Heard of the expression “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”? Well Kerikeri, it is time to start squeaking!
The Far North District Council has released a draft Long Term Plan (LTP) that outlines a wide range of District-wide infrastructure proposals for the 10 year period starting in July 2018. The plan outlines; potential projects, estimated costs and timing for each.
Feedback is being sought from the public (by 4 April 2018) and then the full Council will decide upon the final form of the plan. Projects may be shelved, given lower priority or others may appear. A lot will depend upon the ‘mood of the electorate’.
The whole district needs infrastructure investment after years of neglect. There are doubtless unmet needs in the draft LTP but it appears that Council has tried to plan strategically, at a higher level than we have previously seen, and with considerable financial challenges. District wide $190M is programmed for roading; the cycle trail expansion is a bold initiative.
Vision Kerikeri is pleased to see that three roads in Kerikeri have made the draft including two that will help resolve the ongoing and growing traffic congestion on Kerikeri Road. These are:
Road 1 - Kerikeri Ring Road Butler Road to Clarke St. Cost estimate $1.4M programmed 2022/2023. We have advocated for this for 11 years. Council owns most of the land. It must be a two way road which will take most traffic out of the centre of town and enable a more pedestrian friendly environment. It needs to be built more quickly.
Road 2 - South Eastern Bypass, Cost estimate $20.5M programmed 2019 to 2023. This proposed new road links Mill Lane industrial area with Mairenui Drive. It will reduce congestion on Kerikeri Rd and divert heavy goods trucks away from Hobson Ave and Cobham Rd. It would require an upgrade to Mairenui Drive which is included in the provisional costings. The route has not yet been defined.
Road 3 - Waipapa to Kapiro Link, Cost estimate $16.7M programmed 2025 to 2028. Locally known as the Doonside link this would be a new road linking Waipapa and Kapiro roads providing another access for northern and eastern residents and reduce traffic on Landing Road with its one way bridge.
There is no shortage of voices within the Far North District who don’t believe Kerikeri traffic issues should be a priority. A recent example is this letter to The Northland Age by Councillor Foy (who represents the Kaitaia area) insisting that the Kerikeri projects are not a priority.
The LTP notes that 85% of population growth of the Far North in the last 20 years has been in and around Kerikeri and that most of the growth to 2042 will also be there. Kerikeri township’s resident population is about 7,500 but Kerikeri is an expanding service centre for much of the mid-north. For example; there are 16,500 people on the rolls of its three medical practices -- about 30% of the whole Far North population.
Councillor Foy finds it unusual that the Kerikeri roads are not being consulted upon, considers a district road strategy should be developed and the money from Kerikeri’s new roads be spent on roads elsewhere, and asks “what would you like”? She seems unaware, that Kerikeri was consulted and answered that question long ago in the Kerikeri/Waipapa Structure Plan adopted by Council in 2007 after considerable (and expensive) public participation. The Structure Plan documents the three roads (among other things) and there they have languished ignored for 11 years.
If you live in or around Kerikeri and regularly have to access Kerikeri Road for; work, school, undertake regular journeys for shopping or other activities, and, you are frustrated with the congestion, then you need to express to Council those challenges and frustrations and your support for the LTP initiatives for Kerikeri roading. Because if we don’t speak up, others from outside our district (who do not experience our travel frustrations) are going to argue against these critical projects.
Take action now! Submission close 4:30pm, 4 April
View the consultation document online (you can also collect a hard copy from the Council offices - this includes a submission form)
Provide online feedback on the Long Term Plan - you will need to comment / support the Kerikeri roading initiative in "other comments" later in the survey.
In person: Council will have a presence at the Packhouse Market on Saturday, 24 March.