New mo­tor­way project gets off the ground

Central Leader - - Front Page -

A new stream­lined process will be used to get the Waterview Con­nec­tion mo­tor­way project off the ground. The New Zealand Trans­port Agency an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that the con­nec­tion will be con­sid­ered un­der a new na­tional con­sent­ing process.

It will re­place the usual two-step pro­ce­dure of a coun­cil hear­ing fol- lowed by an En­vi­ron­ment Court hear­ing, and will in­stead ei­ther be a sin­gle hear­ing or a di­rect re­fer­ral to the En­vi­ron­ment Court.

The agency is con­tin­u­ing geotech­ni­cal stud­ies and de­sign work and hopes to lodge an ap­pli­ca­tion by June with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity.

“I’m pleased to see that NZTA is seek­ing to use this pro­vi­sion to en­sure com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in this sen­si­tive project while keep­ing to the com­ple­tion date of 20152016,” says Trans­port Min­is­ter Steven Joyce.

He says re­ports re­leased ear­lier this week con­firm the De­cem­ber align­ment change will re­duce the num­ber of prop­er­ties af­fected at no ex­tra cost.

But Mt Al­bert MP David Shearer says while he is pleased the re­align­ment has been con­firmed, the new process must not mean lo­cal res­i­dents are ex­cluded.

“The gov­ern­ment must be ex­tremely care­ful that the new process it has brought in does not deny lo­cal peo­ple their fair say on a de­ci­sion that will have a huge im­pact on their lives,” he says.

Agency re­gional di­rec­tor

for Auck­land and North­land Wayne McDon­ald says while com­plet­ing the route is cru­cial for the coun­try, at a lo­cal level there is no easy way to achieve it.

“Any ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project built in sub­ur­ban Auck­land will al­ways be chal­leng­ing and this one is es­pe­cially so be­cause the route to con­nect the high­way net­work has never been clearly de­fined.”

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