Archive for February, 2009

Zzzzzz ……

18 February 2009

This blog is going to go quiet for a few weeks, so don’t expect much! It’ll start getting busy again in the last week or so of March.

 

In the meantime, watch out for the draft Ten Year Plan (LTCCP) and tell us on the Council what you think!  And please don’t assume that I am happy with everything in it.

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Funding Our Transport

16 February 2009
Roads Aren't Always as Empty as This!

Roads Aren't Always as Empty as This!

The Canterbury Regional Transport Committee (for composition, see below) is currently considering an important issue.  Significant government funding is due to come over the next ten years to assist with roads, passenger transport provision, cycle and pedestrian ways, etc. over the whole Region.  This funding comes with a catch – the Canterbury Region has to fund its share.

The are basically three options: rates, a regional fuel tax or tolls on new roads. A regional fuel tax could be up to 5c per litre and the only roads for which a toll could be applicable are the proposed Christchurch Southern Motorway extension and the proposed Christchurch Northern Arterial, to the east of Belfast.

Projects being considered in Waimakariri include pedestrian and cycle clip-ons for the Main North Road bridge over the Waimakariri and the Ashley bridge north of Rangiora.

Councils throughout the region will be considering the options over the next couple of months.

images

The Canterbury Regional Transport Committee has representatives from every Council from Kaikoura in the north to Waimate in the south, Environment Canterbury, the NZ Transport Agency, and various community sectors.

Rangiora Water Supply and Rates

14 February 2009

In last year’s Annual Plan the Council agreed to proceed with a new water supply for Rangiora.  This was after the post-election Council tried to delay it – public pressure forced a re-think on that one.

Rangiora needs a new supply because:

  • the current water quality does not meet national standards
  • it is not protected against protozoan-borne diseases like cryptosperidium and giardia
  • the volume of the supply is unreliable.

The new source for the water will be Kaiapoi, with the wells to be beside the Lineside Road motorway bridge.  The water will then have to be pumped up beside Lineside Road to new headworks which will be located in Southbrook or southern Rangiora.

There is, of course, a price to pay.  Rangiora residential properties are currently charged $136.10 per property for water.  In the coming 2009-10 year, the Draft Ten Year Plan proposes a charge of $168.  This will rise to $273 in 2011-12 and $320 in 2012-13.  The last amounts to $6.15 per week for clean, safe water, against the current $2.62.  Worth it?

WAI Art Exhibition Open

13 February 2009

090213-waikuku-art-opening001aThe fifth annual Waikuku Artists Incorporated art exhibition was opened tonight by Jenny Harper, director of the Christchuch Art Gallery.

As you can see, there was a large crowd, but if you visit over the weekend I am sure you will find you will be able to see easier the works on display.  It’s well worth a visit to see work from the very active arts community in Waikuku – part of a significant Waimakariri scene.

The exhibition is in the Waikuku Beach Hall and is open for just two days – this Saturday and Sunday, 14-15 February.

The Ten Year Plan (LTCCP – Long Term Council Community Plan)

12 February 2009

This is about to go out for consultation.  There will be publicity in the newspapers, you will be able to pick up summaries and copies from Council service centres and libraries, and check it out and submit online at http://www.waimakariri.govt.nz/ .

You can submit on anything you like, but areas likely to attract a lot of interest include:

  • The 5km rating circle around Dudley Park Aquatic Centre.
  • Cut-backs in parks and reserves funding.
  • Performance Venue needs.
  • The complete cessation of sealing of rural shingle roads apart from those associated with rural residential subdivision where financial contributions have been received.

And the list will be a lot longer than that!

A new LTCCP comes out every three years.  Beware of cynical councillors putting items in for four years out and beyond, knowing they will probably remove them three years out – if, that is, the voters give them the opportunity.

Councillors’ Pay

12 February 2009

Not a subject that generates great joy among the public!

Contrary to popular belief, councillors have been paid for quite a long time.  When I was first elected to the Rangiora Borough Council in 1983, I was surprised to find that I was paid meeting payments.  It was not much in those days, but it increased dramatically after the reorganisation of 1989 and has gone up steadily since then.  I am currently paid substantially more as an “ordinary” councillor than I did as Deputy Mayor eight years ago.

I estimate that I spend about half of my week doing Council work.  When I started in 1983 it was probably about 12-15 hours a month.

Another thing to remember is that the Waimakariri District now has 11 councillors, including the mayor.  In the 1980s there were probably 35-40 in the various authorities in what is now the District.  Rangiora Borough Council alone had 10, including the mayor. 

And yes, we have just had an increase.  When I find out how much extra I’ll be getting (I’ve already sent in an enquiry), I’ll be donating the year’s increase to the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre fundraising committee.  That’ll mean ratepayers will have to fund that much less.

