Speed limits under scrutiny at Waimakariri DC meeting

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By David Hill

Speed limits proved to be a hot topic at a Waimakariri District Council meeting on Tuesday, August 7.

A proposal to reduce the speed limits on Rangiora-Woodend Road turned into a debate about speed restrictions across the district, while earthquake prone building legislation, the Oxford Rural No 1 water scheme and a designation and plan change for Rangiora Airfield were also discussed.

Councillors voted by six to five to delay public consultation on a proposal to reduce speed limits on Rangiora-Woodend Road to 60kph and 80kph until all four community boards have had a chance to respond. Council staff were also called on to consider the feasibility of reviewing district wide speed restrictions.

In moving the motion, Cr Kirstyn Barnett said there needed to be consistency in speed restrictions across the district.

Chief executive Jim Palmer said while the council had already committed to reviewing speed limits, it made sense to wait until the government had completed its road safety review.

He also said reviewing the whole district would be cumbersome and it was more practical to review speed limits area by area.

The urgency in reviewing the Rangiora-Woodend Road speed limits was due to the growing sub-division at Ravenswood, transport engineer Bill Rice said.

Based on feedback from residents and a public meeting in Woodend, Mr Rice proposed reducing the limit from the proposed Ravenswood roundabout to north of School Road from 70kph to 60kph.

He proposed reducing speed from 100kph to 80kph from the roundabout to east of Smarts Road, on Gressons Road, on Boys Road from Rangiora-Woodend Road to the railway line and on Northbrook Road from Boys Road to east of Goodwin Street.

The proposal is expected to come back to the October council meeting, once all four community boards have had a chance to give feedback.

The council is to seek feedback on “priority buildings” under the Earthquake Prone Buildings Act, which are deemed earthquake prone and need urgent attention.

Three priority areas have been identified, including the old BNZ building on Williams Street and the former Kaiapoi Woollen Mill on Walker Street, both in Kaiapoi, and up to nine buildings on High Street, Rangiora.

The consultation period will be from August 20 to September 20 with oral submissions to heard in October by a panel comprising Crs Wendy Doody, Dan Gordon and Al Blackie.

Mayor David Ayers said the district has made good progress in addressing earthquake prone buildings, which is “a credit to our retailers”, but there is still work to do.

Council staff sought an additional $200,000 to the budget to upgrade the Oxford Rural No 1 water scheme, due to additional expenses incurred during the consent hearing process with Environment Canterbury for well-testing and planning advice.

The council also voted to seek a plan change around the designation of the Rangiora Airfield, which will now be publicly notified.