In the typically professional style that has come to characterise council dealings in this district, the KCDC has responded by taking out a ratepayer funded 2-page advertisement in the local Kapiti Observer.
I quote (and I'm not kidding, and the lack of punctuation is not mine):
NZTA took six months to arrive at two motorway options which would only result in trashing our community. In three weeks Council officers and consultants have found better alternatives which we will tell the community about later this week. Turning the Western Link into a motorway with few exits and entrances is completely unacceptable. To those in favour, be careful what you wish for.
It took the Council decades to turn the original Sandhills Motorway into a four lane local road, into a two lane local road with restricted speed limits, into a two lane, winding goat track that is more suitable for cyclists and horses than vehicles. The very purpose of the Western Link Road, right from the very beginning, was to take the local traffic pressure off the state highway. The Sandhills Motorway, and even the four lane version to an extent, would have achieved this. The other options are roads that are useless before they are even constructed, and only appease the Peak Oil loonies. The process to date by the council has been hijacked by the loonies and by personal agendas ("not past my grandson's school," quailed the Mayor).
... A Sandhills Motorway would have unacceptable economic, environmental and cultural impacts. It would go through school zones and damage a number of protected areas of wetland and bush. It would pass through a waahi tapu area, close to an urupu and the El Rancho Christian Holiday Park
The roading designation in Kapiti has remained largely untouched ever since the designation was in place. Business and individuals and other groups who have constructed buildings and houses, holiday camps and areas of sudden cultural interest have known all along that a roading designation is in place. I now wonder how long it will take for the mythical taniwha to materialise, as one did north of Hamilton a few years ago, should this option proceed?
Waikanae would become invisible and inaccessible to passing traffic. Experts tell us the presence of an interchange encourages the pressure for big box retail development. Do you want big box retail at Peka Peka?
Why is the council so against big box development? It is not necessarily ugly, and brings in valuable income to the district. And if the people of Peka Peka have no issues with big box development, and if the people demand it, shouldn't the council's role be one of support, rather than disdain. At present, the entrance to Paraparaumu is illuminated with the warm, radiated glow of at least eight fast food outlets. Charming. The big box development would be welcome in comparison to this sight (and smell). But the fast food outlets are meeting a market demand (does that say something about Kapiti?), and for that reason alone, while I won't support them economically, I will not speak against them.
...The Council has discussed its proposals with potentially affected parties and will provide details of these proposals next week."
My home is directly affected, regardless of which option is chosen. Perhaps I was out when the friendly council officer came to visit that day. Or perhaps no one from the council came - we've been battling the council over the WLR for a long time, and the fundamental issue is lack of communication.
Council has reaffirmed its support for the full two lane Western LinkThis is the winding goat track I refer to earlier in this blog. Council appears to have forgotten, or not realised, that this version does not have funding approval, and is probably the reason why NZTA has taken control of the issue. And there is not point reaffirming their support for it because it is not one of the options, for this very good reason.
The council seems oblivious to the fact that as long as the district is bisected by a state highway, change is inevitable. The only way for the council to avoid improvements to the state highway is to relocate the district (or relocate the highway, but the days of Muldoonist tunnelling appear to be over, so the Rimutakas may be safe for now).
It would be more constructive to everyone, but particularly the affected ratepayers, if the council stopped its bleating and worked with NZTA on some compromises where (if) needed .
Liberty Scott made a reluctant suggestion in one of my previous blogs that amalgamation with Horowhenua would have merit, as it is the citizens of Horowhenua who will immediately benefit from this improved road into Wellington.
It would, of course, have the added advantage of getting rid of the KCDC.