New Zealand

Catholic Diocese of Christchurch opposes council’s Wilson parking plan

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch has added its strength to overwhelming public opposition to the sale of an ‘incredibly valuable’ central site at Wilson Parking.

In addition to a new cathedral and an administrative center, the diocese, owner of a neighboring block, plans to build a 600-space car park on its land.

Wilson Parking also plans to build a car park on the empty 2,000 square meter plot of Gloucester St.

The diocese is one of 267 public submissions on the sale and of these, 219 oppose Christchurch City Council’s (CCC) proposal to sell the site to the Hong Kong-based parking management company .

Through its law firm Chapman Tripp, the diocese says the consultation process for the sale was flawed because the size and scale of the proposed parking lot was not made public.

“The consultation is therefore not genuine and is subject to dispute if the sale takes place,” the letter states.

Last November, Chapman Tripp made a request to the Board under freedom of information laws for “all records held by CCC in relation to the intended future use of the site.”

When Council released no drawings or plans of the proposed car park, Chapman Tripp complained to the Ombudsman.

“Our client’s view is that the Council is delaying providing us with the requested information to thwart the consultation process,” the letter said.

“The Council’s response smacks of sophistry and our client is of the view that the consultation is not genuine.”

Council staff’s response to Chapman Tripp’s letter was attached to the report to councillors.

He said, “These drawings and plans [for the proposed car park] do not exist or are not owned by the Board and the Board expects these to be developed over time by the preferred responder through the resource design and consent process.

But councilors were told the existence of the new Court Theater would be in jeopardy without a car park next to it.

Others opposed to the sale raised different issues.

“Don’t expand their empire. Look into ethical and community options for parking and/or use of this land,” one said.

“AT [the] at the very least, if you really want another car park,… at least make it a council owned and operated car park and not just another Wilson park that only serves the wealthiest in our society, regardless of the ‘to come up.

However, not everyone thinks this is a bad idea.

One of them said that the health and durability of the whole [arts and cultural] depended on the parking building.

“This process shouldn’t be a popularity contest for Wilson,” said another.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the CCC had previously decided to build a car park on the site and the consultation process was only for the sale of the land.

A decision on the sale will be made this week.


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News category: New Zealand.

Catholic Diocese of Christchurch opposes council’s Wilson parking plan

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