Residents along Matakana Valley Road have been angered by a decision to install and then remove a ‘Welcome to Matakana’ sign, which they say cost ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars.
The sign near the residential development Matakana Green was removed recently, but Matakana resident Tim Smyth says it should never have been erected.
“We asked Council and Auckland Transport (AT) for safe pedestrian access to the village in 2010, and warned them that the pending subdivision at Matakana Green meant the proposed sign was in an inappropriate location,” Mr Smyth says.
The Welcome sign, landscaping and footpath were installed in 2012. Less than a year later, the footpath was torn up to make way for drainage swales, which were part of the subdivision resource consent.
“Council did not make developers replace the footpath and we were forced to walk on the road because of the sign placement and the swales. It’s a 100 kilometre an hour road that’s notorious for heavy trucks and speeding motorists,” Mr Smyth says.
AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says the sign and ‘road treatment’ needed to be relocated because the ‘gate way’ to slow vehicles down needed to be shifted.
“The area has recently been developed and we needed to move the sign to the edge of the rural urban boundary,” Mr Hannan says.
Mr Smyth says that after lengthy consultation with Council and AT, both agencies agreed that the footpath should have been extended to the end of the urban boundary at the developers’ expense and the sign was an obstruction.
“We’ve been left with ugly, piecemeal infrastructure, which has cost ratepayers considerably more than necessary. The people who oversaw this project were disengaged, poorly-informed and uninterested in the outcome,” Mr Smyth claims.
Mr Hannan says the total project cost $60,000, of which $16,000 was spent removing the old road treatment and installing new gateway signs.
“The steel posts have been disposed of, but the signs have been stored off site in case any local wants to reuse them.”