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Key decisions from today’s Council meeting 28/8/14

Key decisions from today’s Council meeting

Christchurch City Council met today and made the following key decisions:

Council supports food forests
The Council enthusiastically endorsed and supported moves to encourage the public to plant food forests and other edibles throughout Christchurch. Councillors agreed to identify public land suitable for plantings, and will invite residents to plant and tend their own fruit and nut trees or other edible plants. The produce would be freely available to anyone. The Council will also provide guidelines on suitable plantings and species, and has asked for a Food Resilience Policy and Action Plan to go to the November Council meeting.

Central City District Energy Scheme
The Council took another step towards joining a District Energy Scheme for the Central City by endorsing participation in the Civic hub, subject to getting a satisfactory energy supply agreement and lower operating costs. The idea for a District Energy Scheme emerged during the planning for the rebuild, and the Council then formed an alliance partnership with the Canterbury District Health Board, Pioneer EFI and Cowley Services Ltd to progress the concept. Early studies show that the Council would save money from the first year of operation in the hub and would become more resilient by having access to different energy sources.

Grants approved
The Council agreed to give Central City Landmark Heritage Grants of up to $855,000 for the Stone Classroom Block of St Michael’s School, 243 Durham Street, and up to $900,000 for the Victoria Mansions, 91 Victoria Street. Both buildings were damaged in the earthquakes and needed repair and upgrades. It also approved a $96,500 grant from the Creative Industries Support Fund to Exchange Christchurch to support setting up a facility for creative industries in Christchurch.

Rental housing warrant of fitness
The Council will keep contributing to the work being led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Otago University and other agencies, with regard to a national rental housing warrant of fitness. It also resolved to work in partnership with MBIE, other local authorities and relevant agencies to explore the need for new national regulation to address poor quality rental housing.

Tenancy letting and renewal fees
The Council recorded its support for landlords, letting agents and property managers who are not charging letting and renewal fees for rental properties in Christchurch. It agreed to approach the Government to raise letting and renewal fees as a serious issue facing Christchurch tenants and request an indication from the Government as to if and how it intends to address the issue.

Three new permanent alcohol bans
Three new permanent alcohol bans will apply in the city after the Council today adopted an amendment bylaw. The Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places Amendment Bylaw 2014 comes into force on 8 September. It makes permanent alcohol bans in Sumner on New Year’s Eve each year and in Addington on New Zealand Trotting Cup Day each year. A permanent alcohol ban will apply in an area of Riccarton and Ilam where a temporary ban has been in place this year. The University of Canterbury campus is excluded from the alcohol ban area. This avoids issues arising from a central government change in the definition of a public place.

Easements over recreation reserve
The Council granted easements for storm-water pipes, both new and pre-existing, to the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) to service the new hospital development inHagley Park. The affected land – which passed into Council hands after a land-swap with CDHB and is part of a recreation reserve – will be restored to its pre-works condition by the CDHB.

Electoral System retained
The Council voted to retain the current First Past the Post electoral system for the 2016 and 2019 local body elections.

Changes to Local Government Act 2002
The Council agreed to recent amendments made to the Local Government Act 2002. Areas affected by the amendments include the Council’s 2013 Development Contributions Policy, consultation requirements and a new significance and engagement policy. The Council is also being required to review how it governs, funds and delivers infrastructure, services and regulatory functions. It must consider whether its services can be delivered by the private sector, a Council Controlled Organisation or by another local authority.

– ends –

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Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

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