By Alan Tristram
Kapiti’s Mayor Jenny Rowan has dropped an unexpected bombshell by confirming at a public meeting there is no written guarantee of a 90-per-cent Government subsidy for the Western Link Road (WLR).
Up till now, some local politicians in favour of the WLR have assured doubtful locals that ratepayers would only have to front up with 10 per cent of the cost.
According to recent estimates (Observer 30/4/09), Stage One of the WLR – from Te Moana Road in Waikanae to Raumati Road — would cost $140 million,
Stage Three – from Raumati Road to Poplar Avenue in Raumati South – would cost about $30 million, bringing the total to $170 million.
But at a packed meeting in Raumati South this week to consider the Express Ways options, Mayor Rowan disclosed there was no written agreement for a subsidy on even Stage One of the road, though KCDC officials have been looking for such evidence.
She said she’d discussed the matter with the previous Mayor, Alan Milne (2001 – 2007), who said he’d negotiated an agreement for a 90 per cent subsidy based on plans at the time for a four-lane road.
When the Mr Milne negotiated the subsidy for Stage One, he publicly stated that ratepayers could only afford to contribute $17 million to the entire Link Road
Since then, and after extensive consultations with the public, the KCDC plans have been revised to provide a ‘green’ two-lane road featuring cycleways, walkways and extensive tree planting — as well as sections for bridleways.
All this may have altered the Government’s views on how much subsidy should be given to what has become much more of a ‘local’ road than the original four-lane highway stretching from Peka Peka in the north to Poplar Avenue in the South.
Ms Rowan also told the Raumati South meeting that the Council’s expenditure of $26 million on the WLR in the past decade included ‘huge subsidies.’
Ratepayers would ‘probably have paid $5 million to $6million’ towards this, she said.