Debate over the future of John Wilson Ocean Dr in Dunedin was
"skewed" by last-minute lobbying by those opposed to seeing
vehicles return to the road, a city councillor says.
Cr Bill Acklin was commenting on the decision by councillors
- during this month's annual plan deliberations - to perform
an about-face, voting 10-2 to scrap the planned $487,519
redevelopment of the road.
Cr Acklin was a member of the hearings panel that listened to
public submissions last year, and recommended the
redevelopment work to create a shared space for walkers and
Motorists were to be allowed back on to the road for
restricted hours each day, with access controlled by an
automated barrier arm.
The idea was initially backed by councillors late last year,
and the funding added to the council's draft annual plan, but
axed after annual plan public hearings drew another stream of
submissions from those opposed to motorists using the route.
Yesterday, Cr Acklin said he and the council had received "a
lot" of feedback since the about-face from those
"disheartened and disappointed ... and quite hot under the
collar" about the decision.
He believed the process had been "skewed" because those who
submitted to last year's public hearing in favour of
reopening the road thought they had been heard, and a
decision made by the council.
They had not submitted in large numbers to this month's
annual plan hearings, leaving opponents of the road's
reopening to motorists free to make their case for a second
time, he said.
"In my view the whole thing was skewed and I'm very
disappointed the council did not stand by the hearings panel
and the council decision to support the hearings panel last
However, he doubted the decision could be overturned with 10
councillors voting against the move during the deliberations.
Council staff said they were still working on plans for minor
safety and parking improvements that would still be carried
out on the road.
That included turning parallel parks along the seaward side
of the road - up to the bollards - into about 90 angled
parks, council community and recreation policy team leader
Lisa Wheeler said.
It also included painting yellow no-parking lines near the
bollards, to create room for cars to turn around safely, Ms
A fence at Lawyers Head had already been extended, and more
plantings would be added in the area.
Beautification work could also be carried out along the
length of the drive in future, she said.
The work would be carried out from within existing budgets
"as soon as practical", but no timelines had been set.