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Christchurch City Council Media Release 11 April 2000

Two 17-Year-Olds Face Hearing

Two 17-year-olds who gave evidence before the Montgomery Spur rezoning hearing today were praised for their efforts.

The hearing panel, under the chairmanship of Cr. Charles Manning, is considering an application to change the zoning of the Hillsborough spur from rural to residential. Three landowners want 85 hectares rezoned and their proposals have attracted almost 1000 objections.

After the two women had voiced their opposition to rezoning, Cr. Manning thanked them and told them how difficult it must have been to appear before the panel.

Madeleine French, a Year 13 student at St Andrew’s College, said that it was not only important to maintain Canterbury’s historic buildings but it was also important to retain a sense of heritage "when it comes to land."

Further residential development on the spur would eventually cause degradation of Rapaki Track and the sites of some of the city’s first quarries and brickworks.

"I am concerned that some of the effects of further residential development, such as water, sewerage and roading, will cause irreversible environmental changes," Miss French said.

She thought the city had an opportunity and an obligation to retain the hill in its natural state.

Annika Horgan, also 17, said there was plenty of flat land to be built on before considering building on the Port Hills. "If the housing proposal goes ahead, where will it stop?" she said.

"Everyone who owns land on the hills will want to take advantage and make money," Miss Horgan said.

"We shouldn’t jeopardise the beauty and appeal of the city that brings in money from tourists."

Christchurch had a surplus of housing. "Should the time come when my generation or generations after me are short of housing, should we not be the ones to decide if these hills are built on or kept as they are," she said.

The hearing will continue tomorrow afternoon and then again on Thursday and Friday. It is expected that the panel will have to sit part of next week, too.

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