The Otago Chamber of Commerce has launched an attack on
Dunedin's draft transport strategy, saying it pushed a
''questionable agenda'' of sustainability while ignoring major
The strongly-worded rebuke came in the chamber's submission
on the Dunedin City Council's draft strategy, presented on
the first day of a two-day public hearing yesterday.
However, Prof Herbert Harris, a member of the chamber's
logistics committee, also offered an olive branch at the
hearing by suggesting a joint working party be formed to fix
the document's flaws.
The draft strategy sought to identify and address key
transport challenges facing the city over the next 30 years,
beginning with improving the city's poor road safety record.
Initiatives proposed included everything from a
multimillion-dollar central-city upgrade, to improved
cycleways, bus services and a new eastern freight bypass.
Many of the 64 submissions received supported the draft
strategy's approach, and those speaking yesterday largely
echoed that sentiment while suggesting some improvements.
However, Prof Harris said the strategy was of ''major
concern'' because it ignored the inadequate arterial route
through the city, a lack of commuter parking and the
significance of the road link to Port Otago.
''The chamber has strong concerns about the inadequacies of
Dunedin's transport infrastructure, and does not see this
transport strategy document as addressing those
The document needed a ''much firmer vision'' of the future,
including the need to retain major industries, and what that
meant for the city's transport infrastructure, he said.
That included protecting unrestricted access to Port Otago
from north and south, but key roads were already ''suffering
from a wrong emphasis on purpose''.
Instead, the document contained a thinly-veiled ''agenda'' of
sustainability and was ''hardly worth the time and effort of
the populace making a comment''.
However, subcommittee member Cr Jinty MacTavish said the
chamber's comments were not surprising as they appeared to be
based on a summary of the draft strategy.
Council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly also
defended the strategy, saying international consultants had
helped shape it, while key stakeholders - such as Port Otago
- were consulted through related initiatives, such as the
city's spatial plan.
Prof Harris said the council had the ''basis'' for a good
strategy, but needed to join with the chamber to consider
improvements - ''I think the council would get a lot more
respect if it was seen to be taking on outside information,''
Earlier, the subcommittee heard from individuals and groups
including community boards, the New Zealand Transport Agency
and cycling advocacy group Spokes Dunedin.
Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Gerard Collings
said the council needed to do more to plan for rising petrol
costs, which could otherwise threaten the viability of some
The council did not have the money to increase funding for
improved public transport links to places such as
Middlemarch, and so needed to encourage community services -
such as libraries - in those areas, he said.
If nothing was done, communities like Waikouaiti ''will
struggle to survive'', he warned.
Other submitters called for improved public transport and
cycling facilities, including more separated pathways, and
for popular northern routes - such as Mt Cargill Rd - to be
recognised in the council's strategy.
The most innovative submission of the day came from three
Queen's High School pupils, who called for the council to
''be bold'' and close George St and the Octagon to vehicles.
The move might prompt initial opposition from shop owners,
but had been shown to attract more pedestrians and boost
business, the hearing was told.
Dr Lynley Hood, from the Visual Impairment Charitable Trust
Aotearoa (Victa), wanted improved services for the elderly
and sight-impaired, including better public transport options
in the evening.
Yesterday's hearing began with councillors agreeing to accept
five late submissions, including one by Dunedin planner Don
Anderson suggesting a new highway closer to Dunedin's
He will make his case today before the hearing concludes.