Archive for May, 2009

Progress on Rangiora Water Supply

27 May 2009

Yes – it’s going ahead.  Wells are being drilled – you can see the work progressing on the Kaiapoi side of the Motorway bridge over the Kaiapoi River.  The pipeline is being planned and land has been bought for the headworks in southern Rangiora.

What’s Happening in NW Rangiora?

26 May 2009

The Urban Development Strategy has identified western Rangiora, loosely as far as Lehmans Road, as a growth area over the next 30 years.  The strategy is a joint project of the Waimakariri, Christchurch and Selwyn Councils, ECan and the NZ Transport Agency (formerly Transit NZ).  Part of the UDS is in the process of being given legal status through ECan’s Change 1 to their Regional Policy Statement.

The Waimakariri District Council has decided that the best way to plan for residential growth in west Rangiora is to do it through private plan changes.  This means that landowners and/or developers initiate the necessary chnages to the Waimakariri District Plan.

To give those landowners and developers some guidance, the Council has been consulting with the community on the drawing up of structure plans.  These will indicate the general direction of main roads, sewer lines, etc.  This process is not complete.

In the meantime, a group of developers has initiated a private plan change to turn the northern-most part of this area into a residential zone and a smaller section beyond into “rural residential”.

One area of controversy has been Brick Kiln Lane, which, while zoned rural, has a series of large residential sections.  It includes an historic cottage and the remains of the last brick kiln to survive in the area. The lane itself is not a Council road.  The residents have been insistent that their lane should retain its ambience – which is probably quite achievable provided the lane does not become a through-road.

Corners of Waimakariri: Kaiapoi Pa

25 May 2009

080712 Kaiapoi Pa #1

Kaiapoi Pa, in Preeces Road, Waikuku, is an important site for the Ngai Tuahuriri hapu of Ngai Tahu.

Given the name as the place where food was brought from afar (as the poi swings around the hand), the local area was rich in resources in its own right: the sea, the Rakahuri (Ashley River), forests and wetlands were all close by, all with their own kinds of food resources.  Pounanmu was brought here from the West Coast for working.

In the early 1830s, conflict with Te Rauparaha’s Ngati Toa iwi brought Te Rauparaha here on two occasions.  On the second, he managed to breach the pallisades and Kaiapoi was razed.

Today you can see a memorial erected since that time, but, more importantly, the uneveness of the ground indicating the sites of pallisades and buildings.  Willows in the distance mark the edge of the wetlands that once surrounded the pa on three sides.

The pa is located on the northern edge of Pegasus.  Exacavating for the new town has revealed further evidence that this was an important area of occupation before the arrival of Pakeha.

How Canterbury Councils Base Their Rates – Capital-Value or Land-Value

22 May 2009
Capital Value 

Environment Canterbury








Land Value 



New North Canterbury Radio Station Announces Its Name!

22 May 2009


Building Consents

20 May 2009

There have been a lot of letters in Northern Outlook recently complaining about Council staff being heavy-handed in prosecuting people for failing to get building consents.

I would make the following points.

  • Building consents are required under the Building Act, passed by the NZ Parliament.
  • People who build substantial buildings without a consent are breaking the law.  Councils are required to uphold that law
  • Before a prosecution takes place, there has usually been quite a long process gone through with the property owner concerned.
  • Decisions to prosecute are made by a committee on which Councillors (like me) hold the majority. Prime Building Consents has no part in it.
  • I have not seen one of the buildings that people are writing about.  The other, which I have seen, is large and very obvious from one of the District’s main roads.

My guess is that New Zealand has a building consent process to, amongst doubtless a number of reasons, protect (a) future property owners against shonky building, and (b) protect neighbours against buildings that might compromise their environment.

Why Does the Old Waimakariri Bridge Keep Getting Closed? – and is there something positive we can take from it?

19 May 2009

The old Waimakariri bridge on the Main North Road is a shared responsibility of the Christchurch City Council and the Waimakariri District Council.

It is currently closing whenever the river is high because of a fear that strong river flows are scouring out under the piles.

In the coming financial year (July 2009 to June 2010), remedial work will be undertaken to fix the problem.

And the bright side?  Because there will have to be a crane in the river, the two councils are taking the opportunity to bring forward a planned pedestrian/cycle clip-on, to be done at the same time as the work on the piles.

