Living here sept 2015

Page 1

The newsletter of Environment Canterbury

living here

September 2015

A new

horsefortrail Selwyn A new horse-riding area is being developed in Environment Canterbury's Waimakariri River Regional Park in Selwyn district. It is expected the 350 hectare horse trail development will open in early autumn next year and will be completed in stages. Keep an eye on for progress (Photo by Cathy Price, Priceless Images).

Ministers back boost to economic direction Two government Ministers got behind the Mayoral Forum’s new economic plan for Canterbury when it was launched at the end of August, acknowledging the contribution of all the region’s mayors. “We should never underestimate the value of all the mayors working together towards a common goal like this,” said Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, when launching the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.

Dame Margaret Bazley, chair of the Mayoral Forum and Environment Canterbury, said that with the rebuild reaching its peak, the Economic Development Strategy would build on the current momentum and position Canterbury for longterm, sustainable growth.

“In developing the region’s Economic Development Strategy, Canterbury’s mayors have worked closely with a much wider group of business organisations, commercial and other operators directly involved in creating a thriving economy.

“The earthquake rebuild is driving the region’s growth, but so are agriculture and manufacturing. The fortunes of Christchurch as the region’s major city, and its agricultural hinterland, are interdependent. When one does well, so does the other,” she said.

Our commitment now is to put the plan into action and each one of us will involve our communities in the actions that must follow.”

For further information, please visit

Making good progress This year has seen progress in many of Environment Canterbury's activities. Changes to water management, environmental limit-setting and new water storage and irrigation schemes announced in the past few months are contributing to the gradual improvement of the region’s water quality and ecosystems.

Read more on pages 2 & 3 In public transport, the new Christchurch Bus Interchange is now open and is increasingly popular, with 400,000 people and 58,000 buses passing through in just over two months.

Read more on page 2 We are confident our winter air programme has helped improve air quality, with reductions this winter in high pollution days, especially in Christchurch and Ashburton.

Read more on page 4

Fairfax NZ

9 200 ing s i t r e Adv and sign

The launch of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce (left) and Environment Canterbury and Mayoral Forum chair Dame Margaret Bazley, resulted in a lot of media coverage. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was also in attendance.

Facilitating sustainable development in the Canterbury region

And looking back on our financial and service achievements in our Annual Report for the last financial year, we have done what we said we would do and spent very close to what we said we would spend. Practical costeffective solutions have been delivered to the community.

Read more on page 4

Public transport update Waimakariri consultation Submissions on Environment Canterbury’s plans to reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway by improving public transport services have closed.

Making progress

Protecting and improving

Environment Canterbury received 312 submissions from across greater Christchurch, and staff are now analysing them.

Making progress towards agreed targets

The proposals included; increasing the frequency of some bus services, altering some existing routes to improve coverage and introducing a new commuter service that will travel from Rangiora to Hornby via Christchurch International Airport.

Progress with Canterbury’s water management can be tracked by progress against targets which were agreed with the community in 2010. These two maps are taken from the 2015 Targets Report and highlight progress with environmental limit setting and biodiversity. The full report is available at

A recommendation on which options to implement will be made by Environment Canterbury Commissioners in midOctober with changes introduced in early 2016.

10,725* Waimakariri residents travel to work in Christchurch daily *2013 Census Orbiter

Environmental limit-setting being led by the community Progress in each catchment

For each Canterbury river catchment, communities have become heavily involved in developing more detailed policies and rules to manage local solutions to environmental limit-setting. This work, part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, is being carried out in six stages, beginning with Zone Implementation Programmes and working through the resource management process of community consultation and hearings, to reach a decision.

Kaikōura Notification scheduled: 2019/20


The Orbiter bus route on Stanmore Road will continue to travel along its post-earthquake route and not revert to its original route through what is now the red zone.

Hurunui-Waiau River Waipara

After the earthquakes, the Orbiter was re-routed as it could no longer go over the Gayhurst Road bridge.

Notification scheduled: 2018/2019

Ashley River and Waimakariri

The current route passes several schools, including Avonside Girls’ High School, and the Stanmore Road shopping area. It has proven to be very popular, with an average of 300 people boarding the Orbiter between Gloucester Street and North Avon Road daily. With the re-opening of the Gayhurst Road bridge last month, Environment Canterbury decided not to go back to the preearthquake route as it might potentially disadvantage the hundreds of people who take the Orbiter bus daily from nearby areas.

Christchurch - West Melton


Notification scheduled: 2020/21

Wairewa/Lake Forsyth

Ashburton to Rakaia


Notification scheduled: 2019/2020

Hinds Plains

Bus Interchange More seating, toilets and lockers are now available in Christchurch’s new Bus Interchange.


The first stage of the Interchange opened on May 25, with part of the building opening and some bus bays operating.

South Coastal Canterbury

Since then, nearly 400,000 people have boarded a bus from the Interchange and more than 58,000 buses have passed through it. On August 20, part of the second stage opened, meaning more seating, toilets and lockers became available. Maori artwork, which is based on the narrative of Ngāi Tūhaitara/ Tūāhuriri migration into Te Waipounamu (South Island), was also unveiled. The remaining bus bays will become operational once further testing is complete. The Bus Interchange will help Environment Canterbury improve and further develop public transport services across the city as public transport is part of the lifeblood of a modern city.


