Mayor refuses to recognise chaos created by buses and council-imposed parking changes in the CBD.
Dunedin City Council moves to activate commercial activity in the city’s warehouse district south of the Queens Gardens pose risks for existing business, gallery owner says.
### DScene 31 Oct 2012
Businesses slam council focus (page 5)
By Wilma McCorkindale
David McLean was adding his voice to jeweller Brent Weatherall’s recent criticism of the council’s support of business in the city. Weatherall said the Dunedin City Council (DCC) was dictatorial rather than consultative on some aspects of its economic development strategy, in the wake of a battle over the proposed council banning of footpath signs. Otago Chamber of Commerce retail committee members believed consultation was largely ignored, Weatherall said.
The council needed to focus on parking concerns and attracting businesses into empty main street shops.
Constant requests for a CBD shuttle appeared to have been ignored, even though [McLean] mooted it several times. He believed a free or cheap shuttle would help circulate shoppers throughout the city business district. The Otago Regional Council, which administers public transport in the city, did not have a responsibility for keeping activity going in the CBD, he said. “And yet buses are an issue for that.”
Transport issues in the city held the town to ransom, especially struggling businesses south of the Octagon, some of which had already been forced to shut. “Now we’ve got a focus on the new warehouse district. They’re going to end up with a city ghost town.”
Concerns over loss of main street parking, replaced in some cases by bus stops – with buses sitting on them pumping out dirty diesel – remained a problem. [McLean] had repeatedly asked for free 30-minute parks to be reinstated in the main street to encourage people into the Princes St side of the Octagon. However, the loss of parks continued to be an issue in the wake of council’s botched 2009 parking restructure, he said.
“Council is very aware of the strength of the main street – of the main shopping street,” Cull said. “We wouldn’t do anything to compromise that.”
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the council consulted widely with the business community as well as those in the wider community, and that such decisions did not always please everyone. Some may have misunderstood the focus of the proposed warehousing precinct, which was intended to have a creative and residential focus. Cull understood parking issues had been sorted.
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