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Roads Through Cashel Mall

Council is acting in the interests of retailers .. but retailers "don't want roads"

4 Apr 2007

Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board member Paul de Spa will launch a "No Roads Through City Mall" petition today, after finding that a majority of City Mall retailers oppose the City Council's plans to bring vehicle traffic into the Mall.

In addition, Mr de Spa has discovered a "state of confusion" around the Mall plans, with retailers and submitters on the plan saying they have received no communication from Council since the decision was made on 21 December last year.

"Council's own policy, and the Local Government Act, require that the outcomes of the decision are communicated back to everyone who was consulted (1). The process hasn't been followed, and as a result retailers and members of the public are totally confused about what the plans are, and about whether the final decision has actually been made yet," said Mr de Spa.

"For example I spoke to a retailer who believed that extending the tramway was a definite part of the plan. In fact it is a suggested , and as yet unbudgeted , add-on. It could be that some of the small number of shop-owners who do support the roads are basing their support on false expectations."

"I believe the blame for this state of confusion lies with city councillors. Ensuring that consultation policies are followed is part of their governance role," he said.

But Mr de Spa's biggest surprise after talking to 30 City Mall business-owners was the level of opposition to roads through the City Mall.

"Two-thirds of the retailers I spoke with were adamantly opposed to putting vehicles though the Mall. The remaining third was split between supporters of the roads and those who were neutral about their likely effect."

"The retailers gave reasons such as the noise and dirt that vehicles would bring to the City Mall, the likely drop in foot traffic, and loss of trees. Nearly all of them had suggestions for how Council might enhance the Mall without building the roads," said Mr de Spa.

Mr de Spa believes that his discussions with retailers make a mockery of Council's stated rationale for its City Mall road plans.

"We've been told that the roads plan is essential for the survival of businesses in the Mall. But the business owners are saying no thanks. The business group that Council has been liaising with has seemingly not represented a majority view," he said.

Many City Mall small-business owners submitted on the plans last year, as did hundreds of other people. Although the architects presented Councillors with a compromise plan, which incorporated some of the feedback, councillors voted (in a 7-6 vote) to adopt the pre-consultation proposal as its final plan (2).

"The decision was made just before Christmas, and submitters have never been notified of the Council's decision. That is a disgrace," said Mr de Spa.

Mr de Spa's petition asks Council to "change its plan to destroy City Mall by putting traffic through." He intends to gather several thousand signatures over the next two months. The petition will be available on the counters of many City Mall shops following its official launch at 1pm today.

ENDS

Paul de Spa is a member of the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board, and has been a spokesperson for the Christchurch Green Party on urban development issues.

Paul and supporters will be in City Mall on Friday lunchtime to launch the petition.

Phone 027 676 2824
Email: p.despa@paradise.net.nz

(1) The CCC's Consultation policy (http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Policy/ConsultationPolicy.asp) states:
"Feedback - we will provide information regarding the outcome of the decision making process and the reasons for the decisions."
This reflects the Principles of Consultation in the Local Government Act 2002 Section 82(1)(f)

(2) The voting record was:
For: Garry Moore, Barry Corbett, Bob Parker, Carole Evans, David Cox, Bob Shearing, Gail Sheriff
Against: Graham Condon, Sue Wells, Pat Harrow, Sally Buck, Norm Withers, Helen Broughton
Absent: Anna Crighton

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http://www.ccc.govt.nz/CentralCity/Projects/CityMall/introduction.asp

http://www.publicaddress.net/system/topic,79,cashel_mall_beautiful_people.sm;jsessionid=22366FA144A8DD61309AD6F1C2FFD9B2

Also . Download the petition attached below