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Submissions urge UDS partners to get on with it

25 January 2007

Of more than 360 submissions received on the draft Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS), most say they support the general direction of the Strategy but its implementation is what matters most.

After almost three years work by the UDS partners, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils, Environment Canterbury, and Transit New Zealand - in consultation with their communities - the draft Strategy was opened for public comment on 6 November to 20 December, 2006.

A common thread through the submissions is a need to put the strategy into action, with the UDS partners continuing to work together for the good of their communities rather than follow directives issued by particular lobby groups.

As one submission put it: “Actions speak louder than words.” Numerous comments echo this idea with another saying: “General principle sounds fine but implementation and sustained intelligent commitment will be crucial … “ and another, “It requires sensible planning, implementation and not neglecting it once it is completed”.

UDS Forum chairman Bob Parker says the lower submission numbers, compared to 3,250 for the initial consultation on options for dealing with growth, is not surprising.

“It’s been a very thorough process where we have consulted our communities in two stages –  on what option they preferred for dealing with growth, and whether they agree with the actual draft strategy we’ve come up with.
“Their response in the final consultation has been that most agree with the general direction, and they just want us to implement it.  Some issues still need to be worked through, and the Joint Councils Committee considering submissions will consider each of them on their merits,” Mr Parker says.

Of the more than 360 submissions:

  • Over 60 were multi-paged submissions up to 150 pages long
  • A quarter indicate they want to be heard during the public hearing process, which begins in late February.

Of the 288 who filled in and sent back feedback forms:

  • half say the draft strategy would make greater Christchurch a better place to live in, and agree that the proposed settlement pattern for Christchurch is the right one,
  • 85 of the submissions (29%) agree that the Strategy goes far enough, while 112 of the submissions (39%) say the Strategy does not go far enough, with a common suggestion among the 112 that ‘more green space is required to separate areas.’
  • 66% say the draft strategy provided enough choices for where people want to live
  • 36% say enough attention has been given to providing transport choices, while 43% disagree, with Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts’ most common submission request being the need for light rail. Most of those who disagree want more specifics on how the partners plan to achieve more use of alternative transport – in particular, wanting more safer, off-road cycleways and dedicated bus lanes to improve passenger transport.
  • Traffic congestion was a major concern across the board, with a minority favouring roading upgrades as opposed to public transport as a solution.
  • 78% strongly support limiting urban sprawl for such reasons as concern for infrastructural capacity and protecting precious agricultural land. Green belts were a particularly popular notion.
  • 84% say it is very important that the UDS partners continue to work together to implement the strategy. Some express puzzlement that this question is even raised – it is so obvious.

Next steps
UDS submission hearings by the Joint Councils Hearings Panel begin on 26 February, 2007, and deliberations will continue into March. The Panel, chaired by Bob Parker, is a first – with all four councils equally represented. Thereafter, adoption of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy is expected in April, with a launch of the final UDS that month.

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