Mahurangi Matters, 19 March, 2014

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    Puhoi WarkWorth SnellS Matakana oMaha leigh Pakiri WellSford Port albert kaiWaka MangaWhai

    March 19, 2014 FREE

    continued page 3

    Snells Beach Kindergarten has opened a new playground, thanks to funding from the Auckland Kindergarten Association. About 80 people attended the opening on March 5 for a fish-and-chip picnic, and local Maori elder Jack Repia blessed the playground. Playground staff also thanked the Salty Dog Inn for supporting the kindergarten trivia night for the past eight years. Head teacher Kerrie Weenink says its great to have a good playground for the children to learn and play. Children gain confidence as they achieve physical goals and the equipment can be changed around to keep the playground interesting and challenging, Kerrie says. The children closed the evening with a group performance.

    Hey guys, lets play

    Plans to build a $780 million motorway extension from Puhoi to Warkworth have received overwhelming support, despite concerns by some local residents and businesses about the disruption its construction will cause.The Environmental Protection Authority has received 184 submissions on the proposal, including 115 in favour of the project, and 46 who are against it in some way.The most common reasons for supporting the project are improved freight deliveries and access for tourists, while the most common objection is traffic, noise and dust concerns while it is being built.Most submissions were from Warkworth, and 76 submitters have said they want to speak at the hearing which begins next month.Fifteen different consents are needed for the project, and a multitude of suggestions have been made of ways of mitigating its impact on the environment.Auckland Council says it expects the motorway will promote development in Warkworth, but wants better protection of a kauri forest. It has

    new motorway wins strong public support

    lucas Hathaway, aged 4, is loving his new playground.

    also asked that the design allows for additional motorway ramps south of Warkworth and north-east of Warkworth in the future.It says it is also concerned about the condition of SH1, which will become its responsibility once the motorway is completed, and the long-term financial implications of this to Council. It is also concerned that stormwater discharges from the motorway could contribute to existing flooding problems in the upper Mahurangi catchment.Supermarket giant Foodstuffs has sought confirmation that the motorway wont interfere with its own construction plans at Hudson Road. It says it expects to open a supermarket at the site within 15 years, which is the maximum length of time NZTA can wait before its consents will lapse. It is also concerned about any potential flooding issues.Mahurangi College fully supports the motorway, but is concerned that construction traffic could be making an extra 1240 trips along Woodcocks Road each day. It has asked that the traffic not use the road at the beginning

  • 2 Mahurangi Matters March 19, 2014

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    After half a century with the Warkworth Volunteer Fire Brigade, Fraser Perkins still does his best to turn up when he hears the siren howl.He still vividly remembers his first callout, on December 22, 1963.There was a fire in the top storey at the Bridgehouse, which was a boarding house at the time. I was at a Christmas party at the Warkworth Fire Station, and when they were heading out to the call they said: Jump in, we need all the help we can get. I went back after Christmas and joined.Fraser has lived in Warkworth his whole life and joined the station when he was 24. His father had been a fire chief and Fraser followed in his footsteps from 1993 to 2000.He still attends callouts mainly traffic accidents and helps to divert traffic, but also attends fires when they need extra help.When he started, the station was still using a 1938 V8 Chevrolet open back truck and a relatively modern 1942 V8 Ford.Fire hoses, which had only one pressure setting, sometimes did more damage than good. He recalls one fire where the hose blasted holes in the houses walls, while the fire only caused a little smoke damage. I had to return later and patch up the holes.The number of annual callouts has increased dramatically from 19 in 1963, to about 250 today.

    Still burning bright after 50 years

    These days traffic jams often delay volunteers trying to get to the station, and slow down the engines in emergencies.Business owners also seem more reluctant to allow volunteers to leave work, and more of them work out of the area, he says. This means the station is often understaffed during the week. While I can still help out,

    without breaking my neck, I dont mind.Fraser is the second at Warkworth to be honoured for 50 years service. His brother-in-law, Wayne Braithwaite, had his anniversary a couple of years ago. In total, 24 Warkworth firefighters have received medals for 25 years of service one of the highest rates in the country.

    Fraser and Mary Perkins

  • March 19, 2014 Mahurangi Matters

    and end of the school day.The owner of a large forest that will be carved up by the motorway has opposed the proposal, saying it does believe it is necessary. But it has argued for an exit ramp at Moir Hill Rd, to promote tourism and forestry industry development, should it go ahead.Asia Pacific International, which is understood to have bought the forest without knowing about the planned motorway, also wants a cycleway included in the project, as well as an exit ramp at either Perry Rd or Valerie Close. Many property owners along the route have expressed alarm about the effects

    the construction will have on their daily lives.The Director-General of Conservation, Lou Sanson, has also expressed numerous concerns about the lack of information and analysis necessary to assess the motorways impact on the environment, including its massive earthworks and its effect on local flora and fauna.The proposal is expected to have significant large-scale impacts on a variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystem species, he says, including several threatened or at risk species, and more work is required.

    Watercare says it neither supports nor opposes the motorway, but is concerned about the effects that construction may have on the water quality of the Mahurangi River, which supplies Warkworths drinking water.It wants those responsible for the project to take all practical steps to avoid adverse effects on Watercares current and future water takes for Warkworth.The Campaign for Better Transport says it believes the motorways benefits have been exaggerated, and that alternatives have not been properly considered.

