Archive for June, 2010

Will the Government “Do An Auckland” On Us?

29 June 2010

It is fairly clear that there will be changes in the Canterbury Local Government scene by 2013, if only because it is unlikely that Environment Canterbury will return in its previous form.

But there are differences between us and Auckland.  The problem in Auckland has been the failure of the councils to co-operate sufficiently to address city-wide issues.

In the Greater Christchurch area, the Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn Councils have been co-operating, notably in the greater Christchurch Urban Developement Strategy (UDS) – and have been joined in this by ECan and the NZ Transport Agency (formerly Transit NZ).

One result of this has been the fast-tracking of major roading projects because the region already had its joint planning in place.  The Christchurch Southern Motorway is already under construction.

A re-designation of ECan’s functions could result in the amalgamation of district/city councils, but my guess is that this is unlikely.  Furthermore, the requirement of the Local Government Commission to consider community of interest as the main criterion for determining district boundaries could lead them down the track of splitting districts in two.  I suspect that would be a step which the government would be unwilling to take.

With regard to any amalgamation between Christchurch and Waimakariri, we need to remember that the Waimakariri River is a very strong boundary from a local government point of view. There is only one piece of shared infrastructure – the old road bridge – and all other infrastructure is totally separate.

Garden Bird Survey This Week

29 June 2010


The annual garden bird survey is run from the Waimakariri District, where Rangiora’s Eric Spurr is conducting research on behalf of Landcare Research.  This is the week it has to take place.

You can pick up forms from some local shops, find one in Tuesday’s Press, or go to where you will find a form.

Countdown Hearing Under Way

28 June 2010

The hearing for the proposed Countdown Supermarket in Ivory Street, Rangiora, before Commissioner Jeff Page, is currently under way in the Council Chambers.  It is scheduled to last until Wednesday.

Movie Night in Kaiapoi – Woodend Community Centre Fundraiser

24 June 2010

Movie Night
Thursday 5 August    Picturehouse Cinemas, Kaiapoi
Meet for nibbles from 7pm, movie starts 7.30pm

The true, rags-to-riches story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin – from rural China to ballet stardom as one of the world’s greatest dancers.  In 1972, the 11-year-old Li (Huang Wenbin), living with his family of six siblings in eastern China, is selected as a student with promise by representatives of Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy. He attends their harsh and unforgiving school and becomes one of its star pupils.In ’81, Li (now played by Chi Cao) is chosen to travel to the United States as part of a student exchange with the Houston Ballet Company. There he becomes a star when given a key role in a televised production of Die Fledermaus. Loving life in his new home, Li falls for fellow dancer, Elizabeth (Amanda Schull), and makes the decision to leave his old life behind and pursue a life of personal and creative freedom in America. Running time 117 minutes.

Tickets:  $20    Limited numbers – book now! 

All proceeds to the Woodend Community Centre upgrade fund

Call Kirstyn on 312 2322 to book or email by the Woodend Community Association Inc.

Councils’ “Shakeup”?

23 June 2010

A newly-emerged candidate for the Waimakariri mayoralty was reported on the Radio New Zealand website in this way:

She believes all councils are in for a shake-up in the next three years – as has happened in Auckland – and says the experience she gained at the regional council will help her lead Waimakariri through this.

Well, there is only one Waimakariri candidate who experienced, and worked through, the reorganisations of (1) Rangiora Borough and Rangiora District; (2) the new Rangiora District and Eyre County; and (3) the third Rangiora District, Oxford County, Kaiapoi Borough and part of Hurunui County.

That’s me.


A Mid-Winter Dunking

22 June 2010

Me emerging!

Today was the Rangiora Stroke Club’s “Blue Day” – always run in the middle of winter. 

Also, in what has rapidly become a tradition, various business houses and community groups sponsored individuals to jump into a pool of rather cold water. 

I ended up doing it for the first time after a whip-around was organised at Rotary last week and I found myself sponsored. 

My outfit (white jersey in honour of the All Whites – of course) was rather pale compared with many of the others.  Two examples are below. 

