Current Issues

CHRISTCHURCH’S SIGNIFICANT TREES ARE UNDER THREAT & AND WE ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE TO AVERT DISASTER                                                                                 

Around 80% of Christchurch’s Heritage and Notable Trees are about to be dropped off the Council’s register – and we only have one chance,and a very short amount of time, to save them. To have any hope, we desperately need donations to mount an effective campaign.The proposal to drop the trees from the register is intended to be part of the third and final stage of the Replacement Christchurch District Plan (RCDP),which is currently being fast-tracked under special legislation.

We have lost so much of Christchurch’s built heritage, that to face the loss of protection for so many significant trees as well feels like one more body blow in Christchurch’s post-earthquake “geography of loss.”There has been no public consultation on this proposal, and the decisions are being made by an Independent Hearing Panel that has no accountability to either Christchurch’s elected representatives or its residents. All decisions are to be finalized by March 2016 and there is also no right of appeal, except to the High Court on points of law only.

The Civic Trust, together with a small, dedicated group of residents, is working against the clock, and with very limited resources, to reverse the Council’s proposal.To do this, we need to present a powerful and professional case before the Independent Hearing Panel.  Several key professionals are giving very generously of their time and expertise but to be effective we need to mount a legal case as well as provide expert evidence.[see also Issues]






















 The redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital

A reconsideration of the site (siting) for the Christchurch Hospital Development

A recent presentation as part of the process of “consulting with the community” by the Christchurch Hospital Board on the planning for the on-going development of Christchurch, held at the Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral, actually offered some exciting new possibilities. We learned that this new, six hundred and fifty million dollar development is the most extensive undertaken in New Zealand and the process will be occurring for well over 20 years. The noise of construction activities, as well as huge access difficulties, will be horrendous and ongoing.

But we now ask if it all really has to occur on the existing site?

The Christchurch Civic Trust has some major concerns about the possible further extension and encroachment of the Christchurch Hospital rebuild and expansion into the public grounds of Hagley Park, and the removal of up to 50 heritage trees in order to create space for the various expanded requirements. The necessity for the substantial height of the proposed new developments highlights the serious restraints of compressing all the hospital activities into this corner of the park, and already we are hearing serious concerns in regard to access and parking (especially when cricket tests may be occurring at the newly imposed international cricket oval).

It appears that when the Christchurch Hospital re-development is completed, the only pre-earthquake building remaining will be the current, fairly new, Women’s Hospital wing (opened in 2005), which some commentators claim is insufficient to cope with the area’s growing maternity needs.

If it is true that all the existing hospital facilities will essentially need to be rebuilt, developed and expanded in order to to cope with future health needs of the Canterbury region, then the earthquake destruction within and around the hospital precinct also creates interesting possibilities and exciting potential.

Maybe this is the ideal time for a pause and rethink in light of these new possibilities. The key question is whether these new circumstances could persuade the Hospital Board to reconsider its rebuild and expansion, moving away from the current “only Hagley Park” focus. Maybe if the Women’s Hospital building were not on the site they would have considered shifting to a new site altogether.

But now all the earthquake destruction and damage in the immediate area appears to open up exciting new possibilities. We see this with other anchor projects, such the justice precinct and the giant sporting hub in the old brewery areas. Surely this is the most opportune moment to suggest utilizing new site possibilities for the rebuild and redevelopment of the hospital.

We are aware of the economies of scale in planning hospital activities; in having all activities, i.e. operating theatres, laboratories, radiography facilities, close proximity. This was the rational for moving Christchurch Women’s hospital onto the Park site, but now we can see that new spaces have emerged from the earthquake destruction, in reasonably close proximity to the Christchurch Women’s building, that could provide alternatives for new hospital growth and developments.

An example of this would be when Tuam Street becomes one-way and Oxford Terrace from Hospital corner to Montreal Street is also closed. A whole new range of possibilities for new site development would be created which would link to the new Woman’s Hospital, but avoid the serious compression of the current plan and allow for expansion to meet future population health needs. It could also reduce current demands for building to a ten-story height and avoid encroachment into the beautiful Hagley Park heritage woodlands.

