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Major speed limit reductions may be on the way across the whole of the Queenstown Lakes district, but not before the public gets a say.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has proposed a new speed limits bylaw, to replace its bylaw adopted a decade ago, and council officers presented its statement of proposal to councillors at its full meeting on Thursday.
Several speed limit reductions have been proposed, including reducing all urban traffic areas from 50kmh to 40kmh, the town centres of Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown from 50kmh to 30kmh, and the Crown Range Rd from 100kmh to 80kmh and even 60kmh in parts.
The changes bemused councillors and Mayor Jim Boult, who said going 60kmh on the Crown Range would "put us all to sleep".
Council chief executive Mike Theelan and acting strategy and asset planning manager Polly Lambert stressed the proposal was in direct response to the introduction of the New Zealand Transport Agency's speed management guide and the commencement of the new setting of speed limits rule 2017 which requires councils to set safe and appropriate speeds across their road network. Upon completing its speed management review last year after the guide's framework, it was recommended 40 sealed rural roads and 15 urban areas in the district required a speed reduction.
The community would have the opportunity to submit on the proposed changes, and Mr Theelan said if the public did not wish to reduce some limits, council would be forced to invest in the roads affected in order to get them up to government standard.
"It's a bit of a Catch-22 situation," he said.
Cr Scott Stevens, who was appointed to the panel to hear submissions, said all he wanted was to hear the thoughts from the community and had an "open mind" to what he might hear.
The new bylaw will make it easier for the council to be able to change speed limits on a case-by-case basis in the future, through a resolution rather than a full amendment.
The council would still have to carry out public consultation before making any permanent speed changes.
Public consultation begins on Monday and submissions must be made by April 12 at 5pm.
Information drop-in sessions will also be held across the region over the coming weeks.