Congratulations to Denise Hasler of the Lotto Shop for organising the event and the help given by groups such as the Rangiora Stroke Club, the ANZ Bank, the Rangiora Lions Club and the Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade – and all the businesses who sent staff along to make idiots of themselves!   

Bob Blair of Monteith's close to entry!

Courtenay of the Blue Rooster was one chicken who flew!

What Mayoral Race?

22 June 2010

It’s still only me and Peter Wakeman in Waimakariri.

Jo Kane is rumoured to be announcing her candidacy in a few days and the Mayor still hasn’t said if he has made up his mind.  Perhaps it’s a case of “you go first”, “no, you”, “no you”.  Perhaps Jo will to do it today as she emerges from her annual shortest-day swim.

Dudley Pool Proving Popular

20 June 2010

The Dudley Park Aquatic Centre is proving very popular.

In May 2009, there were 11905 admissions at the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre.  As you would expect, the figure in May this year is lower – but still 7024.

The figure for Dudley this May is 14049.  In other words, the two pools combined had 21,073 – nearly double last year’s figure.  The conclusions are obvious.

Compass FM’s Test Transmissions

20 June 2010

From time to time you might hear test transmissions coming 104.9 FM.  At the moment, the North Canterbury Radio Trust is using a low-powered transmitter from its Rangiora studios.  Eventually, when the station is operational, transmissions will be beamed from Mount Grey with repeaters to service areas like Hanmer and Cheviot.

At the moment you will hear just music and the occasional promotional message – and the station only reaches the area around Rangiora. 

Compass FM will be a Community Access station that will transmit the Voices of North Canterbury.

New Marae Building Planned for Tuahiwi

20 June 2010

The Ngai Tuahuriri Runanga at Tuahiwi is planning a new marae building to replace the present old hall that has seen better days.  The new building will be available for the whole community to use and will feature an up-to-date kitchen capable of feeding a large number of people.  One can see its potential use as a civil defence welfare centre, for instance.  The Runanga is seeking funding from a variety of sources and has already secured a lot, including from Ngai Tahu and the Council.

Two Exhibitions: Oxford and Rangiora Galleries

20 June 2010

The current exhibition at the Chamber Gallery at the Rangiora Library features work by Albert McCarthy and Irene Shroder.

Both have national reputations, especially Albert McCarthy.  While some might find his work challanging (an example is on the left), the influence of both his Maori and Pakeha cultural backgrounds is very apparent. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand.

You can find out more at .

Irene Mura Schroder has held exhibitions over the South Island since she returned to Invercargill after many years in Australia.

Exhibitions at the Chamber Gallery are organised by the Waimakariri Community Arts Council. 

Hannah Riden of Pines Beach is currently exhibiting at the Arts in Oxford Gallery.

The Gallery, newly opened, has proved to be outstandingly successful.  Oxford is becoming a popular destination (parking problems!) and the Gallery is contributing to this.  It’s in Main Street, almost next door to Seagar’s.

Problem on the Ashley Bridge (Cones Road)

11 June 2010

I was at a meeting that was about to start when a friend (who happens to live in the Waiapara Gorge) came in and said there is a new dip in the Ashley Bridge – the Cones Road one, north of Rangiora.  I rang the Council staff, they went and checked and my friend is right – and, so far, the only motorist to notice. One of the supports near the Rangiora end is settling a bit into the riverbed, mainly on the downstream side.

Staff and consultants are monitoring the bridge.  It is likely that the dip is very recent and while it doesn’t, at this stage, seem that urgent action is required, remedial work is likely to be needed in the future.

This is the Council’s media release.

The Waimakariri District Council yesterday called in consulting engineers to check out the Ashley Bridge following observations of aminor drop in the road surface level.

Consulting engineer Bryan Peters from MWH reported back to the Council yesterday afternoon and confirmed a minor ‘slumping’ of the bridge. This occurrence is typically caused by scouring of the river bed around the piles on which the bridge sits. The phenomenon occurs more particularly following flooding or heavy rain such as has occurred in the District in recent weeks.Mr Peters was confident that safety levels were not significantly compromised by the drop.

