Packed meeting opposes roads

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A large number of Tamahere people have shown their opposition at a packed public meeting to a controversial roading proposal that would cut through the rural lifestyle community in years to come.

Around 175 people attended the Tuesday night meeting to hear detail of the Southern Links road network proposal and to air their views on a project that some feared would destroy beautiful land and historic farms and cut a swathe through multi-million dollar rural businesses.

The meeting showed its opposition to three route options by voting overwhelmingly for a tentative fourth south of Tamahere.

The Southern Links project, a joint project of the Hamilton City Council and the NZ Transport Agency, aims to create well-connected state highway and urban arterial routes linking State Highway 1 from Kahikatea Drive to the Waikato Expressway at Tamahere, and State Highway 3 from the airport to central and east Hamilton.

Project consultation leader Grant Eccles of Aecom, who outlined the long history of the project starting with motorway design in the 1970s through two Hamilton arterial route studies in the late 1980s and in 2004, said the goal of the latest project was to achieve designation or protection of the corridors or routes for the network so it could be completed in the future.

Three options illustrated for the network and seen at an open day at Tamahere in April were again outlined at the meeting. They include routes using or crossing Airport Rd/SH21, Pencarrow Rd, Pickering Rd and Tamahere Drive and cutting through homes and farms including the Vela family’s renowned, multi-million dollar Pencarrow Stud, and Russ and Edwina Rimmington’s 161ha dairy farm, formerly the historic Main farm which dates from the 1800s. Click for the Southern Links Network investigation area (pdf)

Eccles said that while the map illustrated corridors the routes could be “anywhere in the green envelope” featured on the map. A fourth option south of Tamahere was only being tested against the identified efficiencies of the three favoured routes after being suggested at community consultative meetings.

By late October or early November when another round of open days were planned the investigating consultants would be in a position to recommend to their clients (HCC and NZTA) a preferred network, he said.

“Between then and February 2012 we will be refining down where the designation will run and getting down to the nitty gritty of routes and river crossings.”

The target date for lodging the designation application was May 2012.

Eccles said that once land had been designated for a route nothing could be done to it that hindered the planned development. Under the Public Works Act only people with properties directly touched by or taken for the route can be compensated by part or all of their property being purchased.

Rimmington said there was a bigger issue than even the destruction of farms and buildings and it was the threat to a community.

“Your issue is traffic, ours is a community,” he said to wide applause.

Tamahere Community Committee chairman Dallas Fisher, who hosted the meeting, invited it to vote on the three options promoted by the investigation team but the overwhelming mood of the meeting was for total opposition to the project and after discussion a majority of around 90 voted for the fourth route well south of Tamahere.

Fisher said it was a significant issue for Tamahere and urged those attending to spread the word to friends and neighbours who were unaware of the project and send feedback forms to the consultants. Click for the Southern Links Feedback Form (pdf)

The Southern Links project is currently not in NZTA’s 10-year programme and a start date has previously been put around 2022. The timing of construction depends on factors like funding availability and the pace and nature of Hamilton’s growth. Construction costs had been tentatively estimated at $333 million.

Click here for more on Southern Links.

6 thoughts on “Packed meeting opposes roads

  • July 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm
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    Having read the above statements about traffic flows and congestion and how this new roading project will or will not affect our community, i take Mark Eman at his word and suggest that few of us are roading engineers or planners. However, we are entitled to think we have a great community and think that opposition to this roading initiative has a great deal of merit. I am speaking up because i am not a NIMBY. The road in any of its future configurations does not directly affect me or my family. But it will slice, to a more or lesser degree, the community into different segments.

    The comment about the loss of property values reeks of some one whose property is unlikely to be affected. Apart from the loss of property values , the loss to our community will remain unknown for a long time to come. By then the chance to resurrect it will be gone.

    Many at the meeting were shocked at the attitude of the planners, council(s) and those who promote the new road system. Few of those directly affected have been “consulted” and their views listened to. Instead we as a community have had an almost fait au compli dumped upon us. As a community we have both the right to try and determine the future of this area and an obligation to the next generation to pass on a green and placid land.

    To this end there will be a public meeting held at the TCC Tuesday 12th July 7.00pm. If you are opposed to the Southern links network as far as it affects Tamahere you are welcome to attend. If you are happy with the roading concepts as presented you wont need to bother to come along.

