Property Dave Henderson has often said that his ‘vision’ for central Christchurch ‘dovetails’ with that of Mayor Bob Parker – as it did with former mayor Garry Moore (now advising the Christchurch City Council as a ‘private consultant’ on ‘urban renewal.’)
What is that plan? Essentially Henderson and Parker want to drive 30,000 people into living in the city – into what Henderson loftily describes as a ‘classic mixed use urban neighbourhood.’
This was the scheme Moore pushed and his successor – Parker- is continuing to pursue this futile plan
If the plan was ever fulfilled all it would have done is create urban ghettos and push up house prices even more.
But it’s a plan that has been accepted uncritically by Parker’s supporters on the council.
Fortunately though, it’s never going to happen.
The reality is the Christchurch business district is now a beast that can’t be tamed.
It is the product of long years of council incompetence and inaction that has allowed large malls to be built in all areas of the city.
Henderson’s vision – of building bars and cafes in city alleyways and refitting old offices with cheap apartments – is not going to change this.
Parker often talks of creating a ‘metropolitan city centre’ – but this is a big town of some 300,000 people. It’s not London. It’s not New York. It’s not even Melbourne.
But Parker and his council supporters continue with this folly. At the same time they have allowed property developers to run riot in the suburbs. Character houses have been demolished to be replaced by nasty concrete boxes.
Meanwhile Henderson continues to blow hot air about his ‘mixed urban environment’.
Some of his fans mistake his grandiose bluster for ‘vision’. That would be okay except Henderson’s House of Cards is always built on other people’s money. Like the small investors in Hanover Finance and Dominion Finance for instance.
Now his pals in the Christchurch City Council have given him $17 million of ratepayer’s money so he can attempt to carry on with his folly.