Christchurch Replacement District Plan

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The Christchurch City Plan was overdue for review when the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence struck between 2010 and 2011. Initially the review of the plan was put on hold, however, for an effective rebuild of the city it became apparent that the district plan review would need to be fast tracked.

Under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act, a special order in council was passed to immediately prepare the replacement district plan (RDP). This process would by-pass some of the requirements of a “normal” district plan process under the Resource Management Act, and identified clear priority chapters in respect to recovery of the city and a statement of expectations. The new provisions would also be heard and decided upon by an independent hearing panel (IHP) set up by the government.

The GHD Planning Team provided a wide range of planning services to the Christchurch City Council (CCC) District Planning Team on an “as needed” basis, often responding at short notice due to the high demands of the project. This included the secondment of key senior and principal GHD policy planners, full and part time, to assist and lead the drafting of specific chapters of the review (including natural hazards, open space and specific purpose zones ( e.g. Flat Land Recovery Zone). The team also included junior planning and administrative support when an ‘all hands on deck’ approach was required to assist the CCC following the submission period closing and during significant service mail-outs. The timeframe for the production of the RDP meant that responding quickly to the needs of the CCC was an important part of ensuring the success of the project.

GHD planners assisted with plan drafting, public consultation, review and coding of submissions, involvement in mediation to narrow issues in contention, and provision of expert planning evidence to the Independent Hearings Panel. In addition, the process involved making minor amendments to the plan after decisions were released. Our specialist GIS team also provided exceptional district plan mapping services to this project.

The GHD Planning Team played a key role in ensuring the best possible outcome for the CCC in a once-in-a life-time planning process. The RDP is now operative and GHD planners continue to play a role in auditing the plan to give effect to the IHP’s decisions.

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