The layout of a $600 million roading project to the south of Hamilton, which slices through Tamahere has been confirmed and includes the locations of three new bridges.
Independent commissioners this week confirmed the route of the Southern Links project and approved resource consent applications for two new bridges over the Waikato River and one bridge across the Mangakotukutuku Gully.
The joint project by the Hamilton City Council and NZ Transport Agency has been widely condemned in Tamahere and drew stiff community opposition.
The designation has a 20-year lapse period with construction of the network at least 10 to 15 years away.
The four commissioners’ recommendations also include a 20-year pest control programme to manage predators of the long-tailed bat.
The project features 21 kilometres of state highway and 11km of urban arterial roads in Hamilton’s Peacocke area.
The network splits the Narrows golf course in half with the confirmed route slicing across four greens.
NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato highway manager Kaye Clark said the agency had hired a golf course designer to look at redesigning the Narrows course in an effort to minimise the project’s impact.
Riverside Golf Club owns the Narrows and Lochiel golf courses.
Club chairwoman Mary Anne Gill told the Waikato Times members’ preference was to retain Narrows as an 18-hole course but the club was keeping an open mind.
“We’re not golf course designers so we want to hear what the experts have to say. They may come back and say we could turn the course into a really good 12-hole course. It may turn out the course has to be sold . . . we just don’t know. There’s no point being bitter and twisted. What’s happened has happened and we have to get on with things.”
Tamahere residents have been a vocal critic of the project, saying they could be stuck in limbo, possibly unable to develop their properties, while waiting for roading bosses to act during the next 20 years.
Long-term resident Andrew Gibson said the roading network would have “huge impact” on Tamahere and open the area up to large trucks.
“At the moment Tamahere is a sleepy lifestyle block area but that will change when you have big container trucks travelling through here 24/7,” he said.
Gibson said NZTA had only paid lip service to residents’ concerns and questioned whether the roading network would even get built.
“I don’t have confidence in anything the Government plans to build with a 20-year lead in,” Gibson said.
“In that time there will be changes in Government and changes in policies. If the transport agency wants to build it, they should just get on with it. A 20-year lapse period is far too long, it’s a lifetime for some people.”