Archive for August, 2009

Chess is Coming!

20 August 2009

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Urban Planning in Curitiba, Brazil

16 August 2009

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In the pages listed to the right of your screen, you can see an entry Urban Planning in Curitiba, Brazil. This city has been at the forefront of cities trying to find new ways to deal with growth while at the same time maintaining a human scale.

It has been suggested to me that Rangiora is a small town  with small-town problems trying to find big-city solutions.

What do you think?

The Dudley Pool Fundraisers Keep Rolling On!

16 August 2009

Dudley Pool Dance A 090815Yet another Dudley Aquatic Centre Fundraiser happened last night with the dance at the Chervier Centre at the Rangiora Catholic Church.

A good crowd rocked to the music of Barock until well after midnight – another impressive event organised by the Community Fundraising team.

You can keep up-to-date on coming events by checking the blackboard on our fence at the corner of High and King Streets, Rangiora.

Spending One’s Life at the Council …

13 August 2009

Sometimes, my family must have wondered where my home is.  Marilyn and I will have been married 40 years next week – and come November I will have spent 20 years as a Rangiora or Waimakariri councillor.  Hmmmm.

This is why I can relate to this very funny page about an US senator on the American humour website The Onion:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/congress_beginning_to_suspect

Accident Blackspots in Waimakariri

12 August 2009

Where are they?

  1. Pineacres Corner.  This is the most dangerous interesection in the District.  The problem is not the merging on the west side, as many think, but the failure of traffic exiting from Williams Street (i.e. coming from Kaiapoi) to give way as it turns right towarsds Woodend.  The police have been giving out a lot of tickets recently to people failing to observe the STOP sign – and many of those drivers are older people.
  2. Percival Street – Queen Street intersection, Rangiora.
  3. Williams Street – Smith Street – Beach Road intersection, Kaiapoi.
  4. West Belt – Oxford Road intersection, Rangiora.
  5. Lehmans Road – Plasketts Road – Oxford Road intersection, Fernside.
  6. Plasketts Road – Johns Road intersection, Fernside.
  7. Rangiora-Woodend Road – Tuahiwi Road – Boys Road – Harris Road intersection, Tuahiwi.

Alfred Street Remains Closed – Council Decision

7 August 2009

This week, the Waimakariri District Council decided to keep Alfred Street closed.  They decided:

Lets the closure of Alfred Street stand in the meantime and develop a long term plan for Rangiora and from that decide the future form and function of Alfred Street.

Requests staff to bring back to Council a wider strategy report on the Rangiora Town Centre before any enhancement takes place in Alfred Street.

There are a number of problems with this approach.

  1. Those councillors who voted for this ignored a petition of about 4000 people.
  2. They passed up the opportunity to follow the same legal process to reopen the street that was taken to pedestrianise that portion of Alfred Street.
  3. The “long-term plan” consultation process will be muddied by strong community feelings over Alfred Street – in other words, Alfred Street will be a diversion from more important matters (click on Rangiora’s Heart: What Needs to Happen?  in the page list on the right of your screen).
  4. They have implicitly told the people of this District that in developing a long-term plan for central Rangiora, they won’t necessarily listen to those people.
  5. They are going to do nothing until the plan is complete.  This will take at least a year and in my view is unlikely to be complete before the next local body elections in October 2010.  In the meantime, we can all look at those yellow bollards.

To me, it was better to get this issue out of the way by going back to the way Alfred Street was.  That is why I tried to persaude the Council to reopen the street.

I strongly believe that we need a long hard look at Central Rangiora – its structure, the appearance, the parking, the traffic, etc. because a strong retail centre is vital to Rangiora as a town.  See the following blog post.

But this week’s decision has made progress towards that harder.

Rangiora’s Central Business District: Let’s Do Something About It!

7 August 2009

Something needs to be done about Rangiora’s Central Business District.

We need better planning so that we know where we are going to go over the next 20 years.

The planning needs to involve the entire community (that’s not just Rangiora residents) and it needs to be open.

To help get discussion going, my initial thoughts are in one of the pages posted on the right: click on  Rangiora’s Heart: What Needs to Happen.  

Envirocomp Opens Nappy-Composting Plant

7 August 2009

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Karen and Karl Upston’s Envirocomp plant is now up-and-running in Balcairn.

With funding from Huggies, this is a world-leading initiative to keep disposable nappies out of landfill – and they are a significant part of what goes into the likes of Kate Valley.

This morning, Environment Minister Hon Nick Smith opened the plant and within days the first nappies should be being processed.

IMG_0757The Waimakariri and Kaikoura District Councils are offering a $1 per week subsidy for those users of the service for the first six months of its operation.  The normal weekly cost is $5.

This is a great initiative and we can only hope that success and growth result.  It will be watched by many parties as the world continues to try to reduce the amount of waste it puts into the environment.

If You are a Farmer, Why Have Your Rates Shot up?

7 August 2009

If you are running a farm – a conventional large farm – you have probably discovered a considerable jump in your rates.

The reason for this is that the Council has dramatically reduced the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC).  The result of this action has been to shift the rates burden away from low-land-value properties in the District to those with higher land values.

Part of the reason for this was to lessen the rates burden on small low-value urban properties, which were, in my view, paying disproportionately.

The problem is, however, the Council has not got the mix right.  It needed to reduce the UAGC, sure, but it also needed to move the rating to capital value rating.  This would have had a similar effect to lowering the UAGC, but instead of shifting the rating impact from low-value urban properties to high value rural properties, would have shifted the impact to high value residential properties and to high capital-value rural properties, mainly lifestyle blocks and the new dairy units.

In other words, the Council has got the rating mix wrong.

Rangiora Exceeds the Air Pollution Threshold for the First Time This Winter

5 August 2009

Last Sunday night brought Rangiora its first air pollution exceedence of the winter.

The deadline for not polluting the air is next winter (2010) although ECan say they will not prosecute until winter 2011. Note that you don’t have to get rid of your open fire or non-complying burner – just that you are not allowed to use it.  If you avail yourself of one of the financial assistance packages, you do have to disable your non-complying fireplace or burner.

The only exception is for homes listed in the Waimakariri District Plan as heritage buildings.  If that seems unfair, remebre those people have, in other respects, rules applying to their properties that do not apply to the rest of us.

Location Pollution Level Yesterday No. of High Pollution Nights Highest Pollution Level 2nd Highest Pollution Level
Rangiora 11 1 53 50
Kaiapoi 18 21 86 80
Christchurch – St Albans* 11 12 86 83
Christchurch – Burnside 11 7 107 72
Christchurch – Woolston 21 15 88 88
Ashburton 16 4 64 60
Timaru – Anzac Park* 31 25 135 98
Timaru – Washdyke 18 1 55 50
Waimate 27 5 67 62
Geraldine 22 4 59 57

Oxford Area School Exhibition at Chamber Gallery

4 August 2009

The latest exhibition at the Chamber Gallery at the Rangiora Library features recent work from senior students from Oxford Area School.  If you pop in, I think you will agree that the standard of the work is very high: a credit to the students and the Head of Art at Oxford, Brent Firkin.

0807 Oxford AS Art001       0807 Oxford AS Art002


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