Thursday, 7 October 2010

On hold...

From: "Wormald, Jack"
To: Margaret Noble
Cc: "Smith, Tara"
Sent: Mon, 4 October, 2010 3:13:47 PM
Subject: Post Earthquake Project Prioritisation

Hi Margaret,

I hope you and your family are well after the recent events.

Im sure you have read about the recent Council meetings and the decisions being made on how to finance the recovery of Christchurch.

Unfortunately the St James Ave project has been deferred to allow the budget to be used to rebuild those areas severly damaged.

I do not know when work will be restarted on the St James Ave project as estimates on the amount of recovery work is ever changing but please be assured that the work currently done will not be lost.

Tara will circulate a leaflet* to all residents soon to explain the situation further.

Please give me a call if you have any queries



Jack Wormald
Project Manager
Capital Programme Group
DDI: 03 941-8876Email:
Christchurch City Council

* [To see Tara Smith's letter 7/10/10 click here]

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Local Body Elections

As a distraction from earthquake damage and aftershocks, you will see a new page on this website that asks the Papanui-Shirley candidates in the October local body elections their opinions about trees in Christchurch. All but three have emails available on the web or were contactable through websites. A number have not yet responded, but I shall add their responses if and when I get them.
As you will see, most of their attitudes seem in agreement with our own, which is nice to see. I also think it is important that they form an opinion, make their opinion a matter of public record (on this website), and if they are elected they should stick to that opinion when tree issues arise. In a small way, we are putting some pressure on these politicians to be accountable.
Happy reading! (And don't forget to hug a tree before bedtime.)
(click here to read)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


0437hrs Saturday morning was quite a moment in our heritage history. When our terror had finally subsided and the dust had settled, we could see that some of us had been lucky and had suffered little damage, while others had significant structural repairs to be done. However, it was great to see so many of you checking on your neighbours and helping each other out.
Jacqui and I walked around Victoria and Peterborough Streets on Sunday. There is such a lot of damage out there. Not just the odd chimney pot, but shifted foundations, bowed and cracked brick walls, and caved in roofs. And that was just the low rise stuff. The old Normal School has copped some serious damage as has the Repertory Theatre. Almost every church has something fallen away, with some seemingly beyond repair. Looking at these buildings I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach as if a close relative has fallen ill and been admitted to hospital.
Although some properties have already been demolished, I hope that heritage values are being properly considered. There is a real risk that overhasty decisions will cause the unnecessary loss of important parts of old Christchurch. I was pleased to hear the architect Peter Beaven on TV pleading the case for preserving damaged buildings and not simply writing them off.
Coming back to local issues, don't forget to photograph your wall cracks and toppled chimneys, if you haven't already done so, to document things for insurance claims.
Above all, don't forget that we all have such a lot to be grateful for. Astonishingly no-one was killed! Our cup is truly half full - not half empty. As Bob Parker says "Everybody has lost something, but nobody has lost someone." The aftershocks day and night may be frazzling our nerves, but we are all still here. I feel that St James Ave has done quite well, and perhaps all those tree roots in the avenue and in the park have somehow softened the quake's impact. Keep talking to each other and stay safe!


PS: If you are interested in seeing the live seismology recordings, go to the Geonet site.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Let's start again.

On Wednesday evening Margaret arranged for several of us, including Graham Ford (tree surgeon), to have a preliminary meeting with Jack Wormald, the new CCC Manager for the St James Ave Kerb and Channel Renewal Project. We had a useful and wide-ranging discussion about the history of the avenue, the heritage nature of the trees, the need for deep-dish gutter replacement, the various tree reports, the unsatisfactory nature of the previous CCC consultation meeting, the range of street options (including their effects on the trees), and the overall process to be followed.

While Jack is careful to remain neutral, he is keen to understand where we are coming from and to understand the various points of view of the residents. So he will be convening a larger meeting with all of us at some stage, perhaps late September or early October. Although the format is yet to be finalised, basic components rather than finalised plans will be up for discussion e.g. the design choices for the Harewood Road entrance; tree retention options; road safety issues (traffic speed, the bend); the design options for the Dalriada-to-bend segment.

Several plans incorporating ideas from the meeting will then be drawn up and a second meeting set up for consideration of these plans, hopefully to come up with a preferred option. Once a plan is agreed upon, there are still quite a few steps to be followed: it goes to the Community Board for approval, then formal community consultation/feedback, further Community Board approval, and finally through the resource consent process.

