Part of central Christchurch will be open for business again from October.
Under the project Re:Start 29.10.11, authorities plan to have existing businesses operating again in the area between Oxford Terrace, Hereford St, Columbo St, and Lichfield St.
Although October seems a long time away, at least some Christchurch CBD businesses now have a firm date that they can look and work towards. Amidst all the doom and gloom that has descended since the earthquake on 22 February, this is a welcome development.
But wait, as they say in the infomercials; there's more:
It was also announced today that Westpac is to set up a temporary business hub for quake-affected small businesses in Christchurch.
Slated to open in early May, it will give local small and medium-sized businesses free access to office space and key services such as communications facilities.
It would offer "all the essential tools of doing business - phone, photocopying, office space and video conferencing capability," general manager of business banking Ian Blair said.
"The fitout will have the look and feel of a business environment."
He said many businesses were also dealing with major issues such as insurance claims.
"To help with that, we are looking at supporting services such as lawyers, accountants, and other advisers being available on site."
It is expected the hub - which will cover 2500 square metres and may be extended in size if there is additional demand - will be able to accommodate up to 70 businesses at any one time.
It will be located next to the CBS Arena and will operate for up to 18 months.
The Canterbury Chamber of Commerce will also have a presence at the business hub.
This is a terrific initiative in our ever-humble opinion. Samll businesses have been especially hard hit by the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake. It is great to see Westpac getting in and helping out, adding to the offer of help from the ASB Bank of a couple of weeks ago.
It's going to be a long haul back for business in Christchurch, but we hope that today's announcements provide encouragement to the local business community, and especially those businesses that may be in the throes of deciding whether to reopen, or whether just to pack it in.
We're confident that Christchurch will weather this storm, even though the central city landscape has been changed forever. The support being provided by the likes of Westpac and the ASB Bank is most welcome.