Item 15 on the agenda for the Council’s 13 June meeting was the Christchurch Northern Corridor Downstream Effects Management Plan (DEMP). As the name suggests, this is the plan to manage the traffic impacts downstream of the Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) – the motorway (currently under construction) that will run between Cranford Street and the Waimakariri River.
I attended the community protest ahead of the Council meeting, caught part of the discussion on the DEMP via the livestream, and the rest through the Council’s incredibly handy video archive. At the time I was left wondering: what happened to the recommendation that the Council investigates delaying the opening of the CNC south of QEII Drive?
The recommendation to Council included on the meeting agenda was as follows:
“That the Council:
- 3. Does not endorse the Downstream Effects Management Plan.
- 4. Requests that staff investigate a delay in the opening of the Northern Corridor south of Queen Elizabeth II Drive until the package of Travel Demand Management measures are all approved and implemented.
- 5. Proceeds with proposals outlined in the DEMP for stage 1A and 1B in the 2019-2020 Annual Plan including the outlined work on Cranford and Sherborne Streets as outlined in 6.3 of the DEMP.
- 6. Requests that staff investigate the possibility of an additional Park and Ride facility near Queen Elizabeth II Drive.
- 7. Requests that staff investigate a congestion levy on the Northern Arterial Extension.
- 8. Provides north and south-bound peak-time Public Transport lanes on Cranford and Sherborne Streets.“
These recommendations came from the 31 May joint meeting of two Community Boards.
During the course of the Council meeting, an alternative set of resolutions was moved by Papanui Councillor Mike Davidson. These resolutions, which can be found in the meeting minutes and which were passed unanimously, are:
That the Council:
- In order to comply with the conditions for the Northern Arterial and Cranford Street Upgrade Designation, request staff proceed with the proposed Stage 1A package of works as outlined in the report. Noting that the designs proposed will provide for a safer environment for all users and the community.
- To help address the issues raised by the community through the consultation processes request that staff also proceed with the Stage 1B package of works as outlined in the report.
- Request staff work with the strategic partners (NZTA, Environment Canterbury and Waimakariri District Council) to deliver the package of Travel Demand Management measures outlined in the report with a view to these being implemented prior to the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor. Reporting on progress will occur back to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee as part of the bi-monthly transport report, and a further consideration of the matter be brought to Council if there are any undue delays in delivering the Travel Demand Management package of works.
- Request that staff report to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee on the monitoring programme and outcomes of the work undertaken in Stage 1A following the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor.
- Request that staff investigate and report back to the Infrastructure, Transport and
Environment Committee on the following:
- a. A park and ride facility near QE2 drive.
- b. Pricing mechanisms to manage future traffic demand.
- c. North and south-bound peak-time Public Transport lanes on Cranford and
- Note that staff will continue to engage and consult with the community on any further interventions highlighted from the monitoring programme and recommended by the independent traffic expert.
- Note that the appropriate community boards will remain closely involved and regularly updated as per 4 and 5.
While the wording has changed, you will note that nearly all the Community Board recommendations were enacted by Council:
- The DEMP was not endorsed
- Council will proceed with stage 1A and 1B works
- Council staff are to investigate: a park & ride facility; a congestion levy (or as worded “Pricing mechanisms to manage future traffic demand”); and peak-time public transport lanes on Cranford & Sherborne Streets
The Council has requested staff to report back on outcomes after the opening of the CNC via the Council’s Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee. Council has also noted that staff will continue to ‘engage and consult’ and that Community Boards will remain ‘closely involved and regularly updated’.
But what happened to Community Board recommendation #4 – that “staff investigate a delay in the opening of the Northern Corridor south of Queen Elizabeth II Drive until the package of Travel Demand Management measures are all approved and implemented”? I previously wrote that this was where the outcome of the 31 May Joint Community Board meeting got interesting.
Alert readers will have noted that this rather negatively-worded and perhaps legally risky recommendation transformed into Council resolution #3 – that staff “work with the strategic partners … to deliver the package of Travel Demand Management measures outlined in the report with a view to these being implemented prior to the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor”, with bi-monthly reporting and “a further consideration of the matter be brought to Council if there are any undue delays …”.
I asked Papanui Councillor Mike Davidson, who put the package of resolutions to the Council meeting, why the wording changed. He replied that:
“…instead of investigating a delay in opening until the [Travel Demand Measures] TDM is in place, we will work with our partners with a view of it being implemented before it opens. It directs the Council officers to what we want to achieve, but removes the concern held by Council staff around the legal risk. I think it is more positive and constructive and also allows us to have good governance oversight including coming back to Council for further consideration if the TDM measures cannot be implemented before the opening.”
Council really seems to be between a rock and a hard place with this project – committed to a motorway that it doesn’t want, reliant on other organisations (NZTA, Environment Canterbury and Waimakariri District Council) for delivery of some mitigation measures, and exposed to legal risk if it seeks to delay opening of the road. Judging by the positive public response to the passing of the resolutions on 13 June, Council has perhaps made the best of the situation?
Question for readers
What do you think about the Council’s 13 June decision? Should the outcome of the meeting been any different?