Evacuation concerns: Frustration mounts over subdivision exit issues

Drivers exiting Prestons Park on Prestons Park Drive (turning into Prestons Rd) face congestion...
Drivers exiting Prestons Park on Prestons Park Drive (turning into Prestons Rd) face congestion due to the number of cars trying to leave through one main exit. Photo: Supplied
Residents who find it difficult driving out of their subdivision due to congestion are frustrated with the lack of progress towards installing a second main exit.

Prestons Park has about 12,000 sections, occupied by a rough estimate of 2700 people with one main exit out of Prestons Park Drive onto Prestons Rd.

Lyn Bunn.
Lyn Bunn.
Lyn Bunn, who lives in the subdivision, said an exit has been planned to lead onto Mairehau Rd for years now, but residents are still waiting for it to be built.

“Everyone that’s bought a section out here has been promised ‘oh yes, the entrance way will be up and running shortly’. This is what they’ve been told for seven years,” she said.

“I was told the same thing when I bought a section here, and I bought this section over two years ago.”

Bunn said she is retired now so the back up doesn’t affect her as much but on weekends it’s particularly busy, making it difficult to leave the subdivision.

Waitai Coastal-Burwood Community Board chair Kelly Barber compared the subdivision to having a huge building with 3000-4000 people living there and only one door.

He said the cars trying to leave get “stacked up for miles” along Prestons Park Drive as people try to leave.

“Council’s been working on it and working with the developer for some time but the two parties can’t seem to get together and make it happen, and to be honest the people don’t really care, they just want their thing open.”

Professionals Real Estate agent Colin Lock, who sells sections at Prestons Park, said he shares the residents’ concerns with the lack of exit options and has done everything he can to facilitate getting the exit installed.

“The council told everyone that it would be starting in June, where they got that from I have no idea. Despite wanting to get it sorted, I can’t help them.”

He said, in spite of the issues with the lack of exits, he’s still had strong demand from people wanting to buy sections in the subdivision.

Bunn said there is an exit on Cameo Grove to Burwood Rd but, as it is narrow and doesn’t have a left and right turning lane, it isn’t a solution.

Christchurch City Council head of transport and waste management Lynette Ellis said staff and developers are working together to ensure they find solutions that meet the needs of both parties and provide the best value possible.

“Works on this intersection cannot begin until all approvals are in place. Council and developers are working together throughout the process to assess the impacts of any development on the wider council network,” Ellis said.

CDL Land, which is the company developing the subdivision, didn’t respond before deadline.

The alternative entrance to Prestons Park from Mairehau Rd is yet to be created. Photo: Supplied
The alternative entrance to Prestons Park from Mairehau Rd is yet to be created. Photo: Supplied
Bunn said she has had several discussions with city council transport staff and has been in contact with the developer and contractor as well as Barber and mayoral candidate Phil Mauger but a decision is yet to be reached.

“It’s like nobody wants to make a decision, it just goes round and round in a circle and as it keeps doing that it’s just never going to go anywhere,” she said.

“We’re paying relatively high rates over here and we’re not getting some of the services that go with those rates.”

She said it was also a health and safety issue if residents needed to evacuate.

“If there was a big emergency within the subdivision there’s only one way in for everything, it’s really just not good enough.”