Time to spring clean the garden

Now is the time for a good winter clean up as spring approaches. This includes tidying up all those dead leaves and stray weeds that can harbour fungal spores and other nasties that will quickly overtake plants if left unchecked now. Continue reading

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It’s all go in St Albans – August News out now

We feature the partly-built St Albans Community Centre on the front page of the August/September issue of St Albans News.It now has a roof and walls and the St Albans Residents Association, which managed the old centre for more than 17 years experience running a community centre will be doing it again from February 2021. St Albans is a hive of activity: the St Albans Skatepark is about to expand (in October). A former nurse at Calvary Hospital remembers times past and SARA celebrates St Albans Day with a picnic in the park. The road works have ramped up, apparently to get it all finished ASAP but it’s like living in a maze where we are marshalled with orange cones and no right hand turn signs, facing long trips to move from one part of the suburb to another. Walk to hospo outlets like Ristretto Cafe in Barbadoes St opposite St Albans Park, who have lost their street parking and are doing it tough, and enjoy a proper coffee.

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All the latest in St Albans News

We’ve come a long way in eight weeks – from CoVid19 Level 4 lockdown to Level 3 takeaways to Level 2 bars reopening. Level 1 with even more freedom looks likely before the middle of June. Life’s getting a little easier but we aren’t out of the woods yet. The June/July edition of StAN gathers some of the signs of the times we probably won’t remember in a generation’s time and we take a (virtual) walk with Grandad under Level 3. The Northern Corridor looks is now due to open in January, not because of a delay but so the new express bus services from Kaiapoi and Rangiora can open at the same time and help reduce the number of cars carrying only one passenger heading through St Albans. The CNC is on track for completion in December. There’s just so much going on with the roads in St Albans, where do we start – ah, let’s start with some of the intersections in Cranford St.

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Special issue of St Albans News: Covid19

Special issueLooking forward to a takeaway flat white or a mouthwatering burger? After five weeks in lockdown shackles have been loosened slightly in the battle against the coronavirus so you can pick one up, at a distance. This special issue of St Albans News is devoted entirely to Covid 19. Lots of photos of Anzac Day poppies and teddy bears decorating St Albans front lawns. We are still meant to stay home but we can go out for exercise. Walls closing in at home? Head out with your bubble mates on the self-guided Great St Albans Treasure Hunt, created for your edification by Christchurch Central MP Duncan Webb.

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St Albans News goes digital under lockdown

Well, well we are now living in lockdown in the shadow of CoVid, that nasty virus that is turning the world as we know it upside down. Unfortunately, our printer wasn’t deemed “essential” so we couldn’t get St Albans News April/May edition printed. So this is it. Share widely with friends and neighbours. Print it if you like on a home printer. We did save some space for stories about other things going on in St Albans. The motorway extension responsible for bringing more traffic into St Albans in future won’t open till at least December. Intrepid grandad goes in search of the source of St Albans Creek with two sidekicks. Plus lots more. Click the image to the right to download the pdf.

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First issue of St Albans News for 2020 now on file

Nearly 10 years after the first quake put the old community centre out of action, work has finally started on its permanent replacement. The whole of St Albans will pretty much be a construction site for the next six months with the roadworks preparing to funnel traffic off the motorway through St Albans to the inner city.Some of that work it is hoped will slow traffic down and make it safer for residents. Abberley Park is marking 80 years as a heritage park with a picnic in February. There’s a warning to check onsold houses with inadequately repaired quake damage and we learn more about a children’s book with a watery setting written by a local author. Plus lots more. Click the image to the right to download the pdf.

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Christmas edition St Albans News

coverWe are about to enter the Twenties, but before we get there, here’s the last edition of St Albans News for the 2010s. It includes a small Christmas section, major changes for the residents association, council giving the green light to stage 1 of the downstream roadworks enabling motorway traffic to head through St Albans (hopefully not too many cars through side streets) into the city and news about a petition to Parliament to reduce the use of plastic in supermarkets. We managed to fit a few other items of interest in there as well. Click the image to the right to download the pdf.

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Residents Association AGM and speaker

St Albans Residents Association (SARA) is seeking new people to join the committee (to share or gain governance skills) and support community activities in St Albans at its AGM on September 22 at 4pm at the St Albans Tennis Club.

