At the start of the session last week my old mate, Ken McAnergney, asked if he could have a minute to speak. I agreed as he had to leave early to feed some poor souls some mutton birds at home. I hope they lived to tell the tale.
Ken’s address to those present was a chance for him to berate me for playing a part in stopping the Northern Arterial several decades ago. His concern was that we had succeeded, and were wrong, when the group he was in which had planned it, were correct. This was a project which might have been correct at the time it was proposed. However, by the time we had become involved its day was more than over.
The designation had been imposed on our suburb for 28 years when we succeeded in getting the designation removed. The St Albans Residents Association represented a community devastated by planning. Planning students in New Zealand were taught about “planning blight”, and the suburb of St Albans was the stand out example used in their lessons. When we, at the Residents Association, carefully examined the planning model, we found it be deeply flawed. When Jan Wright, from the St Albans Residents Association, was appointed to the Transit Board she asked the basis for the argument to sustain the corridor. The engineer’s major argument was that it was essential that trucks could travel rapidly from North Canterbury to the Port. When challenged by the Transit Board the engineers physically recorded the number of trucks which travelled from North Canterbury to the Port. When number plates were traced it turned out that the number was 6. For this, and many other reasons, Transit dropped their need to retain the designation.
I stood to be a City Councillor on CCC to challenge the designation as the CCC engineers were desperate to get it adopted by the Council. Neither Ecan nor CCC engineers could get the model sustaining the designation to work. Then an engineer said that he had got the model to work. When a person, who was trained in transport planning models, reviewed the engineer’s work, he informed the Council that the model actually didn’t work. When CCC and Ecan dropped their support for the project, it died, except in the minds of those who had proposed it.
When I became a Councillor, St Albans Primary School had 150 pupils. The school was on its knees. When the designation was uplifted around 350 houses, owned by Transit, came onto the market. The whole area revived to what it is like today. Now St Albans Primary has over 500 pupils. The suburb has returned to what it should have been before the proposers and advocates imposed a model [which had been copied from USA] which is now seen as seriously faulty.
The most important thing is that this is a democracy. Ken McAnergney and I have disagreed with each other for decades over this topic as I have with many others. I stayed in Ken’s crib on Stewart Island last year. We sit together and debate issues. Occasionally we disagree. Mostly we agree. Isn’t it wonderful that we have the Tuesday Club as a forum where we can continue our debates? Even if Ken is wrong…