Res­i­dents pack up

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

RES­I­DENTS of Waterview, Owairaka and sur­round­ing sub­urbs will have to make plans for the $1.4 bil­lion com­bined sur­face tun­nel op­tion an­nounced on Wed­nes­day, with some al­ready pack­ing their bags.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s pre­ferred op­tion will see two tun­nels and sur­face stretches of mo­tor­way link the fi­nal piece of the west­ern ring route.

Hen­don Ave res­i­dent Jonna Hawke says she is ex­pect­ing a let­ter which will give her fam­ily three months to move from her state-owned house.

“It’s re­ally up­set­ting,” she says. “It won’t be the cheaper op­tion in the long run, it will break up com­mu­ni­ties,” she says.

Ms Hawke’s daugh­ter has just started school and Hous­ing New Zealand has told her they will shift the fam­ily within 4km of the school.

She ex­pects to be in a new home by Septem­ber or Novem­ber.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Steven Joyce an­nounced on Tues­day that a tun­nel to com­plete the con­nec­tion was not an af­ford­able op­tion and asked NZTA to look at three op­tions and de­cide on a pre­ferred route.

NZTA says the pre­ferred route, which is three lanes each way, di­rectly af­fects 365 prop­er­ties, of which it al­ready owns 126.

In ad­di­tion, there will be about 111 strata ti­tles, which means the house will be un­af­fected but the tun­nel will run un­der the prop­erty.

NZTA board chair­man Brian Roche says it went for an op­tion which was af­ford­able and could be com­pleted on time.

“We be­lieve it pro­vides the best bal­ance be­tween the need to com­plete the west­ern ring route in an af­ford­able way as soon as pos­si­ble with the needs of the com­mu­ni­ties the road will pass through,” he says.

Matt Ad­kins, Crys­tal McLeod and their son Ko­dyn have lived on Hen­don Ave in Owairaka, which the route will run along­side, for al­most a year and a half.

The fam­ily are plan­ning a move to New Ply­mouth and says it may be a bless­ing in dis­guise.

“We are in the mid­dle of pack­ing,” says Mr Ad­kins.

Miss McLeod says she would have liked to have stayed in the house longer, but they will move within the next cou­ple of weeks.

“It’s a bit of a rush. Hous­ing New Zealand called in April and told us we would have to move at the end of June.”

The mo­tor­way is planned to go un­der Richardson Rd into Alan Wood Re­serve, with a tun­nel beginning just be­fore New North Rd.

The 1.5km tun­nel will run un­der Avon­dale Heights, emerg­ing near the in­ter­sec­tion of Blockhouse Bay Rd and Great North Rd.

The sec­ond pro­posed tun­nel, be­tween 700 me­tres and 800 me­tres, will lie un­der Great North Rd.

Res­i­dents at the Waterview end of the con­nec­tion were not pleased about the new op­tion ei­ther.

“I think it’s dis­gust­ing,” says Oak­ley Ave res­i­dent Irene Mans­field.

“There are streams of traf­fic.”

Miss Mans­field says she has put her life sav­ings into her home, which backs on to Waterview School.

“I’m not in a state to pack up and go.”

She re­cently had her home val­ued but says: “No­body will want to buy it now.”

Margi Wat­son of the Tun-

al­ready nel or Noth­ing Group says about 70 per­cent of peo­ple sup­ported the group’s views when it held a protest at the State High­way 20 open day last Satur­day.

“I talked to about 100 peo­ple and most were sup­port­ive of a com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­ment out­come.

“Peo­ple don’t think the sur­face op­tion is ac­cept­able – the com­mu­nity has spo­ken.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Pack­ing: Hen­don Ave res­i­dents Crys­tal McLeod and Matt Ad­kins say their re­cent de­ci­sion to move out of Auck­land may be a bless­ing in dis­guise.

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