SARA has an exciting year ahead with the employment of a community activator and the new community centre up and running late 2020.

Speaker Michael Reynolds the founder and coordinator of the Roimata Food Commons will be leading a discussion on how we can best use the grounds of the community centre on Colombo St when the new centre opens.

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Bumper election issue St Albans News

So many people want to represent citizens in St Albans, the October/November issue is full to the brim and overflowing. The bumper election issue contains snapshots of candidates for the Mayor, Council and several community wards (eg: Central, Innes, Fendalton, Papanui) and, at 24 pages, our largest ever edition. A joint board meeting to hear oral submissions and discuss possible road plan changes had to be adjourned in the middle of question time (since resumed and concluded). We managed to fit a few other items of interest in there as well. Click the image to the right to download the pdf.

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Health board election candidates revealed

The following candidates (so far) have responded to a questionnaire from St Albans News seeking  information about the Canterbury District Health Board Elections on October 12:

Peter Ballantyne
Peter Ballantyne

Peter Ballantyne has considerable experience in the health sector having served as Deputy Chair of the Canterbury District Health Board and Chair of the West Coast District Health Board.
Peter believes the health board has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of Cantabrians, but has been constrained by lack of funding. “It’s time for Canterbury to get its fair share. I am well-placed to advocate strongly for equitable funding for our health needs in Canterbury.
“This, combined with efficiencies in service, will enable more funds to be available to meet the increased demands of health issues such as mental health, cancer and elective surgery in order to ensure that our communities get well, stay well and live well closer to home.
“There is also need to remove the capital charge, and progress the rate of our facility rebuilds to ensure our people receive timely and appropriate treatment in modern hospital facilities.”

Previously a partner in the international consulting firm Deloitte, Peter currently serves on the CDHB Quality, Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee and on the University of Canterbury Council.

If you wish to contact Peter you can email him at prballantyne@yahoo.com

Geoffrey James Booth – Independent

Geoff Booth’s reason for standing for the health board is personal. He lost his 21 year old son to suicide a couple of years ago and wants to be part of the board conversation about mental health and suicide prevention. “I have a lived experience of what it is like as a parent to deal with the aftermath of suicide. The current board does not have this insight. The current suicide stats show that what we are currently doing is not working. It is time for change.” Parking at the public hospital is also an issue that needs improving. Geoff Booth works as a sales manager, is on the board of trustees at his local school and has held a national role in the NZ Ostomy Society. You can find Geoff Booth on Facebook.

Sally Buck – Independent

Sally Buck

Sally Buck would bring to the role of health board member considerable experience in the disability sector, where she is / or has been a disability advisor, speech and language therapist and early intervention teacher. She is also standing as a community board member for the Christchurch City Council’s central ward where she has been a member for several terms, gaining governance experience in this role and as a director or trustee of a number of organisations. “I care about people and want to ensure everyone can easily access the health care that they need and that health care is delivered based on putting people first.” She identified waiting lists for surgery, older peoples health, disability, mental health, high cost of dental health, non-funding of certain drugs, the underfunding of CDHB from the Ministry of Health and car parking at Christchurch hospital as issues of particular interest to Canterbury people. If you want to contact Sally she is available on 3792820 or 0210580392 or email at: bucksally1@gmail.com

Gray Crawford

Former manager of Social Services at the Christchurch City Mission, Gray Crawford has many years’ experience providing crisis intervention services. to people at risk through poor physical and mental health, domestic violence, financial mismanagement, homelessness and drug/alcohol addiction.

Gray’s health management experience dates back more than two decades. In that time he has also been the manager of Victim Support, providing emotional support to victims of serious accidents, crime and other trauma and previously manager of radiology at Christchurch Public Hospital. Some time ago he was an ACC rehabilitation officer at the Burwood Spinal Unit providing spinal patients with vocational and social rehabilitation services.

Gray currently chairs the NZIM Foundation and is a member of a multidisciplinary alliance formed to promote and protect equitable health care services through better co-operation between government agencies, not for profits and the general community. He is also a Judicial Justice of the Peace, a member of Rotary Sunrise and is on the Mayor’s Welfare committee.

Ministerial consultancy appointments have included Chair of the Health and Disability Ethics Committee (Upper South Island) and a membership of the Lottery Welfare grants committee.

