OPINION: Port company should do the right thing for ferry users

Construction of a carpark on Lyttelton wharf near walkways for ferry passengers.

Diamond Harbour resident and Banks Peninsula Community Board Mt Herbert representative, Felix Dawson, is unhappy with proposed changes to the ferry terminal

Lyttelton Port Company is currently in the process of upgrading the Diamond Harbour ferry terminal services. This includes a re-configured waiting area, replacement of the previously removed pedestrian bridge and reduction of the bus parking area. The reduced bus area will exclude the opportunity for car drop-offs on the wharf, and possibly remove the bus pick-up service, relocating it to Norwich Quay. So the ferry upgrade involves a reduction in service.

Black Cat has recently advised the Banks Peninsula Community Board that the ferry service provides more than 100,000 passenger trips annually. This is made up of residents and visitors. For Diamond Harbour residents, the alternative transport option is a 35min winding drive. A recent slip off the side of the road in Church Bay has reduced the road to one lane. Any more slippage and the road is gone, with the only alternative a back road – little more than a badly paved stock route currently littered with sink holes, arising it would seem from a poorly laid sewer. If these roads become unusable – which is possible – the ferry becomes the only access to Diamond Harbour.

The ferry service matters.

LPC is currently proposing to reduce the service to “make better utilisation of the land”. That is, to provide car parks for its staff who are being shifted into their new offices about 400m away. So is the best utilisation car parking for about 100 people or public transport for 100,000?

What is it with LPC? When it applied for a 40ha land reclamation consent, it argued that among other benefits, it would enable logs to be shifted from in front of Norwich Quay. It has reclaimed about 10ha which is now covered in newly-imported parked cars. LPC recently advised the board that moving the logs is 10 years away.

On day one of the harbour dredging consent, the first question to LPC from the commissioner, fresh from reading about the new cruise ship berth to be built, was: Is the dredging required for the cruise ships?

The LPC representative smoothly advised the panel that the answer was no, as the cruise ships have a shallow draft. We are now told that the appeal on the granting of the dredging consent will delay the cruise ship berth. Sorry local businesses.

Now we have a multi-million dollar must-have office build without adequate parking, and for the sake of one bus park the poor old commuters will have to walk.

Come on LPC – you guys are paid the big bucks. Do the job, do the right thing. Start talking to the users.

Retain the current ferry service.