Councillor abuses 111 number

Stuff reports:

The cycleway fiasco just got stranger after a Wellington city councillor called 111 as protesters staged a traffic cone protest in the main street.

A group from the Island Bay Residents’ Association put the cones out in the southern Wellington suburb on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate against the likely impact of the loss of 17 car parks in the shopping centre  under the latest proposals for the controversial cycleway.

Businesses on The Parade, including Island Bay Butchery, say they fear being forced to close if the 17 car parks go.

Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman, who witnessed the cone protest, said he was concerned about protesters standing in the road, and  felt “duty bound” to call police via the emergency number.

Councillor Calvi-Freeman was totally wrong to call 111. 111 is for situations such as:

  • someone is badly injured or in danger
  • a serious risk to life or property
  • a crime is being committed and offenders still there
  • a tree is blocking a highway

It is not because some car parks have had cones put in them as a protest.

A police spokeswoman that, if the positioning of the cones posed a “serious risk to public safety”, police should be called.

“It doesn’t sound, in this case, there was a serious risk.”

This looks like a Councillor abusing his position to bully protesters and try and get them arrested. Shame.

Councillors must now decide which options to go with: options A to D, which are essentially changes to what is there; option E, favoured by the residents’ association and businesses; or option F.

Neither options E or F are part of the public consultation process.

Councillor Diane Calvert, who has the community planning and engagement portfolio, said under options A, B, and C, 17 car parks would go from the shopping centre. Under option D, two would go.

While options E and F were not put out for consultation, that did not stop councillors from considering them, she said. “We are listening – that is why it is really important that people did have a say.”

At Island Bay Butchery, Don Andrews said that if the parks were removed permanently, his business of 30-odd years could probably not keep going.

Across the road at cafe Floyd’s, owner Dane Hur said losing the parks could be a fatal blow to her cafe and others in the village.

This is a huge issue for Island Bay residents. The initial cycleway enraged them and the so called “fix” options are making it even worse as every single option means less carparks. If the Council gets it wrong again, there will be electoral consequences.

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