Archive for September, 2008

Two Bridges

29 September 2008

The recent closure of the old Waimakariri bridge near Kaiapoi reminds us that ratepayers have a couple of sleeping tigers almost by the tail.

The Waimakariri Bridge on the Main North road is owned 50/50 with Christchurch and is seen by many as too narrow for cyclists and cars – and yet it is the preferred route to Christchurch for many Kaiapoi people.  Any major work will be shared with the city.

The Cones Road Bridge over the Ashley north of Rangiora is also a problem.  It too is narrow and cyclists and pedestrians feel unsafe using it – in fact, I don’t think a pedestrian could.  There has been a lot of growth in the Ashley-Loburn area and this area is within easy biking distance of Rangiora.  People have been demanding action for years.

The opportunity comes with the Long Term Council Community Plan which will be open for public consultation and submission early next year.

Bridges are very expensive.  Luckily the Main North Road bridge over the Ashley at Waikuku is on a state highway and therefore the NZ Transport Agency’s problem.

Where Do Waimakariri People Work?

28 September 2008

 There are a few myths about where Waimakariri people go to work, usually on the lines of “most people work in Christchurch.”

As the table  below from the 2006 Census shows, the picture is not as simple as that.  For Kaiapoi and Woodend, a clear majority of the workforce worked in Christchurch, whereas in Rangiora 2697 worked within the District while 1845 worked in Christchurch.  For Oxford, it is even more marked: more than twice as many worked locally as worked in Christchurch.

For the District as a whole, the ratio is about 50/50, but note that at the same time 1413 Christchurch residents came north to work in the District.

The situation is made murkier by the large number of residents listed as working in the “Rest of New Zealand.”  These are probably mainly people Statistics New Zealand were unable to categorise or who answered the question incorrectly, e.g. tradespeople based in Waimakariri but who listed themselves as working in both (they should have identified the base they worked from). 

Corners of Waimakariri – the Kaiapoi War Memorial

23 September 2008


A place for quiet reflection beside the Kaiapoi River.

How Were the Kaiapoi and Oxford Pools Funded?

22 September 2008

I have been asked how the Oxford Pool was paid for.  The following might be useful to others too.

Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre

Beween 1993 and 1998, $1,635,985 was spent on the construction of the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre.  This came from a variety of sources:

  • Fundraising committee 39%
  • The Council’s Kaiapoi Electricity Dividend 3%
  • Loan (funded by rates across the District) 7%
  • Kaiapoi Reserve Subdivision levies 12%
  • The Council’s Pines-Kairaki Rentals Account 7%
  • Kaiapoi Electricity payment 31%
  • recreation rates (across the District) 1%

The amount raised by the Fundraising Committee includes a grant from the Community Trust.  In direct fund-raising (especially a house that was built and then sold), about $85,000 was raised.

Oxford Pool

The cost of this was $1,353,894.  This came from:

  • Fundraising 22%
  • Year 2000 grant 3%
  • Loan (funded by rates across the District) 75%

Please note that the above describes the funding for building the pools.  The operation of the pools (all three) comes from Community & Recreation uniform charges paid by all ratepayers across the District as part of their rates.

The Ball is Coming! – Dudley Pool Fundraiser

22 September 2008

Tickets can be obtained from Blakleys of Kaiapoi, JAKS (Oxford) and Sally Mac’s (Amberley).  In Rangiora, you can get them from Country Lane, The Accessory Shoppe, Corina’s House of Fashion and Continental.

Catchment Area For New Dudley Pool Will Be 5km

19 September 2008

The Waimakariri Council’s Audit Committee is recommending that for a targeted rate to help pay for the new Dudley Park Pool, a 5km-radius circle be drawn from Dudley Park.  This will take in parts of Ashley and parts of Fernside, and reach south to about the Main Drain.

This is one third of the funding structure – the bit that includes fund-raising and a targeted rate for the “Rangiora area.”  The rate will cover anything less than $3m not raised by fund-raising.

There are at least three problems with this.

  1. 5km covers a very small area. This small area will carry a heavy burden for a facility that will benefit most of the District.  This burden can be reduced by fund-raising – but those more than 5km away will have little incentive to help with fund-raising – or even contribute towards it.
  2. The line has been drawn “as the crow flies” (perhaps we are building a bird-bath?).  It ignores the fact that this is very different from road distances.  The result is that there are people within the line whose houses are further away from the pool than those of people who live outside the line.
  3. The line goes right through the middle of two rural-residential subdivisions: Loburn Lea (in Dixons Road) and Fernside.

