Archive for January, 2010

Beautiful Towns Groups Add a Lot of Value to Our Communities

31 January 2010

The Keep NZ Beautiful groups in Oxford, Kaiapoi and Rangiora have been around for a long time now and have made a huge difference to our towns.  Add in groups like the Woodend Lions and the various groups that are working in specific reserves and parks, like the Whites Road reserve, Matawai Park and Silverstream and we find that there are huge numbers of hours being put in by volunteers to make our District more attractive.  Below is a work-in-progress example: a derelict piece of road reserve in Keir Street, Rangiora, that has been planted out by the Keep Rangiora Beautiful group.

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We’ll See You Doing the Time Warp This Saturday Night! – Rocky Horror Hits Rangiora!

28 January 2010

Can you afford not to be there?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be the place to be this Saturday night!  A great way to support the Dudley Aquatic Centre – dress up, join the glitterati and watch the movie that has refused to die.

 Drinks at 7.00pm, movie starts at 8.00pm.  Rangiora Town Hall auditorium.

What’s Wrong With a Shovel?

26 January 2010

Yesterday, an a display of overkill, Transport Minister Steven Joyce used a digger to turn the first sod of the Christchurch Southern Motorway.  This is the first stage of an accelerated programme of major roading building on the part of the National-led Government.

In general, I agree that Greater Christchurch needs these roads and, while none of them are in Waimakariri, the District will nevertheless benefit.

I just wish that there had been a bit of money for a cycle and pedestrian clip-on for the old Waimakariri bridge south of Kaiapoi.

China Theme at the Chamber Gallery

24 January 2010

Last year, Bruce McMillan, the Head of Art at Rangiora High School, took some time in China.  There he found a changing country (as do all visitors) but with continuing acknowledgement being made to the legacy of Mao Zedong.  He has attempted to put this paradox into a series of works now on display at the Chamber Gallery in the Rangiora Library.

This exhibition has been organised by the Waimakariri Community Arts Council.

Muscle Cars Roar In

23 January 2010

1970 Ford Mustang

Rangiora became today, has been its annual custom for a few years now, petrol-head heaven .  Hot Rods, custom cars and beautiful restorations are featured this weekend at the showgrounds.  As you might gather from the two photos, I’m a bit of a Ford man myself.

1957 Ford Fairlane

Change comes to Southbrook: St Mary’s Anglican Church

22 January 2010

A landmark in Southbrook Road since the early days (the foundation stone says 1879, but I’m not sure if that was for the current building), St Mary’s was an adjunct to St John the Baptist Church in Rangiora.

The site is now subject to a resource consent application from the business that operates Rangiora Mazda, on the other side of the road.  They are being forced to relocate because their current site is part of where Foodstuffs have applied for planning permission for a new Pak n’ Save supermarket. 

The application for the St Mary’s site says that the church will be incorporated into the design of the site that will need to be developed.

Quite clearly, and assuming consent is given,  the site will look very different.

This is a further example of how Southbrook is growing into an ever-more-important business node for the District.

22 January 2010

Earthquakes

20 January 2010

The earthquake in Haiti and the recent tsunamis and earthquakes in Samoa, the Solomons and Indonesia should remind us not to be too complacent.

Let’s not forget:

  • NZ sits on the junction of two tectonic plates (the Pacific and the Australian).
  • Scientists have been measuring a build-up of stress on the Alpine Fault, the main fault in the Southern Alps.  It could result in an earthquake of more than 8 magnitude – far bigger than the recent Haiti earthquake.
  • The recent earthquake off Resolution Island was the biggest in NZ since Napier – fortunately, no-one lives there.
  • In a major earthquake, the immediate needs of survivors are likely to be beyond the immediate capacity of the various rescue services. It could be three days before help gets to you.
  • Be prepared!

Footpaths and Grass Berms

19 January 2010

Over the years there has been a lot of discussion about the position of footpaths in relation to the kerb and the grass berm.  An associated issue is the positioning of underground services: water, telephone and electricity.  The latter are usually placed near the property frontages.

Placing the footpath beside the kerb like this has these advantages:

  • The path is not over the underground services, making repairs to those services easier.
  • Overhanging trees and shrubs from properties are less likely to obstruct pedestrians.
  • Passengers getting out of cars alight on to the footpath, not grass (which may be wet).

However, there are disadvantages too.

  • The driveway crossings are deep, making the footpath hazardous for mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
  • Although this photo shows street trees, there is often no room for street trees to be planted because of the underground services.
  • There is a common view that that this arrangement is less aestheically pleasing the photo below.

In this street, the berm is next to the kerb.  Because it is a new street, there is also a strip next to the property boundaries for the underground services.

The advantages of this arrangement include:

  • The vehicle crossings are flat or at least shallower – better for mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
  • There is room for street-tree planting.
  • Some think this looks better, providing a more pleasing streetscape. 

And the disadvantages?

