Raumati residents fed up
By Roger Childs
Over 80 people gathered at the Kapiti Uniting Church in Raumati on Monday to voice their concerns over on-going expressway noise.
Representatives from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), were invited, but opted to send a letter instead of fronting up.
Mana MP, Kris Faafoi, Deputy Mayor, Janet Holborow and Local Community Board Chair Jonny Best were at the top table, and former Deputy Mayor, Roger Booth, who lives in ear-shot of the new highway on Kiwi Road, chaired the meeting.
Local group interacting with NZTA
Jonny Best heads a Community Liaison Group and has had regular contacts with NZTA. His group has made it clear that they are very concerned that
~ the Alliance, which coordinated the overall administration of the expressway development, had its last meeting in June. (So the Kapiti Coast District Council is no longer involved.)
~ NZTA were following a “rule” that stated there would be a three year moratorium before substantive issues could be addressed.
~ the system for measuring decibel levels of traffic over 24 hours and averaging the findings was highly unsatisfactory.
A recent letter to NZTA stressed that the Agency:
- is well aware that there are on-going issues related to expressway noise
- needs to go beyond their “rules” to solve the problems
- must look at further noise mitigation
- should think about reconstituting the Alliance.
The NZTA letter to the meeting stated that the Agency had responded to all correspondence it had received on the noise issue; was continuing to do monitoring and is in the process of doing a noise report. After that comes out representatives will meet with residents in the Rata Road area.
Residents air their grievances
Over a dozen people spoke from the floor. There was general agreement about the problems:
- main issue was noise at night when people were trying to sleep
- big trucks are the major problem and especially their use of engine brakes
- motor bikes and commuter traffic are also a worry
- the sound of all vehicles passing over the metal sections of bridges is a particular irritant
- the elevation of the expressway through Raumati spreads the noise widely and in places there is nothing to deaden the sound.
Among solutions, the following were suggested
- restricting engine breaking
- measuring the noise specifically at night when houses are quiet
- building more sound walls, but with noise absorbent panels such as are used in Europe, notably Finland
- providing double glazing in nearby houses
- building bunds, where these don’t exist, beside and above the expressway and plant trees, shrubs etc ..
Janet Holborow said that a strong message needs to be sent to NZTA.
There was feeling from the meeting that NZTA was operating a “divide and rule” approach as in the case of their separate meetings with the Rata Road area residents. (What about Kiwi Road and elsewhere?)
All agreed that a united front was essential and it was suggested that concerned residents should sign up to is firstname.lastname@example.org
People at the meeting filled in a form listing their personal concerns and contact details, and will be advised of further gatherings.
Nick Fisher reports that: the angle of the noise being a nuisance I think will be our best hope. The Health Act 1956 section 29 (ka) and 30 – 35 gives us some legal recourse.