Cycle stoush: Mayor labels rival ‘clueless’
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
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