  • Unless there is room, as in the photo above, the underground services go under the footpath.  If they need to be repaired, you end up with a patched-up footpath.
  • Passengers from vehicles alight on to the grass, which may be wet.
  • Trees and shrubs overhanging from the properties can obstruct the footpath.

Of course, there are compromises, like this!  Unfortunately, the trees that were supposed to have been planted between the footpath and the kerb never happened.  Another compromise are those footpaths that curve around the street-trees.

A Croquet Problem

17 January 2010

The Rangiora Croquet Club is looking for a home – big enough for three lawns.

The Club used to play at the Rangiora Bowling Club, but the bowlers needed the space for their new artificial green.  They first signalled this about 20 years ago, but about five years ago, it became a reality.

The Rangiora croquet players, in the main, joined the Kaiapoi Club, which has its own lawns, although only one of them is full-size. But now, no croquet can be played in Rangiora – for the first time for over a century, I guess.

They have looked, over the years, at a number of sites, including the Good Street Reserve, South Dudley Park and Southbrook Park.  More recently, Arlington Park has been suggested.

For the record, three full-size croquet lawns take about the same space as a quarter of a rugby field.  Surely this community has some space for them?

Streets – with or without trees?

16 January 2010

You be the judge!

The Colour of the Rangiora Town Hall

15 January 2010

Confession: I like it!

Admittedly, the colour of the Town Hall polarises locals: people either love it or hate it.  There don’t seem to be many who are neutral!  This means that to go back to the previous cream colour or something like that would probably be equally polarising.

One thing is for sure: more than anything else, the Town Hall since it went to red and blue, has become Rangiora’s signature building.

In the words of one of the committee that originally chose the colour: “She’s a grand old lady and we’re going to dress her up!”

River Road Footpath Popular

14 January 2010

One of the stranger letters to the Northern Outlook  recently was one suggesting that the new footpath in River Road, Rangiora, was a waste of money.  A couple of subsequent letters have refuted this, as do I.

Those of us who walk along here reasonably frequently know that this is a popular route for walkers, with and without push-chairs or dogs.  The footpath provides an even surface and safety from motor traffic.

The credit for deciding this goes to the Rangiora Ward Advisory Board who decided to prioritise this footpath.  The reason it is not sealed, yet, was to finish the job with the money available.  There was enough there to seal Ashley Street and Enverton Drive – River Road and West Belt will have to come later.

The Board is mindful, however, that there are other areas in the town that need footpaths.  Note that I am talking about new footpaths here, not replacements.  The latter are done in another, on-going, programme.

$19,000 for Junk!

13 January 2010

“Jill’s Junk” in Woodend has now raised $19,000 for the Dudley Aquatic Centre.  That’s just by people bringing unwanted stuff to Jill Creamer and other people paying what they think it is worth to take it away.  Very few items carry prices.

Jill has been a pillar of support for the Dudley fundraising campaign. She has also, for instance, been central to the huge jams, pickles and sauces operation.

Fantastic!

32km/h Speed Limits? – or Narrow Streets?

12 January 2010

There is a growing trend in Britain to limit speeds in residential areas to 20mph – that’s 32km/h in our language.  They are imposing these without any accompanying traffic “calming” measures.

One way of slowing traffic down that traffic engineers like is to build narrower streets.  Some people don’t like them – but it does seem to work, if slowing speeds is on your agenda.

More Community Boards on the Way

11 January 2010

If you haven’t already picked it up, two more community boards will join the Kaiapoi Community Board at the end of the year: Rangiora and Woodend-Ashley.  These will replace the current Ward Advisory Boards for those two wards.  Community Boards are directly elected by the voters, Ward Advisory Boards appointed by the Council following a public selection process.

So – Rangiora and Woodend-Ashley voters will have something else to vote for this October.  Note that the Rangiora Ward will include much more of Fernside than at present.

The public consultation process last year unearthed no desire for change in the Oxford-Eyre Ward, so it will keep its Ward Advisory Board.

The powers of the two types of Board, as currently delegated by the Council are much the same.  Community Boards cost a lot more because the members are paid.

The membership of the current Ward Advisory Boards can be found in one of the pages on the right.

Some Observations About Alfred Street

10 January 2010

The Council has voted to restore Alfred Street, Rangiora, to its former self, i.e. two-way travel between Victoria Street and Percival Street will now be possible.  This should happen fairly soon, provided no-one appeals the decision to the Environment Court.

I voted to restore it, mainly to take the issue out of the more important consultation on the Rangiora Town Centre.

There are few observations, however, that I would like to make, in no particular order.

  • The street is not a service lane. It is a legal road.  It has in recent times functioned both as a service lane and an access from Ivory Street to Percival Street.
  • Making part of High Street one-way has served to make Alfred Street a route back to the west for those parking in High Street.  Most of Rangiora is to the west of the business centre.
  • The most affective ways of bypassing the town centre remain Blackett Street and Queen Street.  Blackett Street, especially since the three central roundabouts were put in, is the easiest way of travelling between east and west.
  • The two inner east-west streets, Alfred and Blake, are of local use only – neither reaches King Street, and Blake Street doesn’t reach Ashley Street.
  • In working on a Rangiora town centre plan, we, the community, may find that Alfred Street takes on another form.  We need to have open minds about the whole town centre and be ready to consider anything.

