The trial reopening of John Wilson Ocean Dr has been
scrapped and costs have increased after a decision by
councillors yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The long-running saga over the future of Dunedin's John
Wilson Ocean Dr has taken another twist, with the cost of
reopening the road likely to double to nearly $500,000.
It is also likely the seaside road will remain closed to
motorists for longer than had been signalled, and vehicle
access could be more restricted.
The changes come after Cr Fliss Butcher - on behalf of the
hearings committee that heard public submissions on the road
last year - tabled a revised list of recommendations at
yesterday's 2011-12 pre-draft annual plan hearing.
Councillors had been expected to vote on "Option B" for the
road's redevelopment, which would have the road developed
into a shared space for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and
others at a cost of $220,519.
In the meantime, the road was to be reopened to motorists as
a trial as early as today, initially from 7.30am to 7.30pm
daily until March 31, and then from 8am to 5.30pm daily until
June 30, until consultation as part of the annual plan
process was complete.
Instead, Cr Fliss Butcher's changes recommended the more
expensive "Option C" for the road's redevelopment, costing
The extra cost included $107,000 for a new mechanical arm to
control vehicle access to the road, as well as other
additional improvements, councillors were told.
The change also scrapped the proposed trial, with the road to
remain closed until it was safe to reopen, and reduced the
hours it would eventually be open to motorists to 10am to 3pm
Cr Butcher said the changes were in keeping with the
intention of the hearings committee's recommendations, which
she believed offered the best solution, and urged councillors
not to rehash the debate.
Worries about the extra cost could be addressed by staging
the work, she said, although no details were given.
"We know it's got a cost attached to it, but we are going
with it," she said.
The change won support from Cr Richard Thomson, who said it
"struck the right balance", and Cr Bill Acklin - a member of
the hearings panel - who believed it would allow the council
to "do the job properly".
Cr Jinty MacTavish said it was an "admirable compromise", but
could not support the "unacceptably high" cost.
Cr Teresa Stevenson said the spending was a "waste" and the
money would be better spent on more city cycleways, while Cr
Lee Vandervis wondered why nearly $500,000 was needed to
reopen a road motorists had enjoyed free access to for many
Councillors voted 11-3 in favour of the revised plan, which
would be subject to further public consultation through the
annual plan process.