Controversial central Christchurch youth hub to go ahead

An artist's impression of the Christchurch Youth Hub development. Image: Supplied
An artist's impression of the Christchurch Youth Hub development. Image: Supplied
A proposal to bring New Zealand’s first purpose-built youth hub to Christchurch, which was a topic of concern among central city residents last year, has been given the green light.

An agreement between Christchurch’s Youth Hub Trust, community group Victoria Neighbourhood Association and Christchurch City Council will allow the $20 million “one-stop-shop” for youth health and well-being to proceed.

But previously neighbours said the 4250sq m hub on Salisbury St and Gracefield Ave would be too noisy and bring about more traffic.

They also expressed concerns that privacy would be lost.

“This agreement means resource consent has now been achieved, enabling us to work together, hand-in-hand, to ensure that the youth hub delivers not only for the city’s young people in need, but also, importantly, the local neighbourhood,” said trust chairwoman Dame Sue Bagshaw.

An artist's impression of the Christchurch Youth Hub development. Image: Supplied
An artist's impression of the Christchurch Youth Hub development. Image: Supplied
VNA spokesperson Marjorie Manthei said the outcome provided a pathway to an effective partnership.

“Of course, we’re disappointed that this large piece of residential land won’t be used only for housing,” she said.

“However, mediation allowed us all to take another look at the plans and find positive, workable compromises.”

The agreement allows the hub to meet its core purpose while addressing most of the concerns raised by the VNA.

A community liaison group will oversee both long-term and day-to-day operational matters, including operating hours, traffic management and the number of social service agencies operating at the facility, once built.

The VNA said its objection to the youth hub application focused on the impact of non-residential activities on a small residential neighbourhood, not the young people.

Once built, the hub - Te Hurihanga Ō Rangatahi - will be a communal place of support for 10 to 25-year-olds, including access to catch-up education, healthcare, mental health counselling, vocational training, recreation and employment.

The development will provide purpose-built accommodation for up to 40 young people in need, aged 16 to 24, with most staying a few months at a time.

The centre will also provide space for about 12 different youth organisations. 

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