The dust has settled, the results have been confirmed, and we have a shiny new City Council. I’ve been swamped with work at the moment (not to mention shifting house too) but, before it becomes completely old news, we probably should have a quick pause to reflect on what our newly electeds might mean for cycling in Christchurch.
We have a new mayor and nine new faces around the Council table to go with four returning Councillors. It’s a fairly unusual cleanout, but then we’ve had a fairly unusual past three years with considerable turmoil and controversy. Gone are a number of Councillors who were generally supportive of cycling (e.g. Aaron Keown, Sally Buck, Sue Wells, Claudia Reid), although the remaining ones have also been saying the right things of late. So what can we expect from the new crop?
I went back and had a look at some of the cycling-relevant statements the new Mayor and Councillors made when quizzed on these issues prior to the elections. In the main I’m reasonably optimistic that most are quite supportive of what the City is planning to provide for cycling, some clearly very enthusiastic. Probably only a couple appeared to be “sitting on the fence” somewhat in their statements (I’ll leave it up to you to work out who). It also helps that they appear to be getting on well so far with Minister Brownlee as well.
The real test will be when some of the more detailed work has to be voted on. Council staff are busy working away on plans for the new Major Cycleway Routes programme and I understand that the aim is to present the new Council with some key background material and ways forward by about February. The interesting thing will be how they deal with any contentious issues raised, such as car-parking removal or changing priority for traffic…
So what do you think about our new City Council? Will they be good for cycling?