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Righting Rumours about the Proposed Community Hub in Kaiapoi

The Council is concerned to learn a leaflet containing inaccurate info about the proposed Kaiapoi community hub was distributed across the community.

Community and Recreation Manager Chris Brown says, “We’re really happy people are engaged with this project and want to have a say. I want to reiterate the proposal is still in the early stages and we have a number of planned touch points for people to get involved.”

“We did some initial consultation with directly affected neighbours in December and plan to keep the community aware and engaged about this proposal throughout its development.”

The proposed community hub site is on regeneration land on the corners of Charters Street and Courtenay Drive in Kaiapoi South. Community hubs are flexible spaces that can be used for different recreation, arts and hobby activities, and social and cultural activities.

There is a similar and popular community hub in operation at Northbrook Studios in Rangiora.

Currently three local groups have expressed an interest in potentially locating at a hub - Kaiapoi Menz Shed, the Kaiapoi Croquet Club, and Food Secure North Canterbury. However, there would be additional space available for community groups to use through leases.

“We are still only in the very early stages in the project,” says Chris. “And there are a lot of opportunities for the community to have a say such as providing feedback on the draft site plan in the coming months, directly to the Kaiapoi Tuahiwi Community Board, as well as through submissions to Council’s Long Term Plan.”

Directly affected residents have had an invite to an info-session with the Community Board dropped in their letterboxes this week, ahead of future and wider engagement opportunities.

The Council want to address some of the issues raised in the leaflet as well questions by residents on social media:

  • The Council have not signed off on this project. There is a lot of work to do before a community hub happens and depends on community support, adequate funding, resource consent and the level of interest from community groups
  • The project is at a ‘concept level’ and Council is exploring options for development. We will be working with the community as this project develops. Currently three local groups have expressed an interest in potentially locating at a hub. These groups are the Kaiapoi Menz Shed, the Kaiapoi Croquet Club, and Food Secure North Canterbury, who wish to establish a base for the Satisfy Food Rescue Trust
  • Development stages include developing a draft master plan and guidelines for use. These will be open to feedback from the community in the next few months
  • Council will also be seeking to allocate funding through the draft 2021-2031 Long Term Plan which is out for consultation in March-April 2021
  • After these steps the project would need to go through detailed design and resource consenting which would seek to address any issues relating to the buildings and their footprint
  • At any point in time residents can attend a Kaiapoi Tuahiwi Community Board meeting to ask questions regarding this proposal.

A link to engagement material shared with directly affected neighbours in November/December is here.

Full Further Information

What is a community hub?
Community hubs are flexible spaces that can be used for different recreation, arts and hobby activities, and social and cultural activities. Council already has a popular community hub at Northbrook Studios in Rangiora.

At the community hub, Council could make the land available for groups to locate a building on site. This would be covered by a lease agreement. Groups would need to provide their own buildings to use for their activities. Council would control the size, scale, type and maintenance of buildings through the lease agreements. Council would help develop and maintain any public spaces at the hub.

Why is Council developing a community hub?
We heard from a number of local groups or clubs that they need space for their activity in Kaiapoi. Either, they don’t have a current home, or their current site is not suitable. We recognise the important role these groups play in the social, cultural, physical and mental health of the local community. They are important places for people to meet, share activities and try new things.

What type of groups or clubs could be at the Community Hub?
The Community Hub could provide space for community, recreation, hobby, arts and leisure groups.  Currently there are three groups who have expressed an interest in potentially locating at the hub - the Kaiapoi Croquet Club, the Kaiapoi Menz Shed and Food Secure North Canterbury. We expect there will be other groups in the future that join the hub, and they would need to offer the types of activities listed above.

Why can’t the hub groups find their own land?
The groups that would use the hub are not-for-profit and volunteer driven and cannot afford to buy land or pay commercial lease rates. Council recognises the important role these groups play in our community and can support them by making land available.

