ECan has their long term plan out for submissions. All due in by Friday 26 March.
There is a lot to comment on here. Transportation is mainly Public Transport and there ECan is looking to cut 6 bus routes. Nothing is in the plan to make it easier for people to both bus and bike, something that would help now and is even more important if cuts are to go ahead.
Spokes draft sub is here and we encourage everyone to make a submission. With ECan now supposed to be democratic this is an opportunity for the public to gauge just how real that representative democracy really is.
Do request to make an oral sub. Doing so greatly increases the chance of Councillors actually reading your submission. You do not need to be a great public speaker. Sincerity and some fluency on the topic of your sub is usually enough.
Link to all ECan bylaws, plans, strategies, etc. https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/plans-strategies-and-bylaws/
Spokes Canterbury is concerned with Canterbury’s environment and economy being managed in a sustainable manner and believe that Active Transport, AT and cycling are key elements required for ECan to meet its stated goals.
The past central government policy statements and documents along with the failure to return ECan to full democratically elected leadership are fundamentally counter to ECan representing Canterbury and achieving its stated goals. These are large hurdles and this submission is an attempt to assist ECan with an approach and specific responses to proposals so they may be cleared.
ECan is faced with difficult challenges if it is to warrant credibility with the public and to effectively implement ECan’s stated goals of freshwater management, biodiversity and biosecurity, hazard risk and resilience, air quality, efficient multi modal transport and urban development.
To overcome past undue influence by selected ‘stakeholders’ ECan will need to advocate on these issues to central government to undo the damage done and to develop, fund and implement policies and programs which effectively support stated goals. This will be in spite of past central government policy statements and debilitating legislation. These will need to be resisted by all legal means available. This is a very big ask. It is also the only ethical action ECan Councillors can pursue.
To be able to earn ratepayer’s trust ECan will need to follow through on headline policy commitments and act in the democratic manner a return to partial democracy was intended to signal. Being open to public input which calls for transport options which do not include bus route cutbacks is an opportunity to show that things have changed.
Transport & Urban Development
‘Enabling a resilient, multi-modal transport system for the efficient movement of people and freight into, out of, and within the Canterbury region.’
The cutting of 6 bus routes in Christchurch is not in keeping with the best use of rates, support for economic development, environmental protections, the social needs of the region or “enabling a resilient, multi modal transport system.” None of the suggested options for Public Transport are acceptable.
If we’re going to have the kind of Public Transport, PT, system that people want to use and that helps prevent the significant congestion that we know is coming with future growth (as well as all the environmental outcomes we want) then we need to unshackle PT from the constraints placed upon it by the last government and ECan’s apparent institutional unwillingness to achieve its own goals to ‘keep the region moving’ while keeping our environment healthy.
Both CCC and ECan need to fund a step-change for public transport. Central governments ‘Fare Box Recovery’ requirement that 50% of funding come from fares has effectively undermined PT. It is relevant to point out that roads for cars and trucks are not required to pay their way and receive funds from many sources including local rates. ECan needs to increase the PT targeted rate or PT will limp along on a business-as- usual basis until it fails completely. Funding effective PT can reduce congestion, improve air quality and the environment and will also ‘keep the region moving’ by reducing congestion.
ECan must retain the 6 routes proposed for cancellation and increase rates for the next 2 years to pay for it. ECan needs to lobby central government to cancel the Fare Box recovery requirement and to provide funding. Please develop and implement the new Regional Public Transport Plan to support robust PT in Canterbury until more permanent solutions are agreed upon.
Developing PT integrated with cycling can support both. Bikes can easily be the cost effective link at both ends of a bus journey. Secure bike parking at stops, providing space on buses for bicycles (more than two) offer synergies. This supports ECan’s headline commitment to ‘multi-modal’ transport options.
Constrained funding for PT has begun a race to the bottom; whereby services are cut to reduce costs which in turn reduces PT patronage, thereby undermining further investment and so on. ECan needs to break this cycle with a phase of heavy investment.
PT and AT are major players able to reduce Canterbury’s carbon footprint, improve air quality, and do our part to limit the ravages of climate change.
The Land Use Recovery Plan, LURP, is a good example of legislation ECan will need to overcome. The increase in greenfield development pushes out urban boundaries burdening ratepayers with the expense of costly infrastructure which unfairly benefits developers. Whatever savings new home buyers will hope for are quickly lost to increased transport costs and loss of free time.
