Christchurch City Councillors will consider more than 250 submissions from the public as they decide whether to go ahead with an agreement that will see a new carpark building built in Christchurch’s Performing Arts Precinct.
In November 2021, Christchurch City Council signed a conditional agreement with Wilson Parking New Zealand to purchase the empty land at 137–141 Gloucester Street – at market value at the time negotiation started. The agreement also required that the building contain parking for bikes, scooters and electric vehicles.
Under the conditional agreement, Wilson Parking undertook to design, build, own and operate a 320–400 space public carpark building on the land, which is next to the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Part of the agreement with Wilson Parking states that the 2081 square metres of land must be used as a carpark for the next 30 years, and that the carpark building will be built at no cost to the Council. It also required that the building could be adapted for alternative uses should the demand for car parking fall in the future.
The Council’s agreement with Wilson Parking is subject to public consultation over the associated sale of the land and the elected Council’s approval of that sale.
“The proposal to sell the land was released for public comment from November–December 2021. The Council received 257 submissions, of which 38 supported the proposal. The other 219 submissions were against the proposal,” Council said in a statement today.
“The main theme of the submissions opposed to the proposal related to climate change, with references to the Council’s Climate Resilience Strategy and its declaration of a climate emergency.
“Those in support, including tenants of the Performing Arts Precinct, spoke about the current lack of parking facilities in the area and the opportunity to make visiting the precinct easier.
“Council staff are recommending the sale go ahead. That is largely because the Council’s 2015 Christchurch Central Parking Plan identified the need for a new off-street parking building, or buildings, in the area north of Cathedral Square to help meet demand for public parking in the area,” it said.
The Crown transferred the Gloucester Street land to the Council in 2020 as part of the Global Settlement Agreement, with the expectation that a carpark building would be built there to help serve the Performing Arts Precinct. The Performing Arts Precinct includes The Court Theatre, Isaac Theatre Royal and The Piano. A new parking building in that location will also support Te Pae and Tūranga, Council said.
If the Council decides not to sell the land, it could decide to pursue other options to deliver a carpark building.
If the land sale goes ahead, it is hoped the carpark building will be completed by late 2023.