Uncertainty clouds Mahurangi motorway meetings

Uncertainty clouds Mahurangi motorway meetings

Disbelief, anger and resignation were some of the emotions on display when NZTA hosted an information meeting in the old Masonic Hall last month.
The old Masonic Hall in Warkworth was not a happy place on Saturday February 18.

At the first of five public meetings to discuss the indicative route for the Warkworth to Te Hana motorway, it was quickly evident that many of those present were still in shock after learning just weeks ago that their properties were on, or beside, the indicative route.

One young couple, who currently rent in Auckland, bought land adjoining the designated route just six months ago. Through tears, the woman said they had poured their life savings into buying the property and getting the consents to build their first home.

“Before buying, we studied the Unitary Plan and every other relevant plan to ensure we were buying in a quiet area that would not become urban. We did every ounce of due diligence that we could and never once did anyone raise the issue of a possible motorway. We thought we were buying a slice of paradise. When we got the letter informing us of the route we just felt sick.”

The couple has been advised that they will not receive compensation.

“We just don’t know what to do. We don’t want to build our home next to a future motorway, but who would want to buy our land now? The information that NZTA is providing is artistic, but not informative, and will not help us make a decision.”

A retired couple on Wayby Valley Road, who bought their 103-hectare property eight years ago, will lose their entire farm infrastructure including cowshed, workshop and wintering shed. The road will leave them with two separate parcels of land, with a motorway through the middle, and will separate them from their farm water source. Although they say they were devastated when they learnt of the road, and wished it wasn’t happening, they understand “progress” and hope to be able to work with NZTA to receive fair compensation and get a good outcome.

An elderly Phillips Road resident was also holding back tears when talking of finding his piece of paradise 14 months ago.

“We’d been looking for sometime and when we came across it, we knew this was where we wanted to retire to. We were full of plans of what we might do including turning it into a wedding venue, but that is now all in limbo. In fact, our lives are effectively in limbo. We have no idea of why they chose the route they did or what we might expect as compensation. We don’t want to invest anything further in the property, so all our plans are at a standstill until NZTA can tell us more.”

A Dome Valley couple, who bought 14 years ago, aren’t on the designated route but are still nervous about the future. They understand NZTA has bought land near them, which is giving rise to concerns that the indicative route could move closer to their property.

“We’re not particularly against the road but we’d like NZTA to be more definite. They are not providing enough information on which anyone can basis decisions about their future.”

An Auckland couple who is looking at moving north, said they were only checking out