The Delorean Bicycle – Hamilton City Council Celebrates 100 Years Of Back To The Past

The following article was published in the ‘Waikato Argus’, the forerunner to the Waikato Times, back in 1913.


Cycling Tracks 

Speaking at last nights meeting of the Hamilton borough council, the Mayor said he was almost ashamed of the number of people who were being prosecuted for riding bicycles on the footpath. He thought the time had come when they should lay down cycle tracks in Hamilton, and he would be glad if the works committee would report on the matter. He moved that they be instructed to do so. It seemed to him they might lay a track from Whitiora and over in Hamilton East, and along some of the other roads where there was a good deal of traffic. He was informed that in Ulster alone there were 150 bicycles.

Cr Tidd, in seconding, said he had brought the matter up a month ago.
Cr Speight was totally against the proposal. They needed footpaths in the outer districts, and these should be attended to first, unless they got a special rate from the cyclists.

Cr Tristram said his experience was that cyclists deserved no consideration whatsoever. No matter how good the roads were they would get on to the footpaths. If the roads were good enough for walking on they were good enough for cyclists. When he used to cycle they were not half as good.

The borough engineer said a cycle track six feet wide would cost from £5 to £6 per chain. Cr McKinnon said he was quite of Cr Tristram’s way of looking at it. If they formed cycle tracks, it would just be a favourite track for speed tests and that sort of thing, and they would have more trouble controlling the traffic than they do at present. He did not think they were called upon to spend any money in this way.

Both footpath and track would require to be kerbed. Cr Hayter said he would like to see cyclists getting a fair chance. They had none at present against vehicle drivers, who would not keep to their proper side.

The Mayor thought the cyclists were very ill-used. There were hundreds of them in Hamilton and nothing had been done for them during the last few years. Cycling was the poor mans method of getting around. Cr Tristram said there was no use remitting it to the works committee, as they had considered it and had no recommendation to make.

The Mayor altered his motion to appointing a special committee, consisting of himself and Crs Fow, Tidd and Hayter, with the engineer. Cr Howden seconded, and this was carried by five to three, Crs Tristram, McKinnon and Speight dissenting.

Cr Howden suggested that the committee should experiment with a track along Anglesea street to find out the cost, etc., and the Mayor said that could be considered.

I really wanted to make my next post about the Council denying oral submissions to the public and being the only council to do so, and since I’ve recieved a response to both my formal complaint and my OIA request surrounding the erosion of democracy in our ‘City of the Future’ I guarantee it will be. Stay tuned Tronites and other Kiwi’s interested in cycling, local democracy and the separated cycle path to a brighter future.

– Max Dillon Coyle

WaikatoArgus-page-001Cycling — Ohinemuri Gazette — 21 August 1901 — The Ohinemuri Gazette. AND UPPER THAMES WARDEN WEDNESDAY  AUGUST 21  1901. Local and General.Ohinemuri Gazette — 21 August 1901

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Complaint to the Hamilton City Council on Banning Formal Oral Submissions #Ham10YP

Here is my email sent to the appropriate HCC addresses. I have also made an Official Information Act request for the feedback which supposedly led to this decision. Personally I doubt this feedback exists, except in some ephemeral anecdotal form in a certain Mayor’s head. Here’s this mornings complaint:

Good morning,

I am writing to make a formal complaint about the current Submission processes surrounding the 10 Year Plan and Hamilton City Councils ongoing submissions procedures.
Hamilton City Council must offer the option to submitters of presenting an oral submission to full council within the council chambers as it has always done.

The only chance for oral presentations during the submission period for the Hamilton 10 Year Plan has been through ‘Community Engagement Meetings’, a very informal space where public talk over you and you talk to a few councillors and a few staff. This is unacceptable. It is not an appropriate forum to give a full submission to reach all councillors, appropriate staff whilst being heard by the public gallery and any attendant press.

Council has stated that due to changes in local government legislation, the Council is able to use different ways to hear people’s views on proposals. You’ve stated you are able, not that you are required. Many other councils in NZ are continuing to have formal oral submissions heard and have also added community meetings to their process, thereby strengthening democratic engagement and offering more avenues of participation. Not less.