Waimakariri District Council Utilities and Roading Manager, Gerard Cleary, says that, following the recommendations of the engineers, safety measures are being put into place which will warn of any further settlement or significant flood flows which could occasion further settlement.

“This bridge was originally built in 1911”, said Mr Cleary, “and is in solid condition for its age. Longer term options and courses of action will be explored once we have received more detailed reports from the engineers”.


Waiyouth Site Now On-Line

10 June 2010

Go to !

Rangiora Town Centre Options out for Consultation

9 June 2010

The Rangiora Town Centre options paper is out for consultation.

Pick up a copy from the council or go to for either the full document or a summary.

This is your chance to have your say about Rangiora’s future.  The town and the wider district depend on having a healthy and vibrant retail heart in Rangiora.

Submissions close on 25 June.

Enterprise North Canterbury’s “Business Gems”

9 June 2010


Enterprise North Canterbury periodically puts out an update called Business Gems.

You can find it at

Oxford Finally Gets Its Water – and a Bit of History

7 June 2010

New water is flowing into Oxford.  A new deep well in Domain Road has replaced a shallow, and vulnerable, source at Cooper’s Creek.  Prime Minister John Key turned the tap.

This is one of the schemes put on hold by the Council after the last election (against the votes of Kevin Felstead, Dan Gordon, Robbie Brine and me). The other councillors said they wanted a water “strategy” first. 

They were forced to change their minds when they were told that a government subsidy would disappear if they didn’t act quickly – mind you, they had been told that when they voted to defer.

You can read more about the history by looking at the Water category to the right of your screen.

The new water won’t come cheaply for the people of Oxford.  Rates there are due to rise about 9% this year because of it – but the people of Oxford have told the Council (twice – before and after the election) that they wanted this new supply.

Oxford Gallery gets the PM in the End!

7 June 2010

Artist Hannah Riden and Oxford Arts Trust Chair Brent Firken chat with PM John Key as he tours the new gallery and looks at Hannah's exhibition.

He was supposed to have opened it, but a misbehaving Minister pulled him back to Wellington on the day.

Prime Minister John Key did, however, get to the gallery as part of a day that he spent mainly in Oxford.  As well as visiting the gallery and opening the new water scheme, he visited the Oxford Area School and opened a new extension to the Oxford Workingmen’s Club building.

The Arts in Oxford Gallery, incidentally, is doing very well.  Lots of people are coming and the recent Diana Gillanders exhibition was completely sold out.  The current exhibition is, of course, showing the work of Hannah Riden of Pines Beach.

You cna find out more about Arts in Oxford at .

Probus Milestone

6 June 2010

Last week, Marilyn and I went to the 15th Anniversary of the Rangiora Combined Probus Club.  We went wearing our Rotary hats because all Probus Clubs are “sponsored” by Rotary clubs. There are a dozen or so Probus Clubs in North Canterbury, all sponsored by either the Kaiapoi or Rangiora Rotary Clubs.  There are five in Rangiora alone, with others in Kaiapoi, Woodend, Amberley, Cheviot and Hanmer Springs.

Probus provides a vehicle for retired people to get together, enjoy each other’s company and hear stimulating speakers.  They are an important part of our community.

Water Zone Committees

1 June 2010

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy, which came out of the Mayoral Forum and which was developed by staff from ECan and the various Canterbury councils, has been given legislative backing through the Act which put commissionera in to replace the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan).

Part of the Strategy requires that Zone Committees to be established that will deal with issues around water allocation, conservation, etc.  Each Zone Committee will include an ECan Commissioner, a District/City Councillor, a Ngai Tahu representative and a number of other community reps.  Nominations for the Waimakariri Zone Committee have been called for and a number of public meetings held to explain what is going on.  Meetings have so far been held in Rangiora, Waikuku and Kaiapoi, with one in Oxford yet to be held.

Appointment of community representatives (which need to cover various areas of interest and expertise) for the Waimakariri Zone Committee (which covers the same area as the Waimakariri District) should be made within a few weeks.

This afternoon, the Waimakariri District Council appointed Cr Kevin Felstead as its representative on the Committee.

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