Transport costs of roading, increased pollution and reduced resilience as fuel must be imported along with vehicles and parts are not a benefit. Agricultural lands are lost, biodiversity reduced. Economic activity is undeniably increased, but at the expense of sustainable economic development.
Connecting up the region with bicycle routes will sever both locals and tourists and can offer real economic and environmental contributions.
ECan’s stated focus ‘on enabling integrated transport planning and investment including a freight mode shift from road to rail and shipping; network resilience; and improving visitor journeys.’ is supported. Implementation of the recommendations made in this submission support this effort. Encouraging bicycle freight for local deliveries needs to be encouraged.
‘Implementing innovative solutions to manage our freshwater resource to support community use (mahinga kai, drinking water and recreation), achieve ecosystem health and sustainable economic development.’
Reading this in the draft LTP causes one to question who is responsible for this document “We are one of the few places in the world where there is an abundance of freshwater”. This is either delusional, ill-informed or deliberately misleading. It is inimical to ECan’s raison d’ etre. One would hope that professional staff is chosen for their technical skills and knowledge, not their philosophical prejudices or allegiance to certain ‘stakeholders.’
Please increase the Immediate Steps funding that the Water Zone Committees have access to as it is an efficient way of spending a smaller amount of money and enabling more volunteers and other input. Zone committees do a lot with the small amount they have and it would be good to support their work to enhance water quality and ecological values more.
Exporting our water at virtually no cost to bottler’s sells off one our most valuable resources at virtually no cost and with nearly equal economic benefits is contrary to ECan’s mission. “As the regional council for Canterbury, we are responsible for facilitating sustainable development in the region. This means we work to enable economic growth in a way that enhances our quality of life and does not compromise environmental sustainability.” ECan must protect Canterbury’s current and future water resources.
‘Biodiversity and Biosecurity
Creating a step-change in effort in the regeneration of freshwater, marine and terrestrial biodiversity.’
There are few relatively intact native biomes left in Canterbury. We need to protect what remains. Please do not permit any further clearing or degradation of land or water still in a reasonably natural state. Remediation will be required and is far more expensive than preservation.
ECan has received considerable negative media coverage for the failure to keep agriculture from harming waterways. Enforcement aimed at working with people to change bad practices is great. ECan needs to be proactive in not leaving it cheaper and easier for repeat offenders to continue with their bad practices. Fines which leave them convinced that compliance is far cheaper are required.
When remediating please source local seeds and plants, not imports from other areas. Banks Peninsula and the Port Hills are a contiguous biome. Including Port Hills ratepayers in the Pest Free Strategy is required.
Many Canterbury communities have joined together for clean ups and native replanting days. ECan support with plants, technical advice and funding can build on this community spirit while saving government money. Support here is simply good sense.
Hazard Risk and Resilience
Ensuring our communities have an improved understanding of, and resilience to, natural hazard risk including climate change.’
With only 2% of this category’s budget for ‘climate change integration’ and 8% for emergency management ECan needs to be brought up for both its ambulance at the bottom of the cliff ‘planning’ and questionable funding.
There is general agreement that efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions are far more cost effective than dealing with climate change. While Canterbury’s contribution may be small, that can be said for nearly all emitters everywhere. It does not negate our responsibility to do all that we can.
Climate change will negatively impact Canterbury:
- Coastal Erosion
- Extreme weather events bringing both flooding and drought
- Unpredictable seasonal changes leading to reduced agricultural production and increased costs
ECan needs to take a lead role in promoting emission reductions in Canterbury. All local bodies need to be brought on board with this effort. Carbon emissions and carbon footprint are not mentioned in this LTP. Given the environmental mandate for ECan that is gross negligence. Please rewrite the LTP to reflect the reality of the impacts of climate change and to specify and fund ECan’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions in Canterbury.
‘Ensuring the air we breathe supports health and wellbeing.’
Is agricultural burning, unregulated tyre dumps which catch fire, etc. protecting our air quality? On too many days one can look out from the hills and mountains and see large plumes of smoke from agricultural burning. One tyre fire is one too many. Clearly, tyre piles need regulation and size limits. Performance bonds and large fines are also required.
Cutting Public Transport routes condemns Cantabrians to breathing polluted air.