The contention from Council that you have had feedback in the past that the hearings process is very formal and people would like opportunities to share their views with councillors in a less formal setting” is wonderful and I’m glad some people can now happily attend a community engagement meeting. Conversely many people find the formal oral submissions in the chamber extremely important, and wish for this to continue.

Thankyou for hearing this complaint and I look forward to your reply,

Yours Sincerely,

Max Coyle


Will keep you updated by updating this post, on both the OIA and the complaint.

Max Coyle’s Submission to Hamilton City Council’s 10 Year Plan #Ham10YP

Id just like to congratulate the designers of the 10 year plan consultation PDF. Beautiful work, it’s easy to read and makes it easy for people to digest the information.

It was also great to see just as many cute little pictures of bikes as cars! You’d almost get the idea that there was some positive steps being made in that direction. So lets look and see.

$7M on cycleways. 2.68% of the ‘projects’ transport budget. Or 1.3% of the total $507M transport budget.

Great there’s some money being spent on cycleways, though it is a mere pittance. Unfortunately it won’t be starting for around another 15 years. With a look to completion in 25 years. Great for my grandkids! And will mean that the Tron is once again not the City of the Future but the city of the forgotten past.

But why do so many of us want cycleways anyway? Why do transport experts provide such interesting studies showing their extremely high return on investment and overwhelmingly positive cost/benefit ratios?

Well looking at the 10 year consultation document we see a projected population increase of 60’000 over 30 years with the number of motor vehicles increasing by 66 percent in that time, which comes to 49,753 cars. With each one of those vehicles making two trips a day. With a population of 145’000 this 25% increase will see a 2/3 increase in vehicles meaning Council’s projections are that every new man, woman and some children will be driving their own car.

A lot of those extra car trips will be needing to cross one of our bridges. Have you seen our bridges currently at peak time? Perhaps we should just concrete over the river and turn it into a highway?

So what’s the solution? Well what would be a positive move for the city is to limit those trips, limit traffic and limit congestion. Here’s some answers which don’t involve spending as many hundreds of millions on more roads, which will of course create induced demand and lead to exactly the sort of numbers you’re predicting.

Few Hamilton cycling trails and shortcuts are destination-signposted. We are not getting the value for money from our already-built infrastructure because we’re not telling people how to use it to go places.

Signage will encourage more users, leading to safety in numbers and its relatively cheap.

Long-term residents and those used to walking/cycling Hamilton may be adept navigators but for many who haven’t explored so much, fear of getting lost is likely a deterrent to them learning their ways around.

Trails and shortcuts within city limits are ideal for spontaneous and short journeys for locals and visitors and activating these will ease congestion and make Hamilton a more liveable city.

Another step is for HCC to Adopt the Hamilton City Green Ring which meets the Council Priority #7 which is to “Become an Urban Garden” (sounds cool right? It’s a shame its not reflected in anything in the 10 year plan).

Following on from that the main routes through the city, as identified by other groups such as Cycle Action Waikato, need to receive separated cycleways.

Once we have these changes we then need to encourage use of new facilities through marketing and promotion of cycling in Hamilton via social media – ‘HAMILTONS SAFE CYCLE NETWORK’

Safe. That’s the keyword here. Speaking to people across Hamilton, especially women, mums, safety is their number 1 reason for not cycling and for being worried about their kids cycling. Making cycling safer will see a marked increase in the numbers of women cycling. Commuter cycling should not be seen as a macho daredevil activity.

So instead of the pittance how much should HCC be spending on cycling? A slightly larger pittance! A good start is $3 million dollar annually. If HCC were organised this would only amount to approximately $1.5 million because of the subsidies available. That would be amazingly good value for rate payers. $3 million dollars a year worth of infrastructure for $1.5 million per annum. Fantastic!