Gray sees good health as a basic human right but fears our expectations of hospitals might not be sustainable. Service demand is growing due to “a greater ethnic diversity in Christchurch, people living longer, poor diets, easier accessibility to alcohol/drugs, inadequate housing, increased domestic violence and mental health/social isolation.”

Heightened expectations around salary and wages by health staff also put pressure on delivery of services.

“It is essential health is seen as a community issue and that we empower (better integrate) families, primary health services and not for profit social services (even businesses?) in working more collaboratively together, with quality/timely information sharing to improve and protect the best health outcomes for all.”

Find out more about Gray Crawford on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/graycrawford

Vicki Tahau Paton

Real estate agent Vicki Tahau Paton is concerned for people living in poor housing.

“Our most vulnerable/compromised are living in substandard conditions, there is a huge increase in respiratory issues in the winter because of this. Private landlords can be fined but our City Council and Otautahi Community Trust get a dispensation.  This is unacceptable, tenants and the CDHB should be able to invoice them for what it costs for Healthcare.  It is a health and safety matter, it needs to be taken more seriously.”

Prior to involvement in real estate,  Vicki spent more than 20 years working with pharmacies throughout the South Island.

 She has a management and governance background and has an understanding of what is required to sit on a board and says she is driven by solutions and has zero tolerance for over promising and underdelivering.

Brian Salisbury – Independent

Brian Salisbury, a registered nurse with governance experience on school boards of trustees, identifies the ongoing shortage of hospital staff in Canterbury as one of the greatest issues facing the hospital board.

“Poor staffing means unsafe and inadequate care, long waiting lists and delayed recovery. My aim to provide a staff voice on the board to ensure those working within the CDHB are heard and advocated for.

“When staff feel valued and enjoy their jobs, they will be less likely to leave. Additionally, better working conditions will attract more staff. By looking after staff they will be able to better look after you and your loved ones.”

He also wants to address parking around the hospital and minimise the CDHB’s environmental footprint.

For more information check out:

Peter Wakeman
STOP Trashing Our Planet

Businessman investor and retired airline pilot Peter Wakeman is passionate about Canterbury and Christchurch and doesn’t think central government is funding the health board sufficiently.

He says Increasing poverty is affecting well-being “therefore I would lobby government for change and raise income levels for residents.”

Peter says the city’s drinking water is being affected by nitrates from dairy cows but Central Government lacks leadership for reducing them.

He wants to see alternative behaviour treatments such as diet and exercise provided as they play an important role in good health.. .

For more information check out this video: Youtube video
and website:

There are so many candidates standing for election this year we are running out of space in the printed News and have opted to place the health board candidates answers on the website. Information from other candidates has been received and will be posted shortly.  Voting papers are being posted.

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St Albans News August/September out now

August September St Albans News With elections coming up in October, three local authority representatives give us a look at their work. Christchurch City Council pushes stage 1 of the roading management plan forward with greater emphasis on traffic reduction management. It looks like the permanent community centre building will start in late October, with a completion date in June 2020, nearly 10 years since the September 4 quake, when the wall fell out in the old community centre, making the building unusable. We take a look at the Smith family, who ran a printing factory in Springfield Rd, had the first telephone in Christchurch and took an active part in the life of the city, in particular Methodist church activities and votes for women. Two new columns start this issue: one on gardening and another on being a grandfather. Click on the image to the right to download.

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Jo Byrne on being a community board member

St Albans News asked several current councillors and community board members about workloads and roles. An article was created, based largely on replies from three councillors or community board members who responded, for the August/September St Albans News, which is being delivered to St Albans letterboxes this weekend. For space reasons some details had to be left out. Nominations for local authority candidates close on August 16. This is how Jo Byrne replied by email. These notes are the raw material from which the article draws.

1. City councillor or community board member or both?

Jo Byrne – Community Board representing Innes

2. How many hours a month do you spend on
-attending community board meetings
-council meetings

This can vary from month to month. As well as our official Community Board Meetings we can have staff briefings, seminars and workshops as well as community engagements including awards, consultations etc. I attend as many as I can.

3. What subcommittees of council are you on? Do you chair any of these com
mittees? How many hours a month do you attend these meetings? How does the council work out who goes on which subcommittee?

Not applicable.

4. How much time would you spend preparing for each meeting eg: reading documents? Have you included this in the monthly total?

