How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD, High Street Saga gets ugly…

My Gosh the saga continues, now the truth starts to come out.

I had prepared a blog weeks ago regarding this issue, which I have just had to trash as this latest Press article is a beauty.  I had been told many months ago that some Christchurch developers had been trying to delay development in this area, but the truth was even nastier than I thought.

It is a shame that I had to read about it in the Press.  The lack of communication with Otakaro Ltd on an issue that definitely effects our lively hood is slightly disturbing. A continuation of the status quo I am afraid.

I take my hat off to the Press and Nick Truebridge for pulling the OIA documents, which I need to work through carefully.  I will let you know if I find anything interesting.

I have always strongly suspected that the Duncan’s Buildings sale for redevelopment was deliberately stalled by CERA/CCDU  and I may never get an answer to this unsubstantiated accusation.  It may have been bureaucratic inefficiency  who knows, without pulling further documents it may remain forever murky.

The Press article points out that the delays were certainly not minimised by a group of self-serving, wealthy, Christchurch business owners. (With rather obvious links to the CCDU’s Warrick Issacs).

I think this group of leading “High-profile Christchurch developers” should hang your heads in shame.

A number of building owners in the Duncan’s Block, who have been attempting to do the right thing, await a public apology from you all… I have just seen hell freeze over.

Not only did you attempt to further stall development and recovery for the city  (and a number of small building owners, who you obviously don’t give a toss about) you have embarrassed yourselves publicly.

The Hall of shame awaits you.images.jpg

Documents released under the Official Information Act show developers Philip Carter and Antony Gough were among those who wrote to Crown company Otakaro urging it not to sell the High St Duncan’s buildings directly to Richard Peebles and his associates.

Also involved was: “Guthrey suggested a five year moratorium should be placed on the property sold that it not be developed for retail” and the “National Party board member Roger Bridge, also involved in the legal action, wrote to the Crown expressing interest in buying the land, but said he had no prior knowledge of Peebles’ interest.”

5 years ?  gosh we have already waited 6 years and you wanted to stall us another 5 years?  nasty…

I also notice that there was a letter from “Ballantynes” that has been withheld from the OIA documents, 10 June 2016.

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/82968307/highprofile-christchurch-developers-spoke-out-against-sale-of-crowns-high-st-property-to-rival

Interestingly there was no mention of this issue in the OIA documents I received regarding the Duncan’s Buildings a number of weeks ago.  Obviously the wrong questions were asked.

I congratulate Otakaro Ltd,  Albert Brantley CEO on his decision to allow the sale of the Duncan’s Buildings to proceed.  It is a pragmatic decision, that takes into account the needs of the entire city, it considers Heritage aspects and regeneration of this area.  (As well as a few small building owners in this area who have stuck their necks way too far out).    Thank You.

Oh well, what a beautiful cold Christchurch day.  I hope this group of men choke on their coffees this morning as they read the Press.

P.S.  11.8.16  It looks like peace is about to break out: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/83064472/developers-close-to-resolution-over-high-st-legal-challenge

I note that Christchurch Heritage Trust chairwoman  Anna Crighton made a pertinent remark in The Star 11/8/16:  “Those buildings, apart from the few that are privately owned, have been languishing there since the earthquakes and nobody bothered about them until Richard Peebles picked them up and decided to do something about them. Now all of a sudden other people want to buy them as well.  Well everybody had a good chance many years ago”.      A very relevant comment.

I look forward to seeing the street restored to its former, bohemian, Left-bank glory!

Incidentally here are a few of the latest High Street links:  Now a tad redundant!

NICK TRUEBRIDGE,  July 5 2016,  in the Business day section of the Press.  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81764209/high-st-master-plan-fuels-dispute-between-christchurch-developers

This was closely followed by an opinion piece by Tom Hooper on the 8th July in the Business day section of the Press. He comments that the last thing our city needs is legal challenges that hold up progress..  Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81892716/tom-hooper-we-need-to-be-fighting-for-the-city-not-fighting-over-it

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