Criticism erupts over decision not to start roading project early

The chance of work on the Oram Ave extension in New Brighton not starting as soon as hoped has received heavy criticism online.

Pegasus Post reported last week the city council did not approve the Coastal-Burwood Community Board’s Annual Plan request to make $400,000 available between now and 2021 so the extension of Oram Ave from New Brighton mall to Hawke St could start sooner than 2026.

City council transport planning and delivery manager Lynette Ellis said the city council asked for more information on the project’s funding needs before making the money available.

Coastal Ward city councillor David East was disappointed with this decision, saying it could take “a few months” for the information to be provided, which could delay the project starting and negatively impact on businesses in the suburb.

Last week’s article was posted on the Peoples Independent Republic of New Brighton Facebook group and received 156 comments from people who shared Cr East’s disappointment.

“Again, and again and again – poor old New Brighton on the backburner once more,” read one comment.

Another read: “Once again, the mayor, council, and Development Christchurch Ltd are throwing the residents of New Brighton, who want to see their neighbourhood move forward with the extension of Oram Ave, under the bus regarding this much-needed improvement for the area. It would be so nice if just once they would stick to the plan and get things completed as planned.”

Said another comment: “I’m prepared to start a petition about Oram Ave and progressing New Brighton development. What do you all think?”

Some commentators wanted the city councillors who opposed the funding being made available sooner for the extension to be named, but Cr East said this never went to a vote.

He said if it had, he felt the proposal would not have been supported and in spite of it not being his preferred option, asking for more information ensured the proposal was still on the table.

However, Cr East said he was “not surprised at all” the commenters shared his concern about the delay this could have.

“When matters concerning the Coastal Ward and the Burwood Ward are considered in council, it’s never a straight forward process, there’s always more consultation required or some delay.

“A similar sort of project anywhere else in the city seems to sort of go through with consummate ease.”

When asked to comment on Cr East’s statements, and those on Facebook, the city council did not respond before Pegasus Post’s deadline.