Community unites to save beloved post-earthquake cafe from permanent closure

Uncertainty around Heathcote Valley's Upshot Coffee has been increasing since June.  (File photo)

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / Tips

Uncertainty around Heathcote Valley’s Upshot Coffee has been increasing since June. (File photo)

A Christchurch community is coming together to save a beloved local cafe that has become a ‘community center’ from permanent closure due to council bureaucracy.

Upshot Coffee, nestled in the Heathcote Valley, has been described as a ‘home away from home’ and ‘iconic’ place by locals who frequented the cafe.

Upshot Coffee was one of 950 companies that were granted temporary accommodation permits by Christchurch City Council after the 2011 earthquakes to operate in areas where they would not normally be allowed to operate under the council district plan.

The cafe moved to its place on Bridle Path Rd after the earthquakes and attracted residents from across the valley, neighboring suburbs and passing police, firefighters and traders.

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After his temporary license expired at the end of June, he continued to work with the council giving him some leeway for a few months to decide on the way forward.

Heathcote Ward Councilor Sara Templeton, who frequents the cafe, said it was due to close on September 30 when it no longer had consent to open.

Owners Megan Geels and Justin Good were previously reluctant to seek resource consent after learning that a request could cost up to $ 50,000 and were notified in a pre-request meeting with council staff in early July. that it was likely to be refused.

The head of the Resource Clearance Board, John Higgins, previously said the cafe is located in a rural area and therefore needs a resource clearance to stay. The application fee would cost a minimum of $ 4,000, he said.

A resource consent request has since been initiated to allow Upshot Coffee to remain at its current location.

The app is run by Land Surveyor and Consultant David Fox with the assistance of a Resource Management Lawyer. “This has been my mission for the past six months,” Fox said.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / STUFF

Upshot Coffee moved to Bridle Path Road in Heathcote after the earthquakes of 2011. The end of their temporary consent means they may have to relocate again or close.

He said the cafe was “one of the gems here in Heathcote Valley”.

Fox has already paid a planner to help him with his campaign, donated around $ 20,000 to the app, and created a Givealittle page that raised $ 3,415 of his goal of $ 30,000 up. ‘now. The money will be used to help cover consultant fees and consulting fees associated with the application.

Geels and Good were also contributing to the costs, while he led the initiative, Fox said.

“It’s such a charming and iconic place and so many people love it. It’s so good for the Heathcote community.

David Fox spearheaded the filing of a resource clearance request to keep Upshot Coffee at its current location in the Heathcote Valley.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / Tips

David Fox spearheaded the filing of a resource clearance request to keep Upshot Coffee at its current location in the Heathcote Valley.

A number of locals and cafe regulars commented on the Givealittle page, with one saying, “This little cafe is such a wonderful center of our valley. It was certainly a blessing after our earthquakes. Please keep it ”.

Another said “the prospect of Upshot shutting down makes me very, very sad. It is a totally unique and very special place ”, while another commented that the cafe was“ a vital gathering place in the Heathcote Valley ”.

“He doesn’t just sell coffee, he contributes to the friendly social cohesion that makes Heathcote the community it is. Christchurch City Council should recognize this and cut red tape. “

A Givealittle page, set up to help with costs associated with a resource consent request, has attracted over $ 3,000 in donations and plenty of community feedback.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / Tips

A Givealittle page, set up to help with costs associated with a resource consent request, has attracted over $ 3,000 in donations and plenty of community feedback.

Templeton said the app has great community support and the total cost of the app will depend on how much work is required.

Issues that had previously been raised by local residents included parking, with the cafe located next to a residential area and on a busy road, she said.

“I think there are certainly arguments for that they should be able to stay within the district plan layout, so it will be interesting to see if that can happen.”

An independent commissioner would ultimately make a decision and although it has become a community center, “that sort of thing is not really taken into account when a commissioner reviews the actual rules that are written in the district plan,” said Templeton.

“It will be great if they can stay in the valley, they have been part of our valley history for a long time.”

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