September WMRA meeting recap
It was a full house at the West Melton Community Hall, with many residents making the decision to come to the public forum to hear Hamish Wheelans speak about the proposed residential subdivision of the Wilson South Block which was submitted for consent this week.
Bruce Russell began with a warm welcome to Hamish and his staff, giving credit for his past involvement with the community and his willingness to engage West Melton Residents with this latest project.
Hamish began by outlining how the project had progressed over the past two years since the land was purchased – the zoning, the name (A mashup from the Wilson Stud Farm name) and how an initial design was “thrown out the window” before arriving at the design submitted this week.
Referencing the ideas and process behind the development of Preston Downs, Hamish outlined his desire for Wilfield to have a similar theme – blended lot sizes, open spaces, natural contours and features, integrated with community clubs, services and existing infrastructure. Hamish described how the design fits with the natural (old) river channels of the site and how covenants would be used to maintain the site contours for drainage etc. Hamish’s intention is to keep many of the hedges, shelter belts & large trees where possible.
Restrictions to the design included two land blocks zoned IP (Inner plains) adjacent to Weedons Ross Road (Consent being applied for rezoning), an obsolete sewerage soakage allocation (Town sewerage is now piped to Rolleston), Living 2 & Living 2A allocations, a pylon corridor towards the south and a 300m set-back from an existing chicken farm (For odour control). Only two entrances are possible, due to the positioning of titles and NZTA’s unwillingness to alter SH73 East of the town. The district plan includes the construction of an underpass from the north side of SH73.
With the uncertainty about the zoning of the IP land on Weedons Ross Road, Hamish could not be sure how the land adjacent to the two entranceways would be used, but he has a strong desire to integrate this land with the domain facilities (Junior football, Tennis courts etc.). Gilman Wheelans is willing to engage with the community to decide the best use of this land.
Hamish presented several options they had explored to improve road access to the block, focussing on the Weedons-Ross Road / SH73 intersection. There was a roundabout, a “staggered-T” intersection and a full set of traffic lights – all of which were rejected by NZTA for various reasons, although the traffic lights seemed viable to NZTA, but on a much longer time-frame. In reality, NZTA had no problem with an extra 180 houses using the existing infrastructure. “We know is not the right outcome” said Hamish as he outlined a proposal which NZTA did accept, including a left-turn lane into Weedons Ross Road.
Pedestrian access options were presented, beginning with the SH73 underpass included in the district plan. Hamish was not pleased with this solution, commenting on the depth, 60m length and angles needed to achieve the crossing. “This underpass is as ugly as sin” he said. Instead, Gilman Wheelans is proposing that another road-level crossing be installed just to the west of the BP Station. This crossing would link up to Wilfield via a walkway through the Anglican Church grounds.
Plenty of questions followed Hamish’s presentation, covering bus routes, the wider impact on the area, other options to make the underpass work and processes which NZTA employ for roading upgrades. More generic questions covered other development in the town, specifically to the West & East and the impact of the next stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway on the area.
150th dedication service
Tony reported on progress for the 150th dedication service. Planning is going well with the order of ceremonies confirmed and a draft of the plaque set to be manufactured once confirmation of John Key’s attendance is in. The West Melton School Kapahaka group has confirmed they will be performing at the event.
150th field days
This is coming next weekend! Friday will be for school children, Saturday for the general public and Sunday reserved for the vintage car club.
Any activity regarding community patrols has been deferred by the association until after the events of the 150th celebration.
Shopping centre development
The first sod is expected to be turned before Christmas, expected to be opened around October 2015.
The 25m tower is now standing and pending the installation of radio equipment. This service is expected to be working before the end of September.
The Association is very thankful to the help of Alastair McNeil & Accessman for the installation of flag brackets two Saturdays ago!
The next meeting will be on Wednesday October 8.
See you then!