Confusion reigned over the last week as speed signs in the town centre were taped over with rumour the limit had been reduced to 30kph. Council had issued a statement saying the reduced speed was an attempt to gauge how a more pedestrianised town centre would operate and whether the slower traffic made it more user-friendly. QLDC general manager property and infrastructure Peter Hansby said the temporary speed limit had been introduced on a trial basis until June 2019.
But in an about-turn yesterday (Wednesday, February 6), council admitted they didn’t have the authority to reduce the limit and that it was unenforceable by Police.
“QLDC has introduced trial areas in Arrowtown and most recently in Wanaka as a result of community feedback and specifically with the intention of trialling reduced speeds to create more pedestrian-friendly environments. QLDC has been advised that there is no provision in the relevant legislation to trial speed changes, although there are provisions to introduce temporary limits where there are particular circumstances. Any change requires full notification consultation and submission. We have also been informed that these speed limits are not enforceable by NZ Police. As a result, we have reverted back to the original speed limits for these locations in Arrowtown and Wanaka.”
But pedestrianisation of the town centre is still on the cards and the slowing and/or diversion of traffic part of Town Centre Masterplan.
“The council is still committed to looking for opportunities to actively manage speed as part of its programme to enhance our town centres. QLDC will continue to work with NZTA so that changes to speed limits are implemented in a way that is robust and legally enforceable. QLDC is also considering future amendments to its Speed Limits bylaw which may provide greater flexibility to make amendments to speed to address changing traffic needs and local community concerns.”