Road decision long way off

John Wilson Drive. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
John Wilson Drive. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Plans to consult the public over the future of John Wilson Ocean Dr in Dunedin appear likely to drag out for almost another year.

A staff report to be considered at next week's Dunedin City Council community development committee outlines the need for consultation on the road's future use, as well as the process by which the public should be consulted.

The process would include a call for public submissions and a hearing, as well as other steps, before any changes were confirmed by the council and sent to Conservation Minister Tim Groser for final approval.

The consultation would be undertaken as a partial review of the Ocean Beach management plan, which included John Wilson Ocean Dr, the report by council reserve estate officer Judy Milward said.

The process was outlined in the Reserves Act 1977 and was expected to take a minimum of 37 weeks, she said.

Mrs Milward's report followed a decision by councillors late last year to support plans for the road to remain closed to vehicles permanently to improve public safety.

Mayor Peter Chin ordered staff to close the road last October, just two weeks after it reopened, in the interests of public safety after a death at Lawyers Head.

His actions later won retrospective approval by councillors through a vote.

The report to be considered next week said consultation was required because the road was a way of access that formed part of the Ocean Beach Domain, rather than a legal road.

It was mentioned in the domain's management plan, which also required consultation as part of any change to the plan.

The Reserves Act 1977 also required compliance with the management plan.

Confirmation of the road's future would end a long-running tug-of-war between those who wanted it closed to traffic, for public safety and recreational reasons, and those who wanted it kept open to vehicles.

The report recommended staff be authorised to begin the consultation process.

The consultation

How long will it take?

Six weeks to notify intention to partially review Ocean Beach management plan (including John Wilson Ocean Dr); invite submissions.
Four weeks to review submissions; draft amendments to plan.
Eight weeks to publicly notify amended plan.
Four weeks to analyse submissions; draft report.
Three weeks for public hearing; uphold, partially uphold or decline submissions.
Two weeks to amend plan.
Six weeks for approval of amended plan by council (depending on meeting cycles).
Four weeks for approval of amended plan by Conservation Minister Tim Groser.

Total: 37 weeks (minimum).


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