Otago Daily Times
Councillors not listening to majority of opinions
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.