Last year I wrote to clarify that during the two rounds of public consultation on the Wheels to Wings, only a minority of submissions opposed the project. “How terrible it would be for the community to be denied the cycleway on the basis of this minority opposition?” I said at the time.
Is the Wheels to Wings – Papanui ki Waiwhetū major cycle route really ‘controversial’, or even ‘very controversial’, as some recent headlines* claimed, following the July decision of the council to approve the cycleway’s scheme design? The evidence suggests otherwise.
The Christchurch City Council’s 2021 representation review resulted in two significant changes to Papanui Ward from the 2022 election onwards: adjustments to the Ward’s boundaries; and also a change to the overall Community Board area.
I have previously written about the Papanui Ward – see my 2019 article for an exploration of the area that it covers, (noting that the boundaries are changing as described below). This current article focuses on what’s changing. From the 2022 election onwards the composition of the Community Board also changes – Papanui and Innes Wards are joined by Central Ward to form the Waipapa/Papanui-Innes-Central Community Board.
Commentary: On Friday 3 December 2021, the Waipapa/Papanui-Innes community Board is set to decide on a meeting schedule for 2022. Two options are proposed by staff: meet twice a month (as has been the case up until now); or meet only once a month. Would the latter option reduce public access and participation?
In addition to Ordinary Meetings, the Board also meets informally at least once a month for briefings from Council staff and other updates. With very limited exceptions, these briefings have not been open to the public. If the Board resolves to hold only one formal meeting a month, the agenda notes that the informal briefings could be held at ‘various community locations’ within the Community Board area, and that they include a 30 minute public forum to allow the local community to raise issues and update the Board on matters of interest.
Earlier this month the Waipapa/Papanui-Innes Community Board received a public briefing from Christchurch City Council staff on rules regarding housing intensification. The purpose of this briefing was to provide an overview of the current planning rules regarding housing intensification as well as potential future changes coming from the Government, in response to community concerns regarding intensification.
Council staff had previously presented the same briefing to the Council’s Urban Development and Transport Committee, before embarking on a series of public briefings to Community Boards. In the case of our Board, a number of members of the public were in attendance and were able to ask questions of staff.
In a bid to improve access, our Board live-streams our public meetings so that those who cannot attend can follow along online, and/or view the recording afterwards. We do this on a best-efforts basis using our own technology at zero cost to the ratepayer – an approach that comes with some limitations. Embedded below is the video from the housing intensification briefing – as you will see this has been streamed using a single webcam with limited video quality. Staff giving the briefing can be heard very well, however some of the questions from the floor not so much – apologies for that.