Tony Jack

AIRPORT AND TOWN CENTRE

BIGGEST LOSERS

18th December 2009

Councillor Tony Jack believes that the NZTA’s decision came as no surprise because it’s the easiest and cheapest way through the southern part of the district.

“There will now be this immovable barrier down the middle of the community” said Cr Jack.

Mr Jack says Kapiti now has to make its plans for connectivity across the expressway. This will be restricted to existing roads crossing it on flyovers – no assisting the current east/west connection problems we have.

Local traffic will be largely prevented from using it by deliberate design as the intent is local reliance on the existing SH1 for movement about Kapiti. It won’t function if serving local traffic.

The existing SH1 will become a local tourist road from Levin to Porirua and, as now, the only effective connection the length of the Kapiti District. It will be ours – just minus most of the through traffic.

“The Paraparaumu Airport development and any town centre at Paraparaumu will be the biggest losers. Nothing enhances their accessibility” said Jack.

Local focus will be west of the expressway through Raumati/ Paraparaumu and east of it at Waikanae.

Locals will cross it of necessity and will turn their backs on it. This is how such corridors are treated everywhere – a blight on the landscape that everyone turns their back on. It will require good noise and vibration mitigation. Fortunately the corridor is wide and the “sandhills” provide easy cheap construction and noise bunds to the sides – you just flatten the sandhills.

Those with homes on the existing highway will be rejoicing – others now affected will be dismayed.

There will be a need to realign the connection between the Waikanae River and Te Moana Road to enable the 100 kph design speed of the expressway. This will probably mean houses will be lost to avoid the Waikanae Christian Holiday Park and Takamore Urupa as Council’s Western Link designation will not work as an expressway between these points.

The Waikanae Ngarara proposed eco planned urban growth area is effectively stuffed by this decision. The Expressway corridor ends any hope of respecting landform in this area. Probably the biggest environmental tragedy of the whole proposal.

The pressure will now be on future urban expansion in the Te Horo area as shortened travel time will see big growth pressure as people seek to move up onto the coast. Smart money would invest in land here for a new town of the future.

The most urgent piece of local roading work is to put a two lane local bridge across the Waikanae river NOW between Weggery Drive and Makora Road linking back via the Drive to Kapiti Road.

If I could – I would have Council “fast track” this connection and have it completed as urgently as possible to provide local connection ahead of the building of the Sandhills Expressway. This would be a lifesaver in the interim and a necessity on completion of the expressway.

Like the majority of Kapiti I am glad a final outcome has finally been chosen and it seems at last an end is in sight to the crazy SH1 delays through our district. My fear is that traffic will fly through like Johnsonville to Porirua and largely forget about our area. Our challenge is to make people have a reason to turn off the expressway discover us and spend their $$$ in our area.

Some locals will love this, we can become a sleepy backwater, and others will just probably quietly relocate somewhere where they see a better brighter business opportunity.

Unfortunately anywhere east of the expressway at Raumati/Paraparaumu will ultimately experience the biggest impact from the building of the new SH1 expressway.

We will need to create our own with at least a four lane Kapiti Road, let’s hope NZTA pay for the flyovers at least from day one.

A Final Word –

The Western Link – Four successive Mayors were planning to drive the bulldozer to start this road – it never happened simply because it was far too ambitious a project for a poor debt ridden Council.

Is Council smart enough to work quickly to ensure the best possible outcome for residents and ratepayers from this Government RONS project through our district? I hope so.