Move to rethink George St group falls flat

Andrew Whiley
Andrew Whiley
After a three-week delay, following a 10-5 vote, nothing has changed in the Dunedin City Council’s proposal for a George St advisory group.

Cr Andrew Whiley successfully convinced his colleagues at a June 8 council meeting that more time was needed to allow for councillors’ input into a proposal for an advisory group to offer feedback on the planned multi-million dollar George St upgrade slated for next year.

Designed to shift the emphasis of Dunedin’s main street away from cars and towards pedestrians and public space, the project has been closely scrutinised, and councillors questioned the proposed advisory group’s makeup and terms of reference.

Cr Whiley said it was his intention to be able to workshop the proposal with councillors and council staff before a debate and decision at the June 30 meeting, but soon after the meeting the idea proved fruitless.

"We were looking for a full-council workshop on it — and that was not going to happen," he said.

"There was no desire from some councillors to attend a full workshop when it was raised.

"If you have a workshop you want to have all 15 councillors there."

In an opinion piece published in the Otago Daily Times this week, Cr Whiley wrote he did not believe the proposed membership of the group, "as it was detailed in the [June 8] council paper, truly reflects the appropriate mix of stakeholders".

Notable exceptions included the Otago University Students’ Association, the council’s youth council and individual retailers.

"None of the property owners in George St were included and the Automobile Association was there supposedly to represent all transport operators (including taxis, trucking and courier companies)."

The proposal to be tabled at the June 30 meeting, published by the council yesterday, is identical.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins said the council voted to defer the paper "which means the same paper comes to the next meeting unchanged".

"During the meeting amendments can be made to it," he said.

At the June 8 meeting, Cr Jules Radich said councillors’ input was "vitally important if our citizens are to see democracy in action".

Yesterday, he said he was worried that without the workshop the discussion as to the appropriate membership would be reduced to a "brief few minutes".

"What worries me is that many council meetings are not conducted in a spirit of discussion to achieve the best possible result, they’re conducted in a spirit of what we want, we control the agenda and this is how it will be."

Cr Jim O’Malley, who as chairman of the infrastructure services and networks committee is slated to be part of the advisory group, said he understood the intent of the 10-5 vote was "there would be a workshop".

"I think maybe it is an accurate interpretation of standing orders, but I don’t think it captured the intent of the reason it was moved to this meeting.

"To just be laid on the table unchanged, I have a feeling that’s a very narrow interpretation of standing orders.

"I felt there were groups missing and it would have been a more efficient way of communicating if we’d just talked at a workshop ... helped staff get a direction on what we were looking for in that group. We’ve done that before — to me, this is a narrow interpretation of standing orders, to the purpose of which, I’m not sure."

Comments

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Do the rate payer a favour and knock this crap on the head and get on with what you are supposed to do DCC and run the city properly this is what the rate payers want not your stupid personal agendas,I suggest a referendum on the big jobs of personal vanity then if the answer is no the answer is NO that should not be to hard to understand.

The following statement is an indictment on the Mayoral integrity: "Mayor Aaron Hawkins said the council voted to defer the paper "which means the same paper comes to the next meeting unchanged". So what he has said is that despite the obvious intentions of 10 of my councillors I am going to ignore them and plough on with my master plan for Duniedin by abusing the rules, to my advantage. Well Mr Mayor your sneaky abuse of the system is appalling and unforgiiveable. You seem to be hell bent an early political exit and taking your rightful place in history as an electoral failure.

What a great council, who cares about public opinion. Just a council of fools and sheep with a very few practicle thinkers. I'll let you work out who is what.

It is never going to work. Leave the octagon and main street alone. That is what the public wants and so do retailers. Dunedinites are vehicle people because we have a mainly hill city so stop trying to change that. When we go shopping we don't want to be far from our vehicles to carry all the things we purchase. That will not change despite the councils silly attempts to do so. The council should be making it better for vehicles not worse. THAT is what we want.

Otago University Students Association!? Why should they be in the advisory group ? Any representation they needed would surely be by the councillor/s they voted for, just like the rest of Dns population. And on that subject I wonder how many students voted in the local body elections then went back to there home town at the end of the year?. I suspect its part of the reason Hawkins got in .

Let's return to this issue when the new hospital is finished and disruption to north-south traffic flow has ended. Say somewhere around 2050?

Notice that in the groups invited or not invited to be "CONSULTED", it does not inclue ratepayers, other than thoe in the groups. Do Council think they represent the ratepayers? This is not good news as Council have ignored us for years and continue with "WE know best attitude". A plague on all their houses.

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