Archive for April, 2010

More Input from the Public

29 April 2010

The Council concluded its draft Annual Plan hearings this afternoon.

The themes previously mentioned came out again.  Submisisons ranged from a problem drain in Kaiapoi to more general submisions covering a range of matters from the Kaiapoi Community Board, the Woodend-Ashley and Rangiora Ward Advisory Boards and the Pines-Kairaki Association.

We also had a submision from Te Ngai Tuahuriri regarding the new marae buildings they are to construct at Tuahiwi and from the Kaiapoi Rugby Football Club about a new development they have started.

And that wasn’t all.  As always, a great variety!

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Kirstyn Barnett Announces her Candidacy for the Woodend-Ashley Ward

28 April 2010

Prominent Woodend community leader, Kirstyn Barnett, has anounced her candidacy for the Woodend-Ashley Ward at this year’s Waimakariri District Council elections.

She is well-known for her role in the Woodend Action Group, which has now merged with the Woodend Residents’ Association to form the Woodend Community Association.

She was the instigator of the two large murals recently painted on two walls near the Community Centre and of the walking bus project to take children safely to the Woodend School.

She has been an exemplary voice for Woodend and shown with it a capacity for taking action.

The full text of her announcement can be read in the pages to the right of your screen under the heading Kirstyn Barnett Announcement of Candidacy .

The People Speak

28 April 2010

For the past day and a half the Council have been listening to submissions on the this year’s Draft Annual Plan – and we have another session tomorrow.

So far the following trends have emerged:

  • Strong farmer opposition to the low Annual Uniform General Charge and to Land Value as a means of assessing rates.  They support a change to Capital Value Rating.
  • Support from a wide range of individuals and groups for retaining the budget provision of $30,000 to support the new Youth Development Strategy.
  • A strong push from Woodend to upgrade the Community Centre and its surrounding reserve – and the public toilets over the road.
  • A loud-and-clear objection from Rangiora Airfield users about a new range of charges – and a similar complaint about new fees at the Kaiapoi Wharf.
  • And, of course, complaints about the 5km-radius targetted rating zone for the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre.

That’s by no means all, but that gives you an idea!

Changes in the Woodend Community

28 April 2010

The Woodend Residents’ Association and the Woodend Action Group have amalgamated to form the Woodend Community Association.

The President is John Archer and the Vice-President Kirstyn Barnett.

To paraphrase the words of the Oreal adverts: Woodend is Worth It!

Woodend Murals Unveiled

26 April 2010
The opening act: planting in the garden in front of one of the murals.

  Two impressive murals were unveiled in Woodend on Saturday morning.

 
They are painted on the two walls of the shopping centre that face the reserve beside the Community Centre.
Kirstyn Barnett of the then Woodend Action Group was enraged some time ago when grafitti appeared on the walls and she decided to do something about it.   The result was an impressive community effort, with fundraising, donations in kind and voluntary labour all playing their part.
The unveiling (although the two walls are far too big to have been actually veiled!) was carried out by Deputy Mayor Elaine Cole, with MPs Clayton Cosgrove and Kate Wilkinson and a number of councillors in attendance.  The most important attendees, however, were the people of Woodend who now own these murals.
 

ANZAC Day

26 April 2010

As has become the norm in recent years, there were large crowds across the District yesterday.  I was at the Rangiora, Fernside and Tuahiwi services and all were impressive.

As some of you know, I was the speaker at the Rangiora service.  One or two have asked for a copy of what I said, so I have put it on a page under ANZAC Address 2010 to the right of your screen.

Crime in Waimakariri

22 April 2010

Statistics suggest that North Canterbury is the safest region in New Zealand as far as crime is concerned.

We cannot, however, rest on any laurels because we know that there is crime in our community, and any crime is too much.

The Waimakariri Safer Community Council is working to reduce crime in our community and to this end organised a forum in Kaiapoi today.  The outcome of this forum, it is hoped, will result in a strategic plan that will help reduce crime in Waimakariri. 

One thing is clear: we cannot rely on the Police to do this unaided.  This is a matter for the entire community.

Tsunami Warning Sirens

21 April 2010

I’ve had a few people talk to me about using the Volunteer Fire Brigade sirens to warn people of a tsunami coming.  Obviously, our river-mouth communities at Waikuku and Kairaki are particularly vulnerable to tsunami, not to mention people who happen to be on the beach at the time.

