Archive for January, 2012

Ashley Bridge Proposed for Council Programme

31 January 2012

A new Ashley Bridge at Cones Road, Rangiora, is in the Draft Long Term (10 Year) Plan as a proposal to go to the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee and the NZ Transport Agency for inclusion in their programme for the next three years. 

Approval at that level is necessary for the project to gain Government subsidy. If the bridge includes a separate pedestrian lane, the total cost is likely to be in the area of $10.2m, with a bit over $4m being the Waimakariri District’s share.

If we don’t put an application in this year, we will have to wait another three years.  The bridge has a good chance of making the cut, the main question being its width.

Rangiora Town Hall Proposals Announced

31 January 2012

The Council has announced its proposals for the earthquake-prone Rangiora Town Hall.  They are part of the Long Term (10 Year) Plan due to go out for public consultation and timed for the first year of that Plan, starting in July this year.

The proposal is as I signalled in an earlier post on this blog.  It involves strengthening the existing building to at least 67% of new building standard, part of that being brought about by building a new addition around the west and south of it.  The new addition will include a smaller performance space with a more versatile flat floor. The seating in it will not be fixed. The movie theatre will be brought downstairs and will also be more versatile in that it will be able to be used for other kinds of presentations as well as movies. It is proposed that there will be toilets and dressing rooms (the current dressing rooms are under the stage) for cast and crew, as well as practice rooms for music. There will be storage areas as well.

Part of the proposal is to enlarge the foyer along the front of the Town Hall, incorporating a new front door coming in off High Street. Upstairs, the area where the movie theatre was will be turned into a reception area.  The upper floor will, of course, be serviced by a lift.

It needs to be emphasised that this is not a final decsiion and there are, of course, alternatives.  The Long Term Plan will be out for public feedback soon.

The Town Hall was scheduled for a major revamp in a year’s time, but has been brought forward because of its current closure.

Men’s Sheds Are Coming!

31 January 2012

The Men’s Shed movement is spreading to Waimakariri.

Men’s Sheds are places where (usually) retired (usually) men can get together, use some of the skills they have gathered over the years and chew the fat. They are normally set up like workshops with the kind of equipment like lathes that people usually don’t have at home.  They can make stuff for themselves and their families or do small community projects like making park seating.

An Oxford group has been going for some time, fund-raising.  They have a brand new garage promised by a sponsor and a site identified in Pearson Park.  A Kaiapoi group  has also been looking at where they can go.

Another group in Rangiora has obtained a spot at the Showgrounds and is already open.  You can find out about it at

They will be open for visitors at the Boys’ Toys / Gear for Girls weekend at the Showgrounds on the weekend of 25-26 February.

The Capital Rating Debate

28 January 2012

On the right side of your screen, you should see a heading Pages.  To open a page, simply click on it.

If you go into the site via Twitter, the right side might not show.  Try opening direct through the internet.

The two that I put on this morning are:

Democracy and Consultation

Capital Value versus Land Value Based Rating

Sorry they are a bit long!

Oxford Town Hall Proposal for Public Consultation

26 January 2012

As part of its Long Term Plan, the Waimakariri District Council is to consult with the wider community on the future of the earthquake-prone Oxford Town Hall.

One idea that will be discussed is whether to build a new one that would include the functions of the Pearson Park Pavilion, also earthquake prone. 

Relocated to the Pearson Park area, it would then be possible to combine the funding that it is proposed to allocate for earthquake-strengthening of both buildings: $2m for the Town Hall and $150,000 for the pavilion.

The Kaiapoi Library and Museum Replacement – what is going out for public consultation?

25 January 2012

The Council is currently going through its Long Term Plan preparation.  We haven’t finished yet, but we have already made some decisions on what we want to consult the public on.

We are proposing a new combined library and museum on the site of the current Kaiapoi library.  We are not proposeing a repair because geotechnical investigation has shown that there has been some liquefaction and lateral spread on the site. A building needs new, deep foundations.

The existing building has become too small and the meeting room upstairs is also of a design and size that made it not as useful as it could have been.  Paradoxically, the kitchen is too big!

The museum will be combined with the library, and an art space, similar in size to that in the Rangiora library, will also be included.

The total cost will be about $8.6m, owhich it is likely that about $2m will be recovered from the current library and the former museum.

A Triple Whammy – or is it a Quadruple?

25 January 2012

When it comes to big community facilities projects, we normally do one at a time – as happened with the Dudley Pool.

This time, the earthquake and the justified heightened sensitivity to earthquake-prone buildings, has left us with three big ones all at once:

  • The Kaiapoi Library/Museum
  • The Rangiora Town Hall
  • The Oxford Town Hall

These are amongst the problems facing the Council for its Long Term (10 Year) Plan.

