Report from AKT
Today was the day of reckoning for Kapiti residents anxious to know what alignment the government’s NZ Transport Agency has chosen for the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway.
At the southern end, the Agency has chosen the alignment proposed in November. North of the Waikanae River, the western alignment (option one in November) has been confirmed. Interchanges at Kapiti Road and Te Moana road are also confirmed.
The western option north of the Waikanae River will affect 16 properties, compared to the eastern option which would have affected 29 properties.
NZTA Central Regional Director Jenny Chetwynd acknowledges that the western option “will still impact on those who are directly affected, including the members of the Takamore Trust and property owners such as El Rancho.” Controversially this is said to cut through waahi tapu land, which includes a burial ground.
Ms Chetwynd said choosing the alignment through Raumati South was the hardest decision, due to the number of directly affected property owners.
“The key factor in our decision was keeping Raumati South together as one cohesive community. If we had gone through Queen Elizabeth Park, more than 100 houses would have been permanently severed from the community and local schools. The feedback we received from residents during consultation told us very clearly that keeping communities connected was of immense importance.
“This decision also means Te Ra School can stay open in its current location, while also minimising the long-term visual impact of the expressway on the community by removing the need for large raised structures through Queen Elizabeth Park and the wetlands”.
“We appreciate this is a difficult time for property owners who are directly affected, and we will be working closely with these people to mitigate the impacts as much as we can and to support them through this process.
“In a project of this importance, the careful consideration of a large number of factors including public feedback must be undertaken before any decision can be made. We fully understand that these decisions will have enormous significance for both individuals and communities in the short term and for generations to follow. This expressway is an important piece of infrastructure that will benefit the local community, region and country in terms of supporting a growing population, improving safety and relieving current and future congestion.”
Ms Chetwynd said the NZTA had been consulting with the Kapiti community since 2009, and its feedback would continue to be valuable in helping to guide the development of the expressway.
“The next round of consultation will be an opportunity for the community to focus on the design development phase of the expressway, including walking and cycling paths, the Waikanae Bridge, possible mitigation measures such as landscaped bunds or earth mounds, and local road connections,” Ms Chetwynd said.
The next round will be information expos planned by the Alliance and NZTA, to be held over the next several weeks.
Dates and locations :
* Sunday 15 May 10am–4pm – Southward Car Museum
* Tuesday 17 May 4pm–8pm – Waikanae Memorial Hall
* Thursday 19 May 4pm–8pm – Kapiti Community Centre
* Friday 20 May 4pm–8pm – Raumati South Memorial Hall