Lately, I’ve received several comments along the lines of, “With the new motorway in place, there’s no urgent need to address Hill Street.” While it is true that traffic has considerably improved, our efforts persist in resolving various transportation issues within our town.
A collaborative team involving One Mahurangi co-chair Dave Stott, Roger Williams from the Warkworth Area Liaison Group and myself has been engaging in frequent meetings with the Auckland Transport (AT) Hill Street Design Team. Our aim has been to refine and exert influence on the design proposed by the AT designers.
To be frank, the initial design they presented didn’t gain much favour within our group, leading to heated discussions spanning some time. However, in our recent meeting last week, we were on the brink of finalising a design. Did we manage to secure all the changes we recommended? Not entirely.
Nevertheless, both sides made concessions. While Hill Street might not demand immediate attention, it is worth contemplating the state of Warkworth in five, 10 or 15 years. As significant developments in the area wrap up and our population grows, it is important that all local roads function well to facilitate smooth movement. We do not want recurring traffic jams in our future.
Considerable attention has also been directed towards the potential location of a new school. In this regard, Dave Stott, Patrick Steuart (a committee member of One Mahurangi) and I engaged in an open and productive conversation with the Ministry of Education. An encouraging outcome of these interactions with key stakeholders is the acknowledgment that we are the go-to entity for pre-decision consultations concerning our town’s well-being. Such consultative dialogues prove mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
Recently, Dave Stott and I met with the Auckland Transport board, prompted by Mayor Wayne Brown. Mayor Brown sought to underscore how impactful collaborative efforts with local entities, like ours, can be in advancing progress and benefiting from local expertise. A significant portion of this effort stems from insights derived from the One Mahurangi Transport and Infrastructure Forum, co-chaired by Dave Stott and Chris Penk, our local MP.
During these forums, we convene with our Local Board, Councillor, MPs, developers, planners, Waka Kotahi, and representatives from various local community groups. The intent behind these forums isn’t to criticise Auckland Transport or Waka Kotahi, but rather to collectively find solutions and address challenges.
We stand as key stakeholders collaborating with Auckland Transport on Hill Street matters, and with optimism, we’re nearing a resolution. The subsequent step will involve collaborating to secure the necessary funding. The ongoing work persists behind the scenes.