David East has received a flood of support over his allegations the city’s District Plan was tampered with, which could see him asked to resign as a city councillor.
He is facing a disciplinary hearing and has been stood down as chairman of the regulatory performance committee after calling for an independent inquiry into an erased clause in the District Plan.
Cr East alleged the omission of a discretionary rule in the city council’s High Flood Hazard Management Area policy was against the intentions of the replacement district plan independent hearing’s panel.
Without the discretionary rule known as the enable clause residents are finding it almost impossible to build or extend their properties within the HFHMA.
It affects people in Southshore and Redcliffs.
The city council fought the inclusion of the clause during the process of the plan’s ratification by a hearings panel two years ago.
Coastal-Burwood Community Board chairwoman Kim Money, deputy chairman Tim Sintes and Linwood-Heathcote-Central Community Board member Darrell Latham are also facing disciplinary action over their outspoken comments.
Said Cr East: “I am actually overwhelmed by the amount of support I have had. Not only from my own community but Knights of the Realm, MPS, business leaders in the city as well as the local residents of the city as those in my constituency.”
“Sir Tipene O’Regan is one I am happy to acknowledge”.
Ms Money said: “We need to speak up and make a stand for our community and that is exactly what we have done.”
Since Cr East’s stand, there has been calls for him to run for mayor at next year’s local body elections.
But while many in the community are supporting Burwood Ward councillor and Coastal-Burwood Community Board member Glenn Livingstone and other city councillors won’t commit to supporting Cr East.
“Personally myself, I wouldn’t be making allegations like this,” said Cr Livingstone.
“The facts need to be established first”.
Cr East said he would be “more than happy to unreservedly apologise” if it transpired he was wrong and had been “led up the garden path.”
Cr East’s fellow city councillors have closed ranks when asked whether they support his public stand.
Cr East also said he has “no axe to grind” with the lack of support from his fellow city councillors.
He had expected it given they have been told not to comment to media because Ms Dalziel is handling potential code of conduct proceedings.
Christchurch East MP Poto Williams would also not comment on whether she supported Cr East’s accusations.
“But I do recognise there are some issues of fairness that the residents have raised in terms of their ability to rebuild or build on their property,” Ms Williams said.
Approaches have been made to various MP offices to make them aware of the issue and how they might resolve it.
“There are things happening in the background but I don’t want to prejudice any ongoing discussion,” she said.
Christchurch East National list MP Jo Hayes said Cr East had “unhitched a can of worms.”
“He has opened it right up, and an independent inquiry will prove if what he is saying is right,” Ms Hayes said.
Southshore Residents’ Association chairwoman Lynda Burdekin said it is 100 per cent behind Cr East and it supports and applauds him for his stand.
Southshore resident Cherylan Davies, who has been trying to build a house after purchasing a section on Rocking Horse Rd, agrees.
After investing $22,680
on consultants, building
consent fees and a geotechnical report she and her husband were informed they needed a resource consent to proceed.
Mrs Davies said it will cost $5850 to lodge an application for a resource consent. A consultant planner said it was likely the resource consent would be refused by the city council and an appeal to the Environment Court would be necessary.
Cr East has done what his constituents have asked him to do, she said.
South Brighton Residents’ Association secretary Séamus O’Cromtha said it is up to Cr East to substantiate what he alleges.
“I think the best way to cut through all this fog and confusion is to have a full independent inquiry into city council practices over the last few years,” he said.
Christchurch Coastal Residents’ United deputy chairman Warwick Schaefer said the group was “absolutely backing David.”
The city council should focus on issues around the HFHMA policy rather than Cr East’s conduct.
He said it felt like “they’re shooting the messenger.”