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Community Ignored, New Life Breathed into Bike Cage

Media Release: Community Ignored Again as New Life Breathed into Birkenhead Bike Cage

John Gillon, Lorene Pigg, Dr Grant Gillon – Elected Members of the Kaipatiki Local Board

06th June 2014

• Kaipatiki Local Board narrowly rejects demolishing Birkenhead Wharf bike cage

• Second review of bike cage to be conducted over 12 months

• Local Board in denial as community concerns continue to be ignored

Kaipatiki Local Board members John Gillon, Lorene Pigg and Dr. Grant Gillon are horrified that the obstructive bike cage at Birkenhead Wharf has been granted another 12 months of life by the Board, despite protests from the community.

A report from Auckland Transport that arrived 8 months after it was requested by the Board, glosses over safety and aesthetic concerns raised by the community last year and endorses leaving the bike cage where it is. Unbelievably, the report estimates relocation costs higher than it cost to build and timeframes longer than it took to construct. The report dismisses alternative bicycle facilities put forward by the community, without giving them due consideration.

Over the last year, the Local Board has heard passionate pleas to both stop construction, and then later to remove the bike cage. The Board has received a petition from 628 locals to move the bike cage to a different location; been shown video of the bike cage blocking the view of youth in the water; seen photos of safety issues, loss of harbour views; and heard concerns of a lack of community consultation in such an important heritage area.

A Woeful Monument

At its meeting on Wednesday 14th May, the casting vote of the Chairperson was used to vote down John Gillon’s motion to demolish the bike cage (3 in favour; 3 against; 1 abstention; 1 absent).

“Enough is enough,” said John Gillon, member of the Kaipatiki Local Board, “the bike cage is a woeful monument to a lack of consultation and ignorance of community views and it must be removed. I am appalled that the Board has chosen to keep the bike cage for a further 12 months while a second review is conducted. As it is too expensive to remove, if another Local Board isn't willing to purchase the bike cage from us, then it should be demolished.”

Kaipatiki Local Board in Denial

Lorene Pigg, who was elected on a platform of listening to the community, is disturbed at the blasé attitude of some members of the Local Board.

“Not listening to locals was one of the key election issues last year,” said Lorene Pigg, member of the Kaipatiki Local Board, “I don’t understand how other Board members can deny that there are safety issues, heritage issues and consultation issues with the location of the bike cage.”

Lack of Consultation

A motion from Dr. Grant Gillon to defer the report until after the Board had heard from the Hinemoa Park Placemakers group, set up in the wake of the bike cage controversy, was also voted down.

“The bike cage was approved by the Local Board after it was misled into thinking that Auckland Transport had conducted robust consultation with the local community, when all it had done was consulted with a regional cycling group,” said Dr. Grant Gillon, member of the Kaipatiki Local Board, “We should have been able to hear from the new Hinemoa Park Placemakers group before deciding on whether to extend the life of the cage. However it is a relief that they will be included in this new review – better late than never.”

Our View

We support consultation with the community before projects such as this are approved. We support bicycle and scooter facilities at the Birkenhead Wharf, however there are serious heritage, aesthetic, safety and consultation concerns with the current location of the bike cage. As Auckland Transport cannot find an alternative location in the vicinity for the bike cage, we would like to see the bike cage removed immediately and replaced with a less intrusive form of bike parking, such as an undercover bike rack near the Coca Cola machine.

NOTE: This is a media release from John Gillon, Lorene Pigg and Dr Grant Gillon and does not necessarily reflect the view of the Kaipatiki Local Board.

© Scoop Media

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