Alternatives to proposed Buckle Street change discussed

June 22, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Memorial Park / Buckle St | 3 Comments

Representatives and parents from Mt Cook School met last Tuesday (19 June) with Brodie Stubbs from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Ernst Zollner from the WCC, to express their strong opposition to the rerouting of Buckle Street closer to the school’s southern boundary. Brodie came to explain this roading change was part of a plan to create a new Memorial Park where Anzac Day-related activities and other ceremonial occasions could take place. All at the meeting favoured the creation of a new park between the school and the War Memorial. But all were opposed to bringing Buckle Street in a gradual arc past the school – about 10m at the closest point – instead of its present location about 40m away.

Brodie said no other options have been seriously considered by the Ministry, and consequently a landscape design competition, to be run in about 2 weeks time, will specify the road relocation aspart of the brief. The one concession to the school community was having “input” into the design brief. Ernst said, from WCC point of view, this is one of the most complex projects his team will deal with, given the number or stakeholders (including Transit NZ who own the road), and the expectation by Helen Clarke that the park by completed by Anzac Day 2008.

The meeting concluded with Mt Cook School and parents wanting to formally challenge the proposed road realignment on the following grounds:

  • Health – the expected levels of air pollution would be unacceptably high and couldn’t be successfully mitigated (i.e. air pollution on the southern side of the school, which is also where the school’s grassed playground lies, is projected to increase by 260% with the road change), according to research by public health academic and Mt Cook School parent, Lucy Telfar Barnard
  • Safety – the proposed development needs to improve road safety. There are already safety issues for pedestrians crossing Buckle St, and believe the proposal will make things worse

Brodie conceded that the Ministry would not try to push through a project in the face of significant health and safety concerns, and related public opposition. He acknowledged that pollution levels had not been monitored, nor sufficiently considered in the current design proposal. School reps and parents want Buckle St to stay where it is, and to instead have a broad bridge over the road, perhaps similar to the City to Sea bridge from Civic Sq to the waterfront, and/or trenching the road. Either of these options would allow the park to work, and make the area safer for pedestrians. Some argued this would also be most cost effective and produce “the best outcome for users”.

Brodie and Ernst agreed to:

  • see if the school and parent reps can meet with the Memorial Park project team to discuss:
    • whether the current plan can be revisited, particularly the location of the road
    • whether designers can submit different design options, taking into account the health and safety concerns of the school and parents
  • support the school seeking independent legal advice about whether resource consent is needed (WCC has advice that it is not) for the road change to proceed. WCC is to pay for this
  • provide a timeline with key points in the commissioning of the Memorial Park development, especially those processes that the school and community can have input into

This meeting between the representatives of the Mt Cook School community and the Memorial Park Project Committee will take place on Tuesday, June 26.

Below is representation showing what is envisaged for the park and road. The view of school reps and parents at the meeting was that the area in front of the Carrillon seems ideal for a bridge over Buckle St, thereby removing the need to change the road. This would make the area safe for pedestrians. It may also be cheaper than the current plan. For more on these issues go to the wiki. Click to view full image.

Memorial Park 560x jpeg w hotspots

Map key
Blue road = Buckle St’s current route relative to the Basin Reserve and Taranaki St
Red road = the proposed route for Buckle St (June 07) as part of the Memorial Park development
1. The possible location for a land bridge, providing easy and safe pedestrian access over Buckle Street and linking areas within the proposed Memorial Park for ceremonial purposes
2. Air pollution is projected to increase by 260% for school children and staff if Buckle Street is moved here
3. Traffic safety is expected to worsen with a busy intersection much closer to the school
4. The site of major safety concerns – the existing intersection between Buckle, Tory and Tasman Sts

Geoff Stone



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  1. Just one point to clarify!
    I do not work for the Ministry for the Environment. I am a Doctoral Fellow in Public Health at the Wellington School of Medicine, (University of Otago, Wellington).

  2. Sorry Lucy. I’ve change the post and hope this is an adequate representation. If not please feel free to suggest wording. Thanks

  3. […] Buckle Street to run along the Mt Cook School boundary (as described in an earlier post and as originally proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. There is a seminar before the […]

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