What do you want the NZTA to deliver?
An Alliance project team is being established by the New Zealand Land Transport Authority to cover the first part of the proposed Expressway from MacKays Crossing to Peka Peka.
“We are faced with a dilemma,” says Mayor Jenny Rowan. “While it is clear Central Government is determined to push through the Sandhills Expressway proposal, the final decision will be made at the Board of Inquiry in 18 months or so time.
“Given this, we can either stay outside the Alliance structure, or join and argue on behalf of our constituents from within. Council has decided that at this stage there is more to be gained by being involved than not.”
Council is therefore drafting a set of objectives as a pre-condition to Alliance membership.
The objectives so far cover the local network efficiency and resilience, town centre viability, containment, connectivity, freight routes, storm water and ground water, the environment, and issues surrounding tangata whenua.
“We need to clearly identify what the key design issues are for our community and for the future development of our district.
“What is being proposed by Central Government will have a major impact on our landscape and future development. There is absolutely no doubt about that. The proposed Expressway is not what we had originally envisaged. However, it is clear there is considerable determination from Wellington to push this thing through.
“While there are common issues which extend across the district, there are many which are specific to particular wards and community board areas,” said Mayor Rowan.
Given this, Council has asked the Community Boards to host a number of workshops over the coming week where key design issues can be discussed.
Chair of the Waikanae Community Board, Michael Scott says there is a risk there will be no connections from Te Moana Road onto the expressway. “As it is currently proposed, the Expressway does not provide a local option for Waikanae Beach people to travel within the district using a local road, apart from continuing to use the existing Te Moana Road and the existing State Highway route,” he said.
The issues are different for Paekakariki. “Getting Transmission Gully protects our community from the kind of severance effects which now threaten the other communities,” says Community Board Chair, Adrian Webster, “but it’s important for our people to engage with this objective-setting process too.”
Ōtaki faces a whole different set of issues with the proposed bypass. “We have concerns for our colleagues to the south,” Community Board Chair, André Baker says, “but the process for Ōtaki will be quite different to that of the Alliance. We’ll need to ensure NZTA, with Council support, focuses on effective access and connectivity of the bypass in order to ensure our economic heart is supported and that the impacts on properties and to our community are minimised.”
Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board Chair John Haxton sees the impact of the expressway on his ward as most serious.
“A major concern is the development of ongoing connectivity through Paraparaumu and Raumati. An Expressway with only one interchange on the intermediate stretch will have a very negative effect and one interchange is all that’s planned at present.
“There has been an indication from NZTA that there could be more than one but that will only happen through the process of the Alliance contract and the setting of the objectives.
“We must argue strongly for on-going connectivity, both north and south, as well as east and west, otherwise our part of the District will be cut in half for ever.”
People who support as well as those who oppose the Expressway should be present at these workshops, the Community Board chairs all agree.
Community Board Meetings are as follows:
Monday 22 March 7:30pm - 9:30 pm Waikanae Senior Citizens Hall
Tuesday 23 March 7:30pm - 9:00 pm Paekākāriki St Peter’s Hall
Wednesday 24 March 7:00pm - 9:00 pm Ōtaki Gertrude Atmore Room
Thursday 25 March 7:00pm - 9:00 pm Paraparaumu/Raumati Coast Community Church, 57 Hinemoa St.