'Notices' are not compulsory purchases – yet, says CERA

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority buys first inner-city property.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has completed one settlement for an inner-city commercial property within its CBD “frame”.

CERA is committed to acquiring hundreds of properties as part of a centrally-controlled rebuilding experiment in central Christchurch.

Agreements have also been signed by the landowner and Crown for two other properties.

The Crown has received signed sale and purchase agreements from 16 landowners, while agreement in principle has been reached with a further 19 owners.

Negotiations are underway on another 177 properties, “a number of which are in advanced stages”, according to CERA’s Central Christchurch Development Unit chief executive Warwick Isaacs.

Mr Isaacs disagrees with an NBR ONLINE report about compulsory acquisition of properties in central Christchurch.

The story told how the government ministry has issued Notices of Intent to Take Land for dozens of privately owned inner-city properties.

Mr Isaacs disagrees with an assertion that the historic Odeon property “is one of the latest tranche of central city privately owned properties to be seized by CERA”.

“In reality, the Crown has not compulsorily acquired any properties as a part of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

"Notices of Intention to take land are being progressively issued to the owners of all properties where anchor projects are designated, as part of the legal process to provide the Crown with an option to compulsorily acquire should that be required," he says.

“It remains the strong preference of the Crown to purchase the properties it is seeking in a `willing buyer, willing seller’ negotiation.

“In the majority of cases where the Crown has contacted owners seeking to purchase properties, the owner has entered into a negotiation or expressed a willingness to enter into a discussion towards this end.”