People suggest that we could use a different sound on the sirens, e.g. a continuous up and down sound.

There is a problem with this, however.  We need the Government to set a standard because different communities are doing different things, and not all beach communities have sirens.  If local radio stations broadcast a warning to evacuate on hearing a siren-sound that Christchurch has adopted, what do people in Kaiapoi do if their fire siren sounds for a fire?  It might start an unecessary evacuation.

So – some coordination and direction from the Government is needed.

Water

21 April 2010

It has become a cliche: water is the biggest issue on the Canterbury Plains – and by extension, in the Waimakariri District.  To give you some idea of the nature of the beast, the following stats might be of interest.

One large dairy farm uses more water than a town the size of Kaiapoi or Rangiora.

The Waimakariri District Council is responsible for 7% of the water use in the District (in its various water scemes and stock water) but supplies 61% of the population.

It is apparent from this that water is very important to our farming community.  It also means that the urban and rural communities are going to see water in very different ways.

Let’s hope that we can keep listening to each other.

Millton Memorial Reserve Plan Referred Back

14 April 2010

The Rangiora Ward Advisory Board tonight referred back a concept plan for the Millton Memorial Reserve for further development.

The Millton Memorial Reserve ison the northern edge of Rangiora bounded by River and Cones Roads and Millton Avenue.  It has the Department of Conservation office in one corner.  The remainder is currently leased out for grazing.

Currently the aim is to include a dog park and a mountain-bike training area. The draft concept was referred back for further development because of questions raised about the dog park’s location and the fact that the plan did not cover the whole area.

When a concept plan finally emerges, it will go out to the public for consultation.

Inattention Kills!

14 April 2010

Today I was chairing a meeting of the Waimakariri Road Safety Committee.

One surprising statistic that has emerged is that Waimakariri is in the top group of districts for road crashes caused by driver inattention or distraction.

I don’t know why, but we seem to think we can drive without keeping our eyes on the road and other road users.  So turn off the cell-phone, let the CD start over again and try to ignore the kids squabbling in the back seat!

Rangiora Town Centre: What’s Going On? Has it Dropped off the Radar?

11 April 2010

You might recall that the Council called a public meeting last year to discuss the Rangiora Town Centre.  What has happened since then?

At the meeting, participants were invited to put their names forward for one of two reference groups – one for property owners and business people in the Town Centre, and the other for “users” of the Town Centre (i.e. the general public).  They and a third group overseeing the process have met on a number of occasions feeding ideas and comments into the process.  The third oversight group is comprised of some councillors, staff and representatives from the Ward Advisory Boards and Our Town Rangiora.

Four groups of consultants have been engaged by the Council and they are developing ideas on such areas as business development, traffic, parking and the overall appearance of the town centre.  A lot of analysis of the current situation is, of course, being done and the overall message is that the Town Centre has a lot going for it and is actually very strong.  Much, however, could be done to make it even better.

The three groups and the consultants all got together a couple of weeks ago for a day-and-a-half workshop, followed by a public open day on the following Saturday.  Not many came, but it was advertised and it did happen!

The consultants have now gone away for further research and analysis and to prepare reports for the Council.

It needs to be emphasised that what comes out of this process will not be a series of decisions.  What we will get are a range of concepts which will be open for further public consultation.  There are rumours going around the town that the Council has “decided” this or that.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Categorical Assurance!

11 April 2010

To those readers of Saturday’s Press:  I can categorically assure you that I have no interest whatsoever in the Christchurch mayoralty!

Mayoral Candidacy Announced

7 April 2010
   

    Media Statement Made Today

    

      [see also Biography as at April 2010 under About David Ayers in the list of pages to the right of your screen.]

 

 Long-serving Waimakariri Councillor, David Ayers, has announced that he is standing for the Waimakariri mayoralty in the elections that will be held in September and October this year. 

“The District is ready for positive leadership that acknowledges the District’s strengths and that will get the District back on the path of sustainable development,“  he said. 

“We need leadership that unites the District and doesn’t divide one community from another or urban residents from their rural neighbours.  While acknowledging that local communities have their own proud histories and may have particular interests, we also need to recognise that District facilities available to all will be financed from across the District,” said David Ayers. 

