The Transport Agency shows how not to make friends, again

Property owners in the Takapu Valley north of Wellington are in danger of joining the list of people whose lives are being changed for the worse by the Transport Agency. The Agency has told them that their farms could be cut in half by a new link road from Grenada North to the new Transmission Gully motorway.

The DomPost reports that they are stunned to learn about the option for the link road.

“Mate, it was just a bombshell, I was just sick to my stomach,” landowner Richard Brown said yesterday…

Stephen Mulholland, who emigrated from the United States with his partner Tamara Duran more than 10 years ago, said he learned of the proposal after his neighbour was contacted by the Transport Agency. The road would split his property in half and destroy their alpaca farming business. It would also run through several large historic farms in the valley and make it impossible for residents to find other similar properties so close to Wellington City.

“It’s a lifebreaker, what do we do, move to Dunedin to look for a similar place? If this goes ahead, we’re pooped. We can’t run a farm with a motorway running through it.”

Brown, who has lived in the area for 12 years, said Transport Agency staff came to his house on Wednesday to meet him. They informed him that while extending State Highway 1 and the Takapu Valley option would cost about the same, the hassle of roadworks on an existing highway meant the latter was a better choice. “You don’t understand what it’s like until it happens to you,” he said. Another neighbour had bought his property only six months ago and was devastated. It seemed more sensible to widen the existing highway than destroy the lives of Takapu Valley residents, Mr Brown said.

Rod James, the Transport Agency’s Wellington highways manager, said a public announcement would be made in two weeks detailing the route options, after all residents had been contacted. About 80 property owners could be affected, with some still to be contacted before the public release.

They’re in danger of having the same experience as Kapiti residents whose peaceful coastal lifestyle is to be changed forever by a four-lane expressway. Over 4000 of them signed a petition against the expressway, but their concerns were ignored. In 2010, Horokiwi residents also had a bad experience with the Transport Agency, after the failure of consultation about access changes. Residents’ association chair Dr Sydney Shep said Agency staff were “cowboys” and “bullies” who didn’t care care about the social welfare of her community.

And the Mount Victoria community is gearing up to fight the Agency’s plans to build a 300-metre concrete flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, with a board of inquiry hearing starting on Monday and running till the end of March.

Today’s report from the Takapu Valley indicates that the welfare of another Wellington community is being threatened by the Transport Agency’s roading plans.

February 1: Takapu Valley residents confront Transport Agency

January 20: The Transport Agency shows how not to make friends


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