Why Are We Still Waiting?

After advocating for a new Shirley Centre (since 2018) & doing 4 verbal submissions (3-5 mins each year for LTP or Annual plan), plus researching & writing submissions for 6 different Council/Community Board consultations over the last 12 months, I’m tired & frustrated…

While participating in the Christchurch City Council “Draft Equity and Inclusion Policy” Hearing Panel meetings, I realised that the verbal submission process at any Council/Community Board meeting (whether it be public forum, deputation or LTP/Annual) is not equitable or inclusive for every resident in Christchurch.

Christchurch City Council Draft Equity and Inclusion Policy
The Equity and Inclusion Policy was adopted by the Council on 6 March 2024.
“The Equity and Inclusion Policy describes our approach to enabling people from all communities and all areas of the city to have equitable access to our services.
It recognises the Council’s responsibility to ensure that decision-making reflects its commitment to fostering equity and inclusion for all Christchurch and Banks Peninsula residents.”
“Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.”
People should have equity, regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, culture, faiths, geographical location, sexual orientation, neurodiversity or socio-economic status.

There are physical, mental & financial barriers for some residents to participate & engage in Council/Community Board meetings.
I currently have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) & Chronic Pain, an increase in my symptoms can be triggered by anxiety & stress.
I am affected by sensory processing through: how environments are designed & how information is provided.
I am on a fixed low income & parking in the CBD costs me at least $10 each time I attend a Council meeting.

The effort & cost required to get to the Council building to make my verbal submission, feels like a waste of my time after all these years.
The verbal submissions hearing format is like a one sided conversation with no ability to have a real discussion, before the alarm blasts & you are given the standard ‘thank you for coming’.

So this year I have decided not to make a verbal submission.
The below statements were going to be part of my verbal submission to the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan 2024.

These five statements have been given to me, as reasons for why funding hasn’t been brought forward to design/plan/build a new Shirley Centre.

1. “You have to show there is a need…”
– Christchurch’s Forgotten Suburb?
– Shirley Centre Q & A (2019)
– Shirley Centre Research (2019)
– Shirley Community Facility Feasibility Study
– Shirley Community Reserve Memo (2022)
“4.3 A feasibility study is currently underway to estimate the construction costs for four potential options for a new community facility.
– 1. Mixed use hub incorporating a library, service centre, and community operated community space,
– 2. Community operated large community facilities building,
– 3. Community operated small community facilities building,
– 4. Outdoor options similar to Dallington landing.”
4.24 After discussion with representatives from the Shirley Road Central group it was agreed the Visitor Experience Team would also investigate developing one or two interpretation boards.
These would tell the stories of both local and city-wide significance; original school heritage buildings, community centre and its role in the community, historic domestic buildings adjacent to the park, and Dudley Creek remediation.
4.36 The results from the Youth Audit identified that the space is not currently used to its full potential.
4.44 Reserve Planning: Ad hoc piecemeal development is to be avoided, a plan for the whole site will achieve the best outcome.”
– Shirley Centre Map
“There is no local suburban sized library within the Innes & Central Wards.
10 Shirley Road/Shirley Community Reserve is in Richmond & with the Ward boundary changes, it is now located in the Central Ward.
From Papanui Road (Papanui Library) to Marshland Road (Shirley Library), residents/visitors are without access to a local suburban sized library.
There are 14 schools, kindergartens & playcentres located within a 3km radius of the 10 Shirley Road, Shirley Community Reserve.
There are 11 support providers located in the North East of Christchurch.”
– Christchurch District Plan
Type: 10 Shirley Road, Richmond, into the search bar
The suburbs around 10 Shirley Road have increased Infill Housing & Social Housing.
Residential Medium Density Zone & Residential Suburban Density Transition Zone.
The ‘Dudley Character Area’ protects most of North Richmond.
Most of Shirley around MacFarlane Park has ‘Community Housing Redevelopment Mechanism’.

2. “You have to show there is support…”

– “Where is our Community Centre” Petition
– “LTP 2021-2031 Petition from Shirley Road Central:
This petition was submitted to Council at the Long Term Plan (2021 to 2031) meeting in 2021 from the Shirley Road Central group.
The petition contains signatures [633 online & over 500+ on paper] in support of a new community facility on the Shirley Community Reserve.”
https://letstalk.ccc.govt.nz/download_file/133/495 (Online Petition)
https://www.change.org/p/christchurch-city-council-a-community-centre-for-north-richmond-shirley-mairehau-edgeware-st-albans-east/c (Online Comments)
– Poto Williams Support Letter
– Duncan Webb Support Letter
– Community Hub Support
– CCC Citizen Hub Strategy
– CCC Integrated Planning Guide

