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Selwyn catering for influx from Christchurch

Nov 9th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

LOOKING AHEAD: Selwyn District Council building, where planners are working on catering for the influx of people.

AN OPPORTUNITY for Christchurch people to get “more bang for the buck” in Selwyn has seen the district grow faster than any other in New Zealand.  

Selwyn Central Ward Councillor, Mark Alexander, (pictured below) says the area is a stable option for residents from nearby Christchurch and the council is working quickly to accommodate the demand.

The population in Selwyn has jumped nearly four percent in the year ending June 30 from 39, 600 residents to 41,100 according to Statistics New Zealand.

This follows an annual increase of three percent over the previous three years.

Christchurch has lost nearly 9000 residents, which amounts to 2.4% of the city’s population, in the past year.

Before this decrease, Christchurch city’s population was steadily growing at an annual rate of one percent through natural increase (births over deaths) of 2200 per year on average and a net migration of 1600 on average.

Statistics New Zealand’s subnational population estimates report released last month  showed more displaced Christchurch residents chose to go to neighbouring Selwyn than any other district in the country.

“We like to think it is because we offer value for money, have a good workforce, and lower than average unemployment,” Mr Alexander says.

He says Selwyn is not subjected to the same liquefaction problems and ground instability.   “In the residential area a family can buy a newer home on a bigger section for the same amount of money for a smaller older property in Christchurch.”

Selwyn district

Selwyn District Council has recently approved plans to re-zone the area in Rolleston and Lincoln so a potential 8800 extra residential properties will be available in 20-30 years.

It has rezoned 822 hectares of land for residential and business purposes to accommodate the population increase.

Mr Alexander says the council is also providing the infrastructure,

water and sewer for those sections to allow development of fully serviced sections as part of the re-zoning plan.

The Izone Business Hub in Rolleston – which has been running for a number of years – another initiative that has been set up to accommodate Selwyn’s increasing population.

It is New Zealand’s biggest industrial development and was designed to address the lack of affordable business land in the area.

“The park was designed to encourage employment in the district, it provides business opportunities and employment opportunities so people can live and work in Selwyn.”

Selwyn is amongst several other South Island districts that are growing faster than anywhere else in New Zealand thanks to the earthquake.

Queenstown-Lakes is the second fastest growing district with a 3.2% increase, followed by Ashburton (2.3%), Waimakiriri (2%), and Hurunui (1.9%).

Meanwhile Wellington city’s population has increased by just over one percent and has attracted some businesses from Christchurch.

Owners of Christchurch clothes store Emporium Vintage Boutique, Georgina Lewis and Jimi Smith, have moved to Cuba St after their shop was closed by the February earthquake.

“We wanted to move to a city where there was people and security and because we have both put a lot of money into the business.” 25-year-old Miss Lewis says.

Mr Smith said he did want to return to Christchurch but it was too bigger risk rebuilding the business there.

“The rebuild is going to take years and years and it’s like putting all your eggs into one basket.”

This year Wellington’s population growth slowed but for the first time it exceeded 200,000, reaching 200,100.


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