Cy­cle stoush: Mayor la­bels ri­val ‘clue­less’

The Press - - Front Page - Tina Law

Christchur­ch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has branded ri­val Dar­ryll Park ‘‘clue­less’’ over his prom­ises to axe cy­cle­ways and com­mu­nity bar­be­cues to save money.

Park is stand­ing on a zero rates plat­form but to do that he needs to find $100 mil­lion in sav­ings over three years.

Dur­ing a de­bate on RNZ with Dalziel and John Minto, Park said he would cut non-es­sen­tial com­mu­nity ser­vices like neigh­bour­hood bar­be­cues.

Park later told The Press he would put the city’s cy­cle­way

pro­gramme on hold, pend­ing a re­view. He would im­me­di­ately scrap the planned route from Tem­ple­ton into the cen­tral city, via Hornby, Sock­burn, Mid­dle­ton, Ric­car­ton and Ad­ding­ton, and the par­tially com­pleted Heath­cote Ex­press­way link­ing the sub­urb to the cen­tral city.

Dalziel said ditch­ing neigh­bour­hood bar­be­cues would have a tiny im­pact and the re­la­tion­ships forged around a bar­be­cue were the back­bone of the postearthq­uake re­sponse.

‘‘His pan­icked re­sponse when pressed for an an­swer shows he doesn’t have a clue.’’

Park’s plan to cut the Tem­ple­ton to Christchur­ch cy­cle­way was be­yond may­oral pow­ers, she said.

‘‘The truth is he needs a ma­jor­ity around the council ta­ble for any de­ci­sion he wants the council to make – he doesn’t get ex­ec­u­tive power in the role.’’

Dalziel said it was easy for in­ex­pe­ri­enced can­di­dates to make wild prom­ises about spend­ing, but the re­al­ity once in­side council was dif­fer­ent.

She chal­lenged Park to tell ratepay­ers what else he was go­ing to cut be­cause $100m of sav­ings would not be achieved by cut­ting bar­be­cues or cy­cle­ways.

The Tem­ple­ton cy­cle­way, the South Ex­press, has al­ready been ap­proved by the council and work is ex­pected to start next year.

The route passes nine schools, The Hub Hornby, Ric­car­ton Race­way and mar­ket, Up­per Ric­car­ton Li­brary and the Wharenui Recre­ation Cen­tre.

Park said the cost of the South Ex­press cy­cle­way was $36m (about 65 per cent of which is paid for by cen­tral gov­ern­ment), but the council was not able to give him fig­ures of how many peo­ple would cy­cle on it.

‘‘It’d need a lot of peo­ple to jus­tify that ex­pense. I like cy­cle­ways, but there’s got to be

a bal­ance.’’

The council’s cy­cle­way pro­gramme is heav­ily sub­sidised by the NZ Trans­port Agency and cen­tral gov­ern­ment, which means the council pays about 35 per cent of the to­tal cost.

Thir­teen cy­cle­ways are planned, amount­ing to 100 kilo­me­tres, across the city at a to­tal cost of $256m – two-thirds of which is Gov­ern­ment money. Two have al­ready been com­pleted, six are par­tially open and con­struc­tion starts on an­other two next year. Plan­ning still needs to be com­pleted on an­other three. The council plans to com­plete the cy­cle­ways by 2028.

Cy­cling ad­vo­cacy group Spokes chair­man Don Babe said if money was not spent on pro­vid­ing al­ter­na­tives then more money would have to be spent on roads.

‘‘Roads are a lot more ex­pen­sive than cy­cle­ways.’’

Babe said if Park did a thor­ough re­view of the cy­cle­ways he would soon come to the re­al­i­sa­tion that spend­ing on cy­cle­ways was the way to achieve lower rates in­creases.

At least three in­ter­sec­tions along the Quar­ry­man’s trail cy­cle­way, link­ing Hal­swell to the cen­tral city, have been re­built and traf­fic lights in­stalled as a re­sult of the cy­cle­ways.

The money to up­grade those in­ter­sec­tions, which had al­lowed traf­fic to flow more smoothly into the city, had been in­cluded in the cy­cle­way bud­gets, Babe said.

‘‘If you don’t al­low peo­ple to cy­cle you’re go­ing to end up need­ing more car park­ing at the hospi­tal be­cause ev­ery­one is go­ing to be in there.’’

Coun­cil­lor and cy­cle­way ad­vo­cate Mike David­son said about 30 per cent of the cy­cle­way bud­get was spent on re­pair­ing road sur­faces and up­grad­ing in­ter­sec­tions that ben­e­fited ev­ery­one.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel Dar­ryll Park

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