Drop-in sessions leave residents dissatisfied

CROWDED: Around 60 people turned out to at a drop-in session on the Harewood, Breens and Gardiners junction at the Bishopdale Community Centre

Residents who live near the controversial Harewood, Breens and Gardiners Rds intersection have called drop-in sessions “a waste of time.”

Sessions were held last Tuesday at Breens Intermediate and Thursday at Bishopdale Community Centre for residents to learn more about two options to improve safety at the intersection.

Option one, which is the city council’s preferred choice, is to make Gardiners and BreensRds left-turn in and left-turn out only by closing the median on Harewood Rd.

Option two is to install traffic lights at the intersection.

Since consultation opened on May 6, the city council has received 662 submissions from

the public.

Residents were told at the beginning of Thursday’s drop-in session they would need to wait until after the presentation to ask questions in four small groups, with one member of the project team at each table.

But when Harewood resident Terry Donaldson then questioned the “controlled” environment of the session, it was met with applause.

Mr Donaldson lives near Nunweek Park and uses the intersection often to visit his daughter on Seddon St.

He said the proposed U-turn option would not meet the needs of the community and that traffic lights were the appropriate “long-term answer.”

But he was hoping to hear other residents’ thoughts on the matter.

“You’ve got to have an open meeting. One resident might trigger an idea for another,” he said.

Northwood resident Suzanne Walker attended both meetings as she and her husband regularly use the intersection and want traffic lights installed.

Ms Walker said at the meeting on Tuesday, around 50 residents were not told they could not ask questions publicly until after the presentation.

“There was a very strong vibe of frustration at the meeting,” she said.

Transport planning and delivery manager Lynette Ellis said the idea of the smaller groups was for people to get information face to face with one of the project team.

Ms Ellis said the project team listened to the ideas of residents and discussed common themes after the sessions finished.

City councillor Aaron Keown called the process a “cop-out.”

In response to the demand from residents, Cr Keown will host an informal meeting in the Bishopdale Community Centre from 6-7pm on Thursday.

Cr Keown has organised the session and is paying to hire the hall out of his own pocket as it is not a council event.

“If some members of the public want to vent and have big public meetings, we should do that.

“I’ve never seen passion around an intersection quite like this one,” Cr Keown said.

He said he will not influence any of the resident’s decision-making at the meeting and will just provide information on the consultation and how to make a submission.

Cr Keown asked Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board chairman Sam

MacDonald about the possibility of the board hosting the event.

But Mr MacDonald said it was not a good idea.

“I’ve made it clear to Cr Keown that if he wishes to host his own public meeting it’s up to him. But certainly, from a board member’s point of view, we want to go to the council with a credible recommendation.”

“The last thing I want to do is pit the community against council staff.”

Public consultation will be open until June 10.

  • If you want to have your say, visit: https://ccc.govt.nz/the-council/consultations-and-submissions/haveyoursay/

1 COMMENT

  1. Drop-in sessions are held in the Fall and Winter terms Monday to Friday from m to 12 noon. In the summer, they are held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from m to 12 noon.

Comment