Download The Wellington App for more stories like this.

Island Bay residents lose cycleway appeal

Wellington’s Island Bay Residents Association has lost its bid to force the City Council to reconsider the controversial cycleway in the suburb.

Island Bay cycleway, Wellington. Photo: Supplied / Google

The contentious cycleway runs along the kerbside through the suburb, with car parking outside it, rather than the traditional road configuration with kerbside parking.

Last month the Island Bay Residents Association asked the Court to review the way in which the cycleway was implemented, with its lawyer Con Anastasiou describing the City Council’s decision-making relating to the cycleway as “slipshod”.

“You had a wide boulevard with motor cars which were able to park alongside the hard kerb and then there was a demarcation in the carriageway of a cycle lane”.

“According to Ms Greco [president of the Island Bay Residents Association] one of the roles that median strip provided was a refuge for vehicles wanting to turn into driveways along there or to come out of one without impeding the movement of traffic.

Mr Anastasiou said a consultation process in September 2017 produced about 3700 submissions, over 2000 of which came from Island Bay residents who wanted the road to revert to a kerbside parking option.

However the Council’s lawyer, Nick Whittington set out in detail the community counsultation that had taken place before the cycleway was signed off.

He said 78 percent of those living on The Parade in Island Bay preferred a roadside cycleway, but when submissions from all over Wellington were considered, there was a preference for the cycleway to be at the kerbside.

The Residents Association had also questioned the so-called “Mayor’s Option” drawn up by the Mayor Justice Lester before the City Council voted on the project.

However Mr Whittington said that was based on design work already done for the cycleway and it was open to the Mayor to make such a proposal, having read reports from engineers.

“Parliament has put the roads in the hands of local authorities with staff who do this, and … it was perfectly within the sphere of competencies granted to councils for a councillor to make a proposal like this having taken advice.”

In decision released this afternoon Justice Churchman has rejected the Residents Association’s case and dismissed the application for a judicial review.

He has ruled that Wellington City Council’s consultation process for the cycleway complied with its statutory and common law obligations.

Justice Churchman has described as misguided a submission from the Residents Association’s lawyer questioning why the council went through the consultation exercise if it was not going to take notice of the majority view.

“The Local Government Act does not impose on the Council an obligation to accede to the views of a majority of a community or the majority of any part of a community.

“The case advanced for the Association was permeated with the idea that there was an express or implied obligation on the Council to comply with the preferences of the majority of the Island Bay community.”

The Residents Association had also questioned the Council’s regular meetings with a cycling lobby group, but Justice Churchman said there is nothing inherently unfair about a Council meeting individually with submitters or interested parties.

He has also ruled that the Council consultation did not breach the Bill of Rights.

Justice Churchman has invited the parties to settle costs by agreement, but if they cannot do so he has asked each party to file written submissions.

RNZ