Standing Room Only At
By Alan Tristram 10th September 2009
A large overflow group of Raumati residents had to stand in an alcove and kitchen area during an Expressway meeting at the Raumati South RSA Hall.
The main meeting attracted a capacity crowd of over 80 into the supper room. But up to 20 other people had to try to follow the action from the hall entrance and the kitchen/servery next door.
The organisers had been told the main hall was not available on the night — but it was clearly needed to accommodate the overflow crowd.
The meeting was called to consider the two Government options for Express Ways through the district.
The bombshell proposals from the NZ Transport Agency have thrown KCDC plans for the Western Link Road into disarray – and threatened major delays in its construction, which was due to get under way by the end of the year.
The Raumati South meeting attracted a big turnout by politicians as well as local people.
They included Labour MP for Mana Winnie Laban, National list MP Hekia Parata and Mayor Jenny Rowan – as well as a raft of other local politicians.
Meeting chair Chriss Bull says there was general agreement that:
- Local people should not be hung up on just the two Government options for the Expressways. (Known as the Eastern and Western Options).
- Strong support for ‘Option Four’ – which would upgrade the present SH1 With flyovers and the removal of traffic lights.
- Strong support for improved rail services – with truck freight being moved off roads and onto trains.
- An interchange should be built at Ihakara Street, rather than at Poplar Avenue.
- Strong support for a two-lane ‘local’ road along the WLR route.
Local councillor Lyndy McIntyre (KCDC Paekakariki/Raumati ward) told the meeting that the Governments Expressway plans were linked with its support for the introduction of much heavier trucks.
‘This is about getting from Auckland to Wellington – and all about big trucks,’ Cr McIntyre said.
She urged people to consider other options and to ask “Do we need a motorway? And if so, which entrances.”
Regional Council Nigel Wilson also said plans for an Expressway had been driven by a transport lobby wanting trucks increased from 44 tons to over 50 tons.
“We must tell the Minister that Options One and Two and the four-laning; of the Western Link Road are unacceptable,” he stated.
The meeting concluded with general agreement that submissions should be made in the Expressway consultation process – and that further as yet undefined action should be taken to protect local communities.