Performance Venues – All May Not Be As It seems

12 February 2009

As you may have seen in the Northern Outlook, the Council in its draft Ten Year Plan is proposing an immediate $50,000 to investigate and develop concept plans for performance venues in the District.  It has also put in, for 2013-14, $5m (including $1m of community fundraising) for venue development.

Note that 2013-14 is after the next election and after the next Ten Year Plan. It is by no means guaranteed, but the Council is obliged to act in good faith when signalling future expenditure to the community.rangiora-town-hall

 The money is not necessarily directed towards the Rangiora Town Hall.  The investigation will include other parts of the District, obviously Kaiapoi, and what is investigated in Rangiora will include Rangiora High School.

Nevertheless, it is clear to most locals that the Rangiora Town Hall is the venue that should be developed in Rangiora.  It is totally inadequate for modern productions like last year’s Les Mis by the North Canterbury Musical Society and such productions simply cannot happen in schools.  NCMS, for instance, was working in the Town Hall for two months for Les Mis.  Take it from a former Deputy Principal: no school can work around that!

Having said that, I am totally in support of developing a decent performance venue in Kaiapoi.  Quite simply, the town needs one.  If the Kaiapoi High School auditorium fits the need after an upgrade of its facilities, that would certainly be a good option.

The question is however, will the money allocated for 2013-14 be enough for two venues?

One piece of good news – the portacom proposal has gone!

The 5km rating area is still in! Extra load for ratepayer minority

12 February 2009

The Council is STILL 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.

At the recent Council meeting that decided on the Draft Ten Year Plan, I described this circle as iniquitous and ham-fisted.  I stand by that.

If you too think it is unfair, submit to the Council and tell them so!

A while ago I put the following into this blog.

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.

Corners of Waimakariri: Oxford Town Hall

12 February 2009

090208-oxford-town-hall-a

Local halls and community centres like the Oxford Town Hall, are focal points for their communities.  They are dotted all over our District and are very much valued by locals.  We have two Town Halls, the other being in Rangiora, of course.  A pity Kaiapoi hasn’t got one.

Southbrook Park Entrance Not to be Fixed in Next 10 Years!

12 February 2009

The draft Ten Year Plan, soon to go out for public consultation, is silent on the entrance to Southbrook Park.

As you can sort of see from the photo below, the carpark and driveway adjacent to the main pavilion is sealed and landscaped.  This happened some years ago.  The length between that and the South Belt has remained in shingle.  Currently it is not too bad, having been recently graded, but often it is more like the Ashley riverbed – 4 wheel drive recommended.

There are two possible solutions: seal the existing driveway or create a new entrance off Country Lane (the part which is public road).  The latter route would mean that traffic would not pass right in front of the doors of the old pavilion, which is still used – but would put traffic into Country Lane.  Either solution costs about the same – $120,000 or so – and obviously there needs to be consultation with neighbours.

The work was scheduled a few years back, but was replaced by a perceived urgent need to seal the road into Rangiora Airfield.  Now the Southbrook Park entrance has gone completely.  That just doesn’t make sense.

A job that is overdue now, if the draft Plan stays as it is, is not scheduled to happen before 2019!

090210-southbrook-park001a

Parks and Reserves Projects Delayed

12 February 2009

In addition to the cancelled parks and reserves projects (see previous post), a number of other projects have been delayed.

Note that these are now concentrated in the 2012-14 period.  That’s the problem with delaying projects: they join already-planned projects and you get an effect like a dam bursting – a lot of expenditure is incurred in a hurry.  Conveniently, the delay is until after the next election.

  • Coastal access strategy ($10,000) 2012-14
  • Kaiapoi Lakes 3rd lake development ($150,000) 2012-13
  • Kaiapoi Lakes old rubbish tip development ($100,000) 2013-14
  • Whites Road Reserve, Ohoka, development ($100,00) 2014-15
  • Askeaton Reserve, Kaiapoi, development ($50,000) 2012-13
  • Dudley Park, Rangiora, stormwater pond ($100,000) 2012-13
  • Northbrook Wetlands, Rangiora, development ($100,000) 2013-14
  • Ward Park, Rangiora, stormwater pond ($100,000) 2013-14
  • Kendall Park, Clarkville/Kaiapoi, carpark & driveway ($100,000) 2012-13
  • Kendall Park development ($100,000) 2012-13
  • Loburn Domain development ($60,000) 2012-13.

So What Is Missing from the 10 Year Plan?

3 February 2009

report-x

Above is an extract from a report to the Council.  It shows what has been cut completely from the Ten Year Plan in the Parks and recreation area.


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