Surely a major win-win scenario for competing interests and concerns can be achieved with a reconsideration of these new possibilities in this major health anchor project.

Penny Orme





The Christchurch Civic Trust claims the proposed Christchurch City Council process for conversion of Hagley Oval,a free public open space,for commercial gain will be a mockery.

According to Lee Germon,Chief Executive,Canterbury Cricket Association Canterbury Cricket’s plans to construct a grass embankment encompassing the ground and a players’ pavilion would need to go through a consultation process before being rubberstamped.

Mr John Filsell Christchurch City Council Recreation and Sports Unit Manager has confirmed publicly,that those plans,which also include floodlights for staging 2015 World Cup matches,need public consultation at a date yet to be determined.

The Christchurch Civic Trust Board has grave concerns,that commercial alienation of public open space by Canterbury Cricket will result in :

  • exclusive long -term occupation of Hagley Oval.
  • denial of public rights,including free access.
  • the creation of a very dangerous precedent for the future of Hagley Park

Commercial Cricket interests have long been preparing a permanent return to Hagley Oval and its development to internationa Cricket Council  standards.Because of legal constraints,still relevant today,which did not support the enclosure of the Hagley Oval public open space and the charging of spectator gate fees,a ” suitable ground to which an admission charge could be attached”was developed at Lancaster Park in 1881,subsequently hosting commercial regional,national and international cricket matches.

There is also real concern that behind -the scenes activity has kept the public from being informed about details for this new role for Hagley Oval.There appears to be an expectation that consents are a mere formality to turn this site into a commercial venture,contrary to the original intent for a reserve.Moving ahead with creating a new wicket block for ICC before gaining consents for supporting infrastructure and ground modifications is indicative of the way the Christchurch City Council continues to flout normal procedures and allows favoured entities to side -step proper scruitiny.The citizens of Christchurch deserve better treatment than this from their elected representatives,and all proposals to alienate parts of Hagley Park should be subjected to the blowtorch of robust public consultation.

If you would like to give you opinion, and view what others have said on the Hagley Park Oval issue go to the facebook hagley park/





We need your support to stop the destruction

of what is left of our city’s heritage


Please download, sign and circulate the petition form     Heritage Petition



MEDIA STATEMENT 16 August 2010






In a submission to the Hon. Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Conservation, dated 11 August 2010, ICON and the Christchurch Civic Trust (Civic Trust) have expressed their very serious concerns, regarding what they consider to be the Christchurch City Council’s (CCC) flawed decision-making processes, in respect of the CCC’s approval of the Canterbury District Health Board’s (CDHB) proposal to transfer a piece of CDHB land for a piece of Hagley Park, vested in the CCC, to enable the redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital.


ICON and the Civic Trust contend that the CCC’s public consultation process was undertaken in a manner inconsistent with the CCC’s legal obligations. They have asked the Minister to decline her approval of the precedent-setting proposed land exchange and believe that the CCC have no option but to re-notify the proposal.


The submission’s Executive Summary lists their numerous concerns, which, in their opinion, call into question the statutory compliance of the CCC’s public consultation and decision-making processes and, thus, the legality of the decisions reached. Eg:

  • non-disclosure of relevant information to the public
  • inadequacy of the public notice inviting submissions
  • no presentation of alternative siting options for the hospital redevelopment
  • non-disclosure of the destruction of 26 large mature Hagley Park trees
  • non-disclosure of the adverse environmental impact on adjacent Hagley Park land, hospital land and potentially the Botanic Gardens
  • no evidence of the CCC’s consideration of Parliament’s 1974 intentions to protect Hagley Park land from being taken for public works, including hospital buildings, by means of land exchanges or the Public Works Act

The submission contains references to attachments. These are not included with the attached electronic copy but are available upon request.

