Committee gives tick to Jetty St mall plan

Kate Wilson.
Kate Wilson.
A portion of Jetty St should be closed to traffic and be redeveloped into a pedestrian mall, a city council hearings committee has recommended.

That recommendation, released yesterday, suggested vehicles be banished from the section of Jetty St from Cumberland St to Crawford St, which is beneath the overbridge.

Access would remain, with some restrictions, to emergency, service and delivery vehicles.

The hearings committee discussed the proposal in August before a second public meeting was held last month.

No decision was made immediately after that meeting as the three-person committee, chaired by Cr Kate Wilson and including Crs Mike Lord and Hilary Calvert, failed to reach a consensus on the proposal.

Cr Wilson told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the hearing had been a ''very interesting process to go through''.

There had been considerable public interest in the proposed mall, which sat in the heart of the regenerating warehouse precinct, Cr Wilson said.

The mall was an attempt to improve the area's amenity value, yesterday's decision said, and had received strong support from some adjoining landowners and tenants.

But strong opposition had also been lodged, in particular by the Fire Service, which feared limited access and the loss of a thoroughfare from the city to the hill suburbs would put people and property in danger.

Subsequent work involving the Fire Service and council urban design team leader Glen Hazelton had since alleviated that opposition.

Yesterday's decision included a provision that the traffic island on the Police and Crawford Sts intersection be made ''mountable on the east-west axis'' to ensure emergency services vehicles had an alternative route once Jetty St was closed.

Other opposing views had come from motorists concerned about the effect the road closure would have on commuting times.

Council staff investigated those concerns before deciding the several alternative city-to-hill-suburb access routes would not be noticeably burdened by the Jetty St closure.

Despite the hearings committee coming to a consensus this week, the proposal still had a few hurdles to clear, Cr Wilson said.

The next step in that process would come on December 14, when the recommendation was taken to the full Dunedin City Council meeting to be voted on.

If it passed that hurdle, a public appeal process would follow.

While such appeal processes usually spanned four weeks, because of the holiday break it was expected appeals would be accepted until the end of January.

Any appeals would be submitted to the Environment Court.

If no appeals were lodged, the closure of the affected portion of Jetty St could occur almost immediately, Cr Wilson said, to ''maximise opportunity with land development'' in the area.

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