The privatisation of Hagley Park for Big Sport is discussed over at Against the Current. He shares many of my concerns about transferring land from the public to the private.

As the Central Riccarton Residents Association has said: ‘our Association’s objection to this application by Canterbury Cricket is to the very idea that land in Hagley Park will, if this application is successful, be appropriated permanently so that they can charge entrance fees and make a profit from the very same land that was left in perpetuity for the future generations of citizens of Christchurch.’

The Association goes on to say: ‘This application by Canterbury Cricket is fraudulent, masquerading as ‘the essential village green concept’ when the development proposed is contrary in every respect to the commonly held understanding of what a village green is: an open space within a community, undeveloped and freely available for casual use to the members of the community.’

My guess is that the environment court decision will come back in favour of the development. The council, and Bob Parker – who no longer gives a toss about what the people of Christchurch thinks, as he’s not running again – will then fast track the relevant approvals. This shouldn’t be a done deal, as the council is still required to give the land to Canterbury Cricket. However, the pressure from CWC2015 will mean that any councillor who opposes it will be held up as a “roadblock to development” or “holding back the rebuilding of Christchurch”.

The CCC voted to send the application straight to the Environment Court. That doesn’t meant that the council has actually sat down and discussed the application themselves – a discussion that would have input from the ratepayers they represent. This is a polarising issue for Christchurch, as a number of angry letters against the development in this morning’s Press would attest. Ploughing ahead with this decision would be a travesty of process.

Further to that, CWC2015 has said that Christchurch can have the games, contingent on Hagley Oval being developed. This ground doesn’t exist at the moment, and would have to be built in a very short time. Why is it contingent on that particular space? If we can build a ground on Hagley Park within 12 months which is fit for purpose, why can’t we build the same facility at Lincoln, or somewhere else in the city, in that timeframe? If CWC2015 were being even-handed and apolitical, the games would not be tied to one particular, very controversial development.

 

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