‘It wouldn’t be used’: Christchurch mayoral candidates disagree on light rail

The chances of Christchurch getting light rail may depend on who wins the city’s mayoral race.

Leading mayoral candidates Phil Mauger and David Meates politely clashed over the subject in a Friday debate hosted by The press and Te Pūtahi, the city’s Center for Architecture and Design.

During the debate, which was held at Tūranga, the Christchurch Central Library, Meates and Mauger were questioned by The press editor-in-chief Kamala Hayman and Te Pūtahi director Jessica Halliday on topics including climate change, transportation, housing and the arts.

Regarding light rail, Mauger said he wanted to wait until buses were full of commuters and well used before moving forward with light rail, but Meates said the city needs to start planning. light rail now.

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“I would hate to see us get to Auckland [situation] where we’re upgrading things that weren’t planned,” Meates said.

Christchurch mayoral candidates Phil Mauger and David Meates shake hands after the debate.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Christchurch mayoral candidates Phil Mauger and David Meates shake hands after the debate.

The board would play a vital role in proper long-term planning, Meates said.

Mauger said he didn’t think the city was ready for light rail yet, but was sad to see that there was no land left in the newly constructed northern and southern freeways to accommodate it.

“If the buses were shocked and we put in a lot more because of the demand, then you’d say, ‘Let’s start building it’. But I think if we started building it… it wouldn’t be used.

Mauger said cheaper fares on buses taking effect next year would be a game-changer for transport carbon emissions.

Mauger says if the light rail starts being built, it won't be used.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Mauger says if the light rail starts being built, it won’t be used.

“The easiest way to reach someone’s heart is through their pocket,” Mauger said. “You lower the prices…and you make it more consistent, people are going to use it.”

Meates questioned Mauger’s thinking on this.

He did not believe that fares were the main factor preventing people from getting on buses, arguing that bus service should be safe, efficient and reliable.

“When you have to wait for a bus and it doesn’t show up, the likelihood of using it again is not good.”

Mauger said it’s been “a little while” since he took the bus.

Meates says fares are not the main factor preventing people from using the buses.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Meates says fares are not the main factor preventing people from using the buses.

Meates said the way the buses were used needed to be rethought. “We have to think bigger than Christchurch, it has to be linked to Selwyn and Waimakariri.”

While transportation dominated the debate, both candidates were also asked about what their legacy would be if elected.

Mauger said he wanted to make Christchurch the best place to live, work, invest and play in the country.

His plan to achieve this was for Christchurch to host the Commonwealth Games.

“Sometimes with the Commonwealth Games it destroys a city because they just can’t afford it. We’ve got all this stuff…we might as well use it and if it brings people to town and it rocks the town, that’s what I’d like to see one day.

The debate covered topics such as climate change, transport, housing and the arts.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

The debate covered topics such as climate change, transport, housing and the arts.

Mauger listed a number of amenities including the Parakiore Metro Sports Center due to open next year, Te Pae Convention Center, Margaret Mahy Playground, Nga Puna Wai Sports Facility and Stadium Te Kaha, which has not yet been built.

Meates said his legacy would be a “confident, forward-looking city that actually has its own narrative.”

He wants the city to be able to tell its own story and be recognized as a climate leader that attracts innovators.

The pair were asked how they would pay for the stadium’s $200 million cost overrun.

It was suggested the council would seek capital funding from surrounding regional councils, but Meates said if he was a member of one of those regional communities and was asked to bail out Christchurch he would not. probably not.

Newspaper editor Kamala Hayman and Te Pūtahi director Jessica Halliday moderated the discussion.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Newspaper editor Kamala Hayman and Te Pūtahi director Jessica Halliday moderated the discussion.

“That poses a challenge for us as a city.”

Asked about their favorite public spaces, Mauger said Cranmer Square, noting its beauty.

‘All the First World War soldiers walked from there to the station to catch the train to Lyttelton, and some of them never came back,’ he said.

Meates chose two – Port Hills and the area of ​​town near The Welder health and wellness centre. On the latter, he praised the region’s innovation and start-ups.

Mauger and Meates are the two favorites among the eleven candidates.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Mauger and Meates are the two favorites among the eleven candidates.

The couple were also asked about the future of Christchurch as its population grows and housing ramps up.

Halliday asked the couple what they would do to ensure a densely populated Christchurch remained livable.

Mauger said he makes sure communities have access to parks.

Meates said communities become “cranky and disengaged” when they don’t feel involved in a process, and cities need to be “planned” by council, not developers.

Halliday also asked how they would make the suburbs fairer.

Mauger said he would plant more trees, but Meates said the city isn’t going to plant out of a crisis and needs to make sure it builds the right kind of housing across the city. town.

Regarding climate change, Halliday asked the couple how they were going to deal with coastal erosion.

Mauger said the city’s beaches were growing rather than sinking, and the situation was nowhere near as bad as locals had been told.

While Meates said communities would be affected by climate change, he felt it was a larger issue for the city and council needed to work with communities to plan for the future.

He said managed retirement and adapting to change should be looked at together.

Voting is now open and ballots have been sent to homes. Closing of the votes on October 8 at noon.

Jose P. Rogers