Well, the Council have voted on the city’s official position with respect to central government’s proposed traffic improvements near the Basin Reserve.
Rather than NZTA’s proposed flyover Options A and B, the Council are instead advocating for a tunnel from Taranaki Street to the Mt Vic Tunnel. A victory for the Arch centre’s efforts – yes and no. We managed to put a tunnel on the agenda when it might not otherwise have been(?), and we have certainly gone some way to achieving our objectives of raising the issue of urban design more generally.
This result is also, however, in stark contrast to the earlier breathless reporting of the DomPost, which touted the Council’s draft submission as if it were the final voted-upon position – a “kiss of death” for the tunnel option according to that article. Nothing like sloppy/misreporting of facts to support an editorial agenda I guess. Yes, I am still really peeved that they reported our efforts as nothing but delaying tactics – we put a lot of work into OptionX as a genuine alternative – I doubt there has ever been any chance of it causing any sort of delay to the process, and I doubt we would have that kind of Machiavellian cunning to have thought up such a plan anyway.
Nevertheless, Burgess (the DomPost reporter), may well have provided serendipitous insight into what might end up being the final outcome after all. The Council, in voting in favour of a project vastly more expensive than Options A or B, and OptionX, is likely to see that part of their submission overlooked in favour of their otherwise fall-back endorsement of NZTA’s Option A. By advocating an extensive tunnel, they may well have given that “kiss of death” to any tunnel at all. This is why the result may also be something of a loss for us. Only time will tell.
I am certainly glad that the Wade-Brown led Council has put forward a principled position for the betterment of the city – big ups to them for that.
For the record RadioNZ reports the following:
For: Justin Lester, Bryan Pepperell, Helene Ritchie, Iona Pannett, Stephanie Cook, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Andy Foster and Paul Eagle.
Against: Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Ngaire Best, Jo Coughlan, Leonie Gill, Ian McKinnon, Simon Marsh and John Morrison.
The narrow margin would appear to contradict the force of opinion of the people whom the Councillor’s are supposed to be representing however. While it’s too early to know what the results of the public submissions to NZTA might be, in the 2008 Ngauranga to Airport strategy consultation, Wellington’s public rejected a flyover by a ratio greater than 2:1. DomPost’s own readers poll also indicates that the general public endorse the Council’s decision – by a much more significant margin than the actual Council votes (which makes the DomPost’s editorial stance even harder to fathom – but good on them for speaking out for the 15% of their readers who actually agree with them).
Online polls are famously fickle though, so perhaps we’ll not cite that latter statistic as ‘fact’. Certainly our own online poll, which indicates our own reader’s preference for Option A is proof of that. Of the 350 votes cast, about 100 are from two IP addresses. I won’t mention which prominent architectural firm where one of these computers is located, but it seems rather a pathetic thing to do by any means. For the record, with those votes eliminated, our stats fall roughly in-line with those mentioned in the paragraph above. Yes, there is some double-voting in some of the other voting options, but nothing anywhere near as remarkable as the flyover proponents.
We’ll all have to wait until early next year for NZTA’s release of the consultation results for the real story though…