Chairwoman has students in her sights

NO-NONSENSE: New Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents association chairwoman Sue Chamberlain knows how to deal with students. PHOTO: Martin Hunter

The new chairwoman of the Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents Association Sue Chamberlain has students firmly in her sights.

Mrs Chamberlain, a retired special needs teacher, knows what it takes to deal with out of control parties. She was elected chairwoman on Wednesday.

She has lived in Ilam for 30 years and one of her two sons studied at the university.

“When students move in, we let them know who we are and what we do, communication is always important,” she said.

Out of control parties were still a big problem, but the residents often shut them down by calling noise control, Mrs Chamberlain said.

“You get the odd occasional night where rubbish bins are tipped over and Waimairi Rd in particular. This time of the year is pretty quiet though.”

The parties often happened at the beginning of the year due to the influx of new students, she said.

Aside from students, Mrs Chamberlain hoped the city council would address flooding and littering in the area.

“Since the earthquakes, we have been getting flooding on Lynfield Ave and Kiltie St. Leaves often block the drains and the council don’t have resources to clean up,” she said.

Mrs Chamberlain has frequently dealt with local issues as a member of the neighbourhood watch and saw the residents association as an obvious next step.

“The residents used to ring me up [asking for help] and I used to go out and find information. So I thought by joining [the association], I could take all their issues to the meetings and go from there,” Mrs Chamberlain said.

Representing the residents of Ilam and Upper Riccarton would be as far as she would go, and had no intention of running for the community board, she said.

Another challenge the residents faced was changing demographics, she said.

“There’s more elderly in the area than there ever used to be. Families are moving out of big houses and you get half a dozen students moving in to these big houses.

“So you’ve got to maintain a good relationship with a lot of students and it’s quite hard to do for some people so they come to us with their problems and we will go and talk to the students,” Mrs Chamberlain said.

She also paid tribute to former chairman Phil McGoldrick, who moved to the central city.

“He was a fantastic representative of our community, he will be helping me with the role for my first two months.”