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Development of Community Facilities Network Plan begins

5 September 2007

Establishing a city-wide network of community facilities which serve suburban needs is one of the key objectives of the Christchurch City Council’s Community Facilities Network Plan.

Work has started on developing the draft Plan, as signalled last year as part of the development of the Strengthening Communities Strategy.

Council will focus the draft Plan on developing a network of multi-functional suburban facilities, distributed equitably across the city, says Council Community Support Manager Catherine McDonald.

"There was strong support from the community, as part of extensive public consultation on the Strengthening Communities Strategy, for this approach."

Suburban facilities are identified as those which serve a local catchment area of up to 5km, attracting users across different neighbourhoods and being used for a wide range of activities.

She says feedback also supported the need for neighbourhood facilities in areas with significant social needs. The draft Community Facilities Network Plan will also address this area, along with facilitating access to facilities across the city which are not necessarily owned by Council.

The City Council owns about 60 community halls and centres which cost the community between $1.5 million and $2 million in annual maintenance and operational costs. These facilities have a replacement value of $30 million.

"Community facilities are recognised as key focal points in our community, playing an important role in social well-being, through the hosting of activities and being places for people to meet and learn, fulfilling a wide variety of social, educational and recreational needs."

Mrs McDonald says use of the Council facilities varies significantly because of the age, condition, functionality, accessibility, publicity and management arrangements.

The draft Community Facilities Network Plan will also consider the need for new facilities and identify facilities for which alternative uses could be found.

A draft Plan is expected to be completed March/April next year for wide public consultation. Any projects recommended in the final Plan will be considered as part of the 2009/19 Long Term Council Community Plan process, along with all other priorities for the city.

Mrs McDonald says Council has recognised the community facility needs of rural or isolated communities differ from those in the city and the needs of Banks Peninsula will be considered independently as part of this process.

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