By Matt Doocey, Waimakariri MP
As the Christmas song goes, it’s a wonderful time of the year. Our communities are celebrating the end of another year and the excitement of the holidays lies ahead.
Our retailers are smiling and it’s great to walk up our busy streets and see everyone taking the time to share greetings and stopping to have a chat.
It was rewarding to see the turnout for our Santa parades. It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Waimak without our parades and I really enjoyed taking part in each one with my family. Our residents lined the streets in Kaiapoi to herald Santa’s arrival and to support our community and voluntary organisations and local businesses, with their floats and costumes.
Rangiora was not to be outdone and a lively parade of children, clowns, bands and everything else you can think of entertained our residents. For those who wanted more, a trip to Oxford the next week helped to keep the magic alive with a fabulous parade down the main street.
The end of the year encourages a time of reflection as we look back over the journey we have travelled the past year. Our commuters celebrated the opening to traffic of the $122m Western Belfast Bypass and I am still receiving positive feedback on how well this is working. We also had a third lane southbound over the Waimak Bridge get over the line with approval for this project, for which I petitioned, and we can look forward to a high-occupancy third lane southbound and a cycle facility to connect with the wider cycle network on either side of the Waimak Bridge.
Our schools have celebrated the openings or sod turnings for new modern learning environments as we supported increased roll growth in our growing communities. In the new year we look forward to the opening of our two new major cycleway projects, linking Rangiora and Woodend, and Kaiapoi and Rangiora, as well as some great new recreational opportunities in our regeneration zones.
It’s certainly a great time to be living in the Waimak.
From my family to yours, I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a healthy new year. As we enjoy this time with our families, let’s not forget the hard work of our voluntary and professional firefighters during this season.
We have entered the restricted period and I do ask everyone when out enjoying our wonderful landscapes to be very careful. Thank you again to our firefighters and their families for supporting them as they keep us safe.