Maurice Prendergast : Defence of 60 year old arterial corridor #2GP

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Council Evidence (PDF format)
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Received from Maurice Prendergast
Sun, 5 Feb 2017 at 12:19 a.m.

Lightly edited; maps added. -Eds

[click to enlarge]
data-map-2gp-land-information-for-mosgiel-roads2GP Data Map (Roads)

zone-map-2gp-mosgiel2GP Zone Map

Submission to DCC 2GP Hearing – Transportation
Submitter: Maurice Prendergast Feb 2017

In politics, just as in war, the first casualties are usually the truth.
This is no better illustrated than in the issues that have, over many decades; washed around Hagart-Alexander Drive, Mosgiel. The culture of dishonest comment that has characterised these issues is so extensive that it cannot be illustrated by thumbnail sketch, and though the temptation to condense this summary is real, the principles that represent the truth must never be compromised. Thus I crave your indulgence by presenting some facts that this DCC Transportation Report has not revealed to you.

Some sixty years ago when the Mosgiel Borough Council bordered the Taieri County Council, the collective ‘wise heads’ of those two Authorities opined that with a developing industrial activity in North Taieri there would be a future need to divert nuisance industrial traffic from Mosgiel mainstreet. While it must have seemed an impossible task, they managed a herculean (east side) land purchase corridor from Gordon Rd to the Silverstream. This must have been no mean feat to have had to deal with maybe scores of property owners. The wisdom of these pioneers did not end there; they pegged that corridor so that nobody should be in any doubt as to the Authorities’ intentions.

Not surprisingly the value of land bounding this corridor plummeted (who would want to own property next to an industrial traffic by-pass). But in the minds of the punters, the plan for this road was away in the future, and with the passage of time it became widely believed that it wasn’t going to happen and the Real Estate fraternity in particular perpetuated this mischief. Ignorance abounded and was so profound that it is said that in one case a bounding property owner (when building) sought planning departure to have his building platform set back to allow a greater recreational frontage. It mattered not that this robbed his backyard space; he had a whole roading corridor behind him; upon which he apparently built a tennis court. Such was the contempt in which the belief was held that the road would never be built.

With reference to ignorance, some of the biggest offenders (in my view) have been ‘property conveyancing’ solicitors who have not alerted clients to this impediment when purchasing property which bounds Hagart-Alexander Dr [HAD]. The impediment being that they were purchasing property which bounded a charted traffic by-pass. In my capacity as a former City Councillor I consistently fielded pleas from those who purchased ‘tainted’ properties that “nobody told me”. That unfortunately is the ‘downside’ of democracy. Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst kind of governance; that is, with the exception of all other kinds of governance.” In a democracy nobody is required to hold your hand. Blaming somebody because you didn’t know is simply not a remedy. Not knowing about the purpose of the HAD corridor is a case in point. Caveat Emptor! The early part of HAD (from Gordon Rd for some 800 metres) was developed many years ago with enormously wide berms to provide for eventual road widening. This alone should have alerted property purchasers. The reason it wasn’t developed to full width was to discourage the speed of domestic/hoon traffic.

Now, fast forward to around the turn of this century. Amongst much weeping and gnashing of teeth, the HAD was then developed onward to intersect with Factory Rd. Property owners in Glenbrook Drive (whose rear) bounded HAD became unreasonably hysterical because “they had been told” that the corridor would never be developed. Nobody could say who told them so (probably somebody in the pub), but the People’s Document, the District Plan (to which they or their solicitor should have referred when purchasing) clearly showed the ‘roading drawings’ of the Authority’s intention. This was a classic case of people asking Council to hold the property owners’ hands, and so hysterical were their claims that the Council (quite improperly in my belief) released to them all, four metres from the road corridor to allow them to construct ‘noise abating’ bunding. This bunding has never been constructed.

