Domain guardians stand firm against housing plan

SAVING THEIR DOMAIN: Ruthie Emeny and Cathy Baker from the Guardians of Rawhiti, who are firmly against the land swap idea proposed by Regenerate Christchurch which features in five of the 10 option ideas for the red zone.

The Guardians of Rawhiti is firmly against losing any parts of the Rawhiti Domain for housing purposes.

Discussions around housing on the domain arose when Regenerate Christchurch released its 10 combinations of land uses for the red zone.

Five of the 10 options include a land swap between Rawhiti and Avondale golf courses.

If put in motion, it would see the golf courses combined and moved to Bexley. Housing would replace the golf course land in Rawhiti Domain.

Guardians of Rawhiti co-founder Cathy Baker said the group opposes the idea vehemently.

“Rawhiti is our green-space, our sports ground and our events and recreation area, especially when the beach is inhospitable. Rawhiti is our community heart,” said Mrs Baker.

Monarch butterflies which inhabit the trees near the golf course will be lost, as well as bird life which Mrs Baker believes is already decreasing.

Loss of a sports and recreation hub is another concern.

“By breaking it up we lose the cohesiveness in our community. It is an economic advantage for various sports codes to share this space and it improves the well-being of our community. We want it left intact,” said Mrs Baker.

A decline of events in the domain may also prevail due to noise complaints, if housing is built there.

Lastly, a concern that the golf course is “just the first push” to losing the rest of the land on the domain is a serious concern, said Mrs Baker, who believes if the land swap happens, it will set a precedent for building on the rest of the domain.

Rawhiti Golf Club vice president Leon Zilinskas said the club has no definite opinion yet on the land swap option.

“We are carrying on business as usual and are nowhere near making any more decisions unless there are more facts and figures on the table . . . obviously we wouldn’t be making any real commitment to anything until we know a hell of a lot more,” said Mr Zilinskas.

Mr Zilinskas did say if everything fell into place they may be supportive of the land swap, however, it would come down to a vote from the entire club.

Regenerate Christchurch has indicated the 10 options will be mixed and matched and narrowed to three new options.

A major exhibition will then be held in early 2018 with a further opportunity for the public to provide feedback.

Following the exhibition, Regenerate Christchurch will prepare a draft Regeneration Plan, which will include funding and delivery details and is expected to be finalised by the end of 2018.