Mahurangi Matters, May 2017 – Readers Letters

More off-licences

Bill and Mona Townson, Scotts Landing

Once again that incompetent shambles of an organisation that calls itself Auckland Council (AC) has let our community down big time.
In 2012, Parliament re-wrote the Sale of Liquor Act to give local communities much more say in what liquor laws applied in their areas by providing for their councils to make ‘Local Alcohol Policies’ (LAP). Note the use of the term ‘local’. So in response, AC decides to make their LAP a ‘one size fits all’ policy to apply to the entire Auckland region. Although this policy was ratified by the governing body in May 2015, it still cannot come into force due to appeals centred around downtown Auckland issues, which have nothing to do with our local situation.
Had AC done what Parliament clearly intended and made truly LAPs for each distinct community, such as Snells Beach, most of the individual LAPs would now be in force and make it much more difficult for these boutique booze shops to proliferate with the inevitable attendant alcohol-fuelled crime.
So thanks very much AC for your lack of foresight. You have denied the good citizens of Snells Beach their wishes and allowed another off-licence to be granted by the licencing committee who had little choice to do otherwise.
Had the LAP been in force, it would carry with it a ‘presumption of refusal’ and put the onus clearly on the applicant to show his activity would somehow benefit the community. A tall order indeed. How much longer do we have to suffer the ministrations of the buffoonery of downtown Auckland?

Figures disputed

Roger Williams, Warkworth

It was indeed good news to see that NZTA and AT have allocated $2 million for the design and investigation of potential reconstruction solutions for the Hill Street intersection (MM May 3). Our real concern is that NZTA and AT insists that it will not happen before the motorway and the Matakana Link are completed because of the disruption they claim the construction works will cause.
We believe a smart design can be built within a 15-month period and that most of that work will be off the highway.
NZTA says that by waiting for the Matakana Link and motorway there will be 7000 less vehicles per day (vpd) going through the Hill Street intersection. Their recent responses to questions in Parliament, however, do not support that position. Initially, transport engineers calculated that the motorway would reduce State Highway 1 traffic through the Hill Street intersection by, on average, 7200 vpd whereas the Matakana Link will reduce traffic by 1250 vpd. NZTA has recently revised those figures to a drop in State Highway 1 traffic by only 1600 vpd, but an increase of 3100 vpd on Matakana Road.
Why the difference? The Unitary Plan’s future zones allow for an additional 4000 dwellings, large format commercial shops, and light industrial sites north of the intersection. Construction will be well underway within four years
Based on NZTA’s “revised” figures, Hill Street intersection traffic increases from the current 34,163 vpd to 44,550 vpd in 2026 after the motorway and Matakana Link are built.
Well, I guess if you repeat “alternative facts” often enough many people might believe them, but the figures actually show that we need to Fix Hill Street Now.
Our best bet at this stage is to get the design completed and agreed to early, and a contract let ASAP. We all know that local dissention and the development of the Road of National Significance (RONS) allowed politicians to delay funding. Let us all pull together to make sure that similar delays do not happen again. I ask that everybody channel their concerns through or the Warkworth Area Liaison Group so that we can correct any misconceptions and local people can speak with one voice.

Direct link needed

Bryan Jackson, Snells Beach

At the public meeting held on May 6, at the showgrounds, Auckland Transport asked for feedback on the four options they presented regarding the route for the new Matakana link road from Clayden Road to SH1. All four options were strongly opposed by many at the meeting for one simple reason – AT proposals all state that the link road is to end with traffic lights where it will meet SH1. This is an illogical suggestion and would lead to Hill Street Version 2.
The logical solution is for the link road to be connected directly to the new motorway. Apparently NZTA opposes this idea as it would interfere with the flow of the motorway traffic. This is nonsense as witnessed by the two excellent connectors to the existing motorway at Orewa and Silverdale where cars merge effortlessly like a zip.
AT does not seem to know that under the Unitary Plan over 5000 people will be living north of Warkworth. We need a common sense approach that includes adequate provision for the near future. I urge, as did many at the public meeting, AT not to proceed with their four options but to talk with NZTA and come back to the public with the options all including a direct link to the new motorway.