Then came one of the most torturous exercises of my political life. The Council was obliged to extend HAD across Factory Rd and beyond the Silverstream to Carncross St/Dukes Rd as planned. But there was the matter of rural zoned land on the seaward side of HAD and an application to rezone that land was in gestation (Mosgiel East Variation A). It was I who chaired a Working Party in year 2000 entitled ‘Heavy Vehicle Routes over Taieri Plain Working Party’, with a brief to study (not only) HAD but any route across the Taieri. To me it was a ridiculous brief. Land purchases alone for other route options were perceived to be enormous in relation to HAD where Council owned all the necessary land. The Working Party as I recall was dripping with prejudice and self interest and my memory is that the Working Party was dissolved without a comprehensible conclusion. However, in November 2001, the Working Party was reborn under the title of ‘Mosgiel By-Pass Working Party’, with Terms of Reference that removed the prejudice of the former Working Party.

A Christchurch consultancy (Gabitees–Porter) engaged by transportation manager, the late Don Hill supported that Working Party and provided ‘in depth’ costings on all routes (Highway 87, Alanton/Outram, Riccarton Rd and HAD). Not surprisingly HAD, both economically and environmentally, came out light years ahead of the rest; largely because it was the ‘greenest’ route and Council owned the whole of the proposed corridor, and it was by far the shortest route. As an instance, and as I recall, in the case of the Riccarton Rd option, the land purchase cost to relocate that huge main trunk drainage channel across the Taieri alone (that runs parallel to Riccarton Rd), was in the vicinity of twice the cost of bridging the Silverstream for [the] HAD/Centre St extension option.

I have absolutely no intention to go into any further detail. It’s all in Council’s archives if only today’s planners bothered to research the work we did and the costs the ratepayers met some 10 to 12 years ago, to find that the historically planned HAD/Cairncross St route is the only rational consideration, and in terms of travel, the only “Green Option”.

Now, let’s address this report’s recommendations. The author makes the stunning observation that land adjacent to HAD is now predominantly Residential 1. This comment has absolutely no merit whatsoever because he/she is silent on the fact that when that residential activity arose the property developer/purchaser had the opportunity to be aware that the District Plan warns that HAD is a planned traffic by-pass; and further, that the [Mosgiel East Structure Plan] for this development anticipates the issue that [the City Planner] bleats about by demanding (as a condition of development) not only double glazing, but a three metre bunding strip between road corridor and property boundary. Every property purchaser bounding this road had the opportunity to know all these facts when purchasing. There is absolutely no need for the City [Planner] to be [assisting] property owners by crafting a new District Plan simply to remedy their foolishness; to the extent that hugely expensive roading ‘route changes’ are made. I say CAVEAT EMPTOR! This [City] Planner’s recommendation has no merit and should not be considered.

I therefore submit that for the above reasons, the recommendation that HAD/Centre St/Centre St extension be dismissed due to nuisance factor to residential properties is absolutely without merit and should not be considered.

Further to this, I find the whole narrative under the title Recommendation (page 136) to be sloppy, naïve, and seemingly uninformed. For instance, reference to Centre Rd sends the reader on a fruitless ‘voyage of discovery’ to Momona before one deduces that the writer in fact is referring to Centre St. Then the writer makes the profound discovery that for the HAD/Centre St option, a bridge would be required over the Silverstream. Well nothing new here; we’ve known that for the 60 years that the route has been planned – we would have to build a bridge for vehicles to cross a stream. No need for a Harvard education to work that one out. And how’s this for a bizarre chunk of ‘planning brilliance’, and I quote from the [City Planner’s] words: “My understanding is that the Industrial zoned land near the Taieri Airport has access via Dukes Rd North and South which provides a link directly to State Highway 87 and State Highway 1 via Riccarton Rd.” I am absolutely stunned and at a loss to make a comment that would be within the bounds of acceptable behaviour; but I shall try by saying ‘what kind of manic thinking would influence an individual serving the City Of Dunedin, to plan the passage of (say) heavy vehicles to by-pass State Highway 87 (State funded) and its safely constructed interchange with State Highway 1 (as the Planner does) but instead send them rumbling along a ratepayer funded collector road (Riccarton Rd) to a blood curdling blind intersection with State Highway 1. There is surely something quite perverse about a Local Authority that will propose a transportation network that will by-pass a State Highway (State funded) in favour of lumbering off to a faraway road funded by the Authority’s hapless ratepayers; belching CO2 gases as they go. WORDS FAIL ME!

