Businesses seek input on George St proposal

Dunedin jeweller Brent Weatherall shows off the full-page advertisement he placed in today’s...
Dunedin jeweller Brent Weatherall shows off the full-page advertisement he placed in today’s Otago Daily Times, and a copy of the petition he has launched today. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
About 40 central Dunedin businesses are showing their opposition to a proposal to make George St one-way, and they are encouraging holiday shoppers to do the same.

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
central city.

"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
provide input.

"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.’’

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Quote - '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.’’
While in part I agree that the Octagon would be better suited as a destination, a place for people to shop, eat, relax and mingle, largely free of the noise, fumes and safety concerns traffic can create, I don't see how making George St a one way system would work? A traffic flow study should be detailed in so much as the effect that the Octagon closure to traffic would have before any consideration to a change to one way in George St. And before we even get that far, where are the carparks? And how much is the parking going to cost? Nothing shortens your trip to town quite like expensive parking which effects the businesses due to people not having time to properly browse.

"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"
No it is your overlords the green party that want this, you just tow the line.

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