Simon’s 10 July column in the Nor’West News

Today’s Nor’West News includes a column written by Simon on the importance of responding to Council consultations.

The digital edition of the paper can be found at

Simon Britten works for a Papanui-based youth and community development organisation and is the founder and curator of the Think Papanui community engagement initiative. He writes about community consultation in the suburb.

WITH Environment Canterbury’s recent adoption of its Long Term Plan, users of public transport in Papanui have been assured that local bus services will continue operating. This follows ‘overwhelming’ public opposition to its proposal to discontinue six routes, including the 107 and 108 in our area, and is a positive result for people power and the impact that vocal ratepayers can have.

From time to time, when Think Papanui shares proposals that are open for consultation or subsequent city council decisions, I see comments along the lines of ‘what’s the point’ – the implication being that consultation is a box-ticking exercise before our city or regional council goes ahead with whatever they’re proposing to do. The backdown by ECan on our bus routes suggests otherwise. Councils are never going to please everyone, but a strong response from the public can have an impact.

Right now, city council staff are working on two local projects that have attracted high levels of feedback – the Main North Rd bus priority project and proposed options for dealing with increased traffic downstream from the Christchurch Northern Corridor. On the other hand, the proposal to drop the speed limit on the high-volume top part of Cranford St is set to be rubber stamped after generating fewer than 50 submissions, with only nine in opposition.

When’s the next opportunity to have your say? I suggest taking a look at ECan’s upcoming return to a fully democratically elected council. Until Monday July 30, it is possible to comment on ECan’s proposed representation arrangements, which will see the Papanui Ward forming part of a Christchurch north constituency that will vote for two out of the 13-member council. As we’ve seen with the bus route backdown, decisions made by ECan directly impact us at a local level – be sure you have your say.

•Think Papanui can be found at ThinkPapanui and www.

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