So we have quite a way to go yet, but if this preliminary meeting was anything to go by, there are encouraging signs.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Good news

  • This has been a busy and productive few days. Margaret has successfully obtained permission from the Community Board to put a park bench in the rose garden of St James Park (assuming there are no objections from our community). The minutes of the meeting are not available yet, but the tone of the meeting papers (click here) was not supportive, so this was no mean feat! Well done.
  • The meeting also decided after some vigorous debate that our Residents' Association is now formally recognised by the Board. This will be very helpful when we need to apply for assistance for various heritage projects that we can't do on our own, such as St Paul's churchyard cemetery preservation work. Good job.
  • Jack Wormald, our new CCC project manager, seems to be rapidly getting up to speed on the project. He will be meeting with a few of us soon just to get the basic principles sorted out before starting work on plans for the avenue. I have not met him yet but I understand that he agrees that no healthy trees should be removed, which is a great start.  
  • Graeme Hancox has alerted us to the approaching centennial of World War I (1914-18) which will make 2014 a special year for our ANZAC Day Parade, perhaps in a beautifully refurbished St James Ave. The History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is developing a series of projects to commemorate this centennial: a website covering NZ’s experience of the war will be hosted on the NZ History Online website together with a highly illustrated book that will include facsimiles of war diaries etc; and in development is a Guide to First World War heritage sites in New Zealand such as drill halls, embarkation points, training facilities, hospitals etc. For more information about these projects click here

Happy Hugging!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Meeting with CCC?

You will be wondering what has happened with the meeting between the Residents' Association and CCC tentatively scheduled for late this month. This has been put on hold since Jack Wormald has taken over the street renewal project, and no doubt a new meeting time will be arranged in due course. Mr Wormald spent several years working with the Lyttelton residents helping establish the Lyttelton Historic Area. Hopefully he will bring his heritage skills to our little patch of green.

Which reminds me, rumour has it that St James Park has been restored to Category 1 heritage status. Although this sounds very encouraging, I am not sure exactly what the implications of this are yet, but will keep you informed when more information is available.

Nice to see the days starting to lengthen again. Keep hugging them trees!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Assorted news

1. Philip Crossland is leaving the project at the end of the week, and Jack Wormald will be taking over the project, which is an interesting development to say the least.

2. I have done a bit of reshuffling of the blog material. This blog is hosted for free by Blogger, so there is a limit of 10 separate pages in addition to the Posts page where we put announcements (like this one). Things tend to grow "like Topsy", so to keep things manageable and logical I have done a little pruning, and re-organised some material e.g. the history stuff has been put together on the History page, rather than split between the Contacts/Links and History pages. Any suggestions are welcomed.

3. You may not realise it, but getting the blog recognised by search engines like Google and Yahoo! is not straight forward. Up till now we have been invisible on the internet (unless you knew our web address), but through some blog tinkering and some good luck we are now on Google. However Yahoo! still draws a blank. As we add links to other websites, our chances improve, so watch this space.

4. You probably already realise that you have to login to post stuff on the Home page or leave comments. Alternatively if it seems too complicated, just send it to me and I'll post it on your behalf.

Happy Tree Hugging,

Monday, 12 July 2010


In my enthusiasm for positive news (see Two pieces of positive news below) I implied that all residents have been asked to meet with Philip Crossland. In fact it will be the Residents' Association Committee along with Alex (with his surveyor knowledge) who will be attending this meeting. I apologise for any misunderstanding I may have inadvertently caused. It's hard to be the perfect "journo"!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Greetings to you all

It has been a while since we all made contact so it is probably time for an update.
The morning marking out the street with cones was one well spent in many ways. It was just a shame that the weather was so appalling. Alex did a great job in surveying our efforts and has, through asking for the CCC measurements, begun a dialogue with Phil Crossland that is to result in a meeting between Phil Crossland and the Residents Association. This is very good, we now have a real chance to work towards getting the street that we want.
Today I had a conversation with Amanda Ohs, Heritage Planner for the CCC. She has acted on the messages that I have left on her answer phone of late and made contact with Phil Crossland and made it clear that the trees in St James Avenue are to remain and that ways should be found to work around them.
Sounds just like us!
So when we go to the meeting later this month we go knowing that part of the CCC backs what we have been trying to achieve, the retention of the trees. So, many many thanks to those residents that kicked up such a fuss that the CCC left the street alone in 2006, as Heritage knew nothing about earlier attempts at street renewal, in fact they knew nothing about this one until I made contact.
We marked out a pedestrian island at the Harewood Road end of the street and this worked well, both for crossing the road and slowing the vehicles entering the street.
Please send any other wants for the upgrade, so we have them in email to take with us to the meeting with Phil Crossland. Graeme Hancox has done a great job on the tight bend outside his house. Many of you will have seen his ideas and plans. If you have not and are interested please make contact with him (
Amanda Ohs keenly pointed out today that when we turn our efforts to help with the restoration of the St Paul's Cemetery, that there are substantial Heritage grants available through the CCC and that they will work with us to obtain Corporate funding in any way that they can.
Wroxton Terrace have accepted their final plan: all trees are to be retained and some new ones planted. Good news for those that use the cycle-way is the light controlled crossing that is to go in as part of the upgrade as it crosses Wroxton Terrace alongside the main trunk line.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Two pieces of positive news

1. Margaret tells me that our surveyor, Alex, has contacted the CCC to obtain some CCC survey data, and that Philip Crossland has responded by politely requested that the residents meet with him at the CCC. We will bring our survey readings with us, and these will be plotted and discussed with a view to getting a final plan drawn up that meets both our requirements and theirs. There seems to be a genuine desire to work with us to this end - we have been invited as a group. It would be a good thing if we could all go and bring with us open minds and see what can be worked out.
Although this is quite a turn-about, Alex believes that this is a genuine offer and the CCC don't want to get into the situation of their plan versus ours. And if all goes well, this has the potential to get the best compromise that we can for our street.
The meeting with Philip has yet to be arranged but will most probably be on a Wednesday afternoon towards the end of the month (to ensure Alex can attend).   

