Christchurch rebuild may be changing, and there may be challenges for small companies to adapt to the paperwork requirements of H&S and other forms of compliance, but the volume of work remains high. Brian Warren, chief executive of Christchurch’s Isaac Construction, summed it up by saying there may have been a drop-off in demand, “but it’s not as if it’s come to the top of a steep curve and dropped off the other side in a steep curve either. “That said, we certainly noticed a drop-off at the beginning of this calendar year. It’s come back a little bit now, but certainly it’s less than it was 12 months ago.”

That most telling barometer of economic activity, employment, bears Warren’s assessment out: Canterbury added 11,900 new jobs in the latest March year, though this was down from a peak of 34,000 added in the year to the end of last September, with most of those increases coming in the construction and food services industries.

Source:

  • Charles Fairbairn
  • contractormag.co.nz

Next stage for Christchurch rebuild

9bRMehChristchurch business leaders are applauding the Government’s transition proposal where the Government retains a key role in the Christchurch rebuild over the next five years.

They were concerned that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) winding up next April year would leave a vacuum of leadership in the city and the Government’s commitment to anchor projects was flagging.

Ngai Tahu Property chief executive Tony Sewell said the proposal addressed every issue the business community had been concerned about.

He was happy with the Government’s “complete commitment” to building the Convention Centre and the Metro Sports centre. Ngai Tahu is part of a consortium chosen as the Government’s preferred partner to develop the Convention Centre.

Businesses had been concerned Government support for Christchurch was flagging “but it’s not.”

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee must report back to Cabinet by the end of August on the setting up of a new urban development authority, called Regenerate Christchurch, to lead the rebuild of the central city when Cera winds up in April.

The Christchurch City Council has set up its own development authority but the Government proposes now that its development authority should “integrate” with the council’s.

The Christchurch City Council and the Government are expected to work together to set up Regenerate Christchurch and decide what its aims are, what its functions would be, what powers it had and who would pay for it.

“They have clearly set out that there is going to be a relationship between Government and council, ” Sewell said.

Asked could the council and Government work together Sewell said “it’s not a can, it’s a must”.

“The voters and the ratepayers won’t tolerate a standoff.” Sewell said.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the proposal was sensible,offered a staged and predictable transition with the Government roles slowing decreasing and the council’s increasing.

It relied on collaboration between central and local government, “which I applaud” and good strong commercial governance.

He expected the Government and the council to appoint the board members of Regenerate Christchurch.

The chamber had been “pushing strongly” for a governance model over the top of the rebuild projects and that was now going to happen.

Asked if Regenerate Christchurch was just the Christchurch Central Development Unit (within Cera) with a new name, Townsend disagreed with that and said the transition proposal was a step change with new legislation, new leadership and a new collaborative relationship between the Government and council.

He expected the government and council to appoint directors to the board.of the development authority. Those people would have strong commercial experience and project management backgrounds and tracks records.

The Government’s proposal referred to some of Cera’s powers expiring or going to councils and some role for Ngai Tahu.

Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the tribal council of Ngāi Tahu,  Sir Mark Solomon said he was not aware of any detail on that.

He was on the advisory board, headed by Dame Jenny Shipley, that advised the Government. It called for a “demonstrable step-change in local leadership”.

Sir Mark said the advisory board wanted to see control start to return to the city though the Government still needed to be involved.

Hawkins Construction executive director Jim Boult said he was delighted the government confirmed its commitment to the Convention Centre and Metro Sports centre.

He would like to see timeframes on those two. The Convention Centre was “the lump in the throat” of the central city developing, he said.

Source:

  • The Press

No extra money for Christchurch roads

getimage (3)The city council’s hope of getting more money from the Government for fixing Christchurch’s damaged roads and underground pipes have been dealt a blow.

An independent review into the cost of fixing the city’s horizontal infrastructure – the roads, footpaths, bridges and underground pipes – has concluded the $1.8 billion committed by the Government and the $1.14b from the Christchurch City Council should be enough to do the work required to restore functionality.

The cash-strapped council hoped the review by experienced Auckland civil engineer Elena Trout would support its view that more funding was needed.

The council estimated it would cost $3.2b to restore all the infrastructure, but Trout’s report has concluded it would cost $2.9b, $348m less.

Trout said the lower cost was a result of several factors including efficiencies gained from ‘‘changed and evolved’’ design standards for wastewater, water and storm water networks, better assessment of asset damage information, rebuild efficiencies obtained by Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) and lower than forecast inflation of construction costs.

Trout said at the time the Cost Sharing Agreement was signed only 40 per cent of the assets had been assessed.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel would not comment on the report until she had a chance to discuss it with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. No date had been confirmed for that meeting, a council spokeswoman said.

Brownlee would also not comment until he had met with Dalziel. The pair have had the report for several weeks, but have been unable to meet because Brownlee had been in Singapore, then Iraq. He then became ill.

He was hoping to meet with Dalziel in ‘‘the next week or so’’.

The council has previously said if it was not able to find more money, streets in west Christchurch could go without repairs for decades because money to fix the roads and pipes was running out. Scirt has been working from east to west, so it was likely the bulk of the unrepaired infrastructure would be in the west of the city.

Councillor Yani Johanson said the report meant the city’s infrastructure was not going to be fixed in a timeframe or to a standard acceptable to many people.

‘‘The message from this is – the expectation that things will be put back as they were is wrong. What it shows, because of the agreements signed, people have to put up with getting less back than what they had before the earthquakes.’’

