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Friday, March 17, 2006

The Strip Scrap over outdoor area

From the CCC
MEDIA RELEASE                             Thursday 16
March 2006

Council votes not to go to mediation with bar owners

Christchurch City Councillors voted at their meeting today not to make
an offer to go to mediation with seven Oxford Tce bar owners, who are
refusing to sign licences to rent public footpath space outside their

Despite the fact that the bar owners had been informed yesterday that
Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore would suggest mediation to the
Councillors, legal proceedings were issued against the Council this
morning, seeking a judicial review of the process used by the Council to
set its rent for footpaths and other public spaces.

"The Councillors' stance demonstrates the certainty they have in the
process that has been used in setting the rental for Oxford Tce and the
rest of the city. If the bar owners want this to go to judicial review
then this is their call," Mr Moore said.

"Some of the Oxford Tce property owners who are refusing to sign their
licences have been lobbying against their rent since it was first
introduced in 1998," he said.

"We can easily justify an average rent that comes to less than $200 a
week per property in this area, especially when you take into account
the money the Council has spent developing and maintaining The Strip.
Street cleaning costs alone add an extra $40,000 to the Council's
maintenance budget. We are also budgeting for $1.7 million to be spent
on the Avon River Corridor through this part of the city, so we are
spending some serious money in this area."

In response to the bar owners' dissatisfaction with their rental, the
Council has in the past undertaken extensive consultation with them and
a Council subcommittee has twice reviewed its Public Streets Enclosure

"We have however remained firm on the method that we use to set rentals
for public footpath space. It is now time for these people to get on
with it and sign their licences," Mr Moore said. "We have 81 businesses
that rent public space from the Council - 74 have signed their leases
and seven are holding out."

Rental for public space in Christchurch is set by taking into account
location, area of land and a percentage of the rental paid by adjoining
businesses. If businesses are occupying prime public property they pay

"Ratepayers pay for public spaces and they expect businesses to pay a
rental for the land they are occupying. We can't have one rule for some
and not for others," Mr Moore said.


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