I have written before about how the St Albans Residents Association stopped the St Albans motorway project years ago. Those of you who were present at the Tuesday Club one night heard Ken McAnergney’ s lament about our success. That’s the trouble with those promoting motorways, they remove decent people’s houses….
One of the by-products of the scrapping of Ken’s motorway was that the Ministry of Works (remember when they were the repository of institutional planning memory?) owned over 90% of the homes when the designation was uplifted. I think around 350 homes were saved from the destructive forces of roading.
At that time as a Council, we had had to work hard to assist St Albans School to survive. It had dropped to having around 150 pupils. The school was declared a “community facility” and was open to the public 24 hours a day. That enabled us to place Council funds into play equipment and other facilities.
Now the school has around 600 pupils and it’s thriving.
One of the by-products of the success of the uplifting of the designation (not rubbing the salt in at all, Ken) was that a large number of affordable houses came on the market. The middle class moved into the suburb. Slowly but surely, it gentrified. Then those who had no idea of the battles of the past started objecting to changes in the suburb. That started to annoy me. I have refrained until now from commenting what a selfish bunch many of them are. Just some. Not everybody.
I read this article in Stuff recently and it really got up my wick https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/residential/124180027/residents-fed-up-with-ugly-cheap-and-characterless-homes-filling-christchurch.
Comments like this:
XXX lives in a character neighbourhood in Christchurch, but fears it could soon become a “concrete jungle” if the visual appeal of intense housing developments is not addressed.
Two developments in St Albans – in Mersey St and Westminster St – have drawn the ire of local residents. Sections that both previously housed a single property will soon house 11 units between them.
Resource consent has already been granted for both developments, but 42 residents have signed a petition against the homes’ design, which they describe as “ugly, cheap, and characterless”.
I thought. For goodness sake. We have to intensify. Everywhere. Do these people agree with me that building on prime food land as has been done in Marshlands by Ngai Tahu property is not far sighted? Or long term?
We all have to move over to accommodate intensification. That’s a good thing. The house next to us is about to be demolished and a number of units built on it, and I say great stuff.
I wondered if I was on my own with these uncharitable thoughts and then I read this article in Spinoff:
The bit I really liked were the final two paragraphs:
The cost of building the kind of housing going up on Mersey St or Ruawai Rd is measured in glum onlookers turning up their noses and saying “it’s not really art”. The cost of failing to build it is measured in people living in cars, competing to pay exorbitant amounts to rent barely habitable shacks, and giving up on their hopes to own a home. The idea that the former outweighs the latter is one of the most offensive constructions around.
Aspiring homeowners in places like Ruawai Rd or Mersey St are fed up with these poorly designed, joyless naysayers destroying the amenity of their local areas. They get some people won’t like new housing. They even understand the need for those people to be given basic human rights, including the right to shelter. But they can’t understand why they’re allowed to live in places like their leafy neighbourhoods, which are otherwise filled with character and potential. They want these people to find another suburb, and if they’re rejected there, to move onto the suburb, and then another, until they finally get to somewhere that will happily accept them, somewhere invisible, somewhere that doesn’t actually exist. “I get that they need a place to live,” a townhouse resident says. “Just not in my backyard.”
I think the elected reps are doing our City a disservice by pandering to these moaners. Tell them we all have to live here and move over. There’s room for us all.