Every Wednesday, The Press runs an opinion column from their “At Home” editor, David Killick. These are very popular, w weekly grab-bag of assorted ideas about the rebuild of the city. I don’t usually read them, but this week’s one was about inner city living. As someone who lives in the inner city, I thought I should read it. I didn’t get too far before something stuck out like a sore thumb:

The Cera-CCDU Blueprint, drawn up in just 100 days in 2011, was initially hailed as bold and visionary.

Um. The CCDU Blueprint was launched in 2012. Now, this might seem like splitting hairs, but I am a little shocked that someone who’s primary role is to comment about the rebuild doesn’t know when the single most important document informing the rebuild came out. It could just be a simple mistake. I’m also a little bewildered that none of the subs picked it up. (For those who were wondering, the Blueprint was released to the public on July 30th, 2012.)

As to the rest of the content – well, I live in the CBD already, and made a very conscious choice to do so. There are a couple of things that concern me about this piece, but I’ll limit myself to these two:

One concern remains – while cafes, restaurants, and bars do add life, Christchurch does not need a return of out-of-control drunken youths creating mayhem in the inner city. Tougher laws and policing, plus a strong dose of self- control, are called for.

David, I’m not sure if you have been into the inner city on a Friday or Saturday night lately, but “out of control drunken youths” as you call them are already back. Both the St Asaph St and Victoria St bar areas are overflowing with drunk people late at night – though many of them aren’t exactly “youths” any more. It’s not pretty, and it’s not sustainable, but hand-wringing and moralising about it is not the most effective way to resolve it.

Lively music and entertainment are to be welcomed, though, and if you don’t like them, don’t live there.

I like live music. I’ve been in bands, and DJ’d around the place for a decade now. I work in a live music venue. So I like live music AND I live here – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be working to reduce the impact of late night noise pollution. If we are going to rebuild mixed-used residential with cafes and bars, then we could do smarter things to reduce their noise impact on their surrounds. If you’re going to custom build a venue, maybe it could be subterranean? Or if the apartments are properly sound insulated, then sound might not be such a problem.

Having lived above bars and music venues for much of the last decade, I can say that it isn’t the music that drives you nuts, it is the emptying of the bottle bins that happens once the bar is closed. There are ways to mitigate this. I think this is a very reductionist argument – if we want 20,000, or even 50,000 people living within the four aves, then we’re going to need to be more welcoming than just writing off whole swathes of the population who don’t like live music or the idea of “drunken out of control youths”. It’s going to need to cater for all sorts, and be designed in a way that brings them together, rather than crudely classifying them.

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