By DAVID HILL
North Canterbury’s construction boom is continuing, with all three districts reporting higher than expected building consent figures.
The Hurunui and Kaikoura district councils had their busiest years yet in 2018 on the back of earthquake rebuilds and repairs, while the Waimakariri District Council processed nearly 100 more consents for new houses than expected.
Waimakariri District Council regulation manager Nick Harrison said his team predicted there would be around 620 consents for new houses in 2018, but there were 712, including 242 in Rangiora, 119 in Kaiapoi, 90 in Woodend, 84 in Pegasus and 112 in rural areas.
While this is well down on the peak after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, when more than 1000 new house consents were processed each year from 2012 to 2014, it is well up on the 573 consents in 2017.
“It’s a bit more than we forecast, but it’s good to see interest from people wanting to build in North Canterbury.”
Among the district’s higher profile commercial developments is a new building under way on the corner of Ivory and High streets in Rangiora to house a new Burger King restaurant.
Christchurch Property Projects Ltd, which sought the consent for the building, has applied for a change. It wants to replace office space with two floors of apartments.
Hurunui’s building team leader, Kerry Walsh, says 612 consents were processed last year, up slightly up on 2017 and around 200 more than pre-quake figures, as residents got on with their lives after the November 2016 earthquake.
“The building work within the Hurunui district remains high since the 2016 earthquake, with a considerable amount of work occurring in the northern part of the district. Work in other areas is also at high levels, including the Amberley region.”
He says the employment of Chris King as rebuild officer to help residents with earthquake-related housing issues has been successful, with around “500 clients on his books”.
“Earthquake-related consents remain a high priority for the Hurunui consenting team, with our fast-track consenting service being utilised over 190 times so far for earthquake-related work.”
Mr Walsh says towards the end of last year there were several consent applications for million-dollar projects in the northern part of the district.
The Kaikoura District Council processed 220 building consents last year, including 47 for new houses, five for new commercial buildings and the rest for farm sheds, fireplaces, extensions and earthquake repairs.
“Our consenting team has been under pressure this year and I know they were really busy prior to Christmas,” Mayor Winston Gray says.
“Forty-seven new homes is a lot for Kaikoura and a lot of that is earthquake work, but you’ve only got to drive around the sub-divisions and you can see there’s new building going on as well.”