“Out of control council staff should know this is the beginning of scrutiny & accountability” – top lawyer

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jun 07, 2023 |

Top Christchurch lawyer Storm McVay slams council’s decision to change Park Terrace without public consultation

A prominent Christchurch lawyer has slammed Christchurch Council staff for putting in a cycleway along Park Terrace.

Councillors have been listening to submissions on Wednesday over the contentious issue.

Staff added the cycle lane on Park Terrace as part of “temporary traffic management” despite an existing shared pathway just metres from the road.

A bus stop was also installed on the now single lane road, forcing traffic to back up when a bus comes along.

Lawyer Storm McVay said there was no problem on Park Terrace that needed a solution, as cycle tracks were flanked on both side of the river.

“Worse, these unauthorised and ill-considered changes to Park Terrace have actually created serious issues, congestion, not only on Park Terrace but in all the streets leading into it.”

McVay said there was now increased emissions caused by congestion.

“You don’t get smoothing of traffic whilst waiting behind a bus in the middle of a line.”

McVay pointed to other concerns including health and safety by adding “pointless additional crossing points at two busy intersections.”

“It is not okay to put a bus stop in the middle of the only traffic lane. There is no mandate for this. Councillors need to take decisive action to address this mistake and its consequences and vote in favour of this notice of motion.”

The notice of motion requires staff to restore Park Terrace to its original layout and staff would be required to seek approval from councillors first before conducting additional traffic management work.

McVay took a swipe at members of Christchurch’s cycling lobbyists, some of whom were sitting in the public gallery wearing cycle helmets and medical masks.

“The productive people, that’s most them that can’t be here today – that’s the payers of rates, not the squanderers of them – thousands of us have actually have had enough.

“This madness has gone too far. And this is not just about Park Terrace.

“This is a tipping point. Christchurch City Council and its out of control staff should know this is the beginning of scrutiny and accountability.”

Councillor Sara Templeton

Councillor Sara Templeton said “I’m just wondering if you said that there was no problem to be solved, it’s probably no problem on the road – what about the conflicts on the on the shared path?”

McVay promptly responded “there has been no issue with the shared path in the last 10 years – not one.”

Templeton then asked “Do you believe two or three cars waiting behind a bus (on Park Terrace) outweighs the ability for kids to cross the road safely to get to school?”

“I don’t think that’s the issue here at all. McVay said. “I think you’re misstating the proposition.”

“So you don’t believe that there’s any safety issues with kids crossing there?” asked Templeton

“I think there are increased safety issues as a result of the changes of the traffic layout” McVay said.

Another submitter wasn’t happy that councillors voiced their public displeasure.

“It is the reality that staff exist for a reason, which is to provide you with expert advice and to make decisions under delegation” he said.

“The cycleway is currently under consultation. It has not been received or looked at by the community board.”

But as McVay pointed out “I note that it’s been referred to as consultation, as far as I’m aware, and I am a lawyer myself, consultation occurs in advance of doing something not a retrospective justification of it.”

The meeting continues on Wednesday afternoon

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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