Kapiti Coast District Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) has rebuked fellow councillors who’ve been bemoaning the delay caused to Expressway plans by a High Court case.
Four days ago the anti-Expressway group SaveKapiti dropped a bombshell by announcing they’ve lodged an appeal against the Expressway in the High Court (see story below).
Some Councillors are apparently unhappy by the halt to work which will be caused while the appeal is held. But Cr Gurunathan says they’ve got it wrong.He says: “Councillors expressing disappointment or frustration, with those who have filed a High Court appeal against the McKays to Peka Peka Expressway, fail to understand the people’s right to seek redress in a democratic society.
“The RMA process allows those adversely affected by any decision by the Environment Court or a Board of Inquiry to challenge that decision, on points of law, at the High Court.
“We should celebrate that right. A significant section of our community feel violated by the way the government has forced this expressway through the district.”
An appeal against the Board of Inquiries approval of the Expressway plans can only be made on a point of law.
And SaveKapiti has done just this. It says the Board got it wrong by comparing the Expressway proposal with a ‘do-nothing’ approach, when the Board should have compared the proposal with the community-approved, two-lane Western Link Road.
Councillor Gurunathan backs SaveKapiti’s right to take the case to law.
He says: “The judiciary is a refuge for those who feel they have been victimised by this political decision.
“People have lost homes, others have had their property values reduced and the environment will be damaged. They have an inalienable right to challenge that situation.”
He adds: “The fact that there may be real or imagined economic benefits from the expressway project cannot justify a denigration of that right.
“The Kapiti Community has waited for decades for a second bridge across the Waikanae River. I’m sure we can wait a few more months for the High Court to rule on the appeal.”