Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest Post from Sara Harnett who is running for Council

My name is Sara Harnett and I reside in the Riccarton Wigram Ward. I am married to Tjeerd and we have two children (16yrs&11yrs). Over the past 25 years we have built up a successful farm based export business. In the past I have represented New Zealand internationally as a distance runner, nowadays I am a keen cyclist as well as supporting and encouraging our girls in their chosen sports. I have a strong interest in planning and design and how it impacts on the environment and ones quality of life. I believe that people in the Riccarton Wigram Ward deserve better.
I suppose one of the reasons I am standing for council is because of my involvement with a number of Plan Changes in the area. I have see first hand the way the system works. The Resource Management Act (RMA) is a very large document full of policies and objectives on sustainability, protecting the environment and mitigating the adverse consequences from new developments. Unfortunately the RMA is not nicknamed the rich mans act for nothing as it seems to be that often all of these objectives and policies in the final decision can go straight out the window. When was the last time that protecting versatile soils was given any weight? This is not a question of being anti development, we are in business after all, it is about effective planning.
Effective planning takes into account the impact that decisions have on the wider community. It requires thought, a simple word but something that seems to be lacking.
Christchurch faces unprecedented new growth. How do we keep a balance between the needs of a growing city and preventing urban sprawl. How do we protect our green spaces and improve our public transport and access for cyclists and pedestrians.
I remember the "Share An Idea" seminar after the earthquake and been surprised by how many people thought that "Green Space" and "Sustainable Transport" we're important. What happened to those aspirations?
Often people will run for council promising to bring rates down, it never happens! Keeping control of fiscal expenditure is important and good design and planning is much more cost effective than some laissez faire approach.

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