Final earthquake infrastructure recover report

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By David Hill

Councillors hailed an “historic” moment when accepting the final earthquake infrastructure recovery report on Tuesday, on the eve of the 9th anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake.

The report, written by Waimakariri District Council senior engineering advisor Gary Boot, advised 56 of the 58 recovery projects have now been completed and in line with the $38.7 million budget.

Mayor David Ayers described it as an “important milestone historically for the council”.

“This is the biggest project which has been undertaken in the 160 year history of this district and to complete it in line with the budget is a reflection on the quality of work by our staff.”

Speaking on Mr Boot’s behalf, three waters manager Kalley Simpson said the two remaining projects would be completed as part of ongoing regeneration work.

Those projects include the Feldwick catchment reticulation, which will be completed over the next few months, and the Feldwick stormwater management area, to be completed during the 2020/21 financial year.

Councillors approved additional funding for the Johns Road storm water project in Rangiora, with $298,000 to be brought forward from the 2022/23 financial year and an additional $332,000 from the present financial year towards the design and construction of the pipeline.

Mr Simpson said the extra funding would allow staff to speed up the project and minimise disruption to residents, but would not create any additional cost to the council long term.

Councillors approved a submission supporting the proposed plan change 7 to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and the proposed plan change 2 to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan. But concerns were raised around farmer wellbeing, the inclusion of small block holders, the delay to 2029 in raising water levels in Cam River and Silverstream and the need to consider the whole Waimakariri catchment.

A sustainability strategy was adopted, outlining action points for improving sustainability. Senior policy analyst Mike O’Connell said there was considerable input from staff, council committees and through the annual plan consultation, with the Waimakariri Youth Council particularly “keen to see things done”.

Chief executive Jim Palmer said the council was considering the merits of electric vehicles and solar energy, but there are a number of implications including the provision of
charging stations.

“The council may want to take the opportunity to change and show the community what can be done. There will be further conversations with the council about these matters going
forward.”

Mr Palmer also presented some recommendations for the incoming council, promoting
the continuation of the existing standing committees, utilities and roading, community and
recreation, district planning and regulation and audit and risk.

He also advocated for some elected member training and development to assist new
councillors getting to groups with standing orders, finance, media, planning and
regulatory frameworks. He said more experienced councillors may also benefit from upskilling.