Retailers have vented their anger about the Dunedin City Council’s decision to make the city’s main shopping street one-way for traffic and tilted towards pedestrian use.
One called the vote for a one-way George St a ‘‘slap in the face’’ for retailers.
Another took aim at Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins by mocking up a picture of his face on a dart board.
However, the Otago Chamber of Commerce spoke up in support of a revamp of the George St area.
Some work is scheduled to start as early as October 18, but surrounding rather than in George St and it will stop in December.
Councillors voted on Tuesday 9-5 for one-way traffic for George St in a southern direction, towards the Octagon, starting at Frederick St.
George St jeweller Brent Weatherall had previously presented a petition to the council with 6500 signatures in opposition to the redevelopment.
Yesterday, he mocked up a picture of Mr Hawkins on a dart board which he posted to social media, and got a sign printed announcing Mr Hawkins was ‘‘banned’’.
He called the council a joke.
Fellow jeweller John Bezett said the council was too easily influenced by the development’s designers.
Councillors had given retailers a ‘‘slap in the face’’.
Mr Hawkins said there was a spectrum of opinion in the business community.
‘‘Some are quite vocal and opposed and this is understandable,’’ Mr Hawkins said.
‘‘Change is scary and people are anxious, particularly in the current business environment.’’
Retailers spoken to by the Otago Daily Times yesterday were mostly against a one-way George St, but shoppers were more mixed in their views.
Modaks Espresso owner Jack Bradbury said the changes should be positive for the city.
The George St businessman could envisage tables, chairs and a safer, enjoyable space.
Mr Bradbury called the council’s decision brave.
‘‘I like it,’’ he said.
‘‘I guess, whether it’s the right call, time will tell.’’
Ms Aldridge-Masters said the upgrade should result in people staying longer in the city centre.
A small number of car parks would be lost, but not as many as might have been if councillors had preferred a redevelopment that retained two-way traffic.
The four blocks in George St set to be redeveloped have 97 spaces for parking, loading zones and bus stops; this would be cut to 78 in the one-way model, and further to 60 if the two-way revamp design had been preferred.
Two-way traffic will be retained between Frederick and Albany Sts, but that is part of the redevelopment.
Otago Sports Depot owner Brent Davies said the council’s scheme was ‘‘madness’’.
‘‘My big frustration is no-one ever comes and talks to us.
‘‘They don’t want to hear our voices,’’ he said.
Void Clothing owner Neil Gaudin said the changes could drive shoppers away.
However, Disabled Persons Assembly networker Chris Ford said they would be positive for the wider disability community.
‘‘The new streetscape design will give greater opportunities for disabled people to navigate around,’’ he said.
‘‘It will make the area more accessible and inclusive for everyone.’’