But wait there’s more …

                … a new bridge over the Ashley north of Rangiora.

What’s Happening About the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre?

23 January 2012

As we all know, the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre was badly damaged in the 22 February earthquake.  The September quake damgaed the pool and the surrounds and these had been fixed by December.  The photo shows the pool full of kids on the reopening day. The February quake did major damage to the roof.

It seems that the cost of repairing the roof will be met by insurance.

However, many had complained in the past about the inadequacy of the changing rooms.  The Council would like to redesign these and the entrance area and is seeking funding from an outside earthquake-recovery source to pay for this.

Let’s put the pool back, but make it better!

Options for the Rangiora Town Hall

21 January 2012
The Town Hall in earlier days

On the face of it, there are a number of options before the community when it comes to fixing the earthquake-prone buikding – it is currently assessed at 28% of new building standard.

However, the existing Long Term Plan, consulted on and confirmed in 2009, already projects a major development of the Town Hall.  This includes earthquake-strengthening the existing building, and building around it on the southern and western sides new dressing rooms and toilets for performers and crew, a smaller and more flexible performance space, shifting the movie theatre downstairs and enlarging the foyer.  There would be a new entrance into that foyer off High Street, and there would be a reception area upstairs where the movie theatre now is.  There would also be storage of costumes and props, along with practice rooms for music students and the like.  A lift will need to be installed for disabled access upstairs.
What is wrong with the existing building?
There is only one toilet backstage, and that is on the stage itself!  During performances, cast and crew have to come outside the building and run around the to the front door to use the toilet off the foyer! I think we all know that the foyer is hopelessly small.  In addition, there is a real shortage in the District of middle-sized performance spaces.
Are there alternatives? Well I guess there are, ranging from knocking it down and building nothing to replace it, to knocking it down and building something brand new.  The latter would be the strongest solution from an earthquake-resistance point of view, and while it is probably the most expensive option (if it included the above add-ons), the Council is seeking an update on the likely costs of doing this. 
In addition to this, the Council has been talking to Kaiapoi High School about upgrading their auditorium to provide an improved performance space there.
The pressure has obviously come on because of the closure of the Town Hall and forced the council to consider advancing its plans.
All, however, comes up for discussion as part of the Long Term Plan process.  The Council is about to prepare a draft, which will go out for consultation next month.

Kaiapoi Law Firm Corcoran French Reopens Christchurch Office

20 January 2012

Kaiapoi Law Firm, Corcoran French have reopened their Christchurch office – see . They were forced out of their Kaiapoi offices by the September quake (the building is now demolished) and are now at The Crossing, next to McDonalds.

Trees Make a Difference in Town Centres

16 January 2012

Central Canberra

Supermarket Wars in Waimakariri

15 January 2012

The supermarkets are certainly getting thick on the ground.

The Kaiapoi New World reopened last month after being rebuilt – the previous building was, of course, badly damaged by the September quake.  That was great for Kaiapoi and has been one of the signs that commercially Kaiapoi is on the road back.

In the meantime, the Rangiora New World has undergone a significant expansion.

Next week, the new Countdown in Ivory Street, Rangiora, will be opened. That will make two Countdowns in Rangiora, along with the one in Kaiapoi..

People often ask me if Pak ‘n Save is coming to Southbrook after all.  The latest information that I have is that it has been delayed while Foodstuffs get a couple of New Worlds back open in Christchurch (Redcliffs and St Martins, I think).  The first job that has to be done at Southbrook is to divert the Southbrook stream around the edge of the site.

The new building going up beside St Mary’s Anglican Church in Southbrook Road is the Rangiora Mazda building, replacing their site on the Pak ‘n Save site.

Is Waimakariri Growing?

14 January 2012

It certainly looks like it.

The Sovereign Palms subdivision north of Kaiapoi is moving fast and a lot of interest has been shown in the Silverstream subdivision to the west of that town.  Given that most of those in the Kaiapoi red zones have indicated hat they want to stay in Kaiapoi, this is not surprising.

Local will have noted the houses springing up in the new Horncastle subdivision on the eastern side of Rangiora and in the Arlington subdivision in the north-west.  Pegasus has got going again, too.

Real estate firms are reporting that there is also strong demand for rural life-style blocks, particularly in the Clarkville-Ohoka area and for rural-residential properties in the likes of Mandeville.

This all suggests that many of those who are having to move out of Christchurch are looking north.  Historically, this has been the pattern for some time, but there does seem to be a very strong spile: in November the Council received over 200 applicatons for building consents.  The strongest year that we have had in the past has been on the 600s.

Should the Oxford Town Hall be Replaced?

12 January 2012

The Oxford Town Hall will cost a lot to bring it up to an earthquake rating of 67% of new building standard.  It is currently closed because it is rating is about 25%.

