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Jeweller Brent Weatherall, a vocal opponent of the concept, has launched a petition today against it.
A preliminary plan approved by the Dunedin City Council earlier this year includes turning George St from Moray Pl — past the Octagon — to Frederick St into a southbound one-way street. It is part of a planned $60 million upgrade of the
"It’s not our intention to fight with council, but it is our intention to engage in conversation," Mr Weatherall said.
"It is not a slight change that they’re doing, it’s a catastrophic change that they’re doing."
Forty businesses in the CBD have agreed to advertise their opposition and have the petition on their shop counters.
Mr Weatherall believed more consultation with businesses was needed, as was an independent cost analysis on the impact any changes would have on affected parties.
After councillors signalled the potential for changes to a proposed trial closure of the Octagon next year, following public backlash, Mr Weatherall was hopeful they might also reconsider the George St proposal.
"I believe common sense will prevail."
Once the dust settled on the petition, he was also interested in starting a new group to represent Dunedin businesses.
"In the present retail environment we have national companies that come into town, they don’t get involved in the nuts and bolts of how that city is run."
It was local businesses with "skin in the game" that needed a voice, he said.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said the proposal was very much that — a proposal.
There would be a public
consultation process early next year when people could
"I think it would be more helpful in the new year to have a discussion about what the options end up looking like, because it’s hard, it’s messy, trade-offs have to be made.
"The best urban amenity outcome isn’t necessarily the best transport outcome."
The centre city plan had gone through the most thorough public engagement processes the council had ever done, he said.
"It’s a once in a generation opportunity to think about how we want that space to look."
Personally, Mr Hawkins said he was in favour of ‘‘shifting the balance towards pedestrians and cyclists and public realm space, and making the city centre a destination rather than a thoroughfare.’’