Thank you to our cycling Mayor

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How wonderful it has been to have had a Mayor who cycled the talk!  Celia Wade-Brown has done a fantastic job at helping to set a vision and strategy for Wellington that ensures strong support for cycling and walking.  She helped to secure a$35 million budget to help deliver the Wellington Urban Cycling Plan that will make cycling in Wellington safer and more pleasurable for people young and old.  And Celia set a good example, cycling to work each day on her trusty electric bike.  How many Mayors around the world (other than in Copenhagen or Amsterdam perhaps) would have cycled to the airport to meet the United States secretary of state?  She helped to normalise the image of cyclists – moving us on from being seen as the Lycra brigade.

Cycle Aware Wellington would like to sincerely thank Celia Wade-Brown for her good work that she has done.   We wish her well for the future.

Personally, I admired Celia’s strong vision and had she kept her hat in the ring, I would have voted again for her on that basis.  Unfortunately projects like the Island Bay cycle way tarnish her legacy.  She was ultimately accountable for the impact that it has had, but it must be pointed out that she wasn’t solely responsible.  That sits collectively with the Council and the WCC operations.  Hopefully the lessons learned will translate in improved and different ways of working, including better engagement with the community over any proposed changes.

It now falls on a new Mayor and a significantly changed group of Councillors to keep the ball rolling and deliver on the strategy and plans that have been set out for Wellington.  Hopefully we will see an end to the unprofessional in-fighting and political grandstanding of recent years.  The Council can only do the hard stuff by working together.

Who of the mayoral candidates is most likely to be successful in bringing a good team together?   And which one has a real vision and the backbone to stand by it?  It is easy to dangle carrots to win votes.   For my money, I don’t think there is a stand-out candidate.  There appear to be three strong contenders.   Justin looks like someone who can harmonise the team.  He may not have a strong vision, but is probably the right person to progress the vision that Celia created.  Both Jo and Nick clearly have a vision for a motorway but are not clear on how they see this translating into cohesive transport solutions that are people and planet friendly.

Cycle Aware Wellington wishes each of the Mayoral and Council candidates all the best with their campaigning.  Whoever gets in, Cycle Aware Wellington looks forward to working with you in helping to grow Wellington as a cycling and walking friendly city.

Ron Beernink
Chair Cycle Aware Wellington

 

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