Drafting the Plan

Catchment Modelling & Scenario Analysis

Submissions & Hearings

Community Consultation & Recommendations

Decisions Reached

ZONE COMMITTEE LED - with the community

Central Plains Water is part of the solution for water quality The use of stored water from alpine rivers and efficient irrigation systems, are key to improving the water quality of lowland streams in Canterbury. Central Plains Water – the large water distribution scheme sourced from Lake Coleridge – ticks both boxes. Stage 1 of the scheme, which was commissioned recently, includes a new canal from the Rakaia River and a piped system delivering water to around 20,000 ha of farmland on the north side of the river. As a result of farmers using alpine water from the scheme more water will be left in ground water, which is good for the environment. Precision application of irrigation water in new and upgraded systems will result in reduced nutrient leaching from farms into groundwater systems, which ultimately flow into lowland spring-fed streams.

The new Bus Interchange is proving popular, with more than 400,000 people using it in the short time since it opened (Photo supplied by CERA).

When the third and final stage of the scheme is completed, water will be available to irrigate 60,000 ha of land which is expected to support dairying, cropping, horticulture and livestock finishing. It is estimated the scheme will generate $1 billion in new economic activity while at the same time providing more reliable flows during the irrigation season.


g water quality Biodiversity key to restoring ecosystem health Fencing and planting native plants alongside rivers, or restoring wetlands, has a big part to play in improving fresh water quality in Canterbury. Lots of money and resources have been allocated to doing just that through programmes such as Immediate Steps – set up as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. For more information visit What's being done to restore natural habitat?

In Kaikōura there’s an ongoing project to clean up Lyell Creek/Waikōau supported by the local zone committee. Here Fonterra staff take part in a weeding and planting day.

The map below shows the number of projects over the past five years to restore natural habitat and ecosystems in each of the ten water management zones across Canterbury. There are also 31 regional projects which cover more than one zone.

Key - project by land type (figure in the centre is the number of projects funded) Drylands

High country catchments


Banks Peninsula and Kaikōura streams

Braided rivers


Lagoons and estuaries

High country lakes Coastal and land vegetation

Foothill streams


Lowland streams Flagship: long-term projects in areas of national/international significance

Rakaia and Rangitata upper catchments flagship project



Hurunui Waiau zone committee member David Eder, and landowner Leighton Croft, at the Smothering Gully biodiversity restoration site near Omihi in North Canterbury (photo supplied by Nicola Hunt).

13 13


Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere flagship project





Regional Projects, which cover more than one zone

Wainono Lagoon flagship project

In Christchurch there’s a project to improve the water quality in Addington Brook which flows into the Avon River/Ōtākaro. Here members of the local zone committee, business people and Environment Canterbury staff check the water quality.

Additional water can deliver benefits to South Canterbury The proposed Hunter Downs Irrigation scheme in South Canterbury has been designed to provide both economic and environmental/cultural benefits. The scheme – which has consents to take water from the Waitaki River – would deliver water to South Canterbury through a pump and pipe system. The idea is that while most of the water (around 8 cubic metres per second) would be used for irrigation, the scheme could also deliver around 1 cubic metre per second of water to Wainono Lagoon. This would provide significant environmental and cultural benefits in and around the coastal lagoon, which is a wetland of national significance for its birdlife and native fish. The design and funding of the scheme are still being worked on to ensure water is used efficiently and the capacity of the scheme reflects demand from the area’s farmers. Due to the focus on efficient and effective water use the proposed amount of water used is about half of what was originally applied for (and granted). The scheme aligns with the Lower Waitakai–South Coastal Canterbury zone committee’s recommendations for water management, which were developed following more than 100 community and catchment group meetings. The committee believes that securing reliable water goes hand in hand with initiatives to improve water use efficiency and good land management practice, which is demonstrated by the proposed Hunter Downs Irrigation scheme.

There’s a community commitment to improve the state of Waitarakao (Washdyke Lagoon), between Temuka and Timaru, including a new interpretive panel and open days inviting local people to visit and find out what makes the site special.

Better-burning techniques help clear the air This winter Environment Canterbury has been working closely with woodburner users to show them how to achieve a hotter fire and help reduce air pollution, and it seems to be making a difference. The main thing we wanted to get across to people is that smoke from chimneys is firewood that hasn’t burned completely, so it is a waste of heat and money, and is bad for people’s health.

This winter three airsheds had the lowest number of high pollution days recorded, and five airsheds had the lowest concentrations. St Albans, Woolston and Ashburton had both the lowest number of days, and the lowest winter concentrations since monitoring began. The Christchurch airshed recorded only seven high pollution days this year compared with 19 in 2014.

