Christchurch Population Predicted to Spike
More land will be earmarked for housing in Waimakariri and Selwyn’s main towns as greater Christchurch’s population spikes over the next few decades.
Waimakariri – the city’s northern neighbour – is expected to grow by nearly two thirds in the next 30 years to nearly 100,000 residents.
The population of Selwyn, to southwest, is expected to grow even more in the same period – from 71,000 to more than 121,000.
The Greater Christchurch Partnership Committee – made up of the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the two district councils – is now looking to rezone land around the district’s main towns to allow more residential development.
The committee is proposing a change to the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) that will allow councils to develop plans and consult with communities on new land for housing through their district planning processes.
It would provide certainty on where new development could happen, and allow councils to make plans for the new infrastructure that would be needed and the protection of key resources such as strategic transport networks and water supplies.
The change was publicly notified on January 16, and identifies land where new houses could be built around Rolleston, Rangiora and Kaiapoi.
Katherine Trought, ECan’s director of strategy and planning, said the month-long submission process would give the public an opportunity to have their say about the future of housing development in greater Christchurch.
“Once the submission period is over, we will carefully consider all the comments we receive and deliver a report to the Minister for the Environment that will show how the submissions have been considered and any recommended changes,” she said.
Questions have also being raised about whether another high school is needed in Waimakariri due to the district’s growing population.
Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey said modelling showed the district’s population growth was expected to continue “and even accelerate”.
A town centre is being planned for the new Ravenswood development near Woodend and he questioned why a new high school could not be included in the plan.
The district needed to protect its “reputation for academic excellence” by preventing its schools from “growing to size that would impact on the learning opportunities and wellbeing of our students and teaching staff”, Doocey said.
He planned to meet with the Ministry of Education and local school principals and communities for feedback.
If there was enough support, he would lobby the Government for a new high school.
Rangiora High School, which has nearly 1700 students, is now one of the largest schools in the South Island, while Kaiapoi High School’s role increased from 654 in 2010 to 855 last year.
Since 2010, four new primary schools and a secondary school have been established in Selwyn to support the growing population, and in November the Government announced it would spend $20 million on another new primary school in Rolleston’s east.
Ministry of Education deputy secretary of sector enablement and support Jann Marshall said Waimakariri’s secondary schools were still well-placed to accommodate the student population.
“We closely monitor the rolls of all schools to ensure the efficient functioning of the network of schools in each area.
“Each of the local secondary schools has capacity to accommodate increased school rolls to allow for anticipated population growth.”
Of the five secondary education providers in the district, the three non-integrated state schools – Kaiapoi High School, Rangiora High School and Oxford Area School – did not have maximum student rolls.
Marshall said the ministry would continue to monitor population growth and would plan for additional schooling provision as required.
Parts of Rolleston and Rangiora in particular have seen exponential population growth, with census figures for some areas increasing almost tenfold between 2006 and 2018.
In Rangiora’s northwest, where there have been a significant number of new builds, the population jumped from 297 to 2133 in that time.
In northwest Rolleston, the population grew from 582 to 3777, while southwest Rolleston jumped from 357 to 3036.