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South West Area Plan kicks off

20 November 2003

Rapid growth in South-West Christchurch has led the City Council to roll out its biggest area plan yet to manage development.

Ivan Thomson, the Council’s area development and planning team leader, says getting the South-West Area Plan (SWAP) off the ground is imperative for the future of Christchurch development.

“It (South-west) is the largest growth area in the city and it needs careful planning because of the significant number of people and large private investment we’re going to see there in the next 20 years,” Mr Thomson said.

The SWAP area includes the huge sweep of land from Cashmere in the Port Hills down to Yaldhurst and is bounded by the Port Hills to the south, Curletts Road to the east, Blenheim and Main South roads to the north, and the boundary between Christchurch City and Selwyn District through to Springs Road in the west.

Mr Thomson said the SWAP would provide a more consistent and long-term strategic approach to future development in the South-West as well as help address issues already emerging. As with any growth, there could be some negative impacts on the area, and the SWAP aims to head these off where possible, he said.

Some subdivisions, for example, were situated near the top of the Heathcote River.

“ That catchment and stormwater storage area needs to be retained and enhanced and, if done well, these areas can become real environmental assets,” Mr Thomson said.

The original intention of the SWAP is to turn water issues into opportunities to create and incorporate into the design of residential areas some attractive water bodies and ecological “corridors”, he said.

There are also transport issues arising from delays in building the planned Southern Arterial which would bisect the area as the next biggest roading project in the next 10 years. It was also a likely prerequisite for more growth in the area.

In the New Year, the Council aims to gauge South-west community feeling about what they pictured for the area in the next 30 years.

Mr Thomson said a major public consultation process would introduce the Area Plan process and key issues to some stakeholders in December, but most communities of interest would be consulted by early 2004.

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