The 10 year plan in its current form is a worry. None of the 3 main funding proposals have cycling included. 2029 is way too late to spend $7M on the current HCC cycle strategy. Council needs to move now and take advantage of current opportunities for funding with the Governments Urban cycle fund etc. We are missing the boat, and in the meantime we will miss all the other cool cycling knock on benefits, both economic and social from the likes of the local great cycle trails & the Avantidrome.

The 10 year plan also has no mention on page 15, the “transport” page, of active or public transport types. Its like they’ve been completely forgotten where it matters most and its sad that the Council don’t seem to have been able to get their act together and secure any funding for cycleways. You’re really not devoting enough energy to cycling and have dropped the ball here.

The finances needed for effective cycleways and outstanding improvements are small, which you will be praised for in times to come as they reduce traffic and lead to a healthier, more economically and socially vibrant city, a true City of the Future. Please don’t stuff it up. Thankyou.

>> I encourage everyone to make their own submission << Feel free to reuse, reword, copy/pasta whatever. Submit here or hashtag your submission with #Ham10YP and post it on Facebook (to the Council Facebook page) or short statements via twitter to Council’s twitter page.

Hamilton City Council Looking At Closing Libraries

ImageWhen massive cuts were last proposed for the libraries including cuts to hours and charging for books, British television star and design guru Kevin McCloud from the TV show ‘Grand Designs’ slammed the Hamilton City Council saying they were stuck in the 18th century, saying more money not less should be spent on libraries. 

Hamilton City Council went ahead with some cuts in 2012 including budget cuts, reducing opening hours and increases in charges to people using the libraries. Western Community Newspaper has obtained reports showing the cuts and increased charges have had a devastating effect on our cities libraries. 


Now our libraries are facing closure as Councillor Garry Mallett has come out saying “People don’t particularly want libraries” and is leading the call for a new review in Council with all libraries able to be targeted for closure except the central library in Garden Place. “People get very passionate about libraries” says Cr Mallett.

Following the public outcry during the last libraries review the Council backed down on some of the more extreme changes but then went on to cut $200’000 off the book collections budget leaving gaps in coverage of new books. They also raised late fines and reservation fees putting what people have decried as cripplingly high fees in place which according to official reports to the Council have led to a massive decrease in both revenue and books being issued. 

Reports from the Head Librarian to Hamilton City Council show that since increasing overdue fees and reservation fees and decreasing hours, revenue is down by upwards of $200’000 per annum and book issues are down 100’000. The reports make it very clear that this is a result of the cuts and increases. The Council have been asked multiple times to reduce overdue fees but this has not been listened to. Income continues to decline with each report presented to Council. 

While some Councillors are for the cuts and closures, with Mayor Hardaker supporting the review and the possibility of library closures, others are going the opposite way. We spoke with West Ward Councillors Gallagher and Macpherson and heard there may be a silver lining in the review, but its unlikely.

“The review needs to encompass how we better serve communities and how libraries can better care for their communities” says Martin Gallagher. “Enderley, Nawton and Rototuna communities are not currently served by a local library and thats something which the review should be looking at. We could perhaps look at attaching smaller libraries to community centers and community houses in addition to what we have now. Libraries are about more than just books, they help build community. There is strong community support to maintain existing libraries”

Councillor Dave Macpherson hit out at the Councillors looking at library closures and the results of the previous changes. “What we’ve seen is the cuts and shorter hours and increases in fees have hurt libraries and anything that hurts our libraries is hurting Hamiltonians. This review is another waste of money initiated by the same bunch of councillors who seem increasingly focused on removing council from doing anything to help our communities” 

Local mum Sharon had this to say “I go there with my two wee ones on the weekend just to read the books there and do the puzzles, they really love the library and its great learning for them and its good since its free and money has been tight over the past few years”. Cr Macpherson says this shows that its not all about book issues. “Libraries are the beating heart of communities and its situations like this that show its not all about issue numbers. You haven’t heard the last on this issue and we’ll be fighting to make sure the heart of our communities stays healthy.”

*Originally Published in the Western Community News June 2014*

By Max Dillon Coyle

Nui te aroha, Max Coyle