Rowan's Rebuke

Mayor stands by claims

By Alan Tristram

3rd September 2009

Jenny Rowan-Kapiti mayorKapiti Coast District Mayor Jenny Rowan stands by her claim there is nothing the Council could have done to influence the current course of action from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

She says in dealing with large projects, like the Western Link, the Council deals formally with officials in government agencies like NZTA.

“At no stage did they notify us, either formally or informally, that the road was in jeopardy, or we should stop work on it – quite the opposite,” she says.

“The message we were getting was to get on with it.  This is the mantra Councillor Molineux, was pushing around the Council table too.

“The real problem was that NZTA did not involve us in their planning work,”she says.

“They’ve been developing concepts for the new State Highway 1 alignment for some months, without either telling us or consulting us.

“Even worse, Opus, the same consultancy advising them on the new alignment proposals, was engaged in a conflict of interest advising us on the Western Link,”she says.

“I can’t take responsibility for what previous Councils have or haven’t done with this road.  All I can say is that this Council has worked hard and very productively to get the road to where it is now.

The Mayor adds: “We’re ready to go and all we need now is for NZTA to honour its commitment to fund 90 per cent of Stage One from Te Moana Road to Raumati Road, including the Waikanae Bridge.

“I’ve been cracking the whip over this project from day one, but what people need to understand is that securing major resource consents and undertaking property purchases takes time.

“The Council has not been ‘placating a minority of residents’ as Councillor Molineux claims, it has been dealing professionally and sensitively with significant landowners, like the Takamore Trust, and the El Rancho Christian Holiday Camp,” she says.

“The Council has also been working to ensure the Western Link is fit for the purpose of linking Kapiti’s communities together, not acting as a barrier severing existing communities.

“I agree we need to engage positively with NZTA to get the best outcomes we can on the new State Highway Alignment, but this comes at a price as far as I’m concerned.

“The price is that NZTA needs to act with honesty and integrity, consult transparently, and compensate businesses and property owners fairly and quickly for disrupting their lives and businesses.” Mayor Rowan says.

“We need to come out of this process and feel we have achieved genuine long-term benefits for Kapiti.”