It's time to talk about the east

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 06:27 09/07/2014
Christchurch east
IAIN MCGREGOR

WHAT THE EAST WANTS: People have said they want water parks, rowing clubs, riverside cafes and more.

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The backers of a $35,000 community consultation scheme for the "disenfranchised" eastern suburbs have identified 27 key projects to rejuvenate the area.

Click here to have your say on the east -

Eastern Vision, run by former councillor Peter Beck and community activist Evan Smith, started working on the community engagement scheme more than two years ago.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) supports the project and is also preparing to begin consultation on the use of red-zone land in eastern Christchurch and Kaiapoi. In April, Prime Minister John Key said there would be extensive community consultation before decisions were made.

Eastern Vision has gathered ideas for the east, including those generated from official and community sources. People wanted water parks, rowing clubs, riverside cafes and more.

The result of the initial consultation is a map of the whole eastern area with 27 key projects laid out.

Smith said the consultation was not about individuals or specific areas by themselves.

Eastern Vision wanted to bring together geographic areas and general areas of interest - including education, retail and recreation - to make sure the plan was cohesive.

"Christchurch is a potpourri of villages," Beck said.

"There's no one size fits all. We need to talk communities, not activity centres."

Armed with a resident-driven vision for the future, the next step in the Eastern Vision consultation begins today. Evo::Space (evospace.co.nz) is an online tool for anyone in Canterbury to be a part of the plan. It allows people to go online or visit a real-world workshop and give their opinion on the initial proposal.

"Maybe they think a particular project won't work in the given location, or they'd like to see something different," Smith said. "They can give us the positives and the negatives. Anything really."

Evo::Space will be able to put together a comprehensive report using feedback generated by the community. Each person will register basic details about themselves so feedback could also be mapped by demographic.

Bexley red zone resident Elisapeta Seumanutafa said the area needed better schools and she wanted to see her home of almost 20 years turned into a park. She had to leave it, but she would like to visit where it once was and the Christmas tree she planted for her children.

The key question for those contributing to Evo::Space, is whether it will be taken seriously by those with the power to make the final decisions.

The project has the support of the Christchurch City Council and (Cera) and it will work alongside the consultation conducted by those organisations.

Burwood-Pegasus city councillor Glenn Livingstone said the people in his ward were the hardest hit by the earthquakes, socially and in terms of infrastructure and housing.

"They've felt very disenfranchised, and this is a chance to get some of the power back.

"The consultation cannot be from the top down." Livingstone said the tide of power was turning.

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After the earthquakes there were sweeping acts of government in play very quickly.

Now, people were demanding a voice in the rebuild of their communities.

The process from start to finish will cost around $35,000 - a fraction of what large organisations can spend on a similar project, Beck says.

It has been funded through a grant from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, and relies on those involved working for very little or nothing.

GET INVOLVED

Click here to have your say -

You can also attand the Evo::Space workshops and drop-ins, which start on Saturday. The first two will be held at Aranui Library on July 12 at 2pm and July 15 at 10am.

- The Press

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