I, like most of Christchurch ratepayers, are getting fed up with large property owners in the middle of our City holding us to ransom with their properties lying fallow. I applaud the City Council pushing for the properties to be used properly.
It’s time for property owners to be taxed for leaving them in the state they are in. Where they are car parks, they should be required to seal them just as anybody else would if they were rebuilding on the site. The CCC has standards for car parks and these people have had sufficient time to get their affairs sorted out.
When I read the attached article, I was shocked that 20% of Central City sites are undeveloped. It is time that the Central City Committee stopped defending the large land owners and started working on how to revive the Central City. The large land owners have had a disproportionate level of say on what planning rules are and need to be reminded that owning land is only one prerequisite for citizenship. The Central City Committee has for too long been the voice of large firms and land owners. If they want a thriving centre, they need to be encouraging the thousands of small businesses we need to attract shoppers to visit with their wallets open.
In a number of cities across the UK they are addressing the fact that their main streets are stuffed and are experimenting with various ways of rejuvenating the City centres. Maybe with the 10th Anniversary of the February earthquake we need to review our Centre and think creatively what it could be like; rather than what it is like.