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By David Hill

Roading and adopting a local alcohol policy were the main decisions in an otherwise uneventful Waimakariri District Council meeting on Tuesday (October 2).

Councillors voted to proceed with public consultation on proposed speed limit changes in the Rangiora-Woodend Road area and to renew the council’s roading contract with Sicon Ltd, as well as adopting its provisional alcohol policy.

Consultation is open until November 4 for public submissions on a proposal to reduce speed limits on Rangiora-Woodend Rd from the proposed Ravenswood roundabout to north of School Rd, Woodend, from 70kmh to 60kmh.

Traffic engineer Bill Rice says a reduction to 50kmh rather than 60kmh was considered, but it would require road works such as road narrowing, cycleways and “curve build cuts” to be effective as traffic surveys have revealed speeds in excess of 150kmh in the area.

“Realistically if people are doing those sort of speeds, whatever you put on signs, they are going to disregard, so there aren’t many options.

“You can put up speed limit signs and signs indicating speeds on corners, but changing behaviour is a wider discussion that is needed, rather than a localised activity.”

Under the proposal, speed limits would also be reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh from the roundabout to the east of Smarts Rd, on Gressons Rd, on Boys Rd from Rangiora-Woodend Rd to the railway line and on Northbrook Rd from Boys Rd to east of Goodwin St.

Councillors voted to extend Sicon Ltd’s roading contract by another 12 months, despite concerns raised by councillors.

Cr Dan Gordon says he supports the contract renewal, but he wants Sicon “put on notice” after delays in addressing roading issues at Cust and the Cones Rd / Carrs Rd intersection, near Ashley.

While Sicon Ltd received a “satisfactory” report in a review in its most recent audit, Cr Neville Atkinson says the council may need to consider whether it is “setting the bar high enough”.

The council has decided not to ban the issuing of special alcohol licences for child-focused events in its provisional alcohol policy.

In moving the adoption of the policy, Cr Atkinson says he believes the council needs to review its policy around “child friendly events”.

He cited the example of last year’s Kaiapoi Christmas Carnival in Murphy Park, which had a licensed booth at the event.

“The reality is, putting in an extended liquor ban across a large site is not very practical, whereas we found having a licensed booth allows you to control it more effectively.

“But it’s not clear what is defined by the term ‘child friendly event’ in the rules, when do you apply it and how you enforce it and I would like to see some more work done around that.”

Councillors also agreed to support Environment Canterbury’s decision to delay a representation review of the Waimakariri Zone Committee for 12 months, while the committee is working on its zone implementation plan addendum to the Land and Water Regional Plan.