Concentrating this rate on such small part of the District will put a heavier load on ratepayers on fixed incomes, many of whom live in Rangiora.

It also ignores Rangiora’s historical and continuing function as a rural service town where people come from a wide area for their services – including, in the future, the opportunity to swim in a covered all-year pool.

Do you think the Audit Committee is being fair? I was the only member to vote against this.  Those who voted for it included the Committee chair and deputy chair, Sandra Stewart and Neil Cruickshank, and the Mayor. 

Rural-Residential Developments

18 September 2008

Partly because the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Study calls for it, and partly because we are running short of land zoned in this way, the council is starting to identify areas for further “Rural Residential” zoning.

Rural Residential (known as Residential 4A and 4B in the District Plan) is the type of housing that can be found in rural areas with large sections, typically in the 2000 – 5000 sq metre range.  Good examples in Waimakariri are in Mandeville and Fernside.  There are many others, including those on the fringes of Oxford, Kaiapoi (Old North Road), Woodend (Chinnerys Road) and Rangiora (River Road).  There are very few sections of this type currently unbuilt-on.

Note that these are not 10-acre (4-hectare) blocks, which are much larger. 

In identifying areas, it is hoped that some demand for 4-hectare blocks will be soaked up.  The Council will  be looking for areas that can be readily supplied with community water suppplies, sewage systems, etc. and will probably be identifying areas reasinably close to existing towns and/or rural residential areas.  It will be concentrating on the UDS area (east of Two Chain Road and south of the Ashley River).



10-Acre Blocks

15 September 2008

(4 Hectares to the more modern amongst you)

One thing about the economic downturn is that sales of 10-acre blocks have slowed – and that, in turn, might slow down the subdivision of “real” farms.  We need the breathing space in this District to see if people would rather be buying smaller blocks – the kind that you can see in Fernside, for instance.

Innovation in Waimakariri

14 September 2008

Last week the Rangiora Ward Advisory Board received a presentation from Karen and Karl Upston of Rangiora.  They are the people who piloted a scheme to recycle disposable nappies.

Well, it worked and they are about to go commercial.  The nappies are mixed with green waste to produce compost.  They will be taking all the green waste from the Southbrook transfer station.

You can read more about it at .  Their plant will be in the Hurunui District.

Rangiora – the Home of the Pavlova

12 September 2008



Research shows that not only was the pavlova invented in New Zealand, the first recorded recipe was in a Rangiora Mothers’ Union cookery book published in 1933.*  This could put Rangiora on to the international stage!

We should be acknowledging this by erecting a ten-metre high concrete pavlova, complete with strawberries and kiwifruit, at the entrance to the town!  Now that would top Ohakune’s carrot and Paeroa’s L&P bottle.

* Jane Teal, “Recipes and Innovations: Laurina Stevens and the Pavlova Cake” in History Now – Te Pae Tawhito o te Wa, Vol 9, No 4, Autumn 2004.

See also for a transcript from an ABC (Australia) radio programme.

Passchendaele Prints at the Chamber Gallery

10 September 2008

The prints by Belgian art students, inspired by the appalling Battle of Passchendaele, are now on view at the Chamber Gallery in the Rangiora Library.

Janice Skurr 1940-2008

9 September 2008

The funeral of former Mayor, Janice Skurr, who died last week, took place in the Oxford Anglican Church today.

Janice had a lifetime of public contribution.  Locally, in Oxford, her involvement included Plunket, Country Girls, the A & P Association and the Oxford Hospital.

She spent a total of 21 years in local government, first on the Oxford County Council and then on the Waimakariri District Council.. She was Waimakariri Mayor from 1995 to 2001.

Coming on to the new Waimakariri Council when it was established in 1989, I well remember her fighting for the new bridge at Ashley Gorge.  It soon became the first major capital project for the new council (for the record, the Kaiapoi pool was second) and I know she was very proud of the bridge’s completion.  During her time as Mayor, she saw the Trevor Inch Memorial library through to completion.

Janice combined a strong determination to see things through with a genuine concern for the welfare of people within the community.  She was extremely hard-working and, both as Mayor and at all times since its creation, was dedicated to the Waimakariri District.

Passchendaele 1917: the New Zealand / Waimakariri Connection

7 September 2008

On Wednesday 10 September, a display of prints done by modern Belgian art students, presented to the Waimakariri District last year, will go on display in the Chamber Gallery in the Rangiora Library.  The theme of the exhibition is the Battle of Passchendaele fought in Flanders, Belgium in 1917 during World War I.

