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In the domain . . . (From left): Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey; Jackie Watson, Chair of the Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi Community Board; Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers and Building and Construction Minister, Dr Nick Smith. Photo: Supplied

By Robyn Bristow

The return of Kaiapoi Domain to the Waimakariri District Council marks the start of a new chapter for the area, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith attended a ceremony today with Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers to formally hand back the remediated Kaiapoi Domain site.

“The Government built three temporary accommodation villages on reserve land in Christchurch and Waimakariri following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010/11. These villages – Linwood Park, Rawhiti Domain and Kaiapoi Domain – had a total of 84 homes and were built at a cost of $15 million to house people who needed somewhere to stay while their home was repaired or rebuilt,” Dr Smith says.

“The Kaiapoi Domain village closed in April 2016 due to easing demand and the 22 houses were sold. They had housed 180 households, who stayed five months on average. The three villages collectively housed more than 815 households.”

Mr Smith said the villages were run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service (CETAS). CETAS had helped more than 6500 households find temporary accommodation, which is a significant level of support contributing to Canterbury’s residential recovery and regeneration.

“Over the past couple years, the need for temporary accommodation support has reduced, to the point that the three villages on reserve land are no longer needed. The return of Kaiapoi Domain to the Waimakariri District Council today means the reserve can be repurposed for new community use initiatives and general recreational enjoyment.”

Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey says the handover of the Kaiapoi Domain is one of the last milestones in the community’s regeneration.

In my role as MP I hear from a range of people, from community groups and business owners to individuals, who are upbeat that Waimakariri is heading in the right direction and is on track. We’re enjoying a period of growth, increased investment and a strong sense of really moving forward.

“I am currently running my Keeping Connected Evening Meetings across the electorate and people are telling me they love their new town centres and are excited about the possibilities presented by the regeneration zones, all which confirm Waimakariri as a unique boutique destination.

“The Waimak has come a long way, led by a hard-working council, and I believe the return of the Domain – much as the re-opening of Farmers in Rangiora – represents to our Kaiapoi community that we are in a place of renewal and optimism,” Doocey said.