Politi­cians push road­ing projects

Rodney Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Build­ing Pen­link and fix­ing Wark­worth’s no­to­ri­ous Hill Street in­ter­sec­tion are two road­ing projects Rod­ney res­i­dents are keen to see ac­tion on dur­ing the next term of Gov­ern­ment. The Rod­ney Times asked lo­cal can­di­dates about both these is­sues dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion.

Rod­ney can­di­dates are tak­ing a strong line on the area’s in­fa­mous road­ing projects in the lead up to next month’s elec­tion.

Wark­worth’s Hill St in­ter­sec­tion and Whanga­paraoa Penin­sula’s Pen­link were hot top­ics cho­sen by read­ers at the Rod­ney Times panel dis­cus­sion.

While poli­cies dif­fered among par­ties, one thing each can­di­date agreed on is the ur­gency needed for fix­ing the area’s bot­tle­necks.

Na­tional’s Mark Mitchell be­lieves he can de­liver Pen­link within the next term, if re-elected.

‘‘I’m as close as I’ve ever been to be­ing able to de­liver it in the three year plan,’’ Mitchell said

‘‘The con­sent­ing is done, the project is ready to go - we just have to get it built.’’

An in­stru­men­tal cam­paigner in the push to get the project moved for­ward, Mitchell be­lieves it’s a mat­ter of pub­lic safety.

‘‘If we had a ma­jor civil de­fence event or if we had a tsunami, one way on and one way off [the Penin­sula] is not ac­cept­able,’’ he said.

Labour can­di­date Marja Lubeck says Pen­link is ‘‘ab­so­lutely cru­cial to the de­vel­op­ment of the Hibis­cus Coast’’.

‘‘Labour is sup­port­ing fund­ing to get peo­ple of Rod­ney mov­ing,’’ she said.

The first six months of a Labour gov­ern­ment would see ‘‘a re­view of projects com­pet­ing for pri­or­ity, to see which ones make the most dif­fer­ence’’, Lubeck said.

New Zealand First has al­ready come out pub­licly in sup­port of pri­ori­tis­ing Pen­link, can­di­date Tracey Martin said.

She be­lieves the cost ben­e­fit ra­tio ‘‘far ex­ceeds’’ many other projects in Auck­land, and it should be de­liv­ered as a four lane bridge to fu­ture proof the route.

Hay­ley Holt, the Green Party’s He­lensville can­di­date who joined the panel on be­half of the party, says she could sup­port Pen­link as a short term so­lu­tion, but it’s not the an­swer.

‘‘Whilst it will help peo­ple get to the mo­tor­way eas­ier, it will move the bot­tle­neck fur­ther down, so at the very same time we need to also pri­ori­tise build­ing rail,’’ she said.

Martin says Pen­link should be built to sup­port a fu­ture rail link, but thinks trans­port plans should ex­tend fur­ther north.

‘‘When peo­ple talk about trans­port, Rod­ney goes fur­ther than Orewa,’’ she said. Mitchell said.

With need for in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment at an all time high, how­ever, he says it needs to be planned care­fully.

‘‘When the work is done, and when we’ve iden­ti­fied the de­sign, the de­ci­sion to start work on Hill St [and] do the re­design should sit with the com­mu­nity and the peo­ple us­ing it.’’

Martin said re­ports al­ready show the in­ter­sec­tion is ‘‘a hand­brake’’ on Wark­worth’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘Do­mes­tic tourism com­ing out of Auck­land will not come be­cause of the Hill Street in­ter­sec­tion,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a pri­or­ity now. We be­lieve the lo­cals have the so­lu­tion, and NZTA needs to stump up with the cash that was promised.’’

Labour and the Greens agree a fix is top pri­or­ity, with Holt call­ing Hill St ’’a mess’’ which is ‘‘quite fun if you’re into adrenalin’’ and Lubeck call­ing a fix for the in­ter­sec­tion a ‘‘no-brainer’’.

ACT party rep­re­sen­ta­tive Beth Houl­brooke was un­able to at­tend, but sent her apolo­gies.

MATTHEW CATTIN/STUFF

Can­di­dates Tracey Martin, Mark Mitchell, Hay­ley Holt and Marja Lubeck talk with Stuff re­porter Jay Bore­ham.

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