New Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Nicky Wagner has supported using Hagley Park for temporary hospital car parking, calling it “logical.”
The idea has been discussed by the Canterbury District Health Board as a temporary solution to the growing parking problems around the hospital.
But both mayor Lianne Dalziel and CDHB chief executive David Meates have dismissed it, saying it is not something they are considering.
But a street poll and questions to health board members and other public figures by The Star this week suggest the pair are out of touch.
Mrs Wagner said using Hagley park’s Hospital Corner as a temporary solution to the car parking crisis the idea was logical, and she would like to see it considered.
“I live close to Hagley Park and walk through it and it’s often just a large empty space, so I’d like to see it used,” she said.
However, she said she would be “really careful” about what a proposal might look like and the limits set around it.
She planned to encourage all the agencies involved, including the city council and Government, to collaborate and look at all options, including Hagley Park, she said.
Mr Meates told The Star last week the idea was “not being considered, and it is not going to be as it’s not an option”.
He then told other media after The Star article appeared: “We are really conscious about the sensitivities of Hagley Park. There is a lot of strongly held views around Hagley Park.”
Mr Meates is on leave and could not be reached for comment about the reaction to The Star article.
Ms Dalziel did not alter her stance this week – a city council spokeswoman saying that the mayor’s comments in The Star last week stood. Ms Dalziel would not give a personal opinion on the use of Hagley Park for temporary hospital parking, and it was something she was not considering putting to the council.
A report by Development Christchurch in January found up to 2000 extra car parks would be needed in the area long-term, and about 3000 extra needed during the hospital rebuild.
Last week The Star asked whether part of Hagley Park should be sealed for a temporary Christchurch Hospital car park. Here is what city leaders had to say.
Those who would not give an opinion:
– Mayor Lianne Dalziel
– David Meates – CDHB chief executive
Those who did not respond:
– Mark Solomon – acting health board chairman
– Chris Mene – health board member
– Sally Buck – health board member
– David Morrell – health board member
Jo Kane – health board member: “I have asked questions about it, but I think the option for using Hagley is gone because of the development done there, So I believe at this point there are no feasible options in the park. Bigger picture I feel an opportunity has been lost in this city to address hospital access.”
Anna Crighton – health board member:“I would approve of it with conditions: That there would be no permanent asphalting, that it was a set, finite period, and with security. I do understand that Hagley Park is sacrosanct, but there are times when adversity kicks in and it is needed, so long as it is temporary and reversible.”
Megan Woods – Labour Canterbury Issues spokeswoman: “Controversy usually causes delay, so there is no point embarking on a proposal when all the signals you’re receiving are that you‘re going to get bogged down in a huge public debate. Let’s instead be pragmatic about this and think about solutions that will fix the problem without causing a big argument.”