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  • July 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm
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    If an action group is created then it is absolutely incumbent upon those representatives to become fully informed on all parts of this project, This is particularly true given it is unlikely that these elected people will be Road Engineers, Planners or indeed have had any experience of matters relating to the RMA . This is a critical responsibility or the Community risks representation based on ill-informed ignorance, well meaning but essentially emotional responses or worse still captivation by the NIMBY’S. The initial designations for this southern route were eartagged as far back as the 1960’s and indeed my Tamahere property had an existing designation upon purchase in 1987. Therefore any outpouring of anger based on lack of knowledge or that somehow this is some new initiative would appear somewhat false and therefore unreasonable. The local community can be assured that the Southern Links road will proceed as planned and that the very best professional people are involved in making this decision. Given that there is little in the way of either corruption or nepotism in NZ there should be a high level of confidence that the eventually chosen route will be the in the best interests of both the wider community and the national good. My recommendation is to give these guys a break, work with them for the best outcome and stop lamblasting anything that remotely effects Tamahere or this Community risks further developing its burgeoning reptuation for being simply hostile towards change of any kind. I sincerely believe that this would be highly regretable as the eventual outcome will be a dilution of the impact of any future community claims or concerns. Change is inevitable and the best results will be achieved through cooperation not antagonism.

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  • June 29, 2011 at 10:48 am
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    This issue is about the problems that NZTA is having with the Cherry Lane junction of the Expressway. In a nutshell too much traffic goes into Hillcrest in the mornings and around 5pm. Southern Links will alleviate a lot of that. What should not be lost sight of is that Southern Links will be a parallel road to Cobham Drive avoiding Hillcrest. What wasn’t asked at the meeting was how much traffic will not use Hillcrest as a portal to Hamilton when the Expressway is built (finished 2019)? There is no need to ruin productive farms/iconic horse studs and devalue hundreds of properties with cross country highways when there are far simpler options out there. Tamahere is only half developed so the jam up at Hillcrest will only get worse. My belief is that the Expressway will take a lot of traffic away from Hillcrest. Logical really when, if you want to go to Te Rapa now, this is the only route. The Ruakura off-ramp on to Wairere Drive will be the best route in the future to Te Rapa.

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  • June 29, 2011 at 9:49 am
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    The community showed great spirit last night but little in rational thought. A new road might change a community but not destroy it. This community has been suffering significant change for decades as the farms have been carved into ever smaller areas for people to commute into the city. With a thousand more houses expected in the area in the coming years the community will change further.

    Cambridge road between the roundabouts in Hillcrest is the most used road in Hamilton, much of which are Tamahere commuters, this congestion will get worse!! Southern links will help spreading the traffic by giving faster and more efficient routes to the CBD, Frankton and the rest of Hamilton West and beyond .

    The proposed option to go south of the airport and Mystery Creek would not work on any cost benefit analysis as the longer route would increase costs, and lessen benefits of fuel economy and time savings. This on top of the significantly less traffic that would be likely to use it. The people of Tamahere would have even less benefits from such a route.

    The community needs to work on getting the best route, NIMBY’s will not win this, so stop the emotion and put submissions in based on economics, demographics, traffic management, geography, engineering and nature issues, not simply that you are scared of your house values dropping.

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  • June 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
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    Re Southern Links network Investigation Area –
    Has an action group been formed to co-ordinate local opposition to the current proposals?

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  • June 29, 2011 at 7:23 am
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    Excellent turnout last night. It demonstrates the strength of the Tamahere community – exactly what this project threatens.

    This project is being driven by NZTA and the Hamilton City Council – both organisations that are not directly accountable to the ratepayers of Tamahere. We need to ensure that those that are elected by us – the Waikato District Council, Environment Waikato and our local MP’s actively support us and share our determination to halt this destruction of our community.

    The Waikato District Council was notable in its absence last night. If they were to oppose this road then it would make it difficult for NZTA and the neighbouring Hamilton City Council to proceed. We elect them, their position should be aligned with ours.

    Let’s ask all of our elected representatives to publically state their support for Tamahere and their opposition to this project.

    Reply

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