Otago Daily Times
Street decision based on ‘contestable ideology’
IT always bothers me when two experts in a given field espouse views that are diametrically opposed.
You give prominence to the views of urban designer Dr Fraser Stephens’ opinions on the DCC’s proposed George St development (ODT,
He is at odds with his colleague, Kobus Mentz, who authored a report to guide decisionmaking on this matter.
Dr Stephens states that in pedestrianised areas, ‘‘retail flourishes’’; he provides no examples to back up this claim.
Mr Mentz, on the other hand, cites a number of cases where pedestrianisation has been disastrous.
Dr Stephens says that ‘‘there are ample parallel routes’’; Mr Mentz can see that this is not the case, especially mindful of the likely traffic disruption caused by the new hospital build.
The DCC staff professionals, with their training, knowledge and understanding, were swayed by Mr Mentz’s reasoning. A cohort of councillors, influenced by contestable ideology, were not.
Dr Stephens asked ‘‘who funded the (Mentz) independent report?’’ Answer: Dr Stephens himself did, along with every other DCC ratepayer.
I can understand how Dr Stephens and others holding kindred views might be irritated by the hustle and bustle of vehicular traffic.
Fortunately, Dunedin offers numerous sanctuaries from this ‘‘blight’’. Might I suggest a visit to the Botanic Garden, for starters?
DUNEDIN has a council where the majority of members have voted to destroy our CBD.
These nine councillors are neither listening to the businesspeople nor observing the downturn and lack of vibrancy in our CBD.
It is obviously a very difficult time for businesspeople, and if all councillors walked from Rattray St to Albany St, and visited each mall, they would become aware of just how some businesses are struggling.
Some are even closing, or have already closed their doors. This is not a good look for our city centre.
Expensive plans, fine talk and pictures of what the CBD might look like, in the future, are not what Dunedin needs or wants.
Businesspeople need to make a profit so that they can employ and pay their staff. To make a profit, all businesses need people to purchase goods. Some of these people need cars, and parking areas for their cars.
Councillors, please leave George St alone. Too many mistakes have been made already.
Do the necessities and basics, fix what needs to be fixed, but please listen to the businesspeople and ratepayers.
IT was disheartening to read the majority of our elected councillors decided to reject the advice of their own council staff and vote for a oneway system, albeit allowing a turnaround if it doesn’t work out properly.
The views of the business community have not only been totally ignored but vilified by Cr David BensonPope with his comment, ‘‘Colleagues, this is public space, it doesn’t belong to a few invested loudmouths.’’
He is not a businessman. If he had been, he would have appreciated their concerns. It was rudeness in the extreme and seems to have been accepted without a murmur, whereas councillors who were against the proposal had to apologise for swearing, and Cr Chris Staynes had to withdraw the ‘‘wimp option’’ comment.
The rudeness was no doubt levelled at the businessman representing small businesses in the city with the knowledge of how badly trade was affected by the Octagon experiment still fresh in their minds.
When businesses lose trade, closure soon follows, and that is the last thing Dunedin residents wish to see.