Darren Wright
CERA has only 'consulted' with the local Christchurch community on two  of the central city anchor projects  developed by the Christchurch Central Development Unit in conjunction with commercial interests. But according to Darren Wright, the chair of the CERA Community Forum, the 'consultation process' is working.

IT  COMES AS NO SURPRISE THAT The Press is reporting that 'The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has consulted the wider public on just two of Christchurch's 12 central city anchor projects.'

However CERA has tried to mitigate these dismal results by claiming the Christchurch  City Council's 2011 Share An Idea Campaign, which attracted over a 100,000 public submissions,  was adequate consultation. However  it was exactly this plan which  was rejected by CERA's former boss Roger Sutton and subsequently led to the creation of the Christchurch  Central  Development Unit - which developed a new blueprint for central Christchurch. That plan was developed in conjunction with corporate interests which had lobbied to have the 'Share An Idea' blueprint dumped.

Dr Suzanne Vallance, of Lincoln University's Urban Studies programme, is closer  to the mark with her observation  that  Share an Idea was a "first step in a deliberative process that would have been ongoing, but it wasn't ongoing".

Acting CERA boss Kelvin Smith though continues to push the fiction that the people of Christchurch are making a meaningul contribution  to the recovery and have not been shut out. He  laughably claims that CERA 'consults' with  the local  community through the community forum that was established after the big quake in 2011.  But CERA's true assessment of its worth is revealed by the fact that Gerry Brownlee has never been to one meeting and Roger Sutton managed to make an appearance at only two.

You might think that, at least, the chair of a 'community forum' like this would actually be chaired  by someone from the local community. It is not. The chair is a CERA bureaucrat - Darren Wright. He is described on the CERA website as a 'property developer' and 'a significant landowner in the Sumner and Redcliffs area'.  He is a consultant for CERA on commercial and residential insurance claims.

Not surprisingly he claims that the forum works.

He told The Press: "People want to see results now, they're not interested in reports or documents any more. People want to see things happening,"

Actually people want to have a real and substantial  say in the development of the city they live in and not be fobbed off with platitudes from CERA bureaucrats like Darren Wright.


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