Some in the community are saying that it would be better to build a more modern building, possibly somewhere else.

You will be hearing more about this!

Earthquake Recovery: January to January – What’s Changed?

10 January 2012

Our community is in a very different earthquake recovery scene from what it was a year ago. In January 2010, the Council was project-managing the Government’s intention to remediate land in Kaiapoi to stop the lateral spread of the crust towards lower ground, mainly the Kaiapoi River and the Coutenay Stream.  This would have been a major project, taking 2-3 years.

Hilton Street and Kaiapoi Fire Station, September 2010
Now, of course, residents in defined “red” zones are being made two offers to enable them to shift out and buy or build elsewhere.  The Government is offering to buy their land at 2008 rateable values (Waimakariri) and giving residents a choice between selling their houses to the Government or settling with insurance companies.

Homeowners in Green Zones can repair or rebuild their houses on their own land – although there are also now three grades of foundation requirements, depending on location.  Most of Kaiapoi, the northern end of Pines Beach and the rest of Waimakariri are green-zoned.

This has been exactly what many people wanted – but by no means everyone.  The differences of view in Kaiapoi, Pines-Kairaki, Brooklands and Christchurch hve been well-reported.

There are also a number of unanswered questions, such as what is the long-term future of the red zones?  The Council is unsure about uninsured houses – is it intended that they stay?  Will the Council get the same offers as other homeowners for its red-zoned pensioner houses?  Will we get insurance for underground infrastructure that will have to pass through red-zoned areas to get to green zones, as in Courtenay Drive and Pines Beach? And there are a number of others.
I am confident, however, that 2012 will see a lot of clarification – hopefully soon.

What’s Happening About the Woodend Bypass?

9 January 2012
What NZTA think the Main North Road / Woodend Road intersection might look like with trafffic lights

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) are still considering the results of the consultation that was carried out last year.  At that point, they asked for comment on three bypass options and three widening options for Main North Road.  I gather their next move will be to come back to the community with a final two design options: one for a bypass and and one for a Main North Road widening.

One issue of concern that emerged from last year’s consultation was concern from Pineacres residents over the size and impact of changes in hteir neighbourhood where a newly-extended Christchurch Northern Motorway (i.e. the Woodend Bypass) would link with the existing Main North Road.

Update on Bridges

8 January 2012

I’m often asked about some of our bridges.

Williams Street Bridge, Kaiapoi

This came out of the earthquakes quite well – it’s the approach on the nothern side that is now rubbish, and getting worse. As for the bridge itself, the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan proposes that parking be removed and the footpaths made wider to allow people to linger and look up and down the river.  There will be seating on it as well.

Ashley River Bridge at Cones Road, Rangiora

The Council is endeavouring to get a replacement put on to the Canterbury Regional Transport Plan and the chances are very good.  It is intended that this will be wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians to cross it in safety.   The total cost is likely to be in the area of $10m, but it will attract a 60% subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency if the project it approved.

Old Waimakariri Cycle & Pedestrian Clipons

Not much joy here, I’m afraid. The bridge is jointly owned by Waimakariri and Christchurch and neither Council is very keen on doing the work without NZTA subsidy.  To get this will require a change in Government policy direction towards pedestrian and cycle facilities.

Waimakariri Gorge Bridge

This bridge, jointly owned by Waimakariri and Selwyn, is to get a new deck very soon.  Both councils have budgeted for it.  The common claim that the two councils have been arguing over it is urban myth.

The Waimakariri Gorge Bridge with a train about to cross it, ca.1921

The “Kaiapoi” Fault – What’s the Story?

7 January 2012

I went to the GNS Science briefing yesterday to hear about the latest flurry of aftershocks.  And yes, the 5.2 at 1.21 a.m. this morning did wake me up.

The “Kaiapoi” Fault is the new name for the one they’ve discovered under the sea off the Waimakariri mouth.  It does not pass underneath Kaiapoi.

Most of the recent aftershocks have been out to sea and although they are trending north-east, they aren’t affecting this fault.  The seismologists told us that the Kaiapoi Fault has been active periodically in geological time which means that there has been a progressive release of stress along it.  That should be good news for us in North Canterbury because that release of stress means that it is less likely to be a big one if the fault ruptures.

We are likely to continue to get aftershocks in this part of Canterbury for many years, although as time goes on they will become imperceptible.  Aftershocks from the 1968 Inangahua quake are still going on.

The aftershocks experienced in the Oxford area after the September earthquake were not unexpected.  Apparently the Mount Oxford area is quite seismologically active and, once again, the periodic release of stress is a good thing.

None of this, of course, takes away the very real threat to the region of the Alpine Fault, which is on the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.

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