Last-minute move to plan bulldozing of Takapu Valley; unhappy residents find map

News release from Takapu Valley
Takapu Valley residents have uncovered a last minute plan by the Wellington City Council and the the New Zealand Transport Agency to ‘throw Porirua City and Hutt City under the bus’ with 11th hour Transmission Gully plan changes that will see the motorway diverted straight through the Takapu Valley community, with minimal time for consultation or appeal.

Takapu Valley residents found out last week that the Transport Agency has plans to build a new motorway through many of their homes and farms, to link Grenada North to Transmission Gully bypassing traffic around Porirua.

“The Wellington City Council is blindsiding the community, by attempting to take the freight and warehousing industry from Hutt City by stealth with major implications for businesses, industry and livelihoods in the Hutt Valley.” said Richard Brown, spokesperson for concerned Takapu Valley locals.

Takapu residents discovered the 11th hour change of plan when New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) officials apparently accidentally left a map which illustrates the change of plans, while visiting a resident.

Further research has uncovered an unusual agreement signed between the Wellington Mayor and the NZ Transport Agency on 20 Dec 2013 explicitly stating the goal to:

‘Strengthen Wellington’s [City] strategic location as a freight hub by improving the efficiency of freight movements to, through and beyond Wellington.’

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said “This Accord enables us to remain inside the tent for important transport programmes and projects”, and “this agreement is a sign Wellington is open for business.”

Once the Petone to Grenada North road is finished, by linking Grenada North to Transmission Gully via the proposed Takapu Valley motorway, Wellington City will have the space, location and link to develop Grenada North into the new logistics hub. “This sudden new Takapu Valley motorway we’ve discovered is key to making it happen.

“It will bleed Hutt City dry of businesses and rates if WCC gets its way with this proposal” said Mr Brown, “I’d be worried if I was the Hutt City Mayor”.

“No wonder there are so many closed door last minute meetings. It’s a sudden last minute move to announce bulldozing of Takapu Valley. This is a killer move by the Wellington Mayor, a total blind-siding of her neighbouring councils,” said Mr Brown.

“The new Grenada to Transmission Gully road (Takapu Valley) has suddenly appeared overnight despite Transmission Gully planning of 20 years; it’s secretive, it’s weird and looks like it’s extremely rushed to approve it before the election.”

Locals are understandably concerned that a major new road appears in no public planning or strategy documents and is now being rushed through urgently. “They’re restarting their plans that were stopped by commonsense in 1990 by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Helen Hughes; they’re being underhand” said Mr Brown.

“So, what are they really up to?” asked Mr Brown, “It looks like the Wellington City Council has done a quick and dirty deal to ram a new motorway through Takapu Valley in order to take Hutt City business and rates. We suspect the transport lobby is behind this as well”.

“The suddenly proposed Takapu Valley motorway will cut the Porirua City off from Transmission Gully traffic flow, option D on the secret map clearly shows this. NZTA have said is their preferred option”.

“Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett would have to be very concerned; it’s something Porirua Mayors have fought against for at least 20 years.”

“It looks like the Wellington City Council could be stealing from the Hutt and Porirua Councils, for their own ends. Clearly Wellington Region urgently needs a super city council to put an end to this madness – that’s the only conclusion we can make from the evidence available”

Takapu Valley residents are upset and angry about the lack of consultation with them, the community who will be directly affected by such a change of plan. They’re also angry that they’re being pitted against Tawa Residents who could lose their homes in option C. “We feel for them too”.

Notes:

• Takapu Valley, near Tawa, is one of the last remaining close knit rural communities in Wellington City. Some farms go back to the 1800s and have been in continuous family ownership.

• WCC – NZTA Christmas agreement announcement: (http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2013/12/wellingtoncity-and-nzta-to-sign-accord)

• Transmission Gully was planned and consulted over 20 years. Grenada to Transmission Gully (Takapu valley) will have a mere 6 weeks consultation period with an urgent decision timetabled before the general election.

• There is no reference to the new Grenada to Transmission Gully road (Takapu Valley) in any planning document publicly available. Why is such a large roading project invisible to the public and being created suddenly without strategic planning?

• The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) Helen Hughes’ Report into Transmission Gully recommended that Takapu Valley be saved from roading, hence recommending the current Linden/Kenepuru start to TG.

• Following the PCE report, the Greater Wellington Regional Council (WRC at the time) Report further recommended protection from Transmission Gully for Takapu Valley for environmental and social reasons, recommending the current Linden/Kenepuru start to TG.

• The Transmission Gully start was moved to Linden because of these reports, NZTA are now looking to build both, with no recourse to previous reports.

• DomPost reported a closed door briefing of WCC councillors on the 4th Feb. The elected representatives of the Tawa Community Board on the Wellington City Council were excluded from the briefing.

• No key stakeholders to the Petone – Grenada road have been shown the secret map despite working on this for a number of years.

• Over 10yrs consultation for transmission gully. Residents will be given 6 weeks, from a standing start, to fight their case to save their farms, homes, and livelihoods.

 

5 comments:

  1. Peter, 11. February 2014, 21:50

    There now appear to be possibly only three councillors who don’t give their soles away to ‘big business’ agendas and recognise that the the majority of their employers – the private property ratepayers – depend on them to protect the interests of those who do not have the time, money, information and resources to challenge every dodgy decision they make. As for Wellington being open for business, Celia probably meant to say, “Open for big business.”

     
  2. James, 11. February 2014, 22:43

    I wonder if anyone in Takapu Valley has had continuous occupation since 1840, and can claim the land-based equivalent of customary rights under the Foreshore and Seabed regime.

     
  3. donna, 12. February 2014, 13:51

    We had a similar scenario in Auckland with the now mercifully derailed East-West link. It magically appeared as a regional land transport priority with no public discussion, with the justification that we needed better roading for freight. It’s bullshit, of course: you either have a people-friendly city that brings business because living there is its own reward, or you have heavy freight dominating your transport system. Interestingly, the line NZTA spun the residents of Takapu valley last week was almost exactly what they told us. We had the closed door briefings too, as Auckland Transport and NZTA worked to divide and rule the community.
    The residents probably can’t save their homes on their own. They will need others in behind them and they will all need to lobby hard. Fortunately, it’s an election year. We wish you the best of luck!

     
  4. Rob Suisted, 12. February 2014, 15:02

    Takapu Valley residents considering driving tractors up the Transport Agency’s front steps? Who knows? The tractors live only 10 minutes away. [via Twitter]

     
  5. Rob, 12. February 2014, 17:50

    -NZTA are reactivating by stealth their original Transmission Gully Plans that were quashed 20 years ago, urgently before the election.

    -NZTA are sneakily coat-tailing the Takapu Valley motorway to the Petone-Grenada Road for funding and confusion. It doesn’t appear in any public planning documents.

    -Option D completely bypasses all Hutt traffic away from Porirua. This is what Porirua Mayors fear and was successfully fought decades ago.

    -Option D makes Grenada North the new logistics hub for Wellington City, to the economic detriment of Hutt City, in an 11th hour blindsiding. Hutt / Seaview should be worried

     

Write a comment: