Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brickbats & Bouquets for the CCC

It's been a busy time for the council lately - for the elected councillors and their hard-working staff. Let's just say that some things are going, and being handled, better than others.

Back in July, Vbase was ready to release the engineers' reports on the battered & broken AMI stadium. The council however, had other ideas and kept the report out of the public eye for a few more weeks. Ostensibly this was to give councillors a chance to read the reports & make decisions and, as mere plebs, we can only guess as to the accuracy of this stated position. I still can't get rid of the image of Jack Nicholson shouting "You can't handle the truth!" from my head... I hope our elected officials aren't withholding information on the basis that we the people can't handle knowing the awful truth.

I mean, c'mon... if we can handle 8300+ earthquakes, we can take the bad news in our stride. We are all too fully aware of the broken state of our city's infrastructure, so please don't bother sugar-coating it or holding it back until you've made a decision. We all know that these decisions take time - hell, if a simple house claim takes nearly a year, there's no telling how long engineers will want to think about a 40,000 seat stadium.

Rumour loves a vacuum & there are always conduits of information in a city this size, which is why when the contents of the report were finally made public, none of us were terribly surprised. The size of the job to fix the stands & playing surface of AMI stadium is enormous, and some of the engineering 'solutions' are still only theoretical, or have not been applied to anything of this size before. I find myself agreeing with Mike Yardley's call to demolish the stadium stands and replace them with low-rise embankments - perfect for cricket tests at the reclaimed Lancaster Park.

A better reception was awarded to the draft Central City plan, which has also been released in the last week. I've spent a fair bit of time reading through it, & have been enjoying the concept drawings for our (possible) future inner city. The Chch Press has devoted a fair bit of space to it, and you can download the pdf here (7.4MB). Sure it's a pretty big wish list - but if we don't dream big, if we fail to articulate our visions, and if we allow this process to be dominated by bean-counters & nay-sayers, then we will end up with the same kind of disfunctional, drab, and spread-out inner city that we're trying replace.

Being boring & non-threatening will cost us all much more than the alternative, which is allowing these grand visions to become a reality we can all take ownership of. If you like the plan, let your voice be heard above the clamour of property developers and insurance/real estate brokers.

Public submissions open on August 16th and are open for one month only. Kgo.

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