Special legislation for racecourse development welcomed
The partnership seeking to develop land at Riccarton Park Racecourse welcomes government efforts to reduce red tape.
In an announcement this morning, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith said the government will introduce special legislation which will pave the way for the Joint Venture between the Trustees that govern Riccarton Park Racecourse and Ngāi Tahu Property to develop areas of land on the edge of the racecourse ready for around 600 new homes.
Minister Smith also confirmed first home buyers will have an opportunity to invest via the government’s KiwiSaver HomeStart initiative.
The Riccarton Park Racecourse land is currently bound by two Reserves Acts and requires zoning changes.
Ngāi Tahu Property Chief Executive Tony Sewell says getting the land ready for development would have otherwise been very slow going.
“As any developer in Christchurch knows, the margins we work within are unforgiving. Timing is critical when it comes to being able to deliver sections to market in the post-earthquake economic environment.”
Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Trust Chairman Peter Cordner says the Riccarton Park Racecourse site will remain unaffected, as well as the 1,200m chute and the training stables on the Yaldhurst Road boundary.
This project has been the result of countless hours of planning by both the Trustees and the Canterbury Jockey Club and I believe the very best interests of racing are at its heart.
“The ability to free up some land for development will generate capital and a regular income which will benefit racing, the Riccarton Park Racecourse, the Canterbury Jockey Club and the wider Canterbury economy.”
Tony Sewell says he is encouraged by the pragmatic approach taken by all the parties involved.
“As well as bringing developed land to the Christchurch housing market, the timely progression of the Riccarton Park Racecourse development will bring benefits to multiple communities”.
Ngāi Tahu Property Limited is a specialist in property investment, development and rural land ownership. The company is a subsidiary of Ngāi Tahu Holdings – the investment company for the tribe. Ngāi Tahu Property also manages Right of First Refusal. (As part of the settlement of the Ngāi Tahu Claim, Ngāi Tahu negotiated a Right of First Refusal on Crown land to be sold or made surplus within the Ngāi Tahu rohe (region/area), with a view to rebuilding the tribe’s economic base.)
Ngāi Tahu Property will purchase its share of the Riccarton Park Racecourse land in a 50:50 joint venture with Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Trust. On behalf of the Joint Venture, Ngāi Tahu Property will develop the land for residential use which will bring much needed land to the Christchurch housing market.
The Riccarton Park Racecourse is currently vested in The Trustees of the Christchurch Racecourse as a racecourse reserve under the Reserves Act 1977 (RA) and the Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Act 1878 (CRRA).
The Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Trustees are obligated under law to manage the Reserve in the best interests of racing. The Trustees lease most of the Reserve land to the Canterbury Jockey Club (CJC) for the purpose of the racecourse known as Riccarton Park Racecourse.
More than five years ago The Trustees and the CJC identified areas of the Reserve which had the potential to generate an income greater than the Trustees could otherwise achieve. The capital from the development would be retained and managed by the Trustees to provide an annual annuity to be made available to racing at Riccarton Park and the maintenance of the Reserve.
The land earmarked for development is approximately 38 hectares of more than 121 hectares next to Yaldhurst Road, in the Sockburn and Broomfield areas of North-West Christchurch.
The enactment of special legislation for The Trustees and CJC will mean the club can remain competitive with other clubs in New Zealand who have the ability to develop their freehold properties, unencumbered.