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Brent Weatherall and John Bezett made clear to Dunedin city councillors their opposition to a council vote last June for a preliminary plan to turn George St into a southbound one-way street.
As part of his submission on the council’s annual plan yesterday, Mr Weatherall said he was representing 40 businesses who felt there had been a breakdown in consultation and said the council needed to acknowledge the magnitude of 6000 signatures.
“Council is no place for fanatically obsessed views.
“Upgrades are a necessity. However, the impact of one-way traffic flow with a reduction in parking would be catastrophic for business and citizens alike.’’
Central businesses in Dunedin should be treated as the council’s ears on the issue, he said.
“Overwhelmingly, I’m hearing business is not against main street upgrades ... that include improved accessibility, beautification , pavements and parking.
“But is blatantly clear we do not want one-way traffic flow and reduced parking.”
The petition, requesting traffic remain two-way in George St with ample parking, would be presented at a council planning and environment committee meeting next week, Mr Weatherall said.
Cr Lee Vandervis said, in his experience, some council staff had been pushing their own ideology of a car-free central city.
Mr Bezett said he was opposed to personal views influencing council staff, and was concerned companies brought in for the preliminary design stage were not carrying out planned stakeholder consultation.
Beginning work in April next year on the street did not allow for enough consultation, especially in the wake of Covid-19, he said.
Mayor Aaron Hawkins reminded the pair no formal decisions about the George St pedestrianisation had yet been made.
Property Council New Zealand Otago chapter executive member and Oakwood Properties director David Marsh, who spoke at the hearings, said creating a one-way system ‘‘will create total chaos with the traffic’’.
“‘George St could be a total ghost town and a one-way system would just make it worse.
“These are the realities of life and our retailers are at a point where a lot of them are almost insolvent.’’