Confusion abounds over which homes will be demolished for cycleway

A property at the end of Roker St. One of the council's options is to effectively split the house in two, demolishing ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

A property at the end of Roker St. One of the council's options is to effectively split the house in two, demolishing the one on the left.

Confusion reigns on Roker St, where residents know at least two properties will be destroyed for a new cycleway, but not which ones.

The Christchurch City Council will not say which Somerfield houses it is negotiating to buy and demolish for the Quarryman's Trail, a cycleway connecting Halswell to the central city.

It is one of the city's 13 major cycleway projects. The route was approved by councillors on Wednesday.

The red line shows the council's original preferred route. It is understood it now prefers the route shown with the ...
LINZ/SUPPLIED

The red line shows the council's original preferred route. It is understood it now prefers the route shown with the black line, after objections from one homeowner.

The lack of public information means some residents are unsure which of their neighbouring houses will be demolished, or even if they will be asked to sell their own homes, as discussions are ongoing and no plans have been finalised.

The council on Friday confirmed it was planning to demolish two properties, and was negotiating with the owners. It would not say which ones, citing privacy. 

READ MORE:
*Editorial: Christchurch cycleways worth supporting but compulsory demolition a step too far
*Council's dilemma: demolish houses or car parks for cycleway?

The route approved by councillors has upset some Roker St residents, who felt it would turn their quiet cul-de-sac into a thoroughfare.

Thousands of cyclists are projected to use the trail each day.

An alternative route down nearby Milton St – which was more direct, already had a marked cycle path and would not require any houses be demolished – was rejected in large part because it would remove too many on-street car parks.

The Roker St option would also be cheaper and likely safer due to less traffic.

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The council's preferred demolition option, revealed last month, was to clear four units across two houses. Three of the units are owned by Treacy Lisle, who was not willing to force her tenants elsewhere by selling.

It is understood the council's new preference is to demolish a neighbouring stand-alone house and the one unit in the group not owned by Lisle – effectively carving off the unit it would likely get permission to buy.

"There's no communication at all... It's just been horrible," Lisle said.

She had been told her units were no longer being considered for demolition, but she was not sure if that would remain the case.

Carving off the neighbouring unit would likely be disruptive, she said. She reiterated she would not willingly sell to the council and had been frustrated by the process.

Even if the council worked around Lisle, it would still likely face difficulties - a tenant living in the stand-alone house understood to be considered for demolition, who did not want to be identified, said on Friday the situation was ridiculous and would effectively put them on the street.

The ambiguity had also impacted neighbours not involved with discussions, who had no idea what the street would look like.

"I can't see any merit in putting [the cycleway] there at all," said long-time resident Mona Rodgerson, whose house would be directly adjacent to the cycleway.

"Especially when people I've known for a long time may have their houses demolished."

 

 

 - Stuff

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