From local democracy reporter David Hill:
Waimakariri residents are being encouraged to read stories while on the move.
A new storywalk was launched at Northbrook Reserve in Rangiora on Friday, June 24, and Waimakariri district libraries staff hope it will be the first of many.
Library staff joined forces with greenspace staff to create temporary storyboards which have been strategically placed around the reserve walkway.
The idea came out of the Covid-19 lockdown as library staff explored new ways of connecting with people, Waimakariri District Libraries community connections co-ordinator Anna Paterson said.
Storywalks have been created in other parts of New Zealand, including the Gore, Hastings, and Napier districts.
"We thought with Covid and people getting out and going for walks and enjoying their local parks, this was a good way of connecting with people.
"We want people to have a love for books and reading and this is a way of doing that when the library is closed. And not everybody wants to do it online."
Each storyboard was like a different page, telling a story and linking to the local environment, Paterson said.
The story The Little Kiwi’s Matariki by Nikki Slade Robinson was chosen for the first storywalk to tie in with Matariki, with permission obtained from the author.
People can also learn about the birdlife and plants, which are found in the Northbrook Reserve and about the history of site on the storyboards.
The temporary storywalk has been set up for a two month trial and if it is successful library staff hope to be able to roll out permanent story walks at different parks around the district.
"It would be lovely to see this in every park in the Waimakariri," Paterson said.
"If the boards are still in an OK condition at the end of the trial we may be able to take them to Kaiapoi and share them a little bit more.
"Temporary boards is a very affordable option at this point, but more permanent boards would require some funding from the council."
Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon said he would support expanding the initiative and lookEd forward to a funding proposal coming from council staff.
"I think it’s a great initiative from our greenspace and our libraries teams and with the timing of Matariki, it’s a lovely integration.
"It’s great for the kids to learn as they walk around the reserve and I’m learning too."
Rangiora-Ashley Community Board chairperson Jim Gerard joined Gordon on a walk around the new story walk on Friday and said the board was "all behind the beautification of open spaces" in Rangiora.
The cost of creating, installing and later removal of the storyboards is around $1500 and is covered by existing greenspace and library budgets.
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By DAVID HILL, Local Democracy Reporter
The Waimakariri District Council is seeking feedback on new urban housing rules.
The passing of the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021 has directed the council to adopt medium density housing for the district’s main urban areas.
As a result, the council is notifying variation 1 and 2 to the proposed Waimakariri District Plan, which was notified in September last year.
The changes will affect Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Woodend (including Ravenswood) and Pegasus.
Planning regulation and environment general manager Tracy Tierney said the new standards would allow development of up to three residential units and buildings up to three storeys high.
There would be a height limit of 11 metres (plus 1m for a pitched roof) without a resource consent.
‘‘The council is required to adopt the density standards, objectives and policies, meaning there is limited scope to influence these standards – both by council and the community,’’ Tierney said.
‘‘However, your submissions on the variation are still important and may influence the way in which they are incorporated into the District Plan.
‘‘We encourage everyone to participate in the process to let the council know your views.’’
Tierney said there was still some scope for the council to deem some areas as ‘‘inappropriate’’ for intensification.
This included ‘‘parts of Kaiapoi that have been identified as potentially having a natural hazard risk due to flooding’’.
‘‘We would appreciate local intel as well,’’ she said.
Public drop-in sessions will be held in Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Woodend/Pegasus to give the community the opportunity to talk to planners.
Council staff expected to notify the summary of submissions to the proposed District Plan later this year.
Hearings on the proposed District Plan and variations 1 and 2 are likely to be held at the same time next year.
■ For more information and to make a submission go to waimakariri.govt.nz/planning/district-plan/district-plan-changes/council-plan-changes.
Tuesday, August 23, Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre, 3.30pm to 6pm.
Thursday, August 25, Pegasus Community Centre, 3.30pm to 6pm.
A ‘Friend of the Submitter', Jane West, is available to assist residents in making a submission. Phone 03 3243324 or email WDCMDRS@jwest.co.nz.
Submissions on variations 1 and 2 to the proposed District Plan close on Friday, September 9.