Voting on city upgrade divides opinion
Invercargill city councillors are mixed on whether controversial plans to upgrade the city centre should be voted on at this month's council meeting.
The plans are scheduled to be discussed at a council meeting on August 27.
However, most councillors said this week instead of voting on the plan in its entirety, they wanted to vote stage by stage.
The "master plan", which details the stages of the upgrade, was distributed to councillors on Tuesday, and received a mixed response.
Councillor Thelma Buck, who is not standing for re-election, said the present council should not vote on the document this month, but instead leave it for the new council.
Councillor Ian Pottinger agreed and said the community needed more consultation.
If the council did not want to lose traction on the plans, it could look at approving parts of the plan and leave the rest for the new council, he said.
"You don't rush in and spend $6 million.
"This is the perfect opportunity to put it out for consultation. I can't see how council can vote without it going back out to the public."
That view was shared by councillors Lindsay Abbott, Lindsay Thomas and Lloyd Esler.
But councillor and inner-city working group committee chairman Norman Elder said the plan would not work if parts were adopted and others were not.
"There's no point in doing one area in town and not the other."
He would be "extremely disappointed" if the plan was not voted on by the current council, he said.
"I see no reason for it to be delayed for the next council."
Councillor Alan Dennis said while he did not oppose voting on the plan in stages, something needed to be done soon to revitalise the CBD. Voting in stages was "a soft way out", he said.
Deputy mayor Darren Ludlow said putting the document out for further consultation and not voting on it at this month's meeting could halt progress of the plans.
"I don't want it to lose its traction. We've got 50,000 people in the city and probably 30,000 ideas and ultimately the decision has to be made by somebody."
Leaving the decision up to the next council would mean they would have to be brought up to speed and it would take time, he said.
But Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he liked the idea of voting on the plan stage by stage.
The plans were well thought out and laid out, but he believed more consideration was needed on the detrimental effects internet shopping may have on the city, he said.
"I think an area we haven't dealt with yet is the impact of internet shopping and how that will affect the shopping in five years time and 10 years time."
But councillor Carolyn Dean said the consultation had already been "robust". The council should finish what it started and the August meeting would give councillors the chance to "air out and debate" any concerns they had, she said.
Councillor Graham Sycamore said the plan would never please everyone, but he would be reluctant to delay a decision, while Councillor Graham Lewis said he could not comment as he had not had a close look at the plans.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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