Risk e-Views Vol 21 August 2012 – Risk Leadership: Balancing Resilience

Christchurch City Council has just released a blueprint for the future of the city’s CBD, entitled the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. It is bold and imaginative and makes this statement: “we are here and we will be back better than ever before”.

I have just returned from meetings with city planners and consultants in Christchurch during which we discussed recovery operations and the challenges they are facing. The planning time frame is years but we all know the implications will be for decades. They speak of building resilience and, most importantly, they speak of balancing resilience.


Consider the balancing act:

  • The RED ZONE – Do we declare off limits large areas of the city that people call “home” so in the future people don’t have to face the loss of life, destruction of assets and major disruptions to services? At what cost to the current generations?
  • Repair Timeframes – The longer we take to repair infrastructure the costlier it is to operate and maintain it.
  • Fiscal Balancing – What is the balance between spending fast to reinstate infrastructure needed for an economy to function, at the risk of incurring too much debt or requiring tax increases?

These are big questions that are being worked through by good, hardworking public servants and their advisors, who are often the ones who are blamed when things take too long or are not what was expected.
Will you or your management team support the next person that asks for funds when balancing the cost of building resilience versus meeting the immediate cries of today’s stakeholders?