Warkworth’s most dogmatic campaigner for fewer roads, lower speed limits and more opportunities for walking and cycling has quit town and headed to Nelson.
Bevan Woodward and his wife Gera Verheul have regularly fostered children and Bevan will take up a new part-time role as a social worker with the Ministry for Children.
Before he left, Mr Woodward took a parting shot at the forces that have pushed for roading projects such as the Matakana link road and the upgrade of the Hill Street intersection.
“What I have realised is the development of Warkworth is led by people who make money from that development,” he said.
“Things like climate change, liveability and community – these concepts become mere side issues. It’s all about unlocking profit for the already wealthy.”
Mr Woodward believes the Matakana link road should be two lanes only and an expanded Hill Street intersection would be unnecessary once the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway and Matakana link road are complete.
“We can’t just keep planning for more private car use; it’s not the future. Big roads ironically only lead to more traffic,” he said.
“We will end up like Albany and everybody will be surprised as to how it happened and disappointed it happened, but the property developers have all the resources and incentive. They work the systems to their advantage.”
Mr Woodward said Nelson had embraced the walking and cycling message and praised the conversion of an old railway corridor from Nelson to Wakefield into a cycleway.
But he said there was still more to be done. Among the things he hopes to campaign for in the future are greater incentives to use public transport. When swiping a HOP card on the bus, he believed money should be deposited into your account rather than deducted from it.
“Climate change and the issues of congestion and air pollution are so real, we should be paying people to use public transport,” he said.