Archive for November, 2007

A Transport Option for Canterbury?

29 November 2007

A while back, John Woodward came to the Rangiora Ward Advisory Board and suggested that buses could be run on railway tracks in much the same way that Ontrack’s trucks do: they run on both the road and on the railway lines.  This would mean that buses could pick up passengers anywhere in Kaiapoi or Rangiora and then avoid traffic jams by getting into Christchurch on the railway tracks.

Well, in Hokkaido in Japan, they are trialling just such a system.  See the article below from a recent Time magazine.  Those with a technical interest might like to check out  www.japanrail.com/pdf/news/DMV_Poster.pdf

Another Japanese site is  www.pinktentacle.com/2006/11/dual-mode-vehicle-half-train-half-bus

hokkaido-bus.jpg

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The Aquatic Centre and Water – Contacting Councillors

29 November 2007

If you are upset about the Aquatic Centre and / or the failure to move immediately on upgrading your water supply, you can email councillors easily.  All of our emails are firstname.lastname (e.g. I am david.ayers) followed by @wmk.govt.nz   Emails sent to our council addresses are automatically fowarded to our home email addresses.

You should be able to work it out from that. I am avoiding putting an actual address in this blog because the spam merchants have ways of pulling them out of the net.

The Aquatic Centre and Water (21 Nov 07)

21 November 2007

Today the Waimakariri District Council voted to delay work on the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre and three water schemes (Summerhill, Rangiora and Oxford)

Dudley Park Aquatic Centre

Despite excellent submissions from six residents and strong support from a very full gallery, the Council decided to go with its recommendation to itself, i.e. to undertake further consultation as part of the Annual Plan process in the first half of next year.  The community will therefore need to mobilise itself again.

Those who opposed delay were Crs Robbie Brine, Dan Gordon and myself.  Kevin Felstead, who was absent today, is supportive of the pool going ahead.

Those who voted to delay were Mayor Ron Keating and Crs Neil Cruickshank, Elaine Cole, Peter Farrant, Sandra Stewart, Roger Blair and Neville Atkinson.

Water Schemes

The Council also voted to delay three water schemes for up to two years. 

The Summerhill scheme (which was supported by an excellent public submission from the Summerhill community’s working party) was delayed despite the fact that it is ready to go and full community consultation has taken place.  Some councillors think that we should first look into joining up all the western schemes.  In the Summerhill case, it had been shown that joining up with either Cust or West Eyreton was not only more expensive than drilling a new well, but was opposed by those two communities anyway.

Those councillors supporting delay did not address the reliability, security and quality issues present in the Oxford township and Rangiora supplies.

The voting was the same as the above, except that Cr Peter Farrant voted against delaying Summerhill.

Dudley Park Aquatic Centre (16 Nov 07)

16 November 2007

Welcome to davidayers.wordpress.com . This is a blog for people interested in the Waimakariri District, New Zealand. 

 It is highly likely that the Waimakariri District Council will delay work on the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre, saying that they will consult the community again with a view to making a final decision at the time of the 2008-09 Annual Plan confirmation in mid-2008.This, of course, will mean that more than half the District will go even longer without a basic community facility.  The Kaiapoi Pool is not coping with the numbers who want to use it (at least one Kaiapoi school has taken its children to QEII in Christchurch) and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to the effect that people have given up going to the Kaiapoi pool.

There has been little vision so far from those wanting to delay construction.  Comments so far have been on the lines of:

  • getting the current pool going again.
  • asking people if they really want a pool at Dudley Park.
  • build something different – maybe an open-air pool, open for 4 months a year.
  • Build a pool with fewer pools in the complex (currently a 25m lane pool, a learners’ pool and a leisure pool)

One idea that has raised its head again is a ‘targetted’ rate – i.e. pay for a new Aquatic Centre from the area deemed to be benefitting from it.  It is doubtful that such a view will take into account the benefits obtained from a less crowded Kaiapoi pool.  Defining the area of benefit will, of course, be a highly politicised discussion.  It is worth noting that a number of surveys conducted by the Council over the years have consistently shown that 60-70% of Waimakariri residents identify Rangiora as their service centre.

My personal view is that the overall cost of the Aquatic Centre should be quickly revisited – although I doubt that this will produce much in the way of savings. What we need to avoid is wasting money on a temporary fix to the old pool, building an open-air pool which will only be open four months a year (and only used on fine days within that period) or cutting out the leisure pool.  There is ample evidence from around the country to show that it is the leisure pools that generate the most income (and therefore keep rates support down).

Rates

15 November 2007

There are two crucial issues:-

    –  The total amount being collected, and

    –   How that collection is distributed amongst individal ratepayers.

As I have in the past, I will press the Council to revisit the issue of land value rating versus capital value.  Waimakariri uses land value, whereas all our neighbours and ECan use capital value.  While property values, on which rates are based, do not always reflect ratepayers’ capacity to pay, capital value rating comes closer than land value.

I also believe that the Council has got the balance between uniform charges and rates per dollar of land value wrong.  When people compare Christchurch and Waimakariri rates to the latter’s disadvantage, this imbalance is the main cause.  The lowest residential rates in Kaiapoi and Rangiora are currently markedly higher than the Christchurch average.

With regard to the total amount of rates, there has been little acknowledgement in some quarters that the dramatic increase in rates in some parts of the District has been largely due to the construction of the ocean sewerage outfall.  In Kaiapoi, for instance, the sewerage charge (which is an identical charge for all Kaiapoi residential properties) rose from $150.00 in 2000-01 to its current $545.00.  For Rangiora residents, the movement was from $120.00 to $545.00.  On low- and middle-value properties this increase has had a dramatic effect.  Woodend and Waikuku Beach have been similarly affected. Many of those who demanded action on sewerage issues are now amongst the loudest in attacking the level of rates.

The essential problem is that community expectations in relation to services and environmental standards are getting beyond the coping capacity of the rating system, especially in mixed rural-urban districts like Waimakariri.


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