    About 900 litres of paint spilled into a tributary to the Mahurangi River last month after a forklift carrying a container of paint careened down a 15m bank at Downers Warkworth headquarters.The spill was rapidly contained and cleaned up before paint could enter the river and Council was alerted immediately, says Downer national environmental and sustainability manager Lisa Martin. Downer staff and private contractors worked through the night to contain and clean up the spill of water-based paint, and the Council pollution response team came out in the middle of the night to inspect the site.Earthmoving equipment was used to dam the stream immediately, and clean water was diverted around the contaminated area using pumps. Contractors were then used to suck out the contaminated water, and the banks of the stream where the spill occurred were also cleaned with a digger.The stream is clean now and Council are happy with how the incident was handled. We take this kind of thing very seriously, Lisa says.Luckily the spill occurred during dry weather and the stream was just a trickle. If it had been in flood it would have been a lot more difficult to contain, she says.The forklift took off on the sloped site due to a mechanical failure and no one was on the forklift at the time, she says. The clean-up was paid for by Downer.

    Paint spills into the MahurangiThe new motorway between Puhoi and Warkworth is likely to get consent with just days to spare before this years

    election.It was originally expected the consent would be approved by August. At a pre-hearing conference in Silverdale this month, the chairman of the board of inquiry, retired High Court judge John Priestley, said it was possible a final decision might not be ready until October. But the latest official timetable says a draft decision is expected by late June, and a final decision by early September.The board will begin hearing submissions on April 7, and expects to finish by early May at the latest.The dates are crucial, as both the Labour and Green parties have said they will scrap plans for the motorway if they win the election.Justice Priestley has stressed the consent process is independent from the Government and the Environmental Protection Agency. But it would be a huge shock if it recommended the motorway did not go ahead.Detailed negotiations are already underway with various groups who want a say on how the $780 million project could proceed.In a process known in the US as hot-tubbing, several groups have already met to discuss sediment issues, traffic and transport, archaeology, ecology, and planning. The

    aim of the meetings is to reduce conflicts between experts.Warkworth resident Dennis Brown has persuaded the inquiry to hold a separate meeting on issues related to Hill Street, but details have yet to be confirmed.The venue for the hearings had not yet been decided at the time Mahurangi Matters went to press, but it is understood Ascension Winery is being considered.Justice Priestley said it had been difficult to find a suitable venue in Warkworth. He had been told Ascension had initially been ruled out because for some reason NZTA didnt like that idea. He had been told it was because the agency was concerned that people might drink and drive, but conceded that could be incorrect.Mahurangi Matters and former Rodney Local Board member June Turner argued that it was unfair to expect people from Warkworth to travel to Silverdale for the hearings.It was pointed out that the preferred venue, Northridge Country Lodge in Silverdale, also had a bar.It is looking increasingly likely that the motorway will be funded by a public private partnership, and that it will be offered to potential bidders as a package deal with the Penlink Toll Road at Whangaparaoa.Auckland Transport was due to make a decision about how to progress Penlink last month, but this has now been delayed until April.

    from page 1New motorway wins support

    Motorway decision likely to sneak through before election

  • 4 Mahurangi Matters March 19, 2014

    off the reCord

    Wesaykaryn Scherer, Editor, Mahurangi Matters

    The decision by the New Zealand Transport Agency that there will be no work on the Hill Street intersection until the completion of the new motorway between Puhoi to Warkworth is so wrong it makes me wince. The Rodney Local Board will continue to work alongside the Warkworth Area Liaison Group and any other interested groups to advocate for this to be improved now. There are landowners to the north of Warkworth who are keen to progress a touted link road from SH1 to Matakana Road. While this is a reasonable part solution, it does nothing for those who use Sandspit Road, which is currently most of the people who pass through the intersection daily.This link road is not on any document or plan of Auckland Council and so it is unlikely to be completed faster than seven to 10 years. Given the current pressure and the postulated growth for Warkworth, this is unacceptable, so upgrading Hill Street is something that I will continue to champion.Road seal extension continues to be another focus. A one-off commitment from Auckland Council of $370m to seal all our roads is unrealistic. However, I would like to see $10m per year applied to seal extension. At that rate about two-thirds of the population currently on unsealed roads would have sealed roads within a decade.In order for this to happen, two things are needed: a commitment from Auckland Council to providing equitable services across the city; and the reinstatement of funding assistance for seal extension programmes from central government.Neither of these things exist at this point in time which is something we are working hard to change.All the work currently being done for the Unitary Plan and the great work around the Local Board Plan will mean nothing if our roads fail.Finally, I also believe it is time we had a bus service from Wellsford and Warkworth to the city. Do you think it would be used?

    The missing linkAs we have previously reported, there is now scientific research that appears to show that gravel roads are seriously bad for your health.What the research probably doesnt mention is that it is your blood pressure that is most likely to suffer, not your lungs. As we all know, the issue of roads is a particularly sore point in Mahurangi, and has just got even more painful in the wake of the Hill Street Blues, and confirmation that Auckland Council plans to seal just five gravel roads in the region over the next decade. They should send out beta-blockers with the rates bills.It is difficult to believe that money is the issue at Hill Street. It didnt seem to be the issue at Hudson Road, and it certainly doesnt seem to be the issue at Wayby.It is true there have been many deaths at Wayby. But I do fear for some of our older citizens, who must be wondering if they will live to see Warkworths traffic problems solved.I certainly feared that Bruce Manson might burst a blood vessel when rarking up the Local Board at its meeting in Warkworth this month. It was a memorable speech that did, indeed, come from the heart.It was in that spirit that new board member Greg Sayers sugge...