Otago Daily Times

Coun­cil­lors not lis­ten­ing to ma­jor­ity of opin­ions

- Central City · Dunedin · London · Penguin Random House · The Penguin Group · Random House · Oamaru

THE 35 mem­bers of the Cen­tral City Ad­vi­sory Group gave a con­sid­er­able amount of per­sonal time to present the di­ver­gent views of Dunedin ratepay­ers to Kobus Mentz, em­ployed by the DCC to un­der­take a re­view of the orig­i­nal plan for Ge­orge St.

Their opin­ions were heard and rechecked by Kobus be­fore he compiled his fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion.

His pre­ferred op­tion was a two­way plan which took into ac­count the pref­er­ences of the ma­jor­ity of the CCAG, and this was the op­tion sub­se­quently rec­om­mended to council by the DCC staff.

It of­fered the flex­i­bil­ity to be­come one­way in the fu­ture if such change be­came nec­es­sary, al­lowed for ve­hi­cles to tran­sit the area, pedes­tri­ans to have good ac­cess, beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, and in gen­eral was an ex­cel­lent com­pro­mise.

It seems that nine coun­cil­lors ap­pear to know bet­ter than both the con­tracted ex­pert and the DCC staff, and they ig­nored the es­sen­tial cri­te­ria that says you should have stake­holder support for any change like this.

Much weight was given to those who want to see the to­tal re­moval of mo­tor ve­hi­cles despite our re­cent sur­vey which showed that 75.69% of peo­ple use their ve­hi­cle to go to the cen­tral busi­ness district and will need some ac­cess to Ge­orge St.

One of the most sup­ported re­quire­ments of the CCAG was for a loop bus to run up and down Ge­orge St. Ef­fec­tive op­er­a­tion needs a two­way car­riage­way, but some­how the coun­cil­lors man­aged to ex­tract a “con­ceiv­ably pos­si­ble” re­sponse from the DCC staff that a one­way car­riage­way could also have a two­way bus.

We must en­sure that our unique cen­tral busi­ness precinct is pre­served, and all Dunedin peo­ple, who are pay­ing for much of this, with some con­trib­uted govern­ment fund­ing, should be heard and not ridiculed for pur­su­ing busi­ness in­ter­ests.

If nine coun­cil­lors get it wrong, it will be a costly and ir­re­vo­ca­ble mis­take. Ja­nine Race



CAN I pre­sume that the Dunedin City Council is bound by health and safety leg­is­la­tion in re­spect of its cit­i­zens? If so, it has a clear duty to iden­tify haz­ards and take all rea­son­able steps to re­move them.

I note that the in­ter­sec­tion of Pitt, Lon­don and Ge­orge Sts was re­ported as one of the most dan­ger­ous in­ter­sec­tions in the coun­try at the re­cent Plan­ning and En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee meet­ing. This fact, we are told, is crit­i­cal in sup­port­ing the need to ap­prove the one­way Ge­orge St re­de­vel­op­ment.

In iden­ti­fy­ing it as such a hazard and not tak­ing any action to rem­edy it, is a clear breach of the council’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the H&S Act.

The re­ports pre­sented to the council have also iden­ti­fied a prac­ti­cal and eas­ily achieved so­lu­tion, which would not even cost much. The so­lu­tion pro­posed is to make the down­hill por­tion of Lon­don St one­way up­hill only, thus mak­ing the in­ter­sec­tion a nor­mal four­light phas­ing.

This action, it is as­serted, will make the in­ter­sec­tion much safer and much quicker to ne­go­ti­ate. Traf­fic can also then flow along Ge­orge St at a greater rate.

I there­fore in­sist that the council im­me­di­ately present the idea to the com­mu­nity for fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion, as it usu­ally does, and stop the un­nec­es­sary ac­ci­dents and loss of life that his in­ter­sec­tion is ap­par­ently creat­ing. It is to be hoped that Work­safe turns a blind eye in the mean­time. Dereck Gray


IN recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of readers’ con­tri­bu­tions to the letters page, the news­pa­per each week se­lects a Let­ter of the Week with a book prize cour­tesy of Pen­guin Ran­dom House. This week’s win­ner is Ken Law­son, of Oa­maru, for a let­ter about the role coun­cils can play in ad­dress­ing in­equal­ity. The prize is a copy of Zen Heart, by Mark Vette. The win­ning let­ter was printed on Tues­day.

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 ?? PHOTO: GER­ARD O’BRIEN ?? The fu­ture of Ge­orge St, in the heart of Dunedin, re­mains a con­tentious topic.
PHOTO: GER­ARD O’BRIEN The fu­ture of Ge­orge St, in the heart of Dunedin, re­mains a con­tentious topic.

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