For further comment, please contact:

Therese Minehan                                 Tim Hogan
ICON Chair                                            Christchurch Civic Trust Chair

Tel: 366 0435 Hm Tel: 379 9525 Wk
Email:      Email:



ICON (Inner City West Neighbourhood Assoc. Inc.):
Represents the interests and concerns of people living in the area, bounded within Park Terrace, Rolleston Avenue, Cambridge Terrace, Durham Street, Victoria Street and Bealey Avenue, Christchurch. This area includes over 1,000 households.


Christchurch Civic Trust:

Emerged as an action group of residents dedicated to the preservation of significant heritage landmarks and the encouragement of quality design and development of their future environment. The Civic Trust continues to promote the protection and enhancement of our historic environment as well as positive redevelopment, quality of current urban design (including infrastructure), building and green space planning, because what we build today will be our heritage tomorrow.

The Arts Centre:

The Arts Centre Trust Board is in the process of examining options for developing new facilities that would enhance the future viability and value of the Centre to the general community in ways that would respect its unique Neo Gothic attributes.  To that end, the Civic Trust holds the view that a master plan needs to be formulated, in respect of which, further discussions with the Arts Centre Trust Board are anticipated.  (Please refer to recent newsletters for up to date information).

Rejection of the Music Conservatorium Proposal At the Arts Centre Site

May 12 2010

The rejection of the proposed music conservatorium at the Arts Centre by the Christchurch City Council appointed commissioners has pleased the Christchurch Civic Trust, who have vigorously opposed this scheme. The commissioners view is that “the proposed building is too great a scale and too bulky for it to be compatible ….with the protection of heritage items having regard to their significance”

Another decision to allow subdivision of the site was granted, subject to all titles being registered with the following condition.

“…this allotment shall be considered to be within and part of a single site bounded by Worcester Boulevard, Montreal Street, Hereford Street and Rolleston Avenue, together with all other allotments located within the block bounded by those roads”

The Christchurch Civic Trust looks forward to future liaison with the Arts Centre Trust Board, to determine a satisfactory master plan for this entire site in accordance with the above decisions.

Living 3 and Living 4 Zones:

Another matter of consequence relates to issues and options relating to future development in L3 and L4 residential zones that occupy large areas of inner Christchurch and in which a considerable amount of random infill redevelopment has taken place. Resultant outcomes have raised a number of urban design concerns arising from the close proximity of adjoining buildings on individual sites of constraining lot sizes and dimensions.

Canterbury Museum:

The Civic Trust fought long and hard against proposals for the “revitalisation” of the Canterbury Museum on the general grounds that the scope and visual attributes of works would have had serious adverse effects on the heritage value of the Neo Gothic buildings. The Environment Court upheld that view but there are, as yet, no apparent signs of what options might now be considered – including the possibility of the development of much needed additional facilities on adjoining or nearby sites. The Trust will keep a watching brief.

Christchurch Hospital and Hagley Park:

Current moves to extend the hospital further into Hagley Park – to demolish the existing Nurses Hostel and to exceed the height restrictions – are being debated.   This move would result in the loss of 27 trees and a significant loss to the existing woodland/daffodil area, and to have helicopter landings on these new buildings.

Christchurch Urban Development

A commitment has been made by the Christchurch City Council, in conjunction with Environment Canterbury, Transit New Zealand and the Waimakariri and Selwyn district councils, jointly to rationalize the future planning and development of Greater Christchurch in the context of a long-term Urban Development Strategy (UDS), approved in June 2007. The UDS anticipates the population of Greater Christchurch increasing from 414,000 in 2006 to 549,000 by 2041, requiring new housing for about 75,000 households.  Other socio-economic land uses will also be required, along with extensions to and improvements of infrastructure systems and community services.

