The Island Bay Residents Association's legal challenge failed in court so what now for the Island Bay cycleway?
Unless you've been living under a rock you will now be aware that the Island Bay Resident's Association's legal challenge against the Island Bay cycleway failed in the High Court. After two days of oral arguments it took Justice Churchman only two weeks to issue a judgement in Wellington City Council's favour. That's very quick (the judgement was expected to take between three weeks and three months) and indicates that Justice Churchman knew what his decision was pretty much straight away.
You can read the full judgement for yourself here and if you donated money to support the judicial review I suggest you do because the application wasn't even close to succeeding.
IBRA's latest update indicates an organisation in deep denial (click on images to expand)
IBRA's reaction to the news was predictably antagonistic and indicates an organisation that has lost touch with reality. According to their latest update "we are all very shocked by the outcome, especially those that were present in Court" which illustrates just how deep in denial they are. In fact, every single point they complain about in the "brief summary of our case" in their update is actually dealt with in Justice Churchman's judgement. You have to wonder if they've even read it.
It's hard to feel any real sympathy for IBRA. They were warned they had no case. Their lawyer was warned. Their supporters were warned. Even while they were shopping around for assistance they were warned they had "zero chance of success" (see below). They went ahead anyway.
So what happens now?
The two sets of lawyers will currently be in negotiations about costs. If they can't agree it will go back to the High Court to decide. Although it may turn out to be largely symbolic (because IBRA don't have any money) I believe Wellington City Council have a duty to ratepayers to try and recover full costs. It's simply nonsense to suggest that IBRA were innocently drawn into some noble pursuit of "justice" and based on the update above they have not learned their lesson. They are seriously considering whether to appeal which would be throwing good money after bad - money that belongs to ratepayers and IBRA's supporters, who are paying twice over for this farce to continue. Their update claims they are getting an independent legal review of the decision, which I hope is true and which I hope they will listen to.
And what about the cycleway?
It's really important to remember that IBRA's legal challenge wasn't about the current cycleway but the process leading up to the decision taken by the council in September 2017 to upgrade the cycleway. Yes, you read that right - IBRA were challenging the decision to improve the current cycleway, which includes a long list of improvements that they demanded themselves.
You can remind yourself of what we've got to look forward to by visiting the council's Transport Projects website and going to The Parade Upgrade.
The only slight snag is that in the meantime The Parade upgrade has been rolled into the Newtown Connections project. Although that means a delay in the timing of the work in Island Bay it's probably a sensible decision overall because treating Island Bay, Berhampore and Newtown as one big project will create economies of scale and be a more effective use of government funding. You can follow the progress of the Newtown Connections project by visiting the council's Transport Projects website and going to Newtown Connections.