Christchurch has a unique opportunity. The plan of the inner city area includes three “frames”. The largest one is to the east and contains 13 ha of land which will end up as park. Apparently there through the park will be cycleways and walkways. Cyclists will ride past some residential houses and some inner city up market apartments. The south frame will contain the health precinct and the Avon Precinct to the north will have civic buildings.
It is the east frame I have been thinking about. If there are to be private homes in this park – and there is no date for it – then let’s do it right. There are 92 properties to be acquired by Government in the eastern frame. 52 agreements have been reached and there are 30 sites with negotiations being finalised.
In the Press (Sat July 13, 2013) there is a story describing the bitterness of property owners. The Christchurch City Development Unit is apparently offering ridiculously low sums of money for these properties. The Government can acquire the land under the Public Works Act. If property owners allow this, they can seek compensation through the courts.
The article talks about the Government onselling the land at a profit and it is here that I really started to get interested. Putting aside all the unfairness of not paying market prices for the land and getting it on the cheap, this issue of onselling it is where I draw the line. My view is that the Government should keep the land and then auction the leasehold property to the highest bidder. Thus a full ground rent would be payable. The revenue should ideally be shared by local government and central government.