“We are surprised” at change of Petone to Grenada route, says councillor

by Andy Foster
I’ve been asked to set out the Wellington City Council’s position on the proposed Petone – Grenada road. The council has not yet formally discussed the NZ Transport Agency’s current proposals, though there have been internal discussions and the northern ward councillors and I have attended a number of resident meetings in Tawa including the very well attended one earlier this week.

Council officials on our behalf have written to the Transport Agency, and a follow up letter is also on its way.

Those letters set out a number of points.

Firstly that we support a road in principle. This is consistent with the Northern Growth Management Framework adopted in 2003 after extensive community engagement, and the District Plan changes that followed. This included a Structure Plan setting out the land use for the Lincolnshire Farm area bounded by Newlands, Horokiwi, Grenada and Takapu Valley. This layout included an indicative road alignment for a Petone – Grenada road which was supported in principle.

The proposed road clearly provides a much shorter connection between the southern Hutt Valley and Porirua/Tawa. It would facilitate the development of a business park at Lincolnshire as envisaged in the Framework. It would improve resilience, and significantly reduce pressure on the Ngauranga merge. In addition it has by far the best Benefit : Cost ratio of all the major roading in the region, so unlike some projects it has a good economic case.

However having said we support the road in principle, as indeed it seems do the vast majority of people including those in potentially affected areas, we have said that we are surprised at the change in the proposed route, and by the aim to seek additional roading capacity north of Grenada.

It is these two things of course which between them lead to most if not all the concerns being well expressed by residents.

We have also said that we want to work closely with the Transport Agency to try to address the issues which broadly

• Impact on the Harbour escarpment. The original expectation was to rise up from the coast through the Quarry area. NZTA are now saying that the geological conditions on the escarpment make this impractical, so it is proposed to take the road essentially straight into the escarpment which would clearly require an enormous cut. We have said we want to see and test the geological evidence, and if a cut is necessary then design and mitigation would be critical and we would need to work with NZTA to address this.

• Impacts on the landscape generally including what could be a very large cut through the Horokiwi area.

• Impacts on the communities of Horokiwi, Grenada, Tawa and Takapu Valley from the
changed road alignment.

• Impacts on Grenada North sports fields

• Impacts on the Belmont Gully system

• In addition we have said that we would need to work with the NZTA on issues around connections to the local roading network, multimodal use of any new road, funding, and timing.

• We are also asking for information about the NZTA’s projected future traffic volumes north of Grenada, and the assumptions behind the future numbers. We aren’t aware of any significant congestion in that area that would warrant additional capacity, and want to test the crystal ball that’s been used.

• We’ve also said that residents will need certainty as soon as possible about what is and is not planned, so that people do not have their lives put ‘on hold’ unnecessarily or for longer than is needed. That means dialogue and getting answers to those questions sooner rather than later.

28 March: City Council letter to NZ Transport Agency

Councillor Andy Foster is Chair of the city council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee

Read also: Takapu Valley vs NZ Transport Agency

 

22 comments:

  1. Bob, 11. April 2014, 18:03

    Cr Foster doesn’t even mention the potential destruction of the 900ha pristine rural Takapu Valley by a pointless last minute 7km ‘tack on’ to the Petone to Grenada Road (proposed since ’75)! And potential loss of all western access to Belmont Regional Park, ecosystems, stuffing the last remaining headwater of the whole Porirua harbour catchment, and major impacts of sportsgrounds. His silence on this is chilling.

    WCC aren’t bothering to even submit to NZTA. They’ve signed a quiet little agreement to ‘keep them inside the tent’ instead: http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2013/12/wellington-city-and-nzta-to-sign-accord. Clandestine dealings.

    As a multiple WCC ratepayer, it’s unacceptable that my council isn’t being open about its views so its citizens can see what they are doing ‘inside the tent’ with NZTA.

    How green is our Mayor really?

     
  2. Bob, 11. April 2014, 18:12

    If you don’t understand Cr Foster’s confusing article, then check the map:

    http://www.takapuvalley.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P2GnotP2TG.jpg

    Somehow a 10yr+ project just doubled in size but still has the name. Should be called Petone to Whitby! There is no justification for option C or D – go back to the original A or B now.

     
  3. Traveller, 11. April 2014, 18:52

    The council letter offers little hope or support to the people of Takapu Valley. “Mitigation” is the best that the council can think of, if an expressway is bulldozed through the valley?

     
  4. Bob, 11. April 2014, 20:06

    As the GWRC puts it: “…from a land use and environmental impacts perspective, it involves a large new road footprint through an unspoilt rural area for what we consider may be limited additional strategic benefit….” How do you mitigate that? It’s a total loss. I’m very unhappy with the WCC, the Mayor and Andy Foster at this moment.

     
  5. Pollyanna, 11. April 2014, 21:29

    This is the same Councillor who did a rapid about face on the Basin Flyover.

     
  6. Lee, 11. April 2014, 23:45

    Bob, lots of us who voted for Celia are surprised about what she is doing now. And what she is failing to do.

     
  7. Dave, 12. April 2014, 7:19

    I’m going to propose we put the Wellington Airport in Lower Hutt. A lot more room to build a longer runway. Dont worry about the property owners we can pay them out and if they grizzle we will keep going to court until we get the result. Hopefully some fat cat will make some $$$ on the way

     
  8. Rick, 12. April 2014, 8:39

    You ‘mitigate’ it by putting in a few plants and spraying on grass as fast as you can, and then it just blends into the landscape and quietly disappears – Yeah Right!! The Council has backed right away from this because they have been bought off with the offer of a free cycleway from Petone to Wellington – and they’ll get a few thousand cubic metres of fill for the airport too. There is simply no justification in their own figures for either Option C or D, they should just get on with P2G as originally planned.

     
  9. Sridhar Ekambaram, 12. April 2014, 8:49

    I am not really in favour of new roads at the drop of a hat. However, as long as the impact on Takapu Valley’s beauty is mitigated, I am not so much against this road for a simple reason. There is significant traffic that uses Ngauranga Gorge to get to Petone and Lower Hutt. The same gorge is also used by public transport which is then delayed due to congestion. This road has the potential to move such traffic off Ngauranga Gorge which can then free up capacity and speed up public transport in the gorge. There is even potential to free space to dedicate one lane for buses. From that angle, this project is worth considering.

     
  10. lindsay, 12. April 2014, 9:52

    Sridhar. If they build a four lane expressway through the Takapu Valley, there is no way that mitigation would be possible. More importantly: the original route for the Petone to Grenada road would achieve everything you are describing, without going through the valley and without wrecking the lives of its people.

     
  11. Tam, 12. April 2014, 10:02

    Sridhar, the residents of Takapu Valley and Tawa (and Cr Foster) are in favour of the Petone to Grenada link road. It’s just that NZTA has tacked on all this extra road — either through Tawa or through Takapu Valley — that is tremendously destructive, without justifying it.

    We can have the link road without bulldozing Takapu Valley.

     
  12. Dave, 12. April 2014, 10:10

    Sridhar – try living in Auckland and I’m sure you would appreciate how good Wellington is in terms of traffic.

     
  13. Bob, 12. April 2014, 15:22

    Sridhar, it’s hard for people to understand the issues because NZTA make them murky.

    Look at: http://www.takapuvalley.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P2GnotP2TG.jpg

    Perhaps Cr Foster doesn’t understand either?

    The Petone to Grenada (east/west aspect) may make sense, but the option C and D sudden ‘tack ons’ (north/south) definitely don’t. But then who know’s what’s happening with that sneaky MOU the WCC made with NZTA at Xmas last. They should come clean and make a submission like the rest of us!

     
  14. Tam, 12. April 2014, 16:55

    It’s a stupid road, this Takapu thing. That’s what makes me so incredibly angry and sad. I’ve read their scoping report — I bet most of the NZTA project team hasn’t — and I’ve seen better work by 11th formers. It’s a shambles.

    That is what is so incredibly demoralizing. NZTA can put up any old piece of rubbish and claim it will cure cancer. They can ignore their own data and twist their own numbers, and they can stick Rod “Magic Model” James up there to deliver whatever soothing messages he thinks will keep the pitchforks and torches at bay, but it doesn’t matter because our families and our homes and our community are all just things in their way.

    We have to fight and fight and fight this beast to defend ourselves, and it’s _not_ _even_ _a_ _good_ _road._

     
  15. City Lad, 13. April 2014, 8:17

    With some 100 NZTA staff on + $100,000, they need to have more projects in the pipeline to line their pockets. Our Mayor and councillors must currie favour with NZTA to keep the Foster Basin Reserve flyover proposal on track. Don’t expect a firm opinion from them on Takapu.

     
  16. Dwayne, 13. April 2014, 10:26

    Come on Andy, Celia, Get off the fence and call this what it is.
    In less than a year before an election NZTA have doubled the scope of the well known Petone to Grenada motorway and added the Takapu Valley/Tawa tack-on.
    With a lack of credible evidence to support this sudden need for changes north of Grenada and NZTA’s refusals to decouple them and provide supporting detail, one can only start to think of hidden agenda, and closed door dealing.
    I attended the NZTA public day in Petone and was surprised by a whole room dedicated to the Wellington to Petone cycleway. A particularly good idea for cyclists – there just weren’t many members of the public in that room.

    Or as Peter Dunne said at last week’s community meeting: Ken Shirely of The Road Transport Forum used the same words as Jo Draper the NZTA project manager to support this proposal even before it was officially made public.

    I try not to be too much of a conspiracy theorist but sometimes you have to wonder…..

     
  17. Not Happy, 19. April 2014, 15:51

    As the EPA says in its key issues report to Transmission Gully: “The maintenance & enhancement of the rural character is seen as a CRITICAL objective within the Wgtn City District Plan….”

    So why Cr Foster is the council taking such a limp approach, merely saying they’d want mitigation. Why won’t the council stand up against a ridiculous plan to bulldoze one of the last rural valleys in Wellington?

     
  18. peter@east-welly, 19. April 2014, 16:54

    Sridhar – not worrying about roads outside the city limits, only concerned with roads and streets within Wellington City. Shame. It’s obvious you have an agenda – like some on the Council, not so “green” but using that as cover to hide your true colours. Let’s put a motorway through your beloved Karori and see how that would go. I can hear the squealing all the way to Palmerston North!

     
  19. Pollyanna, 20. April 2014, 9:35

    Well said Dave. I have just spent 3 days in Auckland and couldn’t get out quickly enough. Only problem: you cant get out quickly enough! And they still keep building freeways, motorways etc.

    Made us realise: what’s another 10 minutes or more in the morning or late afternoon, and how walkable our city is.

     
  20. m, 6. May 2014, 9:27

    Petone to Grenada; Different ways to achieve the desired outcome – and a bit of basic maths: A direct route is a saving of 8km. 8km at 80kph is 6 minutes. 6 minutes is the timeframe we are talking about if the roads flow freely. It’s hardly a game changer.
    Current proposal is too damaging and costly for such a small saving for a limited number of people.
    The issue is at the bottom of Ngauranga. If you were to take 2 lanes each way on a flyover from SH1 (S) to SH2 (N), joining a widened SH2 as far as Petone, and then a proper junction into Petone – the issues will be resolved. I have been told this is costly, but it is a fraction of the current proposal.
    Then, make a Petone to Grenada link similar to the road over to the Wainuiomata – a road that is currently the only road in and out of the place. It would be far cheaper, less destructive, less costly, and have a far higher resilience than the cutting as currently proposed.

     
  21. JC, 7. May 2014, 17:02

    6 minutes X thousands of users = lots of minutes

     
  22. m, 7. May 2014, 21:21

    Yeh, and lots of people eating trifle = lots of trifle consumed. It’s a fatuous argument. But here’s some maths

    21,000,000 tonnes to give 6 minutes (and only then if route B is chosen – otherwise you’d be stuck in the mother of a jam at the Grenada end), which would take a 40 tonne truck & trailer to be loaded every 2 minutes for 5 years – or

    a solid block 1m high x 4m wide from Bluff to Cape Reinga, that needs to be blasted, loaded, and dumped god knows where.

    The sheer cost to do that would run into the billions, in a country that has been flogging off its assets (with the resulting loss in on-going revenue) because it apparently can’t afford things like making sure all of its people are fed, have dry homes and a higher education system accessible to all but the better off. It certainly hasn’t been able to fix up one land slip so logs and produce can be taken off the dangerous road from Gisborne – but we can afford to destroy pristine environments and communities so a narrow band of people can save 6 minutes.

     

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