2. Our website Links/Contacts page now includes in the City Council/Community Board section a link to the 27-7-2001 CCC minutes reiterating the CCC Heritage Planning Group policy on Papanui War Memorial streets. In particular, the 2001 minutes state:
It is important that the plaques and the trees are well maintained and looked after in a manner appropriate for a War Memorial. It is particularly important that the trees are maintained and renewed and gaps filled in as appropriate, to ensure the avenue effects are retained.
Surprisingly, this CCC statement is completely in agreement with the St James Ave Residents' Association view. So Margaret checked this with the Heritage Planning Group of the CCC who stated that this policy remains unchanged from 2001. In fact, they were very surprised to learn that major works have been undertaken in many of the 15 Memorial Avenues without Heritage Group consultation. It seems the CCC are in breach of their own policy! 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Community Board minutes now published

Here is an extract from the Shirley-Papanui Community Board minutes:
Ivan Lauder introduced Nigel Hampton and Michael Hurrell who outlined the St James Avenue Residents Association’s proposed function in the area and requested that the Board acknowledge and recognise the association, as well as assist with information to enable the inclusion of Neighbourhood Support in their area.
The Chairperson thanked Nigel Hampton and Michael Hurrell for their deputation.
The Board agreed:
(a) That staff be requested to bring a report to the Community Board on the possibility of formal recognition by the Board of the St James Avenue Residents Association.
(b) That, subject to the report on the possibility of recognising St James Ave as a residents’ association, the Board consider revoking their previous decision of the boundaries of the South Papanui Residents’ Association.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

"Tree Bee" A Success!

Despite wet weather and many cold hands, the working bee was very successful. Thankyou to all of you who donned your winter woollies to brave the elements. The aim was to mark out potential changes to the street using traffic cones so that we could get a real-life appreciation of the possible changes being suggested by various residents.
Three locations were worked on: the Harewood Road entrance where a stop sign and pedestrian island have been suggested; the avenue adjacent to the north-west entrance to St James Park where a pedestrian island is proposed in the centre of the road; and at the bend where it was felt a 7m wide road was appropriate.
The photos show how these suggestions use the street space. The most noticeable effect was the dramatic slowing of traffic going through these marked areas (see bottom photo), probably due to a combination of road narrowing to 7m, the bright "witches hats" traffic cones, and the officious looking residents wearing fluorescent safety vests!

Friday, 18 June 2010


111 St  James Avenue
Christchurch 8053
15 June 2010

Dear Fellow Residents


We have organised some necessary expert helpers to assist us to work out our street design, and have it measured and draughted into a line drawing that we can present to the Christchurch City Council. They are all available on the above date, so all that is needed for a complete design team is for us to join them. A start of 10am will mean that there should be plenty of daylight hours after we have completed our design for our plan to be accurately recorded by the survey team.

It will be great to see as many of you as possible out on the street, running out string, banging in pegs, working out parking spaces, crossing islands, traffic calming and talking and having a laugh with your fellow neighbours and residents.

Working together towards a common goal we should be able to come up with an awesome street to live in, for us and for future residents.

If you have youngsters in your household please invite them to join in. Who knows, being involved in design at its most basic level and seeing it take shape, and being able to talk to a surveyor, may influence a future career choice. It would be great to have their input as well.

This is a truly wonderful opportunity to work out what we want, what works and what will not, so please accept the invite to join the day under the trees.


Looking forward to seeing you there.

Margaret and Dave Howley

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Community Board Meeting

The Community Board meeting went reasonably well, as much as one can tell. After I had spoken about my personal perspective on coming to the Avenue, Nigel gave his own perspective, and clarified a few issues. We then answered questions from the Board, including who we are representing, and what area should be covered by the association.
At this stage the Board is requesting a report from the CCC to look at the feasibility of dismantling the existing South Papanui Residents' Association, and allowing our own association to get formal recognition. They will then decide whether or not to give us the go-ahead. So now we just wait.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Meeting with Community Board

As many of you will be aware, at 4.00pm on Wednesday afternoon (June 16) Nigel and I shall be presenting on your behalf to the Community Board, to get our Residents' Association formally recognised by the CCC. While it is not essential for our association to have this recognition to achieve its goals, it is certainly worth trying to get this status.
The meeting is at the Board Room of the Papanui Library/Service Centre (entrance at rear down Restell Street). Although only two of us are allowed to speak, you are all welcome to be part of this deputation.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


Those of you that read The Press this morning will have seen an excellent opinion piece from Mike Yardley. (see Newspaper blog page) Fantastic exposure. Mike was clearly well-informed!
You may have also noticed photos, on our Street examples page, of the Idris-Jeffreys Rd corner to illustrate the pedestrian "pause way" or crossing island concept. Note the landscaped island extension running up the street, which acts as a useful barrier to stop cars cutting the corner as they enter the street as well as preventing u-turns in the street close to the corner.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Further Thoughts

To view the CCC Tree Report see CCC Tree Report (Kenny 3-12-09) in Documents section.

I think the CCC has not understood how to approach this problem at all. They have put the cart before the horse, by coming up with "solutions" before they know what they are trying to solve. Now we are being asked to rate options that do not even begin to meet the heritage requirements. In our feedback to the CCC think we need to tell the CCC what guiding principles they need to use when redrawing the options.

My priorities and principles?

1. Replace trees only as they die or become hazardous.
2. Driveways should be exempted from CCC policy where policy adherence jeopardises a tree.
3. The avenue should be narrowed rather than widened.
4. Angle parking is preferable, especially near the Park entrances. If there is not enough room, then have this on one side of the avenue only. Parallel parking elsewhere. (Acquire the old cool stores site for Park parking.)
5. There is no shortage of good ideas for speed bumps, pedestrian crossings, signage, bed plantings etc but this should be after items 1-4 are solved. Let's get the big picture stuff right first.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Wednesday's CCC Meeting

I found last night's meeting had a mixture of negatives and positives.

Some negatives were that the CCC is starting, not from a position of preserving the trees, but rather from the kerb and channel point of view and these are the consequences for the trees. There is an undercurrent that the long term view is best served by the original plan of replacing all the trees. There is little recognition of the historical symbolism of the avenue, with a suggestion that the types of replacement tree would be open for debate. Debate was rushed, probably another 30-45 minutes should have been set aside.

On the plus side, it was good to see members of the Community Board there who understand the heritage nature of the oaks, and the local and wider Christchurch value. It was freely acknowledged by the CCC that if trees would be damaged by widening driveways to current 4.1m standards, then narrower driveways would be an acceptable alternative. The tree report (see separate blog page) recognises that many trees are healthy, which makes a nonsense of the original plan. While the report includes estimated life expectancy for the trees, CCC staff acknowledged there could be an error of at least 10 years, hugely important when decisions about removal are being based on these numbers. I also think they listened when we suggested using local government powers to obtain the cool stores land, to priovide parking for St James Park.

Here is my interpretation of the 7 draft option plans put up for debate.
Road humps/platforms or narrowings present on many options, but not listed below as these are less important. Note on figures given: (a) Currently 75 parks (b) Tree removals generally have fewer replacement trees e.g. 11 replaced by 7 in #3. 
#1: "Do nothing" but in fact this means "review in 5-10 years" i.e. yet another battle.
#2: Narrow 7m road width from Harewood Rd to corner, 10 trees removed (mostly due to driveway policy), no parking on this section of road (23 carparks Dalriada St to bend).
#3: Narrow 7m road width from Harewood Rd to corner, 11 trees removed (mostly due to driveway policy), 36 carparks (bays), kerb back of trees, then berm, then road.
#4: 7m road width to corner then 9m to Dalriada, 24 trees near driveways or with <10 year life expectancy removed, 45 carparks.
#4a: 7m road width to corner then 9m to Dalriada, 37 trees near driveways or with <10 year life expectancy removed, 51 carparks.
#5: 9m road width to corner then 10m to Dalriada, 17 trees lost - especially at Harewood Rd entrance, 61 carparks. Significant loss of street identity.
#6: 9m road width (10m from Harewood Rd to St James Park), all trees removed, 61 carparks. Dieter's original plan I suspect - pity this was even suggested. Nice kerb and channel though!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Workshop background information

Important background information for this Wednesday's workshop is included below. This is the same as was included in your CCC Workshop packs, and has been reproduced here to encourage debate. Please bear in mind that the actual options themselves are yet to be presented and debated at the workshop. The CCC emphasises that this project is in its early stages and they are keen to get our input on the key issues in order to help develop a range of options.

Attachment 2: Background Information
St James Avenue Street Renewal Project (Harewood Road to Dalriada Street)
There are several factors that need to be taken into account when considering any proposed road designs and design options. Due to the amount of physical road space in a street, several of these factors conflict with each other. This document presents these factors so residents can understand the types of considerations and the impact that different road designs can have. By considering all these factors with an open mind and by getting the local residents views on what is important in this street, the project design staff will work to achieve the appropriate balance between these competing demands.

This project covers the 480m section of St James Avenue between Harewood Road and Dalriada Street. This section of St James Avenue is made up of a straight section that is approximately 330m long at the Harewood Road end, then there is an approximate 120 degree bend and another straight section that is approximately 150m long between the bend and Dalriada Street. 

Factors to Consider
St James Avenue is a local road. The primary purpose of local roads is to provide access to properties and local streets.

Traffic volume and speed surveys were undertaken in July 2008. Data was gathered outside number 14 and number 121 St James Avenue. The 7 day average results from outside number 121 showed that there was an average volume of 1,462 vehicles per day. The 85th% speed was 55.4km/hr, the 95th% speed was 60.5km/hr and the mean speed was 48.3km/hr.

There is a high parking demand at the Harewood Road of the street end as workers from nearby areas park in this street. At times there is high parking demand at the entrances to the park and there is low to moderate parking demand along the rest of the street from the residential properties.

St James Avenue is in the Shirley-Papanui community board area. The project area is residential but does include two entrances to St James Park.

It is one of the memorial streets in the area. The section between the bend and Harewood Road contains 42 mature oaks. The section between the bend and Dalriada Street contains 17 trees made up of a mixture of prunus and oaks.

Design life - the design life of the Street Renewal project is for 80-100 years. The decisions made now around roadway widths, the location of kerb and channel, drainage layout etc... will be in place for the next 80 plus years. Given the length of the design life, this reinforces the need for a well considered design to be adopted now that all parties will be happy with for the next 80 plus years.

Engineering design standards - there are several engineering design standards that need to be considered. Some of the significant standards that impact the development of designs for St James Ave include:
•    Traffic lanes must be at least 2.5m wide
•    Parking lanes must be at least 2.0m wide, and in certain cases they should be 2.5m wide.
•    Footpaths should be at least 1.5m wide
•    Excavation depths and widths are required to certain standards beneath the kerbs, driveways, footpaths and grass berm areas. To provide some context for this, typical excavation depths for carriageways in this area are approximately 40Omm deep and these extend at least 30Omm past the outside edge of the new kerb; new driveways are typically 4.1m wide and excavated to approximately 150mm deep; footpaths are excavated to approximately 10Omm deep; landscaping beds are excavated to approximately 350mm deep; new grass berm areas are excavated to approximately 75mm deep and the depth of under channel drainage pipes varies depending on the slope of the street.
•    The road width for a local road in the City Plan with traffic greater than 250vpd should be between 9.0 and 14.0m wide - any variations to these widths may require a resource consent.
•    Overhead and underground service conflicts. Careful planning is required to ensure that new kerb lines or trees are not overtop of underneath existing services in the street e.g. water pipes, sewer pipes, power, phone wires etc.... There are minimum offsets for different services that have to be achieved.

Traffic calming measures can be included to lower the speed environment of the street. These measures can include narrowing the street, creating localised narrowings, adding speed humps or raised platforms, utilising existing curves and/or intersections to encourage reduced speed and using street trees and/or landscaping to emphasise narrowings. The types of traffic calming measures that are recommended depend on the existing speed environment, the type of road, the traffic volume using the road and the desired speed environment for the street.

Road related stormwater runoff and drainage. Stormwater initially flows over the road and ground surface and along the kerbs, until it enters an underground stormwater system via sumps. The natural gradient of the street and the street and kerb design levels dictate how stormwater can be managed and where it flows. This needs careful design to ensure the construction and ongoing maintenance costs of the stormwater system are appropriate. It also needs to be carefully planned so it is free from other underground services e.g. sewer or water pipes. If new underground piping is required, this requires excavation to install it. This becomes an important consideration in a street like St James Ave, if for example a kerb build out is added to protect a tree. If, in this situation underground piping is required to manage the stormwater around that kerb buildout, then the amount and location of excavation required to install the underground piping may damage the roots of the tree, which may negate the reason for installing the buildout in the first place.

The financial cost of the Street Renewal project. There is a defined budget allowed to complete this street renewal project and one of the objectives is to complete the project within budget. The types of designs considered and extent of work to be done will need to able to be achieved within the allocated budget. This budget has been set in conjunction with the works approved in the LTCCP, and is defined to be affordable and keep rates rises within the bounds stated by Council.

The impact of any design needs to be appropriate for the classification of the street and the road users. Road users include vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and people parking on the street. Many of the road users may not necessarily live on this section of St James Avenue, however the proposed design needs to cater for their needs within the requirements of the local road classification.

The impact on parking is an example where local residents may have different views and needs from many of the current road users who park on the street. E.g. A residents view may be that they want some on street parking for visitors, tradesmen, a spare car etc... Or maybe they don't need any on street parking as they have plenty of off street parking available on their place. They may also not want people parking all day outside their house as it takes up the available parks for their visitors, tradesmen etc... A commuter who parks there all day may want free unrestricted parking. A person who visits the park may want free unrestricted parking by the park entrance so it is easy and convenient for them to park close to where they want to go.

The project team has completed some parking surveys to understand the demand for parking along this street. An initial observation is that a number of people park close to trees and driveways. The current design standards and arboriculture advice suggest that vehicles should not be parking within 1.0m of a driveway or within approximately 2 to 3.0m of a tree. If these standards were applied to the current situation, the downside is that there would be a significant reduction to the amount of available parking on St James Avenue, whilst the upside is that there would be less damage to the trees, through less trunk damage from cars hitting the trees and less soil compaction over the tree roots, and there would be improved entry and exit to properties, with improved visibility and reduced obstructions near driveways.

Trees - the project team arranged for an independent arborist report on the trees in St James Avenue. This was completed by Paul Kenny, from Paul Kenny Contracting in Tauranga. Mr Kenny holds a diploma in Arboriculture from the Waikato Institute of Technology. This qualification specialises in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of hazard trees including tree health and tree structure, tree maintenance and management. Mr Kenny is specialised in the inspection and analysis of hazard trees and tree biology. This report recorded the condition of the trees at the time the assessment was completed. Copies of this report will be available at the workshop.

Potential construction issues to trees/tree roots. The main issue when working around existing trees is to understand the amount of excavation required in the vicinity of the trees, the likely impact this can have on the root systems and the ability for the trees to recover given the required excavation/disturbance to the root systems.

There are various construction techniques that can be used to minimise the amount of potential damage to trees when excavating around tree roots. These include ensuring arborist supervision of works, hand digging, caring for exposed roots, careful excavation and/or removal of existing kerbs and/or surfaces, reducing soil compaction, etc.... The Council staff involved with this project have recent experience with many of these techniques and, as part of the development of this project, will consider how they can be best applied to potential design options for St James Avenue.

Overhead services. Advice on the overhead services i.e. power wires, phone lines etc... has been sought and the options discussed for the existing overhead services. Undergrounding is not being considered as there is no funding available for undergrounding. Other options like cable bundling were also investigated. The initial comments are that the existing overhead services should remain, as any changes may cause more damage to the existing trees, and there are no benefits to change from the existing overhead services. In saying that, some minor alterations to the existing overhead services may be required to meet the regulations for separation distances between wires and trees. This could include a combination of some alterations to the wires e.g. using wider spreader bars and some tree pruning.

The past week in brief

The well-attended Sunday meeting was a great success with wide-ranging discussion about traffic, parking, and pedestrian issues, as well as the trees, the park and the history of the area. Graeme's tree report was well received. The group supported the establishment of a formal Residents' Association. Many thanks to Alan and Jan for allowing us into their lovely residence.

On Wednesday Margaret attended a constructive meeting with Jane Parfitt and Ngaire Button. The option of having a swale with its benefits to stormwater drainage was discussed further.

Finally, those of you that have registered for the CCC Workshop on Wednesday 26 May will have received your information packs on Friday (see next post).

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Street Meeting

You are all invited to a meeting to hear the report on the trees from Graeme Ford, the tree surgeon. The meeting is to be held at the "Belmont on Harewood" thanks to the generosity of Alan and Jan. It is great that our second meeting is in the historic house that is at the very entrance to the street. So we look forward to seeing you all at 2pm on Sunday.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Tree Reports and a Second Meeting

The tree health reports are both completed.

The tree surgeon would like to have a second meeting this Sunday at say 2pm to discuss them with you all, so what we need is an offer of space in case it is raining, so can some kind person please offer the use of their garage for this meeting.

One of the outcomes hoped for with street enhancements is the creation of "Living Streets" this does not just mean that we retain our trees and get new kerbs and channel but that we all get to know each other and work as a community, and it is really great to see everyone talking and to become part of your community. It will be great to get a Residents Association up and running and to have street events to build and grow the commmunity that is already there. This may also mean that we run the mower over our new berms as well as the one next door if we have neighbours that are no longer able to do such tasks.

Council Visit

Council staff, Dieter Steinegg,Tara Smith and Philip Crossland were in the street with Orion staff looking at the trees this morning, they were very unhappy to be asked what they were doing and did not give a simple answer. My guess is that they were looking at the pruning required to meet Orions saftey requirements but they did not say so.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Jane Parfitt, General Manager City Environment, CCC

Just a brief note to encourage you all to write a letter or email to Jane Parfitt, General Manager, City Environment, CCC. She is keen to get our opinions in writing, and her address is:
           Jane Parfitt
           General manager
           City Environment
           Christchurch City Council
           P.O. Box 237
or email to 

Friday, 7 May 2010

Soil Tests

The soil tests were conducted yesterday by Alex Smith, NZHAS. The verbal report on the soil plugs were good, in fact very good. Minimal compaction, my front lawn was more compacted! And those fungi that pop up every where around the roots are Mycrobial Fungi. The best possible thing to have on the oak roots, some are very close relatives to the truffle!, these are the ones pushing up the new seal between 109 and 105. So minimal soil compaction, and the fungi that only grow on very healthy oak tree roots,cant wait for the written report to arrive.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Letter from Margaret

111 St James Avenue

5 May 2010

Dear Fellow Residents

What a wonderful meeting we all had at the Upham Room in the RSA on Sunday. The unanimous vote to fight to save the trees was amazing, now we all move forward as one and that is a very powerful unit!


We are truly lucky to have the services of tree surgeon Graeme Ford, this week he has climbed every tree in preparation for writing what will be the only truly independent report on the trees,. Alex Smith, NZHAS, has also been in the avenue testing soil and is to write a report to us.

We must not however rest on our laurels as this is a battle that has only just begun and looks set to continue for some time, your input is vital if we are to have a successful outcome, which is a good street upgrade with the trees remaining in grass.

Today I had a productive meeting with Ngaire Button, CCC Councilor for this area. Ngaire is going to work with us and was very approachable.

Councilor Button knows the swale system well; it's used extensively in the Timara Park subdivision so it will not be a foreign concept to the CCC.

Well done, who ever put up the white ribbons it makes the trees plight visible again. Thank you so much they look fantastic, a great public statement!

Letters, please get writing them; ask friends, family, workmates and any one else you can think of to write to JANE PARFITT, CCC General Manager City Environment, Christchurch City Council, PO Box 237, Christchurch, asking her to intervene to save our Memorial Oaks.

Other ideas? They are all welcome

Margaret Howley

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Ribbons, ribbons everywhere...

What fabulous ribbons our trees have! A real eye-catcher, even at night. Well done, whoever you are...

Invitations to this blog

Those of you that supplied emails at the meeting have been sent an email inviting you to sign up to the blog (if you want to). If you sign up, you are then able to publish your thoughts and leave opinions/comments about other postings. If you are not signed up, you can still view the blog, as this is a public site.

Mike Hurrell

Media release

Yesterday, 2 May 2010, 55 residents of St James Avenue, Papanui, Christchurch attended at meeting in the Upham Room at the Papanui RSA. Nine apologies were received and their support for the trees retention noted.
The history of the trees, their importance as a living memorial to the Fallen in WW2 and the benefits they give to the residents was explained.
The trees were planted on 1 June 1945, less than one month after Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945, and before VJ Day in August 1945. This information comes from council street tree records.
The meeting was then addressed by a tree surgeon of over thirty years experience. He talked in depth about the measures that can be undertaken to ensure the trees can remain in a safe condition, how they can be pruned to allow afternoon and evening light through whilst giving better shape and meeting required CCC safety measurements from foot path, road and power lines.
A robust question and answer session then took place.
The tree surgeon, who is not receiving any payment from the residents, has undertaken to do a complete assessment of all the mature trees in the street. This will be a true and honest report on the trees health and any that are ailing beyond help and are unsafe will be recommended for removal. This meets the avenue’s resident’s requirements.
It was then moved from the floor of the meeting that a show of hands take place to show support for the retention of the trees, this vote was unanimous. It is the opinion of the residents that the significance of the trees to Christchurch and New Zealand as a magnificent living memorial to WW2 should make their full retention imperative during the street upgrade.
The general tenure of discussion was that residents lived in the street as a choice to live with the trees and their historical importance and that it is an honour to have such significant memorial trees at ones gate.
Present at the meeting was Janet Tillman representing the Papanui Heritage Group who has voted unanimously to support our efforts. Janet is related to Harry Tillman who was instrumental in the planting of the Memorial Streets in Papanui.
The meeting voted to form a residents association and elected myself a spokesperson for the residents during the street upgrade process.
We are all in support of the upgrade but have utmost concern for the oaks based on a report from 21.2.2006 by CCC Tree Officer Dieter Steinegg in which he states that 48 of the trees should be removed due to “over maturity, structural decline and disease” if this is done only 12 of these stately trees would remain.  In 1996 the end of the street from Windermere Road was upgraded and nearly all the mature trees removed.
Margaret Howley
May 3, 2010

Sunday, 2 May 2010

CTV and the CCC

check out the segement on: Today in Canterbury 29.4.10 at 5.oopm by Jessica Horne No mention that these trees are a War Memorial, they must have seen this when they filmed the street name.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Reminder - Sunday 2pm Meeting

Just a reminder of tomorrow's meeting at 2pm in the Papanui RSA Upham Room.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tree Planting Date

The oak trees lining our street were in appears planted in a single day, that being 1 JUNE 1945. They were planted just a matter of days after the declaration of peace in Europe on 8 May 1945, VE Day, and before hostilities had ceased in Asia and the surrender signed in Japan on 15 August 1945, taken as 14 August in America due to time differences. This is simply amazing. The date has come from the CCC record of trees the entry for my tree reads: 1st June 1945 - Red Oak - Special Purpose. The other enteries are all similar, only the species differs.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Park Seating

