When I read the article in Stuff this week about CCC applying for funding to assist infrastructure funding to open three key sites I was nervous. The Council will, quite correctly, reject the Government’s 3 Waters proposed reforms. To hold their hands out saying that they need financial support to construct infrastructure weakens their case hugely.
Here’s how Stuff reported it:
Housing developments could soon be on the horizon for three large undeveloped sites in central Christchurch if the city council is successful in its bid to get Government funding for vital infrastructure.
Christchurch City Council is vying for a cut of the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, which was announced in March this year as part of a wider $3.8 billion packageto address New Zealand’s housing crisis.
If its bid is successful, the council hopes to use money to deliver transport and water infrastructure upgrades in the vicinity of the three sites.
“[Government] funding would give certainty to developers and enable housing development to be brought forward,” a council spokeswoman said.
Let’s consider the sites. They are:
- the former Christchurch Women’s Hospital site at 885 Colombo St,
- former Red Bus land on the corner of Moorhouse and Fitzgerald Ave, and
- the former convention centre site opposite the Town Hall.
The Council owns (b) and (c) above.
the upgrades include stormwater and accessibility infrastructure for the Red Bus site, a separated cycleway on Colombo St, and roading improvements to Salisbury St and Kilmore St to support housing intensification.
But it was then reported:
A spokeswoman said it had set aside money for the upgrades in its recent 10-year budget, but the Government funding would allow them to be brought forward.
The Press then contacted a property developer, Richard Peebles, who agreed that this application was a good idea. I question this funding application for the following reasons:
- The funding for these projects is already in the CCC 10-year financial plans. So, if they are needed now move them forward and replace them with something else which has lower priority.
- When these sites are developed the CCC income will expand in the central city which will take the rates burden off other parts of the city.
- Ricard Peebles is to develop one of these sites and he should be paying for additional infrastructure as part of his development. Just like every other developer. I have heard Richard speak strongly about how the Government had to keep its hands off interfering with the private sector developers. That’s a two-way street, Richard. You either believe in the private sector standing on its lonesome, or you can believe in Government assistance to the market. You can’t have both.
- Each of the developers for these sites should pay for the infrastructure themselves.
- CCC could be making it vulnerable to resist the 3 Waters reform by applying for these funds.