Again it depends on what is happening. If a major issue is being decided there may be multiple community submissions to read. Some months are quieter, but there are often times requiring some in-depth reading and analysis. Staff briefings can be helpful in making sense of technical issues. Background reading can be complex e.g. working with the Styx River working party required technical understanding regarding drainage etc.

5. How much time (monthly average) do you spend attending things like launches, other organisation meetings in your official capacity including one off events.

Several hours – again depending what is happening. For example early each year I have the privilege of being part of the judging of the loveliest street in our ward. That takes a good half day, but it is fun. Ive learned what the judging team is looking for and love seeing the effort people put into their gardens. Ive visited people and attended funerals and seen people displaying their certificates with such pride. we have just had our Community Service Awards – it is so important to recognise the amazing volunteers in our wards.

6. What are the constraints on your work or councillors work in general? I am thinking of things like codes of behaviour, not criticising council staff in public, or other things I might not be aware of. (I am asking this question as most people think you can just do/say what you want)

I think anyone working in a professional capacity is used to abiding by a code of conduct, and ethical requirements. This role is just the same. You do work with the public, and sometimes when people are stressed or vulnerable you need to be sympathetic and sensitive to their situation. There are limitations on what you can do, e.g. we can advocate for our community for what is important, but final budgeting decisions are made at council. I personally dislike the inequity of distribution of resources across our city. But all I can do is advocate and support the public to submit on issues of importance.

And I think that the Council Staff are part of the team – we set goals for our work and the staff are there to support the community too. They are often equally passionate and have had long term relationships to the people in our communities. It is important to have good communication skills to deal with anyone you come across.

7. Do you ever get frustrated by these processes? Are there things you would like to see changed in the way the council or board operates?

It can be a slow going in local government – it takes a long time for things to happen – but I think it is important to value the process as this is what allows for engagement and for people to have a voice in what is happening in their local community. The transparent process is so important. And we are bound by legislation that guides how we have to work – I know sometimes the public finds time delays frustrating, as do I but it is important to work through the processes and have our public meetings and discussions so people can see how much thought is put into important issues in our community.

8. When you first stood for council or community board how long did it take to get used to the meeting format, council ways of doing things?
Council and LgNZ provide induction to support people new into the role so that they can quickly understand how things work. The Community Board Advisor and team are also an ongoing source of support to the team.

9. What skills do people need to be on the board or council eg: public speaking, patience etc.

Speed reading skills would be awesome! Awareness of different community groups, a passion for those who need particular advocacy, and a love of community.

10. Would you advise newcomers to become community board members first to get an idea of whether the work will suit them before taking on council work?

I think they are very different roles, I love that Community Board level is at the grassroots of communities, and that individuals find us approachable and supportive in resolving issues. I love the way we can be passionate about our wards, whereas I think Councillors need to be ethical and ensure that their decisions are not promoting one part of the city above another.

11. If you are a parent, how does your involvement work in with family life? What provision does the council/board make for representatives who have newborns or toddlers?

I am a single working parent of two primary school aged children! They attend school close to home which helps. I also work part time as a Speech Language Therapist in a specialist school. I have a passion for children and young people, particularly those who are very vulnerable. I think my knowledge has carried into my work as a Community Board Member and an example of this is that I have enjoyed seeing more accessible play equipment in our local playgrounds. My knowledge of local government has also impacted on my work as a Speech Therapist, and I encourage the team I am part of to submit whenever it is relevant.

I often take my children to meetings with me if I dont have childcare available. They are learning about politics too! I encourage them to submit on relevant issues too – I think making sure that the voice of our whole community is heard is really important. we do have some squeaky wheels in our community and we need to be sure that everyone has a fair say and a fair outcome.

I am fortunate in that our team has our meetings now in school time. I rely on child support whenever possible to attend meetings

12. What are the current pay rates for community board members, councillors?

This question was not answered by Jo but information was sourced online

13. How have you found combining a paid job/work/self-employment and being a board or council member? Any useful advice on handling this?

In all honesty women who juggle work, motherhood, housekeeping etc report that life is stressful. But it is also rewarding thinking that what you are doing will make a difference. Make sure you have your support team around you.

St Albans News thanks Jo Byrne for taking the time to respond as this gives potential candidates and the rest of Christchurch a better idea of what she does and the time commitment involved.

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