The bulk of what I am reading on page 136 of the Transportation Report is (in my view) state of the art madness. Where on earth is the Gabites-Porter report that flowed from the torturous years of work we did with transportation planners Phil Dowset and Don Hill, that showed (from memory) an arterial route via HAD/Carncross St generated a BC Rating of 6.4 and the attendant enormous State funded subsidy while Riccarton Rd with the costs of land purchases, travel times, travel distances and fuel emissions etc did not even register a BC Rating and thus no State subsidy. The reader (or my audience) may think that I’m being petulant; but not so. Sloppy, inaccurate or remissive reporting, is usually in my view indicative of wider indiscipline. As an instance, why does the recommendation not make reference to the Environment Court directive regarding noise mitigation in HAD/Centre St (3 metre bunding and double glazing) and yet the recommendation in promoting Riccarton Rd East as a favoured route is silent on any concerns about the discomfort caused by arterial traffic to single glazed and non-bunded residential 1 properties. The sanctity of the Environment Court has effectively been defiled by ignoring (at East Taieri) the disciplines imposed at HAD, Centre St, and Centre St extension. The Environment Court imposed those noise mitigation disciplines at HAD/Centre St/Centre St extension (bunding and plantings) in anticipation that the HAD artery would be extended beyond Factory Rd and onwards to Dukes Rd and would have an ongoing arterial status. (see Environment Court determination). This [DCC] proposal now seeks to transplant this 60 year old plan and give a two-fingured gesture to Environment Court by failing to also transplant the Court’s noise mitigation conditions to its alternative and shonky proposal for Riccarton Rd.

Clearly, a completed HAD/Centre St/Centre St extension that has been through the Council process and approved in the Environment Court is the only comprehensible route to be considered. This is fortified by an earlier BCR of 6.4 (see Gabitees-Porter Report) and is funded in the DCC Annual Plan (as opposed to no State funding (via BCR) for Riccarton Rd) and no funding in the DCC Annual Plan to upgrade Riccarton Rd to arterial status.

And just to add to the whole rabid nature of [City Planner’s] proposal, it would seem that notwithstanding their anxiety about sending traffic past Residential 1 properties (in relation to my Centre St extension proposal), they (unless I am mistaken) still promote HAD from Gordon Rd as an arterial route (past those same Residential 1 properties) but bizarrely taking a right turn onto Factory Rd and (depending on their industrial destination) onwards to Puddle Alley then – belching CO2 smoke as they go – lumbering on to Dukes Rd; ignoring the opportunity to turn left onto (State funded) SH87 then send these juggernauts down a ratepayer funded collector road (Riccarton Rd) to that fateful SH1 intersection where neither DCC nor NZTA has registered any interest in safety improvements.

Now my above understanding of this proposal registers within me a sense madness with which I struggle to cope. Allow me to revert to sentiments I expressed in my primary submission (Nov 23 2016) in which I referred to the academic snobbery that drives this bastard document [the 2GP]. As an individual nudging 80 years of age, I went on to opine that in crude terms, approximately only 50% of citizens are computer literate at ‘close to the advanced level that understanding of this monster necessitates. But those who ‘rates fund’ the City only represent approx 30% of the constituency. Therefore (by deduction) approx. only 15% of ratepayers will have come even close to understanding the chaotic content of this hydra-headed monster that is the proposed Second Generation District cripple. While living in the hinterland without internet service 1.5 hours from ‘metro Dunedin’ when this document was released, I pretended not to be offended by the presumptuous guidelines that invited me to (without internet service) ‘watch the online video’ which will show me how to select a provision of the 2GP. Yeah right; there are also fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Having revisited those sentiments in part, and with associated doubt in my mind I return to the incredulity that the report damns my proposal to develop the Centre St extension on the grounds that traffic would trouble Residential 1 settlement (Report, page 136) yet the [City Planner] seems unaware of the torturous pathway tred by the Environment Court to mitigate/remedy these issues by demanding and ‘setting in stone’ the provision of double glazing and bunding along this road. So on the one hand the report seems to support sending HAD traffic past Residential 1 properties provided that they turn right into Factory Rd, but condemn my proposal to send arterial traffic along HAD and onwards across Factory Rd to Centre St and beyond on the spurious grounds that Residential 1 residency will be impacted upon. I’m left to draw the conclusion that either my personal ‘dot com dumb’ condition has caused me to fail to comprehend, or the [City Planner] has been bitten by a rabid dog.