“The significant developments that have started in this current term of the Council, such as new water schemes for Oxford and Rangiora, and the Dudley Park Aquatic centre, were all initiated in the previous term.  The current leadership came into office determined to delay them and was only forced to back-track under pressure of public opinion.  We are sorely in need of forward-looking leadership,” he said. 

“I believe strongly in this District.  Our two largest towns have a long history of integration with the rural community and we now have a great, if challenging, mix of growing towns and townships, large farms and small holdings, beach settlements and rural-residential communities.  We live alongside internationally-significant braided rivers and wonderful beaches and hill country.  Waimakariri is a District of opportunity and this is why so many are coming to live here. 

“We can work together to make this an even better place to live, do business and farm.” 

Cr Ayers is descended from early Woodend settlers. He is the longest serving councillor in the Waimakariri District, having been first elected to the Rangiora Borough Council in 1983.  He stood down under pressure of work in 2001 and then chaired the Rangiora Ward Advisory Board for six years before being re-elected to the Council in 2007. 

He was Deputy Mayor between 1995 and 2001 and chaired Rangiora and Waimakariri District finance and audit committees for twelve years. 

A former Deputy Principal of Rangiora High School, David Ayers is involved in a wide range of community groups including Rotary, Community Watch, the Methodist Church, Ashley Rivercare, North Canterbury Radio Trust and the Waimakariri Arts Council.  He and his wife, Marilyn, also do duty in the local museum and he is an Alternate Civil Defence Controller for the District.  An interest in the District’s history is reflected in his involvement with the restoration group for the Ashley Community Church and with the Rangiora Landmarks group, which puts commemorative plaques on historic buildings. 

For the past three years he has been running an internet blog at davidayers.wordpress.com that many locals have accessed for information. 

“I see my Council involvement and my Mayoral candidacy as an extension of this service to the community,” concluded David Ayers.

Traffic Lights for Southbrook?

7 April 2010

The possibility of traffic lights in Southbrook has, as I predicted in an earlier blog posting, got passions raised.

First of all, some related, but not necessarily connected, points.

  • When or if the traffic lights come, they may not be the first traffic lights in the District.  The NZ Transport Agency is considering putting lights on the Lineside Road/Smith Street bridge over the Motorway because of the bad accident record there.
  • Southbrook Road is easily the busiest road in Rangiora/Southbrook – about 17 000 vehicles a day.  Getting on to this road is considerably more difficult than, say, getting out of The Warehouse carpark.
  • The customers, and carpark-users, of the Pak’n Save will be ratepayers and residents, just like you and me.

People have long suggested a round-about for that corner.  Question: if you were on Flaxton Road trying to enter the roundabout at 5.00pm, would that be easy?  Roundabouts work best when there are reasonably even flows of traffic from all directions.  I often look at the one at High/King Streets – it works well for that reason.

The Southbrook and Rangiora New Life Schools and people trying to get out of Coronation and Torlesse Streets will probably appreciate the breaks in the traffic caused by the lights.

On the other hand, I will join those not appreciating being held up by the new lights! – especially when leaving the town when there is never any hold-up now, except at the railway crossing.

As regards the process and the alleged lack of consultation, it needs to be remembered that the supermarket was applying for a Resource Consent under the Resource Management Act.  The hearing was conducted by a commissioner appointed by the Council and that commissioner would have heard expert opinion from traffic engineers plus evidence from other submitters before making the decision. The only access the person-in-the-street has to that process that  is to make a submission.

In other words, it wasn’t a “yes we want it” or “no we don’t” process. It was a formal judicial process conducted under strict rules.  Someone could, for instance, have organised a petition and presented it as evidence, but the commissioner would have been weighing up the strength and validity of the arguments, not counting numbers.

Now that the commisioner has made a decision, the decision is now “owned” by the Council. The only way that the consent can be defeated or changed is by appeal to the Environment Court – and you can usually only do that if you were an original submitter.

 

ECan and Our Rates

5 April 2010

 According to the poll published in The Press, opinion in Canterbury was fairly divided on whether the Government had done the right thing in sacking the Canterbury Regional Councillors – with slightly more opposed than in favour of the Government’s move.

One thing that has struck me and others, though, is that I think that this will be the first time that I have been taxed (or rated) by a non-elected body.

The Americans fought a revolution over that.

A Great Day at the Oxford A&P Show

3 April 2010

Great weather and a big crowd enjoyed the Oxford A&P Show today.  As in most country towns, it was the big event of the year and Oxford certainly turned it on.


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