Kapiti councillors claims decried at Speakers’ CornerBy Alan Tristram
The anti-Expressway group SaveKapiti has decried claims by KCDC councillors that the new motorway will bring prosperity to the district.
SaveKapiti spokesman Mark Harris told a gathering at Speakers’ Corner in Paraparaumu that Councillors Roger Booth and Tony Lester, speaking on National Radio, have failed to say how prosperity will come.
And in a dramatic move he asked listeners to look west at the impressive sight of Kapiti Island – which he said would be obliterated by the massive bulk of the Expressway crossing the sight-line. It would be nearly 7.5 metres high at the Kapiti Road interchange.
An Expressway which, he suggested, will take prosperity and traffic through, and not to, the District.
Mr Harris stressed the advantages of the previous plan for the two-lane Western Link Road (WLR), developed by the Kapiti Coast Council.
And he accused local politicians of failing to support his group in their fight against the Expressway, which he said would only bring 650 jobs, 150 or so locally, compared with 4,000 predicted for the Western Link Road.
Just prior to the weekend, SaveKapiti announced it was appealing to the High Court against the Board of Inquiry’s approval for the Expressway.
It will argue on a point of law that the Board compared the Expressway with a do-nothing option — when it should have compared the Expressway plans with the many benefits offered by the WLR.
Mr Harris outlined the benefits of the Western Link, which he said was a ’much better’ idea than the Expressway and would cost much less.
But, he said the NZ Transport Agency had ‘lied and cheated’ and had tried to marginalise opponents.
The appeal process will start in the High Court on June 17,Mr Harris told a questioner, and it would halt ‘design actions’ on the Expressway while it continued.
There was a dramatic confrontation during the meeting when Observer reporter Joel Maxwell appeared briefly among the listeners (he wasn’t covering the meeting).
Mr Harris asked him why the Observer wasn’t covering what happened and why it was failing to use news releases from SaveKapiti.
But after an angry exchange Mr Maxwell refused the challenge and walked off.
The gathering at Speakers’ Corner was the fifth to be held at noon on a Saturday and, as has become customary, it was preceded by a musical blast from Cr K Gurunathan using an ancient Jewish shofar horn.