The Mansel Drive Bridge is starting, the walkway bridge over the Matakana River is underway, the road connecting Whangaripo Valley to Matakana is finally sealed and Takatu Road is being sealed at last. After a very long time it’s starting to feel like some of our transport related issues are being tackled! Yes it will continue to take time and there are numerous other high priority projects, but at last things are happening after nearly six years of advocacy and imploring the Governing Body, our Councillors and Auckland Transport. They may not understand the issues in rural Auckland, but they are at least aware that there are plenty and that they are subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, different to our urban cousins.
Likewise with Watercare. The investment in water and wastewater treatment in greater Rodney over the last five years has been significant. Tens of millions of dollars spent in Kumeu-Huapai, Helensville and Wellsford and Omaha- Matakana. And now planning for the future growth of Warkworth/Snells/Algies with probable costs for work in this area well in excess of $100 million. Do we get value from all of the individual facets of services that are provided across Auckland Council? Possibly not. On the overall balance, do we get value from being part of the Super City? My opinion is, overall, yes we do. Prior to amalgamation on nearly every measurement, Rodney had one of the highest debt levels and it was growing fast. Yes, Auckland Council has significant issues and can and should be castigated for some of the decisions and processes that cost all of Auckland’s ratepayers more than is acceptable, but this is not that different and overall on a lesser scale than what was happening in the former RDC.
I enjoy listening to the rationale for particular projects, then listening to the rhetoric and posturing of those most directly affected, in both positive and negative ways, and then objectively assessing the most appropriate way forward. Including being brave enough to rebut the recommendation of Council officers when this is contrary to the reasoning of a ‘normal’ person. This is, in my opinion, the role of your elected members. Sometimes you and I may not agree, but you can be assured that, from my perspective at least, it is never personal.
Living and working in this area for most of the last 40-plus years and being involved with the Mahurangi College as a student, parent of students and Board of Trustees member, it is easy to be completely invested in what is best for us, and to work toward ensuring we continue to get more from Auckland Council going forward.
Finally, cycling and walking are key areas into which both central and local government appear determined to make more investment. The connection of our wider communities with trails and paths will add value, increase safety and bring further investment and vibrancy to this area. The connection of Pakiri to Leigh and Point Wells, Omaha, Matakana, Sandspit, and more immediately from Snells Beach into Warkworth is an opportunity I would love to see realised, and soon.