IN response to last week’s editorial about the Vincent bike plan and democracy, what caused the trouble at that council meeting was the report in the agenda, which in my view was poorly written, and the associated table that was difficult to understand.
So difficult in fact that I had to contact the council before the meeting seeking clarification of the figures in the table as I wanted to make sure I was interpreting the data correctly. Unfortunately, the author of the report, the council’s TravelSmart officer, was on leave and incredibly no one else was able to decipher the figures in the table.
It was the difficultly to understand the table that led to the derogatory remarks by a speaker at the meeting.
To explain the issue, the preamble to the table stated that 86 responses had been received specifically relating to the Oxford Street part of the bike plan. Respondents could choose to support Option A or Option B, the difference between the two was the number of car bays that will be lost and additional trees to replace trees removed to accommodate the bike lanes.
Some respondents did not support either option so a third category was created, which was the General Bike Network Plan. According to the table, 63 people responded to the General category, 65 for Option A and 66 for Option B.
That’s a total of 194, but there were only 86 responses.
To make matters worse, in the general text the report states that 39 people support Option A and 37 support Option B, whereas in the table the numbers are 36 and 36 respectively for each option.
The bike plan will cost ratepayers $2.5m with $1m spent on one kilometre of Oxford Street. Given these large sums of money, council should have done better in preparing an easily read and understood report.
Had it done so it might have avoided the trouble that occurred.
GARY SHIER, Mt Hawthorn.