Who is Food Secure North Canterbury (FSNC)?
Food security essentially means that all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. FSNC is a group of local organisations working together to make this happen in North Canterbury. The recent pandemic has highlighted that food security is an issue for all communities.

As part of the community hub, FSNC are looking to develop a base for one of their partners, the Satisfy Food Rescue Trust, who rescue and redistribute food to support other groups working in our community (such as foodbanks). FSNC are also looking to develop a welcoming space for education (e.g. cooking classes), community activities and meeting rooms.  FSNC is not a social service provider and there proposal does not include any ‘food-bank’ type of activity.

Why are you introducing industrial facilities and business activities in this area?
The community hub is not an industrial or business development, it is intended to be an attractive and welcoming place. The most similar example would be Northbrook Studios in Rangiora.

The groups that could use the hub are not-for-profit groups that provide different community, recreation, arts and hobby activities, and social and cultural activities.  The groups are not industrial or commercial operations and this would be a condition of any lease agreements.

Community Engagement

Will the community be able to provide feedback on the proposed community hub?
Council wants to work with the community on this project and there will be several points where you can provide feedback.  The flyer in  last year was a very early first part of this process. You can provide feedback again soon through the Long Term Plan (from the 5 March to the 12 April 2021).

Information on the Long Term Plan will be available on the Council website in early March.
Should the hub project progress there will be more opportunities to provide feedback on a draft master plan, and user guidelines for the site.  You may also be able to provide feedback during the resource consent process.

Throughout this time we have also committed to hand delivering updates through to all directly affected neighbours (essentially all home within the Courtenay Drive area south of the rail line).

The pamphlet that was recently delivered said that the time for feedback had closed?
We did some initial consultation in November last year.  A consultation flyer was put in residents letterboxes outlining the community hub project.  This flyer sought feedback by December 18 2020.  
We understand that an anonymous pamphlet was put in letterboxes in February this year which suggested that all consultation had closed.  This is not true - there will be more opportunities to provide feedback should the project progress.

Is it definite that the community hub will go ahead?
At this stage Council are exploring making land available for the community hub. Some funding is being sought though Council’s Long Term Plan. This funding is needed to bring services to the site, to ready the site for buildings, to provide some car parking, trees and landscape gardens. We will know if funding is available through the Long Term Plan in June this year.
Even if funding is made available through the Long Term Plan the project needs to go through design and consenting processes. There will be opportunities for the community to be involved in these processes.

Who can I talk to about the community hub project?
You can contact Michelle Flanagan at Council on michelle.flanagan@wmk.govt.nz to talk about the project, or speak to any member of the Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi Community Board.

Potential effects of the hub

Will the community hub result in an increase in crime in the area?
We don’t believe so. The hub would be used by people from your community, mostly during the day. We know that after-hours security at the hub will be important as there are no houses looking out over the site and this is something we will consider when working on the draft master plan for the site.
Northbrook Studios in Rangiora, the closest equivalent to this proposal, has not seen in any increase in anti-social behaviour.

Will the proposed community hub generate a lot of traffic?
There will be some traffic at the community hub as people will come and go to attend their groups.  For example, the Kaiapoi Croquet Club has 30 members so on an average club day there would be members cars might be on site.  There might also be medium sized trucks visiting the site up to 2-3 times a week.

Vehicles would mainly access the site from Courtenay Drive (not Wyber Place or Charters Street).  We would also look to provide some car parking on the site. The potential traffic effects of the hub will be looked at during the resource consent process.

It is worth noting the roads for the area were developed to cater for a significantly larger residential population that there is currently and the impact of the hub would be a small increase to current levels of traffic.

The community hub will reduce parking in Charters Street.
Cars will access the site from Courtenay Drive, and we will look to provide parking on the site.  Given that most hub activities would be away from the houses on Charters Street we do not expect this to reduce parking outside properties. Any potential traffic effects of the hub will be looked at during the resource consent process.

Having the hub right on my property boundary will be noisy and disruptive.
There are no plans to develop the proposal on neighbouring property boundaries – in fact there is already some new open space planned. We would also include a wide buffer (10-20m) between this reserve and any hub activities.

