Health board members have approved a proposal to add two floors to a staff car parking building in Christchurch.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) members discussed the proposal – to extend the multi-storey car parking building on Antigua St – during the public-excluded section of a meeting last week. A CDHB spokeswoman confirmed it had been approved.
While few details are available, the cost of the project will likely be in the millions. Speaking during the public section of the meeting, CDHB chief executive David Meates said the proposal formed part of what "will start becoming a clearer parking strategy" for the hospital.
He previously said the two additional floors would create between 250 and 300 car parks, and the cost of the project would be borne by the CDHB, not the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for delivering a multi-storey car parking building for Christchurch Hospital.
The lack of parking near the hospital has been an ongoing source of tension and frustration for patients, visitors and staff. The ministry had been aiming to deliver the project in 2020, however a lack of progress means that is now impossible, according to Meates.
In a bid to break the impasse, the CDHB is now taking a more active role in the process.
Meates said at the meeting the health board would be meeting with the Christchurch City Council, Ōtākaro, the University of Otago and Ara Institute of Canterbury over the coming weeks to "explore a range of choices and options" around parking.
Responsibility for the project still sat with the ministry, Meates said, but "what we're looking to do is help them with a solution". This included identifying a suitable site for a new multi-storey car parking building, Stuff understands.
The location of the old car parking building demolished after the earthquakes, on the block of land between Hagley Ave and St Asaph St, was no longer an option. It has been touted as a future site for a cancer centre and laboratory buildings.
The ministry, while acknowledging the frustration around car parking, has said it will know by mid-2019 if the 2020 timeframe is still achievable.
The additional floors on the Antigua St staff car parking building will compensate for the loss of car parks at the CDHB's afternoon staff car park on St Asaph St – land needed by the Crown for the metro sports facility.
The CDHB is involved in a land swap with the Crown over the land. However, this has been complicated by legal action being taken by Miles Group, which operates car dealerships in the health precinct between Tuam and St Asaph streets, bordered by Montreal St in the east.
The group is seeking a judicial review to try keep the land it agreed to sell to the Crown for $25 million in 2015. It contends it had no option to do otherwise, and says it will be at a commercial disadvantage if it has to move.
A senior CDHB executive has previously said part of the Miles Group site had been presented as an option for the CDHB to acquire in the swap. In January, the staffer said there was still an understanding the CDHB would acquire part of the site, subject to the outcome of the judicial review.