“Roads of National Significance”

7 January 2010

The National-led Government has altered some of the transport priorities of the previous government and has put what it has identified as Roads of National Significance at the top of the construction list.  Nine of them are in the North Island.

The one in the South Island is what the Government calls “Christchurch Motorway Projects”  They have actually grouped several projects under this heading.  They are:

  1. The Christchurch Southern Motorway from the western end of Brougham Street to Hornby.
  2. The Christchurch Southern Motorway stage II.  This will extend the motorway from Hornby to the Main South Road near Rolleston and include four-laning the Main South Road from the end of the Motorway to Rolleston.
  3. The Belfast North-Western By-Pass that will put a four lane road from the winery near The Groynes on Johns Road to the Northern Motorway.
  4. Four-laning Johns Road, Russley Road and through Hornby to the Main South Road, i.e. the State Highway 1 bypass of Christchurch.  This will include a fly-over intersection at Memorial Avenue.
  5. The Christchurch Northern Arterial which will link Queen Elizabeth Drive with the Northern Motorway at Chaneys, passing to the east of Belfast.

Obviously, the last three will be of greatest significance to Waimakariri residents.

The Dudley Pool 4km Rating Area: What Would be Fairer?

6 January 2010

The Council is about to go through its Annual Plan process again – what it spends and how it is going to get the money.  Part of the latter is your rates.

The Dudley Pool 5km rating area is only hitting in a small way this year because it it was known that the pool would be open for only about 3 months in this financial year.  Its full impact will come after July this year.

The biggest question is how can a targeted geographic rate for a facility open to the whole District not increase parochialism?  Some seem to think that the targeted rate decreases parochialism – that sounds like Nineteen Eighty-Four to me.

However, if there has to be targeted rate, how could you be fair about it?

  1. Calculate any distances on road distance from the front gate – not the current as-the-crow-flies nonsense.
  2. Divide the District into two: those properties closer to Dudley and those closer to Kaiapoi – because the community has only two all-year covered pools. The targeted rate goes on the former, those closer to Dudley.
  3. Divide the rated area into two zones, those closer than, say, 20km (about 10 minutes drive) from Dudley and those further away.  This acknowledges that if you live in View Hill, your access isn’t as easy as if you lived in Loburn.
  4. Because Woodend township is split between those who live closer to Kaiapoi and those closer to Dudley, rate the whole town, but rate it at the 20km+ rate.  It’s silly having one part of a local community paying a rate for a community facility and the other not – like the present rate does to the Fernside and Loburn-Lea rural residential areas.

Just some ideas – for discussion!  The 20km is worth talking about too.

Woodend Bypass Update

5 January 2010

No real news – but, hey, it is the silly season!

The board of the NZ Transport Agency (which incoporates Transit NZ) will make a decision sometime this year, hopefully.  They have already removed the long eastern option (through the Pegasus Western Conservation Area) and will only be considering the short eastern bypass and four-laning the existing road.

In the meantime the Transport Agency have put money into the 3-year budget to begin initial design work, etc. on whatever route is chosen.

They’re Swimming at Pegasus

3 January 2010

We went for drive today and called in at Pegasus.  There was quite a good crowd around the swimming area / beach that is open to the public – and, yes, people of all ages were swimming.  A few golfers were on the course and the road to the beach is open as far as Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust land, i.e. across the Eastern Conservation Area.

Sharing Spaces – Pedestrians, Cyclists and Vehicles

2 January 2010

One idea that is gaining around the world is the idea of spaces being shared between pedestrians and wheeled vehicles.

If we are going to have a decent look at the Rangiora town centre (and Kaiapoi’s for that matter) we need to at least put this thinking into the mix.

I put a TIME article on this blog on 24 February 2008 (dig for it! or try clicking https://davidayers.wordpress.com/category/urban-design/page/2/)  and there is a Wikipedia piece in the page labelled Sharing Spaces in Our Towns on the right of your screen.

You can also go to www.youtube.com and type Dr Rodney Tolley into the search or go straight there at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy3KcC0jY-I and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN7xWBZ9Vc0 . They take about 10 minutes to listen to (it’s just him talking) – and to get the full import of what he is talking about, the second part is when he gets to the specific point about shared spaces in towns.  Rodney Tolley is from England and recently spoke in Christchurch.

Shared Space in New Road, Brighton, England

More on Light Rail

1 January 2010

See my post of two days ago to see where this is coming from.

See Light Rail – what is it? in the pages on the right of your secreen.

A couple of examples from Europe:

 
 
 

Commuter train and light rail on either side of a platform in suburban Berne, Switzerland.

Light rail (foreground) using heavy rail tracks in Karlsruhe, Germany.


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