“Cost is astronomical” council under fire for 3.7 million cycleways in just one city block

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 12, 2022 |

The Christchurch City Council is under fire for its decision to replace “much-needed car parks near the hospital” with 3.7 million dollars worth of cycleways.

The project, on Antigua Street from Moorhouse Avenue to St Asaph Street, was given the green light at Wednesday’s council meeting, but not before concerns were raised about the cost and transparency.

Mayoral Candidate Phil Mauger

The project includes installing a separated cycleway on both sides of the road, removing unrestricted parking spaces, and changing the speed restriction from 50km/hr to 30 km/hr.

Staff received just 29 submissions between 16 February 2022 and 15 March 2022. Council said the majority of submitters, that being 16, supported the changes.

One response was strongly against and 12 were generally supportive but wanted more enhancements.

However, council staff said the question did not specifically ask about support or not.

Councillor Yani Johanson voted against the cycleway spend up.

Councillor Yani Johanson voted against the project and said “the cost was astronomical when Council still had greater priorities for munted roads to be fixed in the east that had their renewals deferred for over a decade.”

He said he still had concerns about the safety of the design and access for emergency service vehicles.

“I fail to see why this design wasn’t incorporated into the Metro Sports design within its land rather than having to be an expensive alteration to an existing road.”

Mayoral candidate Phil Mauger condemned the project saying “90 per cent of the car parking will be removed one block from the hospital where it is desperately needed!”

Councillor Sam MacDonald said “why are we spending so much on areas that don’t need it? This decision is so out of touch with the needs of ratepayers.”

The Hearings Panel consisted of People’s Choice Councillor Melanie Coker, outgoing Councillor Jimmy Chen, and Green Party-aligned Councillor Sara Templeton.

In Wednesday’s Council report, the price tag of $3,713,067, was not highlighted in the usual agenda. Instead it was “buried” in a staff report.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Councillor Aaron Keown asked the Council’s head of transport planning Lynette Ellis why the large figure wasn’t included for “joe public” to read.

Ellis responded “they are there, in the staff report attached to this report that is part of this paperwork for this hearings report. “ But admitted it should have been on the main report.

Watch what happened when staff were questioned about the cycleways.

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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