By Warren Taylor
The Waimakariri region offers a diverse, laid-back lifestyle with easy access to main centres, community services and many recreational areas such as the Waimakariri River.
These qualities appeal to a range of people and the region will no doubt continue to grow as people move to make the most out of all that the area offers.
Following the Earthquake of 22 February 2011, building activity in the Waimakariri District lifted from a long term average of 450 new dwelling starts per annum, to more than 1,000 per annum for the years 2011-2014.
With almost 1,000 properties red-zoned in the Kaiapoi, Kairaki Beach and Pines Beach areas, a jump in new dwelling starts was anticipated.
The majority of activity over the last five years has occurred in Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Pegasus followed by rural life style builds.
The Silverstream development was ‘fast tracked’ under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act and as more land became available, building activity continued at pace.
During the last five years more than 4,500 dwellings have been constructed. This year we anticipate new dwelling starts will sit around 30 percent more than the 10 year average of 450 dwellings.
The impact of building activity can be seen in the 2013 Census, which showed the resident population of the district had increased by 7,155 between 2008 and 2013.
The availability of land for residential or commercial purposes influences the decision to build and the Waimakariri District currently has areas of land zoned for business activity.
Restoring the heart of local townships
The rebuilding of the town centres was initially slowed as people negotiated their insurance claims and attended to the changes in the building code brought about by the earthquake.
Over the last three years the town centres of Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Oxford have seen the impact of significant investment in commercial spaces.
The town centres of Kaiapoi and Rangiora are today more vibrant and people can be confident in knowing the quality of the commercial building stock is likely to be the best in New Zealand.
The number of commercial building consents issued has been increasing each year, reflecting the post-earthquake reconstruction and the growth of business in the district, particularly at Southbrook and more recently Smith Street in Kaiapoi.
The education sector has also been impacted by the growth in the population and there has been significant investment by the Ministry of Education in school buildings and private businesses to meet the demand for early childhood centres. Nineteen consents have been processed for the education sector to a value of $36,906,494.
The growth in the dairy industry peaked in the 2011-12 financial year. During the last five years, 27 consents have been processed for dairy sheds to a value of $14,026,646.
Warren Taylor is the manager of the building unit for the Waimakariri District Council. He has 16 years’ experience dealing with residential and commercial construction throughout the region.