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Yesterday Te Runanga o Otakou formally blessed the land on which the $1.2billion-$1.4billion project will be built.
The ceremony took place on what was once the Cadbury factory warehouse and which will become the hospital’s outpatient and day surgery building.
"There will be change around town, but this building is well overdue," Health Minister David Clark said.
"We won’t see dust and we won’t see traffic disruption immediately, but that stuff will come with time ... but everyone accepts that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette."
Christchurch construction and demolition firm Ceres was last month awarded the main demolition contract.
Operations manager Swaroop Gowda said Ceres would move on to the site this week, bringing in equipment and setting up site offices.
Demolition would begin next week.
"We recruited three staff from Dunedin in January and have interviewed a few candidates.
"As we progress through the demolition works, we plan to hire and train more local workforce," Mr Gowda said.
"At the peak, we estimate a workforce of 40 workers.
"We plan to bring 15 experienced workers from out of town.
"The rest of the workforce will be recruited locally or we will engage local sub-contractors."
That workforce would generate around 55,000 tonnes of debris, Mr Gowda said.
Around 50,000 tonnes of that is destined for the Burnside landfill.
"The debris includes concrete, steel, timber and carpets," Mr Gowda said.
"We estimate about 4000 tonnes of scrap metal will be recycled, and we will also salvage native timber from some of the buildings.
"Depending on the demand for recycled crushed concrete, we may choose to recycle the concrete debris."
Buildings on site contained asbestos, the majority being in roofing and in flooring tiles.
Ceres NZ had the capability in-house to deal with asbestos, and the firm could also handle any contaminated soil found when the site was cleared, Mr Gowda said.
"A detailed site management plan will be prepared for the sub-surface ground conditions, including geotechnical and contamination assessment after the demolition of superstructure."
Cycle lanes and two lanes on both north and southbound sections of State Highway1 will remain open throughout demolition.
Hospital planners hope to have Cabinet consider the detailed business case (DBC) for the new hospital in the middle of the year, before the September election.
The detailed business case was due to be presented to Cabinet next month but has been delayed by wrangling over the master site plan, the document which sets out the positioning of buildings and space allocation for services on the central city site.
That plan has now been confirmed but would need Cabinet approval, Southern Partnership Group chairman Pete Hodgson said.
"I had hoped to be announcing it this month, not next, but what we can announce this month is that we are back hard at work."
Mr Hodgson hoped to be able to confirm the final size of the hospital next month, as well as details of its new timeline and budget.
"We are working towards a new figure.
"That has to go to Cabinet, too, then we will tell you what that figure is."