The long-requested clip-on is not far away!

The old Waimakariri River road bridge viewed from under the railway bridge

The old Waimakariri River road bridge viewed from under the railway bridge

Funding for Performance Venue(s) Stays In

18 May 2009

The $5m (including $1m public fundraising) for a performance venue or venues has stayed in the Council’s 10-Year Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) for 2013-14.

An additional amount of $50,000 for investigative work in the coming year has been substanially reduced because it was felt by a majority of councillors (and by many submitters) that much of this work has already been done in prevuous investigations.

Rangiora Town Hall

There is a strong expectation within the community that a significant amount needs to be spent on upgrading and enhancing the Rangiora Town Hall.  One of two Town Halls in the District (the other is Oxford’s – see Corners of Waimakariri in the Categories to the right), there is a lot of affection for the old lady and it is without doubt the most important performance venue that we currently have.

She is worth fighting for!

Zonnebeke Delegation from the Passchendaele Battlefield Visits Waimakariri

18 May 2009
Zonnebeke is within the Passchendaele battlefield of 1917

Zonnebeke is within the Passchendaele battlefield of 1917

The week leading up to ANZAC day saw a delegation from the Belgian district of Zonnebeke visiting. Led by Burgomeester (Mayor) Dirk Cardoen and Councillor Ingrid Vandepitte, along with Freddy Declerck of the Passendale Memorial Museum, the delegation was returning the visit made by then Mayor Jim Gerard, then Deputy Mayor Jo Kane to Zonnebeke in 2007.

Other members of the delegation were the mayoress, Rita Ghekiere and Ms Els Pottie.

Burgomeester Dirk Cardoen and Cr Ingrid Vandepitte listen to Freddy Declerck (obscured by Murray Thacker of the Okains Bay Museum)

Burgomeester Dirk Cardoen and Cr Ingrid Vandepitte listen to Freddy Declerck (obscured by Murray Thacker of the Okains Bay Museum)

It was a noteworthy occasion.  Apart from being taken to some of the region’s attractions, the delegation was welcomed on to the marae at Okains Bay, assisted in opening a Passchendaele exhibition at Our City Otautahi in Christchurch and played their part in the ANZAC Day services in Kaiapoi and Rangiora.

The growing reationship between Zonnebeke and Waimakariri is founded on the memory of those men from the District who died in the Battle of Passchendaele.

The Passchendaele Exhibition at Our City Otautahi

The Passchendaele Exhibition at Our City Otautahi

On 12 October 1917, 845 New Zealanders were killed in one morning at Passchendaele, Belgium. This was the greatest loss of life in a single day in New Zealand’s history – more than the combined total of deaths from the eruption of Mt Tarawera, the Hawke’s Bay earthquake, the Tangiwai rail disaster, the sinking of the Wahine and the Air New Zealand plane crash on Mt Erebus.

‘Spot the Cyclist’ campaign in Taupo

18 May 2009

The Bike Taupo team were looking for a way to promote and recognise urban cycling in Taupo during Bike Wise Month. They wanted to reward cyclists for their daily commutes rather than specific event rides.

The Bike Taupo committee were briefed with the task of spotting five cyclists per week during Bike Wise Month. The council teamed up with four local bike shops – Avanti Corner Shop, Top Gear Cycles, Huka Cycles Taupo and Life Cycles – to put together 20 goody bags.

The ‘spotted’ cyclists were then approached to have their pictures taken for the local paper and given a goody bag in return.  The bags included a $20 voucher for one of the local bike shops and lots of Bike Wise goodies such as puncture repair kits and reflective snap bands.

The mix of cyclists photographed included students cycling to school, commuters and people off to do their weekly shop. Feedback was extremely positive with most people very grateful to win a prize and happy to have their pictures taken. Based on the success of the promotion, Bike Taupo will be continuing the promotion for the 2010 Bike Wise campaign.

Any queries or advice on running a Spot the Cyclist campaign can be directed to Richard Hine or Thomas Schwarz by email: bikewise@

The 5km Rating Circle Stays In

15 May 2009

Despite strong public opposition, the new Dudley Park Pool will have a 5km as-the-crow-flies rating circle placed around it.  Within the circle, all households will pay a fixed charge to make up any shortfall in the $3m target the Council has set the fundraising groups.

