The University of Otago could be prevented from building on a
$5.5 million piece of land it bought in Christchurch, as the
Government intends to buy the site for part of the rebuilding
after last year's earthquakes.
The Oxford Tce land is covered by the Christchurch Central
Development Unit's (CCDU) proposal for a health precinct
surrounding the city's hospital.
The university bought the land in March, before the CCDU
released its central-city blueprint recovery plan in July,
which included the health precinct proposal.
Property services director Barry MacKay said CCDU's plans
meant the university might not be able to build a new
facility as intended.
The university had budgeted $590,000 to develop a plan for a
new facility to accommodate "expected growth of teaching and
research" at its Christchurch medical campus, he said. The
proposal was approved in principle by the university council
earlier this year.
"If the Government's plans for the new Christchurch health
precinct mean this is not possible, then we would expect to
acquire another suitable site within the health precinct," Mr
A CCDU spokesman said the Crown had advised the university of
its intention to acquire properties under the designation of
the health precinct, but the design of the precinct was still
to be completed and final decisions on individual properties
were still to be worked through.
If the Crown chose to proceed with acquisition of a property
and agreement on a sale could not be reached, the Crown could
proceed to compulsory acquisition to ensure the anchor
project was not held up.
How much money the university would get for the land would
depend on a valuation, the spokesman said.
The site was "one of a number" being considered for
development within the health precinct.
"Things are being considered on a case-by-case basis across
the different sites in the precinct, so to suggest what might
happen would be a bit foolish at this point," he said.