Hagley Park hospital parking ‘logical’

Group has been established as caretakers of Hagley Park.

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

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.”

Andrew Dickerson – health board member: “I would be in favour of parking in Hagley Park on a temporary basis, providing there was a commitment from the Ministry of Health that car parking building would definitely be part of development within a period of two to three years.”

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.”

Aaron Keown – health board member: “The problem is it’s a temporary solution. We need to move for permanent solution and make that happen as soon as we can. So we need something sensible on the table, not something far-fetched like this.”

Nicky Wagner

Nicky Wagner – National Christchurch Central MP and Greater Christchurch Regeneration minister: “It will be extremely divisive, because we do hold Hagley extremely close to our hearts. But 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. There’s logic in this, especially if it’s for a set length of time. There may be other options around the city which will do the same job, but I’m open to considering it.”

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.”

Martin Meehan – Hands Off Hagley spokesman: “This is temporary and for the greater good so I wouldn’t be out there with placards. Logic would say yes, it’s an ideal spot to use, but you have to say for goodness sake where is the planning around parking? This should never have been allowed to happen.”

Garry Moore – former mayor: “We do have a parking problem but that is not the solution. The park is too important for little incremental subdivisions to be taken, so I’m absolutely, pathologically against it. But just because something’s controversial doesn’t mean you shouldn’t face up to it and debate it.”

Duncan Webb

Duncan Webb – Labour Christchurch Central candidate: “There is merit in considering it. If this is the best option for the next three years let’s not be precious about it, but let’s also ask what other sites in the area are not going to be used for the next three years, because I believe there are a few.”

Deon Swiggs – Christchurch Central Ward city councillor:“In principal I’m not against but I’m not for it as a kneejerk reaction. My biggest gripe is that we just spent $1.2 million upgrading it. [Mr Meates] could have come and asked us, and options were available. If we’d had that conversation before we spent all this money on redoing the grounds, the conversation could have been different.”

Simon Templeton – Age Concern chief executive: “The park and ride is really good service but it isn’t usable for people who have even just moderate mobility issues, so a solution is needed for the short, medium and long term. There were strong opinions both ways even just around the office this morning, but that’s no reason to avoid a debate.”

Christin Watson – NZ Nurses Organisation Christchurch organiser: “We don’t think it needs to be considered, because there’s plenty of land around that could be used for something like a park and ride scheme. We see more medium to longer term options being needed, because it’s going to take a long time to get a parking building built.”

Trish Adams – CDHB Consumer Council chairwoman: “The fields on the corner were recently regrassed and it’s looking superb so it would be a shame to dig it up, but I think in amongst the trees would be an immenantly suitable location, and it would be away from the playing fields and the area used for the rescue helicopter.”

Yani Johanson – city councillor: “Council has spent a considerable amount of money repairing and upgrading the sports fields on the Hospital Corner, so I don’t think people would be keen to see that money wasted for a temporary car park. Any money spent is better going into the permanent solution.”