Last week, Council had another in a long series of well-publicized consultations on the CBD Master Plan. Open to CBD traders, residents, and press, I've been attending these meetings regularly since the process first began.
When Mr. MacKenzie has complained about the single-laning of MacLeod Street to Vice Mayor Cochrane, and plans to do the same to Grafton Street, Cochrane has confirmed for MacKenzie (and the loudmouth from the Cairns Post, Gavin King) and his few dozen listeners that this wouldn't be done without consulting the stakeholders. These CBD Master Plan meetings is this consultation.
I have been struck by the fact that neither MacKenzie, nor any of his bitchy listeners, nor Peter Roggencamp (the self-appointed "traffic expert"), nor Gavin King have been in attendance at these meetings to represent their views about Grafton Street, MacLeod Street, or anything else about the CBD. I guess this is because it's easier to throw bricks at the council and council staff after the decisions (and hard work) are done.
Another attendee at last week's meeting, Geoff Holland, has taken to another blog to criticise the process. I been active in this consultation since the beginning. And unlike many of the attendees, including Mr Holland, I've been to ALL the consultations on this subject. Brickbatting the process when you've not participated is wrong, Mr. Holland.
I agree that the transport issues are integral to the design issues in the CBD and most of the transport issues were worked out by council and the state government (who control public transport) long ago. Wading into a meeting cycle and attacking decisions that are done and dusted is counterproductive to the process and annoying to those who have been working the issues all along.
The fact is that "City Place"as a concept is finished, and if we were honest, should have been gutted the last time we discussed it during Kevin Byrne's term. It in fact was retained due to the misguided consultation process at the time that gave credence to the old arguments about the city that frankly no longer exist. And the bulk of the attendees understand and respect this decision. City Place is no longer the "heart" of the city, and no amount of nostalgia for the 1970's is going to recover it from the discard pile. It makes much more sense to use Lake Street as the major transit hub, with full thru access to at least buses and taxis over what is now the disused City Place. THIS DECISION IS ALREADY MADE. Finito. Likewise the decision to make Grafton Street one lane, like the successful one-laning of Macleod Street. These are pedestrian areas and moving thru traffic into Sheridan and Abbott makes good planning sense. Despite Mr. MacKenzie's attacks that this was being done for a handful of bicycles, he's as usual misstated the facts. That's not the reason at all.
Mr. Holland is right that planning decisions seem to come in part from Brisbane. That's because they hold the money. Nevertheless the CBD traders and residents who've attended these meetings all along are in agreement with the framework advanced by council and their consultants. People that believe "participation" means rocking up at 10 to Midnight and complaining about what's happened earlier are sadly what's wrong with many in our community. This means you Bryan Law, who always at public meetings, takes the attitude that "If I didn't hear about it, I haven't been consulted". He browbeat this audience with his dead 70's rhetoric as well. Yawn.
Council publishes notices regularly on their website and in the press for consultations on all sorts of matters. If you're too lazy to read about these things when they start, don't show up at the end and whinge about the lack of consultation.
This means you, MacKenzie, Gavin King, and other hillbillies.