Martin Meehan of Hands Off Hagley
Canterbury Cricket has been fined for several infringments of its resource consent obligations at Hagley Oval. But they only came to light thanks to the work of Martin Meehan and Hands Off Hagley. The Christchurch City Council has failed to protect Hagley Park from 'creeping commercialisation'.

THE CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL is not only keen to flog off council assets that have been funded and maintained by the good people of Christchurch, it also hasn't been backwards in coming forward to give away public land for nothing.

That's what the council did when it decided to give Canterbury Cricket public land in Hagley Park for its cricket oval. This land was given to the city 'in perpetuity' by an act of the provincial council in 1855.

But Mayor Lianne Dalziel, demonstrating her less than impressive attitude toward publicly owned assets, announced that Hagley Oval was a development that 'enhanced' the city's reputation. There hasn't been much evidence of that 'enhancement' in the quake-devastated eastern suburbs, which continue to be ignored.

Martin Meehan of Hands Off Hagley has been doing sterling work monitoring the activities of Canterbury Cricket since  Hagley Oval opened in 2014. This has been especially important as Canterbury Cricket is lead by a chief executive, Lee Germon, who operates on the principle that if he can take an inch, he might as well go for the mile as well.

Martin Meehan and Hands Off Hagley have long warned that Hagley Oval would remain a threat to Hagley Park as a public space, with 'creeping commercialisation' being a constant concern.

This certainly has proven to be the case with The Star reporting that Canterbury Cricket has been fined $1200 for breaching the conditions of its resource consent for Hagley Oval.

These infringements have included a failure to remove all temporary structures and advertising by the allotted day, a failure to construct perimeter fencing , and a failure to appoint a council approved arborist.

In fact while Canterbury Cricket has been pinged for four infringements the council admits that there have been 'extensive complaints' about Canterbury Cricket's non-compliance with its resource consent conditions.

Martin Meehan told The Star that 'the fines were a little slap on the wrist'.

Indeed  the Christchurch City Council has failed to do its job and protect Hagley Park as a public space. Meehan says that Hands Off Hagley are actively monitoring Canterbury Cricket's activities at Hagley Oval because the Christchurch City Council isn't.

Do we really want a council like this leading 'a locally led recovery' when its default position is to put commercial interests ahead of the needs and concerns of the local community it claims to represent?


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