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Over 3000 respond to Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy

21 June 2005

Of over 3200 submissions received on the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS), 63% say they want development concentrated within Christchurch City and  larger towns in the surrounding districts.

This was one of the initial findings from feedback received on four options being discussed for dealing with growth in Greater Christchurch by the Greater Christchurch UDS partners: the Banks Peninsula, Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils, the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, and Transit New Zealand.

The four options discussed are: Option A, concentrating development within Christchurch City and at larger towns in the surrounding districts; Option B, balancing future urban development between existing built areas with some expansion into adjacent areas; Option C, dispersing development out around Greater Christchurch away from established urban areas, or Business as Usual, extending the recent trends and keeping the status quo well into the future.

A report giving an initial overview of submissions was presented to the Greater Christchurch UDS Forum, which leads the project, on Monday, 20 June. That report indicates that an overwhelming 63% want Option A, 22% want Option B, and very few want Option C (2%) or Business as Usual (3%).

Of the 3200 respondents, 89% say it is very important that water quality is protected, and 79% say it is also very important that all Greater Christchurch councils continue working together to achieve a better future for Greater Christchurch.

Most people (67%) want the least amount of farmland or open space to be used to develop new housing on,  and most people (61%) want a mix of transport choices, with an emphasis on improving public transport.

This feeling was repeated over and over in the more than 140 multiple-page written submissions, as well as with some 1800 comments received with the feedback forms. Many of the 140 submissions were from representative organisations such as resident, community or interest groups, as well as agencies, organisations and companies.

Common themes raised in these 140 written submissions include:

  • the need to provide passenger rail in future, using existing rail transportation corridors between Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Rolleston, Lincoln, Lyttelton and Christchurch;
  • the importance of developing and using excellent urban design principles that included energy efficient homes with public/green space;
  • a need to focus on the development of urban villages or neighbourhood activity centres designed around walking and cycling;
  • a need for transport planning to be aligned to land development;
  • a need to protect productive and versatile soils;
  • a need to protect aquifers and waterways;
  • questioning population projections and the need for any population growth;
  • a need to protect landscapes and provide more open space with green or ecological corridors;
  • questioning the influence of future oil price increases and whether this had been factored into future planning processes, and
  • rural owners wanting a say on rezoning.

Some respondents opted for a mix of Options A and B, saying that while Option A is their preference, it does not go far enough on sustainability issues. A few suggest that a stronger sustainability option should have been included as a contrast to Option C. Written submissions, however, generally support Option A.

Responses broadly represent the existing population distribution of Greater Christchurch with 74% received from Christchurch, 8% from Selwyn, 10% from Waimakariri, and 5% from Banks Peninsula. Ethnic representation, however, was markedly low with only 2% identifying themselves as Maori or Pacific Islander and 1% as Asian. All ages, however, are reasonably well represented.

The response to the UDS options consultation document has been much greater than anticipated by the councils, since the project was first mooted – indicating a strong feeling by the greater Christchurch public to get the planning right. The forum recognises that some respondents sought replies from the Greater Christchurch UDS team, but the high numbers of responses makes individual responses impractical.

The forum will consider all submissions in more detail in the next few months as it begins to develop a draft strategy. It is hoped that the draft strategy will be ready for public consideration by early 2006.

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