Plan to de­liver bet­ter ru­ral roads

New Zealand Logger - - Woodflow 2018 -

WITH AN EXTRA HALF-MIL­LION LOG TRUCK jour­neys tak­ing place on ru­ral roads over the past 15 years it’s lit­tle won­der that many of them are suf­fer­ing un­der the in­creased us­age, es­pe­cially as main­te­nance hasn’t al­ways kept pace.

The so­lu­tion be­ing ap­plied by some lo­cal author­i­ties who are un­der-re­sourced is to slug for­est own­ers with extra charges to help pay for road main­te­nance and up­grad­ing when har­vest­ing be­gins.

In­evitably, that ap­proach leads to con­flict, forestry con­sul­tant Brett Gil­more told the Wood­flow 2018 con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last month.

The re­sponse from for­est own­ers has been ‘hey, we’ve been pay­ing rates for 28 years when no trucks were us­ing these roads, these extra charges are un­fair’.

With en­trenched po­si­tions on both sides, lit­tle gets done and the roads con­tinue to de­te­ri­o­rate.

But, ev­ery­one agrees that some­thing needs to be done to en­sure ru­ral roads are fit for pur­pose and the NZ For­est Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion has charged its Trans­port and Lo­gis­tics Com­mit­tee to work more closely with lo­cal author­i­ties to ar­rive at a so­lu­tion.

The aim is to pro­vide a con­sis­tent na­tional ap­proach to pay­ing for roads and en­sure there is a fair and eq­ui­table charge for all users, as well as pro­vid­ing lo­cal author­i­ties with bet­ter in­for­ma­tion on when and were har­vest­ing is go­ing to take place.

The com­mit­tee has funded three projects over the past year. The first be­ing to de­velop eq­ui­table fund­ing guide­lines; the sec­ond to use GIS trans­port spa­tial modelling of wood­flow to show where the log trucks are driv­ing; and the third is for a sur­vey of ru­ral roads.

Those three projects will be drawn to­gether later this year and pre­sented to the Road Con­trol­ling Author­i­ties Fo­rum for dis­cus­sion about im­prov­ing on the cur­rent un­sat­is­fac­tory sys­tem.


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