August 26, 2008

ECan Expects Fallout on City Growth Plans



* Tomorrow, 5.30pm-7pm, Rolleston Community Centre.

* September 1, 2.30pm-4pm, Our City, corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace.

* September 1, 6pm-7.30pm, Riverside Church Hall, Kaiapoi.

* September 2, 6pm-7.30pm, Woodend Community Hall.

* September 3, 6pm-7.30pm, Commodore Hotel, Christchurch. ------- -------------


Plans to include another 22,000 households in an expanded Christchurch by 2041 look destined for the Environment Court, even though first-stage regional hearings have yet to begin.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is asking for public feedback on proposals to vary the urban limits of Kaiapoi, Woodend and Rolleston, and to revise the noise limit around Christchurch International Airport to 50 decibels (dBA) to ensure it can continue to operate 24 hours a day.

The four variations that form the proposed change to the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) are part of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS).

If they are approved, the Selwyn District could have 11,890 new households, 5500 from a new "greenfields" development, by 2041, and there could be 9800 new households in the Waimakariri District, 2300 from greenfields development in Kaiapoi and 990 in Woodend.

Submissions close on September 19 and a series of public briefings are being held around the region this week and next.

ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke said this was the chance for the region to ensure its growth was properly supported by transportation and infrastructure.

"This is pioneering stuff for Canterbury to have an integrated urban development and transport infrastructure," Burke said. "Over the next 10 years what you are not going to see are greenfield developments with no connection to transportation and other community- serviced infrastructures that then have to be supplied after at considerable expense to the community.

"These variations are the last part of our council process in terms of debate. Now it goes off for analysis, submissions and then it will be heard by the hearing panel and no doubt reviewed by the Environment Court after that.

"The hearing will be in March-April next year and after that it will be up to a party or parties if they think that the panel has it wrong to have that decision reviewed in the Environment Court."

An appeal to the court could delay a final decision into early or mid-2010.

Burke was aware the revised 50dBA contour for the airport was contentious among landowners who would not be able to develop land within that area.

However, it was not a case of Christchurch International Airport Ltd's (CIAL) plans shaping the look of the region.

"They are not determining the whole process. Advice from Christchurch City (Council) is growth projection for the next 35 years can be accommodated in parts of Christchurch without going into that 50-55dBA-line area . . .

"Christchurch Airport is one of those airports that can operate 24 hours, seven days. Sydney cannot, because of concerns and actions by neighbours. This is still a matter that people can submit on."

About 2000 new households originally proposed within that 50dBA area were now tentatively allocated to existing growth areas north of Kaiapoi and close to Rolleston.

Styx resident Murray Ellis would be unable to subdivide his land because it falls within the 50dBA contour. He said 55dBA was the national and an international standard.

"Our group simply wants a fair deal and a balanced approach to land use. It is clearly in everyone's interest to have the airport operating to capacity 24/7.

"There will be no impact on the airport if the 55dBA New Zealand standard is adopted."

About 40ha of land was affected between Husseys Road and Johns Road, Ellis said.

CIAL chief executive Rene Bakx said the airport would stick with the 50dBA contour unless forced to change by the hearings process.


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