I now turn to the cross submission by NZTA in which (inter alia) they falsely claim that I promote Haggart Alexandra Drive [HAD] as a heavy vehicle by-pass. This is patently untrue. It is true that I promote this Drive as an arterial route (which may allow passage of heavy vehicles), but [it] is quite untrue that I have promoted or inferred the practice or use specifically as a heavy traffic by-pass. On these grounds alone, the Submission of NZTA should be disallowed. Separately, NZTA in their response bang on about safety and queuing issues at the level crossing and write as though this would be an emerging issue. This is an existing issue, and has presented ever since HAD was opened. NZTA know very well that the ‘phasing’ of traffic and train signalling lights are in place to ensure absolute safety. They are inconvenient, but they are safe and NZTA’s reference to this being a safety issue is nothing more than a red herring. That main trunk line is not going to move – therefore the level crossing is not going to move, therefore difficulty in entering HAD is not going to go away and NZTA needs to stop the deception of describing an issue of inconvenience as an issue of safety. I submit that their submission regarding safety issues in this area is without merit.

I finally turn to the curiosity that NZTA is able to dream up all these reasons why a right-hand turn from Gordon Rd to HAD is dangerous, yet remains silent and offers no criticism of (or submission against) the City Planner’s proposal to send traffic off on the same route. NZTA has been both contradictory in their standard of reason and woefully backward in their wider understanding of the Taieri Plain’s roading history, its geography and the consequential limited ‘roading options’ that prevail on a flood plain. NZTA should not be taken seriously; their submission is without merit and should not be seriously considered.
I rest my case.


Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Name, NZTA, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design

8 responses to “Maurice Prendergast : Defence of 60 year old arterial corridor #2GP

  1. Gurglars

    What stands out here is that “Generations” of DCC employees have been paid by us to promulgate, research, procrastinate and regurgitate an idea.

    Stop the bullshit. Get rid of half the staff and there won’t be enough to rework these or any plans.

    It’s a makework scheme.

    • Elizabeth

      The makework scheme….
      Strangely, Gurglars, that is exactly what a senior Dunedin barrister muttered to me last year at a 2GP hearing I attended.

      It also shows, perhaps, that an ex councillor/ developer still has his hands up the back of DCC somehow.

  2. Homme in the street

    The author has a brilliant turn of phrase, ‘fruitless visit to Momona’ … ‘academic snobbery’, ‘bastard document’. Always admire a man that could be played by a no nonsense David McPhail.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Question is: who was for ten years the CEO of the DCC and now manages the NZTA. Jim Harland is the delinquent here, plus his DCC henchman Graeme ….?? And never forget the inimitable former deputy mayor Syd Brown, who has had a finger in this debacle all along. Maurice is right, all along with the history of the Hagart-Alexander Drive development to today’s stage. He is also correct in his summation of the City Planner of today, who simply denies, forgets, and dreams up solutions to fit his/her’s imagery of what is to be fact, never for a moment letting the facts, laws or any other fragmentary information get in the way of the story. Watch the dopey councillors and mayor ride this one to its very finish. Fifty years on, Mosgiel will still be looking for an answer to heavy trucks lumbering along Gordon Rd, but at least they will have an aquatic centre to divert their attention from it.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, I meant that miserable looking prat who came from Oamaru. His name simply eludes me at the moment.

  5. Elizabeth

    10am tomorrow (Thu 9 Feb) the council staff are to give their rebuttal evidence on the Proposed 2GP Transportation section.

    Venue: Civic Centre, entry left of the escalator at George St level.

    All welcome.

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    You go, Elizabeth, and tell us about it later. No point in all of us spending hours sinking deeper into despair about the quality of “wisdom” on offer from people we pay in many cases WAY above their worth yet cannot sack for repeated silliness, wastefulness and inconsiderate parking of their hobby horses.

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