The hand wringing, the moaning and the whining over the proposed Kapiti Expressway (and that's just from the Council) is getting to me. As are the statements from the Mayor, Jenny Rowan, that talk about what "the community wants". As I have said in a previous post, http://opinionatedmummy.blogspot.com/2009/08/feeling-vengeful-and-vindicated-all-at.html, there are people in Kapiti who welcome the new proposals, and who particularly welcome the fact that the incompetent Kapiti Coast District Council is no longer running the show. http://kapitiroads.blogspot.com/ articulates it well.
We've heard repeatedly that Mayor Jenny Rowan is feeling "shocked", "shafted", "shattered". Welcome to a new emotion called empathy, Ms Rowan. You have made many of your ratepayers, who admittedly didn't vote for you (I know, I know, it's irrelevant), feel "shocked, shafted and shattered" for a very long time. The difference, I guess, is that, unlike you, the ratepayers were facing personal financial strife with no discussion of compensation. Perhaps now you will have an inkling of what it feels like to get an assurance from the Council that a road, designated since the 1950s, is definitely not going to go through your property, only to be told that the Mayor wants the designation changed because she doesn't want the road to go past her grandson's school (even though the school has known that the road was designated to go from its inception - well before the school bought land there). Too bad if homeowners are affected. "It's going past that school over my dead body", I believe was your statement?
You only have yourself to blame, Ms Rowan. The Council, to give it perhaps a little bit of credit (gosh, it didn't kill me to say it. I'm astounded), has repeatedly reinforced (granted, after extensive, unnecessary, repeated consultation) the decision that the road should stick to its original designation, and that it should be built sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, you chose to delay while your grandson is still at that school. Not a good reason to defer major roading projects. And then you turned the WLR from an alternative road to the highway to a goat track. No surprise, then, that NZTA stepped in.
You may well be feeling a bit low right now - another lesson for you: that's a politician's lot - but I suspect the reason you are feeling low is perhaps because you know full well that the reason this roading project has been taken off you is because you were incompetent. You prevaricated and used it for political points scoring, rather than getting on and building it. You ignored what was best for the district, for the country's capital city, and for the region as a whole. You, and some of your tree-hugging councillors, seem to be completely oblivious to the reality of the roading situation into and out of Wellington. The roads are sub-standard. The roads do nothing for the region. In fact, the roads do nothing for Kapiti - all the bottlenecks leading into Wellington occur at Otaki, Waikanae and at the Paraparaumu traffic lights. From what I have witnessed of these traffic jams, the occupants of the cars do not suddenly have a revelation and decide to catch the train instead, and they do not decide to kill time by going shopping in Kapiti. They choose to stay in their cars, close their windows to Kapiti, and wait out the horror. I can't say I blame them. You and your councillors have yet to convince anyone that Peak Oil is a reality, or that catching the (slow, dirty, unreliable, expensive) trains is a viable alternative.
Just to make matters worse, you then go off and sack Opus, the company providing advice to you on the Western Link Road, because of an apparent "conflict of interest". Oh, really? How convenient for you, Ms Rowan. I suppose hiring a designer who is also employed by a developer with financial interest in the WLR is not a conflict of interest? And wanting to change the designation of the road because of your grandson's school is not a conflict of interest? http://kapitiroads.blogspot.com/2009/08/more-hypocrisy-by-council.html.
Ms Rowan, if I can offer you advice for free, you have come to the point where all you can do now is save face by exercising your right to protest and not putting in a submission. Do nothing - you and your Council have been so good at doing nothing since the road was first designated 60 years ago, so why change now?