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New project leaders keen to progress Greater Christchurch UDS

31 March 2006

Getting four councils and Transit New Zealand to agree and draft an Urban Development Strategy to deal with future growth in Greater Christchurch is not impossible or difficult, say the consultants leading the project.

Ken Tremaine and Bill Wasley have been taken on as joint project leaders to lead and help implement the UDS - Mr Tremaine, from Auckland, as technical specialist and Mr Wasley, from Tauranga, the governance specialist.

Between them they have managed the successful Bay of Plenty Smartgrowth project that Prime Minister Helen Clark launched on 14 May 2004. Smartgrowth was set up to ensure that, as Western Bay of Plenty grows, it continues to be a great place to live, work and play. The two helped Tauranga City, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and Bay of Plenty Regional Council draft and implement a Western Bay of Plenty strategic growth management plan. The Government was impressed enough to match dollar-for-dollar Western Bay of Plenty’s clean transport plan for 10 years, netting a total $300 million for the sub-region’s transport.

“My big interest is in big-scale development planning in New Zealand and internationally, to look long-term at landuse and the social implications of that in housing, health, transport, and a fair means of funding this. In the past, New Zealand has not been too good at knowing the cost of growth or delivering timely zoning and infrastructure at a fair price to support it,” Mr Tremaine says.

Long-term strategising is a major learning curve for Canterbury authorities - who must ignore historical boundaries to plan and seek solutions together - and central Government, which gets nervous when individual local governments seek funds for infrastructure.  “It’s about connecting the head, heart, and funding. You collate the great ideas, build community passion for it, then seek the means to deliver it,” Mr Tremaine says.

“Smartgrowth attracted Central Government funding because it provided a growth management strategy that all agreed to, then identified key infrastructural needs and practical solutions that could be achieved with adequate funding,” he says.

Mr Wasley says his challenge is to keep all the Greater Christchurch partners fully engaged in the process. “That won’t always be easy, but it is achievable and realistic. It will take time because it’s about understanding each others’ issues and positions, but developing trust to consider what’s best for the metropolitan sub-region as a whole.”

“It is about  nurturing a culture of partnership and collaboration on a long-term basis. Working together sends all the right signals to Government that Greater Christchurch partners can deliver together long-term. It’s about having a metropolitan sub-regional vision, which is both urban and rural, but shares similar goals of safe, vibrant communities with a sense of place, a means of getting around easily, clean water and air, and a variety of sustainable, affordable housing,” Mr Wasley says.



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