By David Hill
Parking, rural communities and the environment took centre stage at Tuesday’s Waimakariri District Council meeting.
Councillors established a land and water working party, authorised staff to investigate park and ride facilities, signed off the rural residential development strategy and heard submissions on glyphosate spraying and parking concerns in Mandeville.
Last week councillors signed off the provision for the appointment of a biodiversity officer in the 2019/20 annual plan and have now taken their environmental commitments a step further by appointing a land and water working group.
Councillors Sandra Stewart, Robbie Brine, Paul Williams, Al Blackie and Kirstyn Barnett will form the working group with utilities and roading manager Gerard Cleary and community and recreation manager Chris Brown.
Cr Barnett called it an “historic” move in bringing together different parts of the council to work together on such an important issue.
The council has committed an initial $100,000 to investigate possible sites for park and ride facilities and pledged to include provision for up to $4 million in the 2020/21 annual plan towards the cost of building these facilities, subject to the New Zealand Transport Agency’s 51 percent contribution.
Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Felstead said it was essential the council “sent a message to our Greater Christchurch partners that we are committed to making our contribution”, after recent criticism from some Christchurch City councillors.
Mayor David Ayers says identifying locations will be a challenge as there may be traffic requirements to support them.
Walkways, cycleways and parking facilities for bicycles and scooters will also need to incorporated.
Mr Ayers says updating the rural residential development strategy was “not an easy exercise”, because there were several issues to consider such as size, location and access to services such as water and sewage.
Pines Beach resident and registered nurse Gail Midgley presented a submission to the council raising concerns about the use of Roundup, which contains glyphosate, in spraying in public spaces.
She said contractors spraying near her home had not used signage and some were not wearing protective clothing. She had raised concerns with council staff, but had not received a response to her queries.
Mr Ayers asked staff to provide a report to the council and a copy will be sent to Ms Midgley.
The Mandeville Residents Association made a presentation to the council raising concerns at the lack of parking at the growing Mandeville shopping centre.
Later in the meeting, councillors accepted a report from greenspace manager Grant MacLeod which called for a change in “local purpose classification” of the council-owned reserve, bordering the Mandeville shopping centre, from “plantation reserve” to “community purposes”.
A change in classification would require approval from the Conservation Minister, so staff are working on identifying a temporary car park space as “a matter of urgency”.