Johanson said the council must have a good look at its infrastructure strategy in the next few months to see what it could afford to do. ‘‘What it means for people is their roads are not going to be fixed as they were.’’

One of the report’s conclusions included that applying a second coat of seal, which provided a thick durable layer over the road, was not eligible for funding against the Cost Sharing Agreement.

Brownlee has previously said the horizontal infrastructure network would be at least equal to what it was before the quakes, and rejected the claim the council would to be burdened with extra costs.

‘‘It will be a long, long time before they [the council] have to start providing for maintenance on any of the work that has been done as part of the Scirt programme,’’ he said in December.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the council and the Government needed to come up with an option that would serve the best interests of the city. ‘‘We don’t want to be driving around on bumpy roads for the next 20 years.’’

Source:

  • The Press
  • Tina Law & Louis Cairns
  • Photo: Iain McGregor

Christchurch bus interchange opens

1430718037742Christchurch City opened its new Bus Interchange Monday 25th at 8am. The old bus exchange was severely damage during the earthquake of 2011

University students, school pupils and tradesmen were among the dozens of people catching a bus for the first time at Christchurch’s new bus interchange.

A technical glitch delayed its official opening, but buses started running out of the new $53 million facility this week.

The Lichfield St facility was set to open last week but a software issue meant authorities doubted its reliability.

The interchange will be the first Government-led rebuild anchor projegct to be completed when the second stage, which includes retail areas, a covered bike-lock area and access to the remainder of the bus bays, is finished in about two and a half months.

bus-interchange-ground-floor-planTradesmen worked on completion of the second stage area on the Tuam St side as Cantabrians hopped on and off buses to mark the opening of the first stage of the project. Half of the 16 bus bays are now in use.

Christchurch resident Natasha Hawkins was catching the 28 line to Lyttelton.

She said the facility was “nice and flash”.

University of Canterbury student Claudia Dowling was waiting for the 18 line to university.

She would be using the interchange every week day, and said it would make a big difference to be able to wait inside.

“It’s so cold outside in the morning.”

Canterbury earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee said the facility’s opening was “a great moment for Christchurch” and reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the rebuild.

“The Interchange is stylish and user-friendly, with airport-style passenger lounges that will ensure people can wait for their buses in comfort and protected from the elements. It has also been designed with a real emphasis on safety and sustainability.”

“Having an attractive facility like this is crucial if we want to attract more people to public transport.”

“The Bus Interchange is something the people of Christchurch can use every day and experience how far we have come.”

The opening of the bus interchange meant inner city bus routes would change.  Buses were now designated to use Manchester St with routes changing across the central city.

While all CBD bus routes were affected, those with the biggest changes were the Blue Line, the 17, 28 and 29. Customers using these routes were advised to check route maps.

Environment Canterbury chief executive Bill Bayfield said at the opening it was fantastic to see people enjoying the facility.

“It’s freezing cold outside and now we’re standing in a warm area.

“Our customers have been amazing over the past three years, using the temporary central station and just getting on with it.”

Christchurch Transport Operation Centre spokeswoman Tresca Forester urged drivers in the area to be wary of increased foot traffic on Lichfield and Colombo streets.

Source:

  • Stacy Squires
  • The Press

Christchurch catching up

rebuildgraphicCatching up is hard to do, but Christchurch appears to have managed it and then some.

Four years after the earthquakes The Press has found many underlying indicators returning to normal and others more typical of a rebuilding city.

There are no prizes for guessing that the construction industry has produced a huge amount of activity in the city. Compared to 2010, dwelling consents have quadrupled in Christchurch and, according to cement producers Holcim, twice as much cement has been sold.

Car imports coming over the Lyttelton wharfs have increased by about 15,000 in a 2010-2014 comparison and working-age people dependent on benefits have decreased in Christchurch by about 8077.

Container traffic at Lyttelton Port of Christchurch in the 2014 financial year was about 100,000 containers higher than in 2010.

The median household income was about $48,000 in 2010 and has risen to an inflation- adjusted figure of more than $54,000 in 2014. While Christchurch seems to be a bit richer than in 2010, it has lost about 7000 people, according to the 2006 and 2013 censuses.

A smaller population is not reflected in flows at the Bromley Treatment Plant, however. In the year before the first earthquake the current daily flow was 155,544 cubic metres a day and in 2014 it had gone up to 215,280m3/day. The 40 per cent increase in flow was mainly because of groundwater getting into the system through cracked pipes, a council spokeswoman said.

Electricity supplied has yet to return to 2010 levels and Orion New Zealand has about 2000 fewer customers.

Orion spokesman Stephen Godfrey said power usage on the Orion network fell 10 per cent after the February 2011 earthquake but energy usage had recently begun to recover as homes were rebuilt and the city grew. “However, it may be [several] years before power usage returns to 2010 levels. Power usage throughout the country has been flat in recent years as energy efficiency in homes and businesses improves.”

The number of diesel- powered machines in Christchurch has not translated into a big increase in bulk fuel supplies coming into Christchurch and the tonnage in 2014 has not increased much over the 2010 figure.

Christchurch Airport has yet to achieve the level of activity it had in 2010, with passenger numbers and aircraft movements down on 2010.

Source:

  • The Press
  • Martin Van Beynen

Disaster rebuild only 10% complete

10458637Christchurch is only about 10 per cent repaired four years after a destructive 18-month earthquake sequence started, a city business leader says.

For more follow the link below;

http://www.christchurchrebuild.co.nz/?p=1822

%d bloggers like this: