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.