Apollo and some of our key stakeholders were privileged to have Peter Townsend, CEO of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, speak at the first of our ‘Live at the Apollo’ series of talks. According to Peter, we need to kick a few of the following myths concerning the Christchurch Rebuild into touch:
- Capital Flight – We have been saying for some time now that capital is designed to fly, and may fly from Christchurch – but more important is where it lands. We need to work towards creating an environment that encourages capital to land in Christchurch.
- Population Flight – Despite speculation following the earthquakes, the reality is that the population of greater Christchurch is now higher than it was prior to 4 September 2010 and is increasing.
- Negative Economic Impacts – Our regional economy is actually growing faster than the rest of New Zealand and will continue to do so – don’t underestimate the economic impact of the $40 billion plus rebuild spend!
Peter also emphasised the scale of the task ahead, and reminded the audience that 1,000 commercial buildings had been demolished inside the four avenues by February 2013.
He closed by saying “We need to think of the city centre as that – a city centre and not a CBD, and not be trapped by thinking that locks us in the past.” Peter believes it really is time to put these three urban legends to bed and to move forward constructively and positively in New Zealand’s biggest ever economic development programme.