Mahurangi Matters, 23 May 2022 – Readers Letters

Transport planning lacking

No surprises in the proposed traffic plan (MM May 9). In the Auckland Council’s anxiety to cram as many people as possible into Warkworth (who knows why), the focus is on getting as many vehicles onto the roads as possible, ignoring global warming and with absolutely no regard for the impacts on satellite settlements. No proposed link to the rail. Everything focused on the motorway.

If I was a resident of Snells Beach, I would be furious with the awful treatment meted out by two consecutive councils. Absolutely no attempt to provide an alternative route off the peninsula (another Whangaparaoa?). Warkworth is happy to pour its sewage into Snells Beach and then to its beaches and to continue sub-standard maintenance on Sandspit Road, but not provide it with adequate access to the routes south. Instead, they offer a weird solution to drive north using time and fuel in order to get to a safe alternative route south.

In the 1990s, we had a proposal on the table for a link road from the Snells town centre over a bridge to McKinney Road, which would have been a major part of a Warkworth ring road, giving easy access to Warkworth and south. This was quickly killed off by the following Council under pressure from Warkworth business, just as they removed the planned supermarket which had been approved as part of the Warehouse development.

Then to Matakana and beyond – no provision for infrastructure in spite of happily encouraging growth.

Anyone from here or Snells wanting to do business in Warkworth will still use Hill Street, as the alternative link road is once again focused on the motorway. No alternative routes for those having no choice but to go through Matakana.

Maybe your planners should try getting through Matakana on a busy week. If AT hasn’t the courage to plan for the whole Warkworth outer areas, then this current plan is doomed to failure and will need significant change. You cannot make plans for the trunk of the tree without considering its branches.

Elizabeth Foster, Whangateau

Extravagant Supercity spending

I write in regards to your front page article (MM Apr 25) regarding the two new public toilets for Omaha and Wellsford, and the extravagant spending on these.

The Wellsford – five toilets costing $1,134,200; and Omaha – seven toilets costing $1,242,500. Yes, I know there are associated costs in setting these up, but not that much!

I know of a brand new four-bedroom with double garage house on Matakana Road verging on mansion status, costing about $1.2 million to build and another rural three-bedroom house that cost $800,000 to build.

How could these two toilet blocks cost this much and where does Auckland Supercity get their costing from? Could it be these are made in London and shipped out here? No, apparently these are made in Gisborne and cost around $250,000 each, which is expensive for what they are.

I know of local building contractors who would be more than happy to build these out of solid, durable materials that would last many more years than these prefabricated toilets and at a fraction of these Auckland Supercity prices.

The sooner that Rodney can get out of Auckland city the better. We can then spend all our rates within the Rodney area under our control. Please don’t tell me it can’t be done; anything has to be better than the current money wasters!

Auckland currently takes about 40 per cent of our rates to spend it on their ‘pink bikeways’ and underground trains. Hell, we still have 700km of gravel roads as a starting point!

And now Auckland city plans to spend another $2 billion on bikeways. We will be lucky to get fresh water or maintain any of our roads. Gosh, how will Aucklanders get to Omaha and Matakana!

Maury Purdy, Warkworth

Good cat management

There is a simple solution to the missing cats (MM May 9) – keep your cats indoors at night.

This will protect your cat from road accidents and fights with other cats and dogs, which often result in infections and disease.

More importantly, keeping cats indoors at night helps to protect our wildlife. Many of New Zealand’s endangered birds such as weka, kiwi, shorebirds and seabirds are accustomed to nest on the ground, making them easy prey for cats hunting at night.

Auckland Council biosecurity and the SPCA recommend keeping cats inside at night and in other countries, including Australia, local laws are being enacted prohibiting cats from being allowed off the property, day or night.

Denis O’Callahan, Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust.

Motorway disgrace

The recent announcement by NZTA that the date for the completion of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway has been delayed for another year is a disgrace and unacceptable. Heads should roll for this incompetence but, as there is no accountability, it will not happen. It has been obvious over the last seven years that there have been too few workers working on this project.

For NZTA to state that the one-kilometre section near Puhoi, which was to be opened in October last year, has been delayed for seven months due to Covid beggars belief. How much are the Spanish contractors, Acciona, being fined for the delay? The contract states $24,000 per day. Like Transmission Gully in Wellington, the model of Public Private Partnership on this motorway has proved to be a disaster and should never be used again.

In 2020, 8750,000 vehicles travelled through Warkworth and the bottleneck at Hill Street (for which Auckland Transport has not allocated any money for) and the numbers are climbing rapidly. It is time The Minister of Transport intervened to accelerate both of these projects.

It is not the incompetence of NZTA that astounds me, but the extent of it.

Bryan Jackson, Snells Beach

Hardly holistic

One might be forgiven, when reading Mahurangi Matters’ front page on the Warkworth transport plan for thinking that Councillor Greg Sayers was an advocate for the plan as described in the article. He is quoted as saying, “it is vitally important that Auckland Council takes a holistic view on Warkworth’s future transport needs”. Yet Councillor Sayers was one of only three councillors who voted against Auckland Transport’s cycling plan (13 councillors voted in favour). Seems to me that is hardly a holistic approach? Maybe Councillor Sayers is looking over his shoulder at where his political support in Rodney lies instead of providing decent leadership to deal with the elephant in the room, climate change!

Neil Anderson, Algies Bay