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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More than 200 chase seats on Earthquake Recovery Forum

More than 200 chase seats on Earthquake Recovery Forum

Last updated 05:00 11/05/2011
More than 200 Cantabrians have applied to be part of the Earthquake Recovery Forum.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday that 230 interest groups and individuals had applied for a seat on the forum, which will act as an advisory group for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera).

He said initial plans to have only 20 people on the forum would be revised, given the immense interest.

"The number and quality of applications suggests the final group will be rather larger, which is great."

The forum would consist of mostly unelected representatives and cover a spread of interest groups, he said.

Applicants were from many sectors, including health, businesses and education, and from quake-hit neighbourhoods, he said.

Christchurch Hospitality spokesman Max Bremner said his group had applied for a seat on the forum to ensure inner-city restaurants, bars and cafes had a voice in the rebuild.

"We have 390 members in the middle of town, with a $500 million turnover, employing 7000 staff," he said.

Bremner, who owns several city bars, or businessman Brian Vieceli would occupy the seat for the group.

"It's not the be-all and end-all if we don't get in, but we are certainly pushing for it," Bremner said.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Network chairman Tom McBrearty said he had applied for a seat and encouraged neighbourhood groups within the network to do the same.

"We are interested in good-quality communication and being a conduit for communities," he said.

It was still too early to assess how well the forum would function, but it would not be a "token group", he said.

Brownlee and Cera will make the final call on who is selected for the forum, with a decision expected to be made on Monday.

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