Ex-councillor John Burn, who has been leading the pushback against the approval of a huge increase in size of Merivale Mall, granted without any public notice, has given me a copy of his letter to supporters last week. The commissioner, plus two community board members, despite this application having been defeated twice before, decided that they would grant the Mall’s application to hear its application in secret, since he was persuaded that only minor increase in traffic would be caused. The dispute has been going on for some weeks, but John in his letter says:
This message is being sent to all Merivale residents who supported our move to overturn the decision to extend the Merivale Mall. I have already acknowledged on behalf of myself and Frank van Schaijik our gratitude for your support. (One or two have pointed out my inability to send a mass email without including all names, and for that I am grateful but have ashamed to say that I still can’t figure it out!). However, with an apology for that I CAN REPORT that with the support of Frank we have instructed a barrister who has filed our application in the High Court to overturn this decision, and I can say that our advice is that we should succeed. This matter also brought about my decision to stand for the Fendalton ward of the community board, since I feel strongly that more sensitivity towards the lifestyle of its citizens should be shown by all divisions of the Council. In particular I am concerned about the change of course forced upon traffic coming into town from the north, which was previously along Johns Road, but perhaps to make the environs of the airport look better, is now directed along Cranford Street. This not only destroys the suburban aspect of that street, but the traffic then turns right into Innes Road and Heaton Street (the latter with a large hospital and school) and then goes into Glandovey Street, left into Idris Road and then across Ilam and Waimairi to the industrial areas around Blenheim Road. Many large truck and trailer units are included towards the end of the day and noise, traffic density and grime are widely distributed along roads never built for that purpose.
The meeting of the Mayoral candidates held by the Merivale Corner (also publisher of the Merivale Chronicle) brought unanimous criticism of the Mall decision, (for which we are grateful indeed to editor Julia Kluts, who broke the original story). It is my aim, if I can, to bring the new council to take more notice of our community board and consult more closely with the ratepayers. And we can never thank you enough for your strong community support.
I probably should not, but I will mention the sad death this week of Anton Coberger, who actually wrote to me three times offering support, indeed at one stage offering to burn cars in the street, like the French, if it would help – but I was able to tell him that we are on a legal path, and he was not to burn any cars until I told him so. I am rather sorry that I did not get to that point, because it would indeed have made a point worthy of the sadly-missed Anton! Ours is a great community.
I found this Mall decision to be unusual. To argue that this development would increase traffic only slightly is hard to understand. The outcome of the Judicial Review is eagerly awaited.