This buffer would not have any hub buildings or activities. It could contain trees and planting. There will be no hub activities immediately adjacent to residential boundaries. Any potential noise effects (though we expect these to be minimal) of the hub will be looked at during the resource consent process.

I won’t be able to use the area to walk my dog or let my children play.
The community hub would be public space. There might be areas where the general public can’t go such as the croquet lawns, but generally you would still be able to walk through the hub. Between the hub and the residential boundaries there is new open space planned which will be available for public use.

On the opposite side of Courtenay Drive, next to the Kaiapoi River and Courtenay Stream, a large new open space is planned for mahinga kai activities. This will be a public park that could include native planting, walking trails and heritage trails. Council are just starting the planning and design of this area. Once we have a draft plan prepared we will be asking for community feedback on this. NCF Park is also scheduled to have its play equipment replaced in the next 2-3 years.

This land is rural, therefore no other activities are allowed.
In the Recovery Plan for Kaiapoi the blocks of land either side of Charters Street were listed for rural activities (such as agriculture, farming and horticulture), excluding the new reserve areas.

The Recovery Plan also said that alternative land uses could be undertaken in this area and these would need to be progressed through the Resource Management Act.  A resource consent process (under the Act) will be part of the development of the community hub if the project progresses.

We were told by our real estate agent that no buildings would ever be built on the regeneration land.
No standard residential development is planned for regeneration land (i.e. standalone houses like before the earthquakes). However, even with rural activities there could be the potential for buildings that would support this (e.g. farm sheds).

Would there be restrictions on the type of buildings at the hub?
All buildings will need to meet the rules in the Waimakariri District Plan and gain a building consent.

We will work with hub groups on the size, type and style of buildings they want to build or locate on site.  There will be rules on the size and colour of buildings, and the types of building materials to make the community hub an attractive place.

These will all form part of any lease agreement.  Groups will need to maintain their buildings and keep them in good order.  Trees and landscape gardens are proposed across the hub as well.

If the land can’t have houses on it, how can it have group or club buildings?
The land could support light weight buildings with specific engineering design on a case-by-case basis.   The proposed community hub would be developed to a much lower intensity than the previous residential land use (i.e. there would be less buildings).  We are currently working with a geotechnical engineer to look at the ground conditions on site.

Other land

Why can’t the mixed-use business area opposite Countdown be used?
In the Recovery Plan for Kaiapoi, the mixed-use business area is the block behind the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre (opposite the Countdown supermarket).  The mixed-use business area is to support the growth and development of the Kaiapoi Town Centre and could include a mix of retail and commercial activities, some residential activities and public space.   Council are currently seeking proposals for the development of this mixed-use business area.  Any development proposal would need to be consistent with the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan.

Why can’t you put the hub on another park such as the Kaiapoi Domain?
The parks and reserves in Kaiapoi are important to our community.  They provide open space for recreation and enjoying nature.  None are of a large enough size that would enable the proposed community hub while still being able to operate as a park.

What is happening on the regeneration land on the other side of Courtenay Drive?
On the other side of Courtenay Drive, next to the Kaiapoi River and Courtenay Stream (south of Bowler Street) a Heritage and Mahinga Kai Area is proposed.  This area has been identified as having significant cultural values by Te Ngāi Tῡāhuriri Rῡnanga, particularly in relation to historical use for mahinga kai purposes.  This will a public park that will include native planting, walking trails and heritage trails.  Council are just starting the planning and design of this area.  Once we have a concept plan prepared we will be asking for community feedback on this.

Why is the community hub area not being developed into housing?
The Recovery Plan for Kaiapoi does not include standard residential development as a land use.

Does the Council own the regeneration land?
In 2019, the Government transferred the ownership of the regeneration land in Kaiapoi South to the Council.

 

Contact: Michelle Flanagan

Phone: 0800 965 468

Email: michelle.flanagan@wmk.govt.nz

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