John Watson Albany ward councillor Auckland Council
In light of the tragic accident on Whangaparaoa Rd, and the consequent gridlock, readers might be interested to know that the opportunity to provide an emergency access connection along this very section of road was ignored despite a strong plea on the grounds of public safety in the event of an accident or Civil Defence emergency.
The continued vulnerability of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to car accidents and Civil Defencetype emergencies is unacceptable.
While the obvious solution is the construction of Penlink, the public should also know that in recent years departments of this council have chosen not to construct an emergency second access that was available.
Since 2006 the Rodney District Council had plans for an emergency access link to be constructed from the end of Matheson Rd through to Poplar Rd as a matter of some urgency.
This was deemed essential in order to provide alternative access to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula for emergency vehicles. This was critical for the safety of Whangaparaoa’s 30,000 plus residents.
The specific section of Whangaparaoa Rd from Marellen Drive through to Vipond Rd has long been identified as a serious point of vulnerability in the event of a major accident or Civil Defence type catastrophe.
This was because such an event on this particular section of the road would effectively cut off the entire peninsula to any form of vehicular access (including ambulances and fire engines).
At that stage the second access to the peninsula could have been provided with a relatively short and inexpensive section of roading.
In 2011 the section of land necessary to effect this link was for sale as a lifestyle block.
It was listed for $369,000 as a private sale.
For the first part of the potential link Watercare had already put a concrete right of way through to one of its pumping stations.
The head of Civil Defence for the new Auckland Council and Auckland Transport were informed of both the need to effect this emergency link and the availability of the land. As far as the purchase of the land went, it would have been close to a cost neutral exercise – once the relatively limited section of the property required for the access was subdivided off, the property could simply have been put back on the market with a view to recouping the purchase cost.
Given the present market this was obviously an advantageous time to be making such a purchase.
This purchase and work was not adjudged an important priority by the council departments and the land has subsequently been sold and built on.
After the January 15 gridlock on this very section of road an AT spokesman was quoted as saying in response to public complaints about the shut down of the entire peninsula that, ‘‘There’s a 200 seat ferry going at 8.45am which is a perfect option on a sunny day like today’’.
This comment shows how out of touch AT is with the important needs of local communities.
Such a response beggars belief – is he seriously suggesting that over 5000 motorists should all turn around and try and catch a 200 seat ferry at Gulf Harbour? As it happened the ferry captain was also caught up in the traffic.
The reality is that AT has no plan to deal with such circumstances if they arise again. The security of a second access would now seem to rest solely with an initiative from a private developer through Penlink.
Lorraine Sampson Silverdale – Abridged
Re roading issues.
When looking at a letter to the editor published during the first years of the Auckland Council it appears the same words can be written now.
[The letter asked what councillors were doing to help Silverdale as people in the area had great concerns over roading issues which were becoming even more important with the Silverdale Centre opening.] At least councillor John Watson is making an attempt to help Silverdale get issues sorted.
Most of the problems in our area are caused by Auckland Transport decisions.
Although the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt and deputy chairman Greg Sayers have worked hard to help us, it appears their hands are tied and it is the councillors who can have more say.
After the tragic incident on Whangaparaoa Rd it is obvious that issues here need more forthright attention by our elected representatives.
We at Silverdale live in hope that more action will taken on roading issues which are affecting businesses. After all, Silverdale is the largest employment area of the Hibiscus Coast.
Get Penlink done
Bill Bell Whangaparaoa
It must be 12 years ago that I attended a meeting at the Leisure Centre and the then opposition National Party representatives stated that Penlink would happen if they became the Government.
Why do we need deaths to make it important? This is not a political rant.
I’ve actually voted for National, but come on – let’s get this done.
Kevin Hyde Arkles Bay
The need for the Penlink road across the Weiti River from Stanmore Bay to the motorway has been shown to be justified as urgent.
There has been talk of this link since I have been on the Hibiscus Coast for at least the last 30 years.
With the development of more housing below Wade River Rd and the new supermarket at Stanmore Bay it cannot be delayed another 10 years.
If there is any hold up between Vipond Rd and Marellen Drive on Whangaparaoa Rd due to an accident or road works, then the peninsula is either isolated from Stanmore Bay or traffic is subjected to long delays with queues up to 5km long in either direction.
The sooner the link is completed the better.
Lack of action
Sue Barker Red Beach
I would like to register my concern about the lack of action on the PenlinkWeiti River crossing from Stillwater to Stanmore Bay.
I cannot understand why this was not done at least 10 years ago as it was badly needed back then.
But now it has got to the stage where Whangaparaoa Rd is extremely dangerous at times.
I have lived on the Hibiscus Coast for the past 28 years and was in real estate sales for 20 years until recently.
I have seen many changes and the population has increased considerably since 1987. I have lived in Stanmore Bay and Manly but moved to Red Beach in 2006, one of the reasons being that I didn’t like the busy Whangaparaoa Rd.
As you will be aware, there have been people killed on that road in the past and I cannot understand why the ‘‘powers that be’’ have not gone ahead with Penlink well before this.
I have spoken to a lot of people about it and they all seem to want it to go ahead and don’t mind having to pay a toll for the privilege. It would make financial sense to me to bundle it with the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension.
As I see it, there is still a lot of land out at Gulf Harbour and a crossing would make it easier to house more people out there.
It would also create a safer environment for people to get off the Hibiscus Coast in reasonable time if there was some sort of catastrophe. That alone is a very real possibility.
I would be keen to see Penlink as soon as possible.
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