3. “You have to wait for this report…”
– “Council Long Term Plan 2018-2028
8a. Funding new and existing community facilities: That the Council requests staff to complete the Community Facilities Network Plan as soon as practicable; and approves an additional $170,000 operational expenditure in 2018/19 to expedite this, inform next year’s and future years’ annual plans. Potential developments include but are not limited to; the Shirley Community Centre…”
– Waipapa Papanui Innes Central “Shirley Community Reserve” Consultation
“People were able to provide feedback from 17 July to 14 August 2023.
You will be able to read their feedback and the staff recommendation once an agenda is available for the Waipapa Papanui Innes Central Community Board meeting, which we expect to be in March 2024.”
[This consultation feedback, staff report/recommendations & new feasibility study was not in the Board’s agenda for March or April 2024.]
– “Why are we talking to you about this reserve again?
In 2021, the Council approved $3 million funding for the rebuild of the Shirley Community Centre in FY 2029/30 – FY2031/32 and requested an updated ‘feasibility study’ to look at other options, including incorporating the current Shirley Library.”
– “Engage with the community to determine and realise the vision for the future of Shirley Community Reserve:
The Board was briefed in December 2023, where the engagement results were presented to the Board, along with the feasibility study. Answers to the Board’s questions from the briefing were supplied by way of memo.”
– The ‘Shirley Community Reserve Feasibility Study’ was not included in the Board meeting agenda for March or April 2024. But included in the agenda under:
12. Waipapa Papanui-Innes-Central Community Board Area Report – March 2024
4.4 Memoranda
CCC: Shirley Community Reserve Feasibility Study (circulated 23 February 2024)

4. “You have to wait for this project to be finished…”
– Crossway Community Church Proposal
https://www.10shirleyroad.org.nz/timeline/ (15 August 2013 & 16 August 2013)
“What options have been considered?
From 2012 to 2016, staff explored options for a third-party funded and managed facility. A proposal explored for this area was rejected in favour of a new site on North Avon Road in Richmond.”
“A second connected Stage 2 building by Crossway Community Church was completed in early 2021. Together the two buildings are now known as the North Avon Community Centre at 101 North Avon Road and operate as one facility.”
– Kohinga St Albans Community Centre
“The striking new Kohinga St Albans Community Centre was officially opened at the weekend – the first permanent facility on its Colombo Street site for a decade…Mayor Dalziel says it is wonderful to see a permanent facility on the site again after the earthquake-damaged St Albans Resource Centre was demolished in July 2011.”
– Te Pou Toetoe Linwood Pool
“The multimillon-dollar Te Pou Toetoe, Linwood Pool was unveiled by mayor Lianne Dalziel on Friday afternoon, to the delight of local schools and community groups.
The Christchurch City Council has been praised by local school heads for listening to the community’s input and making it ‘more than just a pool’.”
– Matatiki Hornby Centre
“Residents have been waiting almost 20 years for a pool complex on the southwest side of Christchurch, and were delighted to see the project come to life on Friday, as the new library, pool and service centre was officially opened.”
– Ōmōkihi South Library
“The old facility was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and, while it has been temporarily strengthened and is safe to occupy, it is experiencing issues with things such as heating and weather tightness.
In October, councillors approved a new $32 million facility to be rebuilt at the riverside site on Colombo St.”
“Joanna Gould spoke in regards to Item 10. South Library Te Kete Wānanga o Wai Mōkihi – Earthquake Repair Options.
Her deputation focused on Shirley Library and the former Shirley Community Centre. She questioned the priority on South Library, when Shirley Library has issues around variety of books available and capacity. She also queried why the rebuild of the Shirley Community Centre has been delayed until 2030/31, and whether this aligns with the Council’s policies on sustainability and environmental outcomes.”

5. “You have to wait for funding, Council…”
– “But Christchurch City Council’s Long Term Plan (2021), approved last month, allocates $3 million towards a centre rebuild in the 2031-2032 financial year.
It also budgets $35,000 for a feasibility study to take place in the 2021-2022 financial year.
Innes Ward city councillor Pauline Cotter said the future of the project is in the hands of the community. “It’s now with the community, they’re going to have to drive that. It is possible the $3 million funding could be brought forward if a building plan was ready and viable.”
– “Advocate for funding to be brought forward in the LTP if appropriate
The Board supported in its submission on the Council’s Annual Plan 2023-24 funding relating to Shirley Community Reserve retaining priority.
The Board Chair in the LTP briefing to Council in October 2023 highlighted priority to retain funding.”
– “The new community centre at 10 Shirley Rd is already in the LTP for 2031, however we can commence design and build earlier if that budget is made available from 2025…”
Deputy Mayor & Councillor for Innes Pauline Cotter
St Albans News, March 2024, Page 3, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zjFsQqqmMObCkDDaK_k7t-cWm8U9EO4l/
– “Q. How do we fund a new building & redevelopment of the Shirley Community Reserve?
A. Through donations, sponsorships & grants, by involving:
– the local communities around Shirley Road, Christchurch
Suburbs: Shirley, Dallington, Richmond, Edgeware, St Albans & Mairehau
– the owners of The Palms Mall
– the wider community: Christchurch residents
– Christchurch City Council & Waipapa Papanui-Innes-Central Community Board
– NZ Government: relevant Ministries & Departments
– Local/National Funding Organisations
– International Community: expats now living overseas & visitors
– The Christchurch Foundation
– Past Connections: People/Businesses/Organisations who have a past connection to this site/former building & by providing other Fundraising Opportunities”