The New Zealand Fire Service is interested in buying land for a new fire station and the other party is keen to develop a new school. Consultation on the two proposals opens today.
The 39.02 hectare block at 27 Hunters Road and 42 Whero Avenue is currently used for grazing, with bush regeneration in three gullies traversing the block, says Head of City Growth and Property, Bruce Rendall.
In 2021, the Council sought community feedback on the future of the land.
Feedback showed a strong desire for community involvement in planning the future of the land and for the gullies to be protected.
“We know the community values the gullies and wants them to be retained, with native trees and walking tracks,” says Mr Rendall.
“Council staff think this is a good use for the gullies and this will be reflected in our draft spatial plan, which is under development.”
Council staff are preparing technical reports to support the development of the spatial plan for the site. These reports will form the basis for future discussion with the community.
“Having received proposals for parts of the block, we need to seek community feedback, with a view to making a decision on those sites before the full draft spatial plan is ready,” he says.
“I’d like to reassure those who gave us feedback in 2021 that neither the fire station proposal nor the school proposal involves any of the gullies.”
The proposed fire station and school form part of the draft spatial plan. Mr Rendall says the full draft spatial plan will go out for separate consultation when it is complete.
New fire station
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) sees the available land as an opportunity to move the Diamond Harbour Fire Station and is eyeing about 0.5 hectares of the block.
The Diamond Harbour Volunteer Brigade’s existing station, at 89 Marine Drive, is a registered earthquake-prone building and must be brought up to the building code or demolished by 24 April 2025. The section of land FENZ wants is just across the road and around the bend from the current site, between 90 Marine Drive and 110 Marine Drive.
FENZ District Commander Dave Stackhouse says the proposed new building would meet 100% of the New Building Standard and be an Importance Level 4 fire station.
“It will be a fit-for-purpose, resilient, future-proof facility, incorporating decontamination facilities, standby generator, PPE locker room and a training room,” Mr Stackhouse says.
“It will meet all statutory, regulatory and organisational requirements, with the growth of Diamond Harbour and surrounding communities in mind.”
On average, the brigade attends 100 callouts a year, with 65% being medical events, he says. For this reason, a helipad is included in the proposed development.
“At present, when a helicopter is needed in a medical emergency, it lands on the sports ground or Laurenson Park,” Mr Stackhouse says.
“About once a month, the crew needs to assist in setting up a landing zone for the helicopter, so it would be a huge improvement to have a helipad onsite.”
A helipad would also be a big advantage when firefighting helicopters are needed, he says.
The Council has also been approached by Nōku Te Ao Charitable Trust with a proposal to buy eight hectares of the block.
The trust, acting on behalf of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, wants to set up a designated character school Te Pā o Rākaihautū (Te Pā), on the site.
Designated character schools, in this case a Māori medium school, are state schools. Alongside the New Zealand curriculum, they develop their own aims, purposes and objectives and teach to values aligning with their philosophy or culture.
Te Pā was established in 2015. It has a temporary campus at the former Linwood Intermediate School site on McLean Street, Linwood, and has been looking for a permanent city site for the past 10 years. If the proposal is approved, the school will run over two sites – a city site (yet to be determined) and the Diamond Harbour site.
The school’s website describes a strong focus on restoring culture, connection and identity; reconnecting with places, communities, histories and traditions; igniting a passion for learning; and ‘pushing the reset button on Māori educational achievement’.
Te Pā o Rākaihautū chair, Rangimarie Parata Takurua, says different learning opportunities would be offered at each site. While many of the students live in the city, she says the school’s whakapapa is rooted on Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula.
“At the core of Te Pā’s philosophy is place-based learning centred around the environment and cultural identity,” she says.
“There are few places more relevant or better suited to this than on Te Pātaka o Rakaihautu, surrounded by our five rūnanga communities at Rāpaki, Koukourarata, Ōnuku, Wairewa and Taumutu.”
Under the proposal, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke would own the land, and lease part or all of it to the Ministry of Education.
Mr Rendall says it’s important to get feedback from the community on the two proposals.
“Feedback we receive from the Diamond Harbour community and residents of the wider Christchurch district will help the the elected council decide whether to support the two proposals,” he says.
People across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula have until 5pm on 19 February 2024 to tell the council what they think of the two proposals.
Find out more information about the proposals here.