The UDS also postulates a strategy of “centralization” that between 2006 – 2041 would result in an increase of about 14,000 households in the Central City, with a further 5000 households absorbed by infill projects, and some 34,200 households in greenfield areas and other suburbs  of the City.  The overall increase for the City per se would be in the order of 53,200 households.  Also, additional growth totaling about 21,700 households is envisaged for communities in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.  It may thus be expected that the scale of growth anticipated by the UDS will lead to increased external interactions with and pressures within the Central City.  (See schematic drawing attached of Civic Trusts submission)

Revitalisation of the city

In the above context, the UDS states that:

The success of the Strategy is tied directly to how well the City and town centres are revitalised ….  Christchurch’s Central City has a special importance in ensuring that Christchurch and Canterbury continue to function and grow as dynamic places in which to live, work and play. As the centre of the region’s economy and gateway to Canterbury, the success of the Central City is linked intrinsically to the success of the region.

The City Council has for some years past produced a significant number of studies relating to the improvement of the land use, transport and environmental components of the Central City.  That work has provided useful inputs for incorporation in the current City Plan, approved in November 2005.  However, steps now need to be taken to review the roles and structure of the Central City over the same time span assumed for the UDS.  A vision of the Council for the Central City is the creation and sustainable development of:

  • A vibrant, exciting, safe and sustainable heart of Christchurch;
  • A heart with a healthy and strong economy, environment, culture and society.

A first task has been to launch a systematic assessment of the redevelopment potential of sites within the Four Avenues, by which broad areas have been identified for potential, comprehensively designed schemes.  Policies and institutional measures are also needed to facilitate site amalgamation and the implementation of projects through joint public–private sector ventures where appropriate.  Results from these should then provide a foundation for structuring the Central City in the form of a number of precincts within a frame of arterial, primary distributor and local access roads, supplemented by improved traffic management systems, efficient public transport services and improved environmental amenities.

It is perceived that, with some upgrading, the existing roads, utility services and land resources in the Central City are likely to have the potential capacity to accommodate substantial additional growth that needs to be configured within the scope of a well-devised, integrated land use and multimode transport strategy for implementation via comprehensively designed urban renewal schemes.  Model tests are needed to evaluate a range of strategic development options against a set of defined objective-based criteria.

A major step forward towards achieving the above objectives has been taken by the Christchurch City Council, which resolved on 4 October 2007, to set up an URBAN REGENERATION AGENCY (URA) to pursue the following objectives:

  • Preparing and implementing comprehensive redevelopment plans in conjunction with the CCC for target areas which guide future public and private investment in such areas;
  • Acquiring, assembling, selling and leasing real estate to achieve redevelopment and to promote the CCC policy objectives, specifically the Urban Development  Strategy and the Central City Revitalisation Strategy;
  • Performing remediation of brown-field sites or other properties encumbered with environmental and redevelopment obstacles;
  • Facilitating the formation and implementation of public–private sector partnerships and joint ventures in the implementation of relevant projects; and
  • Developing flagship, prestige projects that are exemplars of the Council’s revitalisation objectives and act as catalysts for private investment and development.

In the above context, steps have been taken by the Christchurch City Council to promote a redevelopment project for the former Turners and Growers site (opposite) that forms part of a Central City Edge (CCE) zone.  That zone is intended for a mix of servicing and light industrial uses and also residential development to provide opportunities to assist in the enhancement and revitalisation of the area itself and also, in turn, the wider central city area. The development of a zone with a diverse mixture of activities that attract people into the area is one tool to facilitate rejuvenation. The project is expected to incorporate residential accommodation, a hotel with winery, a retail market area, car parking and a central public space connecting to Lichfield, Tuam and Madras Streets. The project is expected to take 5 – 7 years to bring to fruition.

This illustration portrays one strategically located area within the CCE Zone that offers good potential for an innovative “Flagship” revitalisation project.

It is anticipated that, in due course, the entire CCE zone could be transformed into an inner city precinct of great distinction through the combined efforts of public and private bodies. There also are other areas in the Central City that offer potential for revitalisation and the launching of further flagship projects. For such areas, there should be opportunities for public–private sector joint ventures, for which the current Council’s Community Long Term Plan (LTCCP) sets out clearly defined policy objectives and guidelines. In that context, measures to promote the amalgamation of sites need to be applied in order to achieve comprehensively designed projects of distinction.