A draft plan that outlines how to shape and accommodate future growth in Greater Christchurch will go out for public consultation in mid-June, following feedback from more than 7000 residents.
Greater Christchurch has seen rapid growth over the past 15 years and its population is expected to double within the next 60 years, if not earlier.
The draft Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan proposes a pathway to ensure that development provides more affordable housing, emissions reduction and climate resilience.
It has been developed by the Whakawhanake Kāinga Komiti (Urban Growth Partnership for Greater Christchurch), following strong community input during the Huihui Mai - let’s come together engagement earlier this year.
At today’s meeting, the Komiti approved the draft Spatial Plan for consultation, which will be open for public submissions between mid-June and mid-July.
Alongside this, the Komiti also endorsed the ‘turn up and go’ public transport service investigation (Mass Rapid Transit Indicative Business Case), enabling it to move to a more detailed stage of investigation.
“We know that residents of Greater Christchurch care deeply about the future of our environment, our city and towns, and how we will get around. We want to tackle big decisions on our future shape now before they become the massive problems other cities are facing which become far more complex and expensive to solve.” says Selwyn District Mayor Sam Broughton.
“The strong youth contribution to this work is really pleasing. We’re confident that the draft Spatial Plan sets out clear directions and actions to help us to future-proof Greater Christchurch for generations to come.”
Minister of Housing Hon Megan Woods, who is a member of the Whakawhanake Kāinga Komiti, agrees the draft Spatial Plan is both a shared vision and a plan for action.
“This is an exciting plan for action - it shows that partners are united in working together to make the transformational shifts needed to grow in a way that improves the well-being of present and future communities”.
“It includes a clear pathway to create more prosperous, well-functioning urban environments for Greater Christchurch and it helps us improve housing supply and build greater resilience in the context of a changing climate” she says.
The proposed turn up and go / Mass Rapid Transport public transport service system is a key tool to give effect to the Spatial Plan over the coming years and provides the opportunity to reshape key suburban centres and neighbourhoods along the route.
It will create a dedicated corridor linking north and southwest areas through central Christchurch, making it easier for people to get to where they need to go. This will include enhanced bus services to Waimakariri and Selwyn, beyond the hubs at Hornby and Belfast.
Mayor Phil Mauger says, "Having reliable, timely public transport is one of the best ways to increase usage and having something like the proposed Mass Rapid Transit will really support neighbourhoods along the route to grow, linking people’s homes with where they want to go.”
"We have to look at how we want our city to grow and get the plan right. Services like this help communities to grow, connect and develop. And above all, it will help us to reduce our carbon emissions and traffic congestion by offering a reliable alternative to travel on,” he says.
“The rapid growth seen in Greater Christchurch and surrounding towns over the past 15 years shows how important it is to address issues such as loss of productive land and accessing public transport,” Environment Canterbury Chair Peter Scott says.
“We need to actively shape the way we live within Greater Christchurch, and this has implications for all of Canterbury. As I’ve said before, we need Greater Christchurch to succeed – the sub-region’s success is vital, not just locally but regionally and nationally.”
The ‘turn up and go’ public transport service investigation (Mass Rapid Transit Indicative Business Case) will now be considered for endorsement next week by the local Councils (Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council, and Environment Canterbury) and will then be considered for approval by the Waka Kotahi Board mid-year.
If funding is confirmed for the next phase, the next step will be to investigate in more detail the design of the corridor and stations along the route.
Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon says, “It is important we plan now for how this growth will be accommodated in Greater Christchurch while still providing a high quality of life for residents and tackling some of the big issues facing the region and the country, such as better transport planning, improving public transport, building in the right places, strengthening climate resilience and restoring the natural environment.”
More details on how people can contribute to the draft Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan will be provided in early June.