Dunedin's draft transport strategy has cleared another
hurdle, despite being criticised again by one of the city
councillors considering the 30-year plan.
The Dunedin City Council's hearings subcommittee met again
yesterday to sign off on an amended draft strategy, which
will now go to a full council meeting on September 23 for
That was despite opposition from Cr Lee Vandervis, a
subcommittee member, who again took exception to some of the
strategy's assumptions, from rising petrol prices to the
safety of cycling.
In sometimes heated exchanges, Cr Vandervis demanded to see
the studies or other evidence underpinning many of the
strategy's key assumptions, while calling for changes to the
Council staff came armed with a stack of folders full of the
studies and other documents underpinning their work, but that
was not enough for Cr Vandervis, who labelled their efforts a
''grasp-at-straws kind of exercise''.
He preferred the evidence of Prof Herbert Harris, of the
Otago Chamber of Commerce, who last week criticised the
strategy for failing to address the big issues facing the
city's transport network.
It was a view that prompted Friday's angry retort by Mayor
Dave Cull, on the same day as Cr Vandervis insisted petrol
prices had remained static for 40 years and were not rising
as the draft strategy assumed.
He continued the attack when the hearing resumed yesterday,
taking aim at other strategy assumptions, including the idea
more cycling and less car use would make people safer.
Council staff pointed to Dunedin and international research
that backed the claim, but Cr Vandervis insisted the idea was
Motorists were protected by their cars, while those who chose
to walk or cycle were at ''far, far greater'' risk of serious
injury or death, he said.
Subcommittee member Cr Jinty MacTavish, at times appearing
exasperated by the debate's tone, warned chairwoman Cr Kate
Wilson consensus was unlikely.
''I don't think it's going to happen,'' Cr MacTavish said.
Some amendments were agreed, including amending the
strategy's references to expected petrol price increases to
instead refer to expected petrol volatility.
However, the four other subcommittee members - Crs Wilson,
MacTavish, Teresa Stevenson and Andrew Noone - were forced to
vote as a block to overrule Cr Vandervis on other points he
continued to contest.
The meeting concluded by noting a submission by Dunedin
planner Don Anderson for a new highway along the city's rail
corridor to be referred to the New Zealand Transport Agency