Archive for December, 2007

A Happy Christmas!

24 December 2007


  A happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year to everyone – and if you are going on holiday, may it be relaxing and safe.


Climate Change

20 December 2007

There are a variety of views about climate change around – some of them to do with the Waimakariri District Council!

Seriously though, you might find the following video clip from YouTube an interesting exercise in logic:

Dudley Park Aquatic Centre – some questions

15 December 2007
  1. Can anyone see the current pool still being used in 10 years time?
  2. If not, why pour money into it to keep it open in the meantime?
  3. If a covered modern Aquatic Centre does get built in 5 – 10 years’ time, does that mean that Rangiora and its surrounding districts will once again go without a pool for 2 – 3 years?
  4. Will an uncovered pool, open for four months of the year (and sitting unused on cold days in that period), meet the needs of the over 30,000 people who identify Rangiora as their main service centre?
  5. Why reopen an uncovered 50m pool when evidence from all over New Zealand shows that covered 25m pools accompanied by leisure pools draw in a lot more swimmers?
  6. Why reopen a 50m pool that is not deep enough for competitive swimming?
  7. Why reopen a pool where the spectator stands are starting to fail and will probably also need to be repaired?
  8. Why not compare the ongoing rates costs of a reopened pool with the ongoing cost of a new Aquatic Centre – like the Northern Outlook did today?
  9. Why not recalculate the rates cost of a decent Aquatic Centre after factoring in the offer of the Rangiora business leaders to raise $2m?


Why were none of these questions addressed at the time by those councillors who voted to recommend reopening the old pool?

Committee Votes $1.3m to Reopen Dudley Pool

14 December 2007

The Council’s Community Plan Committee has recommended that the Council make provision for $1.3m to reopen the existing Dudley Park Pool in the 2008-09 Annual Plan.  Mayor Ron Keating believes that the pool can be reopened for the 2008-09 summer.  If that provision is approved, work will not be able to start until July 2008 because that is the start of that financial year.

It is not known exactly how much it will cost to do this – the $1.3m is based on a guesstimate.  A report on the possibility of reopening is due from consultants in January.

Along with that, the Council will put four options in front of the public for submission in the Annual Plan process (see an earlier post on this blog for the time-line on this).  The options are:

  1. Do nothing more than that – reopen the pool.
  2. Reopen the pool and then build  a new one in 5 – 10 years time.
  3. Build a more limited facility – perhaps like the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre.
  4. Build a new Aquatic Centre more-or-less as planned before the election.

Option two is more expensive than option four – mainly because the of the anticipated rise in costs and because whatever it costs to reopen the current pool would be wasted.

One can ask whether the District in 2008 needs a pool that is only going to be open for 4 months a year (and forget about cold days over that period).

One can also ask why the Council would even consider taking out the leisure pool element when Aquatic Centres up and down the country report that they are the most popular facility and, along with learn-to-swim, the most important revenue generators.

The only vote against this was Dan Gordon. Mayor Ron Keating and Crs Sandra Stewart, Elaine Cole and Peter Farrant voted for it.  Three non-committee members (who could not vote) were also present: Neil Cruickshank, Neville Atkinson and me.  Of these, only I spoke against it.

Summerhill Goes On To Water Restrictions

14 December 2007

On Wednesday 12 December, the Waimakariri District Council’s Community Plan Committee considered a request from the Summerhill community.  The community are anxious to get a reliable water supply and had got approval in the previous council term to dig a new well that expert advice had indicated would probably achieve what they wanted.

After the election, the Council overturned that decision by putting it on hold while it investigated joining up various water schemes – even although joining Summerhill up with Cust had been shown to be impractical and joining up with West Eyreton had been shown to be a lot more expensive (and opposed by the West Eyreton water advisory group).

The Summerhill group asked the Council to reconsider.  They want to drill the well now as there is enough money in that account to do it without adding to the rates.  That would at least confirm that there was sufficient water there and get them part of the way towards completing the project.

The Council’s committee refused to recommend that to the Council. That same day, the Northern Outlook carried an advertisement putting Summerhill on water restrictions

On the committee, only Dan Gordon wanted the well drilled. Mayor Ron Keating along with Sandra Stewart, Elaine Cole and Peter Farrant all voted against.

Dudley Park Aquatic Centre

10 December 2007

There is a petition circulating – on Sunday alone it gathered hundreds of signatures.  Look out for it!

This week is an important one.  The Council’s Community Plan Committee is meeting Wednesday to Friday (12-14 December) to make recommendations for next year’s Draft Annual Plan and Budget. Their recommendations will then go to the Council for confirmation on 23-24 January. 

The Draft then goes out to the public for consultation. Hearing of oral submissions will take place on 1 – 5 May.  The Council then considers the submisions on 4 – 5 June, effectively making the final decisions.  It is scheduled to adopt the Annual Plan and Budget on 24 June.  The new financial year starts on 1 July.

Nesting Season on the Ashley / Rakahuri

10 December 2007


It is nesting season on the Ashley for endangered species such as the wrybill (the only bird in the world with a beak that bends sideways) and the black-fronted tern.  Please encourage all your friends to stay out of sign-posted areas.  If people are walking through the riverbed they should stay out of obvious tern and gull colonies and keep moving.  If someone lingers near a wrybill nest, the parents won’t return until they leave.  The result is likely to be eggs that have been cooked by the sun or frozen in cold conditions.

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