Archive for the ‘Policy Positions 2010’ Category

Pegasus: My Position

3 October 2010

I was opposed to the Pegasus proposal when it was first mooted, an opposition that was well publicised at the time.  I submitted against it at the hearing.

Pegasus is now a fact, however.  People are moving in and they are now Waimakariri residents.  The owners of properties there are Waimakariri ratepayers.

It is in the interests of the District for the Pegasus development to succeed.  Failure would bring about a significant social cost to the wider community.

The development of the relationship between Pegasus, Woodend and Waikuku is going to be something that the three communities and the wider District are going to be working on for a number of years.

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Rural Subdivision: My Position

3 October 2010

The spread of 10-acre (4ha) blocks across the Waimakariri landscape concerns a lot of people, including me.

One needs to remember, however, that the rural economy outside of dairying remains very difficult.  For many farmers, subdivision has become about the only way they can make something out of their land.  We also need to acknowledge that there has been, at least until recently, market demand for these “lifestyle” blocks.

A further defence is that some of these small blocks are actually very productive.

However, their spread has driven up the cost of neighbouring farmland and has swallowed up much of the District’s productive capacity.

Before 4ha became the minimum standard for rural lots in the District Plan, the Resource Management Act made it very difficult to resist subdivision anyway.  The subdivisions usually ended up being granted but with the applicants being put to the extra cost of seeking resource consents.  Before the RMA, subdivision also still happened, but with lawyers and consultants making money out of proving”economic use” of the proposed lots.

I belive that we can help limit the spread of 4ha blocks by making more provision for rural-residential developments where the average size of lots is 0.5 or 1 hectare.  Examples already exist in places like Fernside. Hopefully, this will soak up some of the demand.

Going back to past subdivision standards will be very difficult because once such a move is signalled, a huge amount of hurried subdivision is likely to result.

Local Government Reform in Canterbury: My Position

3 October 2010

Having already been on the Local Government scene for six years when the 1989 restructuring took place, I know how difficult the process can be.  The successive amalgamations of Rangiora Borough and Rangiora District, then the new District with Eyre County, and then that new Rangiora District with Kaiapoi Borough, Oxford County and part of Hurunui County to form Waimakariri were all done differently.  Even in the space of three years, history didn’t repeat itself!

The replacement of the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) with commissioners suggests that Canterbury is in for another shake-up.  I doubt that ECan will return in its former guise.  I am prepared to work constructively with the Government, the commissioners and neighbouring councils to review the future functions of territorial councils like Waimakariri.  It could well be that district councils will take on some of ECan’s current functions.

We need to make sure, however, that this works to the advantage of ratepayers and residents.

I do not believe that anything would be gained by amalgamations unless there was widespread public support – nor do I think that such moves are likely from the Government.

Town Centres: My Position

19 September 2010

There has been ongoing work on the Kaiapoi and Rangiora Town Centres for some time.

The Kaiapoi one seems to have stalled – it started well before the Rangiora process, yet the Rangiora report is to go to the Council this week.  There also seems to be a lack of  wider community awareness of what was going on in Kaiapoi – but now the earthquake has changed everything.

Obviously the first priority is to finalise the Kaiapoi plan so that reconstruction of the town centre can get under way as soon as possible.  While the damage has not been so great as to demand a complete redesign, the loss of the Museum, for example, does present opportunities.

The Rangiora concept plan will demand expenditure – as will Kaiapoi’s.  The earthquake may cause a reprioritisation, but it is important that work starts soon in both towns and that progress is seen to be being made.

The other challenge is Woodend.  Even if NZTA decides for a bypass soon, we still have at least 15 years in which we need to be developing a viable and attractive town centre for Woodend.

One Waimakariri District: More on My Position

31 August 2010

The most disunifying action of the Waimakariri District Council since its formation in 1989 has to be the imposition of the 5km rating zone around the Dudley Aquatic Centre.

It only lasted for a year, but it meant that people outside that zone had less reason to contribute to the fundraising.  Local people were being taxed for a facility available to the whole District.

District facilities must be funded District-wide.

One Waimakariri District: My Position

29 August 2010

Ever since I was elected to the Waimakariri District Council in  its first elections, in 1989, I have regarded myself as a Waimakariri councillor not a Rangiora one (I had six years off in 2001-07).

As far as I am concerned, wards are a means of achieving a geographical spread of councillors.  Once elected, however, we are sworn in as Waimakariri councillors and we have to make decisions for the whole District.

One of the challenges has always been to be seen to be “doing” things for the entire District.  It is common for people to say that all the money gets spent in one part of the District rather than others. 

This is exacerbated by the fact that a large part of the District sees Rangiora as its service centre – shopping, professional services, secondary schooling, etc.  A consequence of this is that there is often a demand for improved facilities in Rangiora.

My own view is that there are some facilities that should be available in various parts of the District.  As Woodend and Pegasus grow towards something like their projected combined population of about 10,000, there should be a library facility somewhere there.  We should be looking into the possibility of adding a leisure pool to the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre,  just as Dudley Park has. 

We can also be looking at the complementarity of facilities, so that what is found in one part of the District can be complemented by what is found in another part.  You wouldn’t, for instance, want to replicate the Rangiora Town Hall in Kaiapoi, but a different, more flexible, kind of performance venue could be considered.

None of this has to happen this year or the next.  But we should be looking forward to the kind of facilities that a District with a population of 60,000+ (currently 46,000) will need.

The important things is that when we put a facility into one part of the District, it needs to be seen as being there for the whole District.

My Candidate Statement

27 August 2010

This is my candidate statement that will go out with the voting papers. Note that candidates are kept to a word limit.

I bring visibility, experience and forward-thinking to the mayoralty.

We need leadership that unites the District and doesn’t divide one part of the community from another. The mayor needs to be visible everywhere in the District and be available to the community.

We also need leadership that knows the community through the deep involvement in a wide range of community groups that I have had. 

As Mayor I would know what I am doing.  I offer 21 years’ experience as a Councillor, including six as Deputy Mayor and twelve chairing finance committees.  This experience will enable me to cope with the challenges of growth and with a changing local government environment.  

Waimakariri is a great place.  I will bring to the mayoralty the forward-thinking that will enable us to work together to make it an even better District in which to live, do business and farm. 

Go to davidayers.wordpress.com


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