High pollution days 1 January to 31 August 2015

In Ashburton there has only been one high pollution day compared with nine last year. There has also been a significant improvement in Timaru this year. Other urban Canterbury towns are making good progress too – check out the results on the left. As part of our winter campaign we sent smoke-free burning information to all urban woodburner users and the "let’s clear the air" website was also a valuable tool, receiving more than 18,000 visits. We also worked closely again this winter with support agencies such as Community Energy Action, the New Zealand Home Heating Association, Grey Power, and Age Concern to make sure everyone’s number one priority was to stay warm. We worked with our partners to provide more than 50 free home energy checks and assisted more than 30 people to upgrade their woodburners in greater Christchurch.

Total high pollution days in 2014

In South Canterbury we provided more than 30 heating assessments and funding was approved to upgrade more than 60 home heating appliances. Since the start of our winter assistance programmes more than 600 people have been helped to have warm homes and cleaner burning appliances.

Environment Canterbury delivers practical solutions Environment Canterbury has focused on doing what we said we would do during the 2014/15 financial year and we have spent very close to what we said we would spend, says chief executive Bill Bayfield. “But being careful with spending hasn’t held us back from delivering practical solutions to the many challenges the region faces so we can achieve economic growth for Canterbury without compromising the region’s standard of living or environmental sustainability.” Bill says the year’s achievements could not have been made without close collaboration with the region’s councils, mana whenua and each community, in town and country. “We couldn’t have achieved anywhere near our objectives without their engagement, support and energy. There are some 3400 people involved in our work on improving waterways alone. It’s a tribute to them and to our staff.” Further information about our annual report will be on our website when the Council approves it in October.







Environment Canterbury welcomes new commissioner In early August, Environment Canterbury was delighted to welcome new Commissioner Elizabeth Cunningham, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Donald Couch earlier in the year. Elizabeth has the full support of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and is excited to be back at Environment Canterbury, having served as a Councillor from 2004-2007. A lifelong commitment to the health sector, and in particular advocating for the improvement of Māori health, has seen Elizabeth devote herself to serving many communities at a local, regional, and national level. For Elizabeth, it is impossible to separate health and the environment: “if people don’t have clean air and clean water, and we’re not safeguarding our natural resources for future generations in the spirit of kaitiakitanga, how can we have good health?” she says. Much progress has been made at Environment Canterbury in recent years, and Elizabeth has already observed many changes from her term as a Councillor. “The current organisation is listening and it’s exciting to see community stakeholders involved, especially through the Zone Committees,” she says. “The Commissioners are working hard for the best interests of Canterbury and it’s a privilege to be part of this exceptional team of people. I’m looking forward to what we’re going to achieve together in the next 12 months.”

Commissioner Elizabeth Cunningham

Safe boating a priority for spring and summer Safer Boating Week on 16-23 October 2015 aims to focus all water users’ attention on key safety messages as people get themselves and their vessels ready for the traditional start of the boating season at Labour Weekend. Keeping ourselves, our passengers and our vessels safe is key in creating safer boating communities, according to Navigation Safety Officer Gary Manch. “We want people to remember there are some simple things to remember that will keep you and your ‘crew’ safe when on the water,” he says. “Wear your lifejackets – we just can’t stress that enough. Regardless of the size of your boat or the weather condition, it’s just good practice. You put your seatbelt on when you get in the car, so make the same rule with your lifejacket when you are out on the water. As a country, we have seen significant improvements in life jacket compliance, but there is always room for improvement,” Gary says. Safer Boating Week is also focussing on the importance of having two reliable forms of communication when out on the water and that they are watertight. The catch phrase is ‘Bag Your Cell’.

More people are wearing lifejackets but there is still room for improvement. Environment Canterbury manages coastal, harbour and river boat safety, from tiny dinghies to large commercial vessels. Here, Charlotte Doogue (left), Amos Doogue and Leah Noakes take their dog Frodo for a row in Dampier Bay, inner Lyttelton Harbour.

Environment Canterbury Offices Christchurch PO Box 345 Christchurch 8140 P. 03 365 3828

ISSN: 1175-3528

Timaru 75 Church Street PO Box 550 P. 03 687 7800

“Too many people end up in difficulty when out on the water and have no way of calling for help. Everybody should carry at least two forms of communication and make sure they are watertight. Pop your cell phone in a waterproof bag so calls can still be made through the plastic,” he says. Other communication options include distress beacons, hand-held VHF radio, and flares to draw the attention of rescuers. For more information on safer boating practices and navigation bylaws visit

Contact details Kaikōura 73 Beach Road PO Box 59 P. 03 319 5781

Online: Email: Customer Services: 0800 EC INFO Free phone: 0800 324 636 or Christchurch: 03 353 9007

Contact the Commissioners: 0800 COMMISSIONERS (0800 266 647) Metroinfo ChCh: 03 366 8855

Businfo Timaru: 03 688 5544 Pollution Hotline: 03 366 4663 (inside Christchurch) (24 hours) Pollution Hotline: 0800 76 55 88 (outside Christchurch) (24 hours)

Civil defence: 03 366 2359 River & flood infoline: 0900 74837 (charges apply) 0900 RIVER River report: Riverflows: