Wellington Scoop

Takapu Valley vs Transport Agency

Takapu-Valley panorama

The Transport Agency is under attack from several local communities. But the Agency does not have a record of being willing to listen to community concerns.

A public meeting in Tawa last night was the latest attempt to oppose roading plans announced by the Agency. Residents at the meeting are unhappy about by its plans to build a four-lane expressway through the rural Takapu Valley.

dunne at takvalley

MP Peter Dunne (who spoke at the meeting) summed things up in a tweet this morning:
No answers last night from the Transport Agency re why Takapu Valley or SH1 widening are needed – just soothing platitudes. Not listening to local people.

Another participant:
The Transport Agency’s sudden new plans north of Grenada (Tawa or Takapu Valley) are a disaster and need to be dropped immediately. Rod James of NZTA fronted [at the meeting] but didn’t add much value

Critics of the plan now include the Regional Council, whose staff have drafted a submission which states that it is …

… not convinced that the scale of the Link Road is justified in terms of the additional north-south capacity proposed under some options (six-laning State Highway 1 north of Tawa or a new parallel north-south link through Takapu Valley)
and the proposed six-lane sections of the Link Road.

…We do not support the proposed Petone to Transmission Gully alignment as we consider it is primarily focused on delivering additional north-soutn capacity which we not consider to be necessary. In addition. 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.

Takapu Valley residents, who weren’t told about the expressway plans till January, will be well aware of how the Transport Agency has gone against the wishes of other close-knit residential areas.

In Kapiti, 4000 people signed a petition against plans for a four-lane expressway through their peaceful tree-lined neighbourhood. Their concerns were ignored. Work on the expressway has begun.

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.

Residents of Mount Victoria and Newtown are the latest groups involved in a legal battle against the Transport Agency. They’re opposing plans for a 300-metre concrete flyover alongside the Basin Reserve. But the Agency has seemingly unlimited funds – it paid 24 experts to write papers supporting its flyover plans. The locals’ financial resources – not only for experts but also for lawyers – are severely limited.

Not surprising that a lawyer representing two of the local groups at the flyover board of inquiry has referred to a David and Goliath situation in terms of disparity between the parties.

Takapu Valley residents will be starting to realise that they’re in a similar situation.