Councillors vote to delay tram work
Work to restart Christchurch's historic trams will be put on hold until councillors can get more information about the service.
The council's draft annual plan, which will be debated by councillors over the next three days, had proposed that council staff use their "best endeavours" to get the trams back in operation by December.
Mayor Bob Parker had also recommended that the council include $3.7 million of funding to complete an extension of the tram route.
However, councillors voted nine to five to hold off on any work until they received a report from staff on the tram's operations and development.
Cr Yani Johanson, who proposed the delay, said it was unwise to push ahead with work on the tram service given the number of unknowns about the future of the city centre.
"I don't think it's prudent to spend money now without knowing what the city centre will look like."
The central-city blueprint being prepared by the Government-led Christchurch Central Development Unit could have a significant impact on the viability of the tram route, Johanson said.
"The worst thing would be to spend the money to get the tram happening, then you get the blueprint which says, 'There's the stadium, there's the convention centre', and suddenly the tram doesn't work any more," he said.
Johanson said he did not want to stop the tram from restarting by December, but believed the council needed to get "all the facts on the table" before it made a decision.
Parker said the tram extension had already been "substantially built" and was unlikely to be affected by other plans for the city centre.
Approving the project would send a signal about the central city's recovery, he said.
The draft annual plan, which outlines the city's budget and financial plans for the next 12 months, has proposed a 7.6 per cent rates increase to help fund the city's earthquake recovery.
The rates rise includes a one-off 2 per cent increase to help fund $767m of repair work for the city's top-10 quake-hit facilities, including the Town Hall and convention centre.
More than 2500 submissions were received during the public consulation process.
The deliberations are scheduled to finish on Wednesday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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