Res­i­dents can have say on East-West Link plans

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Auck­land Trans­port ad­mits the gen­eral pub­lic should have been in­volved in talks about one of its ma­jor projects right from the start.

Com­mu­ni­ties con­cerned about work on the East-West Link af­fect­ing their homes and schools have been told they will be bet­ter con­sulted from now on.

Trans­port plan­ners say they have ‘‘sensed’’ grow­ing con­cern in the sub­urbs of One­hunga, Man­gere, Otahuhu, Pen­rose and East Ta­maki around the op­tions put for­ward so far.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency and Auck­land Trans­port are now ask­ing com­mu­nity groups to help them find the best trans­port so­lu­tions to bet­ter link the eco­nom­i­cally grow­ing south-west and south­east of Auck­land.

Four pos­si­ble op­tions for how to bet­ter con­nect the in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial ar­eas of One­hunga with High­brook and East Ta­maki have been put for­ward.

One of the op­tions fo­cuses east­west traf­fic in a ‘‘high-ca­pac­ity cor­ri­dor’’ from Man­gere to Paku­ranga.

The pos­si­bil­ity of this be­com­ing the pre­ferred op­tion caused Man­gere and Otahuhu res­i­dents to form the Re­spect Our Com­mu­nity Cam­paign in op­po­si­tion.

Lo­cal boards and busi­nesses have been con­sulted but so far the gen­eral pub­lic has been ex­cluded.

That is about to change and res­i­dents have been as­sured there is no pre­ferred op­tion at this stage.

‘‘We know that there are com- mu­nity con­cerns about a po­ten­tial mo­tor­way so­lu­tion, but there are a num­ber of ways in which we can meet that de­mand,’’ NZTA high­ways man­ager Tommy Parker says.

‘‘We do not have a pre­ferred op­tion, mo­tor­way or oth­er­wise.

‘‘We are ask­ing com­mu­ni­ties to work with us to find the best pos­si­ble an­swer to an im­por­tant is­sue that will af­fect jobs, the streets fam­i­lies live in, and the way peo­ple and freight can move safely around.’’

The area is al­ready heav­ily con­gested and with pro­jected job growth there will be more pres­sure put on roads and trans­port ser­vices.

Auck­land Trans­port spokesman Rick Walden says be­fore sit­ting down with res­i­dents the agen­cies wanted to to bet­ter un­der­stand the trans­port needs, which it did by talk­ing with lo­cal boards and busi­nesses.

A meet­ing set up by Auck­land Trans­port in Au­gust was at­tended by 200 busi­ness peo­ple. Work­ing with res­i­dents is now a pri­or­ity.

‘‘We’ve sensed a grow­ing con­cern in the com­mu­ni­ties about this ap­proach and ac­knowl­edge that we should have we should have en­gaged the wider com­mu­nity from the start,’’ Mr Walden says.

Com­mu­ni­ties will be asked to con­trib­ute to dis­cus­sions on bet­ter pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing, cy­cling and road­ing in­fra­struc­ture. An up­date on where things stand will be added to Auck­land Trans­port’s web­site by the end of the year.

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