No battle in New Zealand history cost more lives than this one. If you want to find out more, I suggest the following site to start off with: .

Corners of Waimakariri: Woodend’s Two Churches

6 September 2008
St Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Woodend

St Barnabas' Anglican Church, Woodend

Methodist Church, Woodend
Methodist Church, Woodend








Both churches are on the Main North Road, the Methodist near the middle of the town, the Anglican at the northern end.  This year (2008) the Methodists will be celebrating 150 years since the first Methodist service in Woodend.

A Step Forward for Rangiora Airfield

6 September 2008
Rangiora airfield, looking west. The Ashley River is to the right.
Rangiora airfield, looking west. The Ashley River is to the right.

An important step has been taken with the Council’s support for the Airbiz report.  This report was commissioned by the council in its previous term and supported by Enterprise North Canterbury and MainPower.

The Council notes the potential of the airfield for “general” aviation and associated businesses, and believes that it will make a significant contribution to the economic development of the District.
Possibilities of public private partnership will be investigated, as will options for protecting the land and its environs, including zoning and designating the land.
The opportunities have grown with the announcement that Wigram is to close soon.
The full report, inc luding the Airbiz report can be found on the Council website at: – go to page 21.

Public Transport: Comparative Costs

3 September 2008

The Public Transport Futures Study, carried out as a result of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Study, has come up with some interesting figures.

The bus service is expected to be carrying a maximum of fewer than 5000 passengers per hour throughout the Greater Christchurch area (i.e. at peak times) by 2041.

Buses on dedicated busways would be the most economic at up to 10,000 passengers per hour, and would have an operating cost of $2 / passenger / km.  Light rail would need 10,000-15,000 per hour to be viable and would cost $10-$15 / km to operate.  For heavy rail, the respective figures are 25,000-40,000 and $10-$15 / km.

Light rail vehicles are considerably more expensive than buses (up to $500,000 versus over $2m) and dedicated busways cost less than $1m / km to construct.  Light rail tracks cost $10-$25m / km to construct. 

Given the flexibility of buses in our low population density cities (compared with, say, Europe), it seems that the buses offer the most viable public transport option for the forseeable future.

Council Decision on State Highway 1 Route in Woodend

2 September 2008

This afternoon (2 September), the Waimakariri District Council passed the following resolution:

That the Council adopts the modified Short Eastern bypass alignment as generally indicated by the Transit NZ consultation process as its preferred option, subject to NZTA acknowledging that the existing designation on the current alignment will not be used for four laning of the state highway and subject to a route being adopted that, (i) avoids New Zealand Historic Places Trust registered buildings and sites, and (ii) minimises the destruction of existing houses.

Those who voted for this were Neville Atkinson, Roger Blair, Robbie Brine, Peter Farrant, Kevin Felstead and me.  Against were Elaine Cole, Neil Cruickshank, Sandra Stewart and the Mayor. Dan Gordon declared a conflict of interest and abstained.

This has been a difficult decision and we all knew that we would not make everyone happy.  Although there has been plenty of passion on both sides of the debate, there have also been rational and valid points of view on both sides.  The councillors who voted for the motion cited a range of reasons for their doing so, including:

  • The evidence that this is what the overwhelming majority of the Woodend people wanted.
  • The need to think in the long term beyond those who are current residents.
  • Personal canvassing done by two councillors.
  • The need to keep Pegasus traffic out of central Woodend.
  • The splitting of the town by a wide four-lane highway and its traffic.

Those opposed included in their arguments:

  • Scepticism that Transit NZ (now the NZ Transport Agency) would ever adopt an eastern bypass.
  • The severe impact on properties and businesses in the path of the bypass.
  • The future of road transport is murky, given Government targets for rail and coastal shipping, the advent of peak oil, etc.
  • Loss of custom for central Woodend businesses.

There were suggestions that we could “park” the matter for five years or so, given that work is unlikely to start for 10 years, with 15 years being more likely.  The argument against that was that “parking” would leave the Woodend community in the state of uncertainty that has existed for many years and by not protecting the corridor, potentially close-off future options. 

Corners of Waimakariri: Ohoka Homestead

2 September 2008

Ohoka Homestead is one of the more important old homesteads in the District, dating from 1875.  Its lower storey is of triple brick – bricks laid by my great great grandfather and his two sons.  You can see an old photo and find out more at:

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