It should be noted that the target came from the Council, not the fundraisers.

Some of the issues around this rating area can be found by clicking the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre file at the right of this page.

Some councillors fought very hard – it took most of a morning to get it passed and in the end it passed by 6 votes to 5.  Those who voted for the rating area were Mayor Ron Keating and Councillors Sandra Stewart, Elaine Cole, Peter Farrant, Neville Atkinson and Roger Blair.  Those who voted against it were Councillors Robbie Brine, Dan Gordon, Kevin Felstead, Neil Cruickshank and me.

It was noteworthy that prior to this decision, all three of the Council’s Ward Advisory Boards (Rangiora, Oxford-Eyre and Woodend-Ashley) voted in favour of a Districy-wide rate.  Unfortunately, enough councillors took more notice of the Kaiapoi Community Board.

Later, I attempted to get a discounted entry to the Aquatic Centre for those people living within the 5km area.  This failed too – by 7 to 4, with me, Robbie Brine, Kevin Felstead and Dan Gordon voting for it.

Controversial Water Scheme Finally Meets Approval

15 May 2009

Water supply in the Summerhill, Cust and West Eyreton has for some time been a subject of public debate.  After considerable consultation, the Council has finally made provision in its 10 Year Plan (LTCCP) for all three areas.

Summerhill and West Eyreton will share share their supply, using West Eyreton as the source.

Cust Township will remain separate from the other two, but the Springbank No 2 well be bought for emergency or future use.

Celebrating Rangiora High School’s 125th at the Chamber Gallery

15 May 2009
Robin White: Healing with Plants

Robin White: Healing with Plants

The latest exhibition at Rangiora’s Chamber Gallery features works from Rangiora High School’s collection – in recognition if the schools 125th anniversary this year.










Rita Cook (Angus): Wanaka series 1939

Rita Cook (Angus): Wanaka series 1939

Life Without Cars

14 May 2009

For a New York Times article on life without cars, I suggest you click on

It’s about a German suburb on the outskirts of Freiburg which has just about managed to ban them.  Interesting.

Bikes, Buses and Motorways

14 May 2009

I’ve found myself as the Waimakariri representative on the Regional Transport Committee, which comes under Environment Canterbury.  It has a variety of members: mayors and councillors from all the Canterbury district & city councils and ECan, NZ Transport Agency, and community representatives.

A Draft Regional Land Transport Programme has been out for consultation and for our District, the noteworthy parts are outside it: a northern arterial road that bypasses Belfast to the east and an upgrading of the NW Christchurch bypass, i.e. State Highway 1 along Johns and Russley Roads.

It looks, on the surface, to be putting money into encouraging more and more motor vehicles, when, it is argued, we should be putting it into public transport, walking and cycling.

In principle, I can’t argue with that. Nevertheless, I do support the major roading projects because we do have to live with the fact that the settlement patterns in Greater Christchurch (including Kaiapoi and Rangiora) have been largely brought about by the almost universal ownership of cars.  Many Waimakariri people commute daily to Christchurch and it is actually quite difficult to bike that distance and impossible to walk it. Public transport, currently buses, is more viable, and with the support of ECan, the District Council and ECan’s ratepayers (i.e. most of us!), the bus service has dramatically improved over the last couple of years.

I commuted to Christchurch for more than 20 years.  Most of the time I worked in Mairehau and Spreydon, and, for briefer times, Hornby and central Christchurch.  Only the last was reasonably accessible by the bus service.  My experience would be the same as many other commuters.

The construction of better alternate roads will, I believe, free up space on the current roads, for dedicated bus lanes and the buses themselves, making the buses faster and more efficient.

As an aside, we should be seeing work starting within the next 12 months on a cycle/pedestrian clip-on to the old Waimakariri bridge .

Corners of Waimakariri: the Riverside Fellowship (former Rialto Cinema), Kaiapoi

14 May 2009

An art deco gem, Kaiapoi’s former Rialto Cinema has been kept in wonderfully appropriate style by its current owners, the Kaiapoi Riverside Fellowship.  It will soon have a “Landmarks” plaque mounted on it, the second Kaiapoi building to receive one – although this is a programme just getting under way, so there will be more!

081217 Kaiapoi - former Rialto Theatre

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