OPINION: According to The Southland Times' report of the Invercargill City Council meeting Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he was surprised by the negative response to the CBD upgrade. Deputy mayor Darren Ludlow said there had been consultation with several groups in the city.
I would like both of these gentlemen to tell me the earliest date the one-lane-each-way on Dee and Tay streets proposal was first made public during the consultation process.
I first heard of it when the designer made his plans available to The Times after all consultation was closed.
How can you consult when you are not told the facts?
They say one lane in Gore has worked well. Gore doesn't have the amount of traffic Invercargill has. Gore doesn't have traffic lights, which builds traffic into groups as the lights turn green.
Gore residents who have visited my shop tell me they don't like it and avoid the main street whenever they can.
Many use the truck bypass and the increased traffic flow there meant a new roundabout had to be installed at the River Street/SH1 intersection.
I, like many, see it is time for change at the city council so the ratepayers who pay the bills have their views considered.
Despite voting for all those who voted for the CBD upgrade proposal at the last election I will not be voting for them this time and I call on all those who are against the Dee/Tay street changes to join me in not voting for mayor Shadbolt and councillors Boniface, Dennis, Lewis, Ludlow and Sycamore.
Cr Ludlow replies: The council received a presentation from Craig Pocock on June 25 that outlined the proposed Inner City Redevelopment Concept plan.
That included the proposed one-lane concept.
The whole design came about after several public meetings, a considerable number of meetings by the Inner City Steering Committee, and public feedback meetings held in Esk Street and with stakeholder groups.
The proposals are based around traffic flow and also traffic calming measures - the desired outcome being to slow traffic down through the CBD.
The concept plan is just that - a concept for which each stage will have to go for further consultation.
During the debate many councillors expressed concern about different parts of the plan, including the proposal for one lane each way in Dee and Tay Streets, but it was explained that such a move would first require a trial and then further approval from Transit, so there are still many steps before the proposal could become permanent.
There was a vote, which Mr Thomas is well aware of, which came after a thorough discussion of many issues, and was arrived at democratically.
It would be my personal observation that if all of the inner city proposals were not just a ''concept'' and that there was not a trial and further approval required, that the voting outcome may have been different.
What we have is a really good starting point from which the council's intent is to show a desire to create a better heart for the city, one that is pedestrian-friendly too, and should reflect a change in how people utilise our CBD.
If the door to these plans were shut and our minds were closed, then I would share the concerns expressed.
Mayor Shadbolt replies: I accept that change always creates a reaction and when that change impacts on the dominance of the motor car the shock, horror and anxiety increases dramatically.
All the council is proposing is a more pedestrian-friendly city with lots of shelter, footpaths, walkways, seating, a city market and a trial run for narrowing 100 metres of Tay and Dee streets in the city centre. OK, so it may add two or three minutes to your journey and some people will loathe and detest a centre plot of flowers as they have in Gore or Winton, but I feel it's worth a trial.
Speedsters, boy racers and Indianapolis 500 wannabes will still have their four- lane highways for the rest of Dee and Tay as well as Queens Drive, Tweed St and many other arterial roads throughout the city.
The motor car, which is probably this planet's worst polluter, will still reign supreme. There's no need to panic.
It will not be the end of western civilisation as we know it. All the majority of councillors and the NZ Transport Agency are saying is let's have the courage to give it a trial.