Mayors Comments

District damaged forever, Mayor says

15th December 2009

Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan is “extremely disappointed” by the New Zealand Transport Agency’s recent decision to build a Sandhills Expressway down the full western corridor.

“This will damage the district forever,” she said.

“However, I’m relieved several hundred people will not lose their homes and businesses – as they might have if NZTA’s version of the Eastern Option had been implemented.

“This has not been a good process and this is not a good decision.  This expressway will not provide good local transport solutions for people in Kapiti.  People in Waikanae will still have to use the old State Highway 1 to drive to Paraparaumu.

“Despite the map being sent to affected parties today, we have been advised there will only be three access points onto this expressway.

Ms Rowan says, “Referring to it as the Sandhills Expressway is a nonsense – because there’ll be few sandhills left by the time it is completed. Those that are left will certainly not be seen by motorists rocking through the District at 100 kilometres an hour.

“This is certainly not a 21st century decision.  There will be limited access for local people who want to get on and off the Expressway and we will have no ability to develop a modern transport corridor, which meets the needs of cyclists and walkers as well as cars.

“Our District is already severed by the current State Highway and the railway and the new Expressway will create further severance.  I don’t believe the bulk of the population really understand what this will mean in the long-term.

“The new expressway will bring little long-term economic benefit to the District – and this is at a time when the Government is looking to kick-start the country out of a major recession.

“It is both ironic and disturbing to find that the Board has announced an option which it originally threw out, an option opposed by iwi and the Historic Places Trust, and an option that’s been “off the agenda” in Kapiti for the past 12 years – three Kapiti Mayors before me have rejected this idea.

“The proposal for Otaki is to stick with the alignment proposed during the earlier consultation.  We are still concerned about the nature of the access points in and out of Otaki with this.

“Despite the Council’s concern about the new expressway and what this will mean for the district long term, it has not yet made a decision on its formal response.  A report will be coming to the Council in February and at that time we will consider our options.

“I rest in the knowledge that a majority of Councillors, and Council staff have done their very best to stand by the intentions of the Community Plan and vision and listen to the concerns of iwi, environmental, business and community groups who wanted a bridge over the Waikanae River, a local road built through the centre of the District and a low impact sustainable urban eco development – not a four-lane highway