I am putting together a proposal to go before the Community Board meeting of 19 May for seating in the Rose Garden area of St James Park, if anyone would like to help with this I would be delighted to hear from you. There is funding available through the Community Board for the setting up of a Residents Association for St James Avenue. This could be a wonderful opportunity for the street, something else to think on and discuss on 2 May.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Two Important Meetings in May

Margaret Rowley, Alan Taylor and I informally met Tara Smith (Consultation Leader) and Philip Crossland (Project Manager) at a hastily set up meeting on Wednesday just to get a sense of where the CCC is coming from.Tara and Philip are aware of the checkered history of this project and the mistrust that resulted. Whether Dieter (CCC arborist) and Yvonne (Councillor, Papanui Ward) are now open minded on this matter remains to be seen, but but the Council appears keen to get this project done well this time, and seem genuinely interested in the opinions of residents. I remain unsure.

Margaret has organised a meeting on Sunday 2nd May at 2pm in the Papanui RSA Upham Room to stimulate discussion of the issues prior to the CCC workshop. The main issues are:
  1. The trees (mostly scarlet oaks). Several of these are diseased and are very likely to need removal. Pruning will be required to give a 1m clearance around overhead lines (a legal requirement). Can trees simply be replaced as they die through a process of natural attrition?
  2. Drainage. Kerb and channel work may damage roots and it is not clear what effect this will have on the trees. The Council may need to perform some test holes to assess the roots where kerb and channel work is to be done. Existing seal around tree roots may be having a detrimental effect on trees currently.
  3. Parking and traffic flow. The width of the street should allow several options for parking - e.g. angle parking, grass pavers. What about judder bars here and there, a rumble strip at the corner, or a pedestrian island at Harewood Road?
  4. Underground wiring is not up for discussion -- we are a low traffic volume local road and a low CCC priority for underground wiring.

The purpose of the CCC workshop at 4-6pm on 26 May at the Methodist Church Hall, Corner of Harewood Rd and Chapel Street is to look at the options available to us, and also for us to express our opinions to the CCC, so hopefully we will have thought about these issues before the workshop. Everyone attending the workshop will get an information pack 2 weeks beforehand (which will apparently include results of a traffic survey, and an opinion from an "independent" North Island arborist). It is important that as many residents as possible get to this.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Letter from CCC re Street Renewal Project


21 April 2010


Re: St James Avenue Street Renewal Project (Harewood Road to Dalriada Street)

Dear Sir/Madam

Christchurch City Council delivers several street renewal projects each year. These projects replace the existing kerb and dish channel with new kerb and flat channel. At the same time as the kerb and dish channel is replaced, other associated street works may also be completed, such as upgrading the street lighting, improving the landscaping and bringing the street design up to current standards.

The streets that are due for renewal are prioritised based on the condition of the existing kerb and dish channel as well as the costs to maintain the streets. In the current Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP), the section of St James Avenue between Harewood Road and Dalriada Street is scheduled to be reconstructed in the 2011/12 financial year.

The process for completing a street renewal project includes gathering feedback from the local residents on what they perceive as the key issues within the street and its proposed design. This is a very important step as it allows the designers to consider the local issues and it assists the community board to make the final decision when approving the plans.

The Council originally investigated this project in 2006, but due to funding implications the project was deferred.

We are currently in the early stages of this project and we would appreciate your input. We have reviewed the comments from 2006 and completed other preliminary investigations like traffic counts, speed surveys, arborist reports, drainage assessments and parking surveys. This has allowed us to develop some draft options for discussion.

When reviewing these draft options, there are several considerations that need to be taken into account, including:
  • understanding the opportunity that we have now to complete a well considered street renewal project that the public will be happy with for the design life of the next 80 to 100 years;
  • the pros and cons of the design options available; 
  • the current traffic engineering design standards;
  • the impact on the likes of the trees, drainage and traffic speed; 
  • the financial impact; and,
  • the impact on all road users which includes vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and parking.

Several of these considerations conflict with each other and this project will work to achieve the appropriate balance between these competing demands.

We will provide background information to assist you to understand the issues and the challenges faced for any proposed designs.

You are invited to a workshop that will present the background information and discuss the draft options for this project. This workshop will be an active process and will encourage input from all attendees. The purpose of this workshop is to encourage people to express their views and listen to the ideas of others.

Following the workshop, Council staff will compile the results and draft a preferred option that will be circulated to residents and other affected parties. At this stage you will have an opportunity to express your views on the preferred option.

Workshop date:    Wednesday 26 May 2010 at 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm
Workshop venue:     Methodist Church Hall, on the corner of Parish St and Harewood Rd

Please RSVP by 17 May to Sally Holtham on 941 6530 or if you will be attending. If you would like to attend but are not available at this time, please contact me and we will make alternative arrangements to receive your input.

If you would like further information regarding this project, please contact me on 941 6510 or via email on

Yours sincerely,
Tara Smith
Consultation Leader - Greenspace