Girls' High loses bid to delay cycle path

LOIS CAIRNS AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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Christchurch Girls' High School has lost its bid to get construction of a cycle path along Matai St East delayed.

The council proposes to build a 3-metre wide cycle path along Matai St East as part of a planned cycleway connecting Canterbury University to the central city.

It is the first link in a $69 million cycleway network that will eventually criss-cross the city.

The high school and the Ministry of Education wanted the council to delay construction of the Matai St East pathway until they had finished drafting the school's redevelopment plans because they were worried it could curtail their expansion plans.

Girls' High was badly damaged in the quakes and has already had two buildings demolished.

Darryl Millar, from the Resource Management Group, told city councillors that the school's board of trustees and the ministry were working on a master plan for the school's redevelopment - a project that was likely to cost about $23m.

As part of the master plan, they were looking at options for expanding the school's footprint.

Because the school was bordered by the Avon River, options for expansion were limited but it had raised the possibility with council staff of closing off Matai St East to give it more land.

The school did not want the cycle path to go ahead until its master plan was completed in November.

Council asset and network planning manager Terry Howes said if the council waited until the master plan was released in November, it would push the delivery of the cycleway out by about six months because construction probably would not be able to get under way before February.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck said she could not support any delay to the cycleway project: "I'm absolutely adamant that we need to get on with cycleways," she said.

Speaking after the meeting, Christchurch Girls' High School principal Pauline Duthie said it accepted the council's decision.

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