The number of construction sites in Christchurch’s central city is on the rise, and the local council has taken steps to ensure that the fences and protective hoardings surrounding these sites do not become (in the words of Christchurch newspaper, The Press) ‘graffiti-covered eyesores’.
Yesterday, the Christchurch City Council’s Environment Committee approved a policy change allowing a rebate of up to 50% on the encroachment fee charged to developers and construction companies when hoardings eat into a public road or footpath, where these developers and contractors take steps to beautify their hoardings. The types of features envisaged include viewing windows for passing pedestrians to watch the building work, artwork, and images of what was on the site previously and what is going up in its place.
Councillor Tim Scrandrett foresees that the ‘hoardings will be a tourist attraction if we really get on to it’.
At the moment, developers and construction companies with encroaching hoardings are charged $7.50 a month per square metre. The Council expects to collect about $200,000.00 through fees charged for the temporary use of legal roads this year, and this figure is set to double next year. The proposed rebate would reduce that revenue (by creating savings for contributing developers and construction companies) by up to $100,000.00.
Although the rebate scheme has the enthusiastic backing of the Environment Committee, it still requires the approval of the full Council before implementation.