Wellington Regional Councillor under fire for ‘serving Otaki poorly’
Nigel Wilson, the Greater Wellington Regional Councillor for the Kapiti area, has come under a blistering attack from the former Kapiti deputy Mayor Ann Chapman.
In her latest column, Ann Chapman says Mr Wilson has damaged Otaki by his ‘neglect and absence’ when the urgent transport needs of the area were being considered by the Regional Council.
The criticism comes as part of her larger argument that the GWRC is shamefully neglecting Otaki’s needs.
Here’s her column —
The Three O’s — Otaki, Others and Outrage
By Ann Chapman
Recently the Greater Wellington Regional Council produced their Proposed Wellington Regional Transport Plan for 2011-2021.
Boring you may think, but it’s important for Otaki in what it doesn’t say and how it does not provide for our future needs. We are mere ‘others’ – of no importance in their future plans. This is a 10 year plan for the future of the region and Otaki is not there. We don’t rate a mention until after 2021.
Otaki it seems, is viewed as an outlier – of little or no importance. GW does not rate us. We contribute to the rates pool and get poor return for that.
They may argue that we get a bus service. Well yes. But does it work for us? They may argue that they have provided safety for out town in the form of river works. Well yes but Otaki and the rest of Kapiti brought priority to complete that works programme otherwise we would still be waiting for the stop banks to be completed.
‘How dumb is that?’
If Otaki is not to be isolated further after the by-pass is built it needs proper adequate public transport and planning for that needs to start now, not in ten years. Under this current plan out for consultation the GW don’t propose to start looking at our future needs until 10 years hence. How dumb is that? How lacking in forethought is that?
In spite of many years of my own advocacy, that of council’s and now repeated harping by Penny Gaylor (Otaki Community Board )on about the need to double track the rail network to Otaki we are classed as ‘others’.
Future needs must be planned for now
To provide for our growing population, to be ready for future development and to sit aside the work being done on our economic development in the ‘Clean Tec’ campus along Riverbank Road, our future needs must be planned for now.
Residentially-focused Eastbourne gets into the regional council’s frame. We do not, even though we are classed as the major urban growth area of for the region.
We have a strong education focus and a major developmental potential linked to the rural productive land and local food concepts. Eastbourne does not. It raises the question as to whether Eastbourne residents – in their secluded iconic environment- pay higher rates than us and are therefore classified as more worthy.
In the submission to GW, KCDC noted: ‘It is difficult to see given the strategic focus on Otaki, that a future network plan could argue that this area should have the ‘other’ category applied to it. It is important to note that this classification system hides the fact that that the Wairarapa towns have a rail service within this ‘other’ category.’
Planning needed for rail network
Otaki needs the GWRC to be planning our future rail network now not in ten years time when it will be too late. GW failed the community when it did not come out fighting for the Western Link Road and have been silent on the proposed Otaki By-pass.
It should have, and could have, double tracked the rail corridor at the same time as the Waikanae link was done. That would have made sense economically and strategically and provided for our future potential growth. To recognise the need in ten years time is too little too late. This is unacceptable to the Kapiti Coast District Council and should be unacceptable to the Otaki people.
‘O’ for Outrage
The final O is for outrage. And we should feel a sense of outrage! We need to feel this if our town is not to be left behind at the whim of the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
And where was our regional councillor when this document was developed and argued? Did he alert us? Where was he when submissions were being heard? Was he listening?
No he wasn’t even there. I understand he was on his annual lengthy jaunt to New York. Does that warrant another “o” and another outrage? Yes it does.
Nigel Wilson has served us poorly in this matter. Perhaps it is not high profile enough for him. Perhaps Otaki does not matter to him.
And so my questions are Mr Wilson:
- What are you going to do now to repair the damage you have done to this town in your neglect and absence?
- Where will your advocacy be now?
- And will you support us?
Kapiti Grey Power lodged a submission with Greater wellington on the
Proposed 10 year Transport Plan early in August.
On August 15th, I made a presentation on our submission saying:
The Proposed Regional Public Transport Plan categorises the Otaki to Waikanae services as “other connections”
This is a 10 year plan and GW should consider KCDC’s continued advocacy for the extension of the electrified rail link from Waikanae to Otaki. The population figures after all are aligned with Eastbourne which is classified as part of the “quality network.”
They have an Eastbourne to Wellington Bus Service, are able to access rail services at Petone, and can use the Ferry services.
I compared this to the paucity of the available transport services in Otaki, and supported Cr. Penny Gaylor, and KCDC Staff member’s presentations on the Otaki bus services and request for a rail extension to Otaki.
Kapiti Grey Power requested that GW re-consider the classification of this section of the plan.
At that time discussion around the table between Regional Councillors who were on the Hearing Committee and the Transport Planners suggested a change in wording and a re-consideration of the category: ‘other connections’
GW Cr. Wilson was not present, but he was not part of the Hearings Committee.
As yet I have not received a copy of the apporoved 10 year Regional Transport Plan, nor GW’s response to our submission, or the changes that may have been made to the proposed Transport Plan.
Hopefully changes will have been made regarding the Otaki services, but we need to read the Approved Transport Plan document when it is released, not quote the ‘Proposed Regional Transport Plan’
Who else made submissions beside Kapiti Grey Power and KCDC?
Betty van Gaalen