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Court approves council’s $11m plan for bus lanes in the Manners Mall

Wellington.Scoop
The Environment Court yesterday approved the Wellington City Council’s $11m plan to allow buses to drive through the Manners Mall. The Court rejected an appeal from the action group The City Is Ours who have been campaigning against the plan.

“Neither singly nor cumulatively do any of the arguments put forward by the society come remotely close to persuading us that the disadvantages of this proposal outweigh the advantages or, put another way, that the concept of sustainable management would be better served by maintaining the status quo or by adopting any of the other options put forward as being reasonably practicable,” ruled the Court.

Media release – Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Environment Court decision clearing the way for Manners Mall to be opened up to buses has been welcomed by the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“We are pleased with the decision. A more efficient public transport operation through the CBD is critical to the city’s prosperity and the configuration in the Manners Mall area is not working well,” said Chamber CEO Charles Finny.

“Rerouting buses through Manners Mall will shorten the central bus route and remove buses from other key roads – thus reducing travel times for general traffic as well as buses.

“The proposed revitalisation of the area and lower Cuba Street is also welcomed. We hope that work can commence on the project as soon as possible so that it can be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup next year.

“We also urge decisions on other parts of the regional road network – in particular a tunnel at Buckle Street and the Basin Reserve,” Mr Finny concluded.

Media release – The City Is Ours
While Wellington waits for the Environment Court to do its job, it is important to remember we as citizens had an opportunity to exercise, under the Local Government Act 1974, our right to appeal the Council’s ( 8-5 ) decision to revoke the pedestrian status of Manners Mall.

The Court heard a side of the story which is as colourful as Manners Mall itself, unfolding its history revealing the Mall was indeed a compromise for the Urban Motorway which swallowed 50 hectares of heritage land and buildings in Thorndon. When fellow Wellingtonians cried out about the desecration of 3.700 graves in the Bolton Street Cemetery in the sixties, Manners Mall was born.

It seems shameless to even contemplate that the decision by the Council of today has ignored those voices from yesteryear where the City is Ours Inc. felt duty bound to cry out one more time before this sacred Mall was turned over to more roadway in ignorance of the past.

Manners Mall means a lot of things to as many people and each in their own way have connections with what has become the Heart of our City. Manners Mall lost will mean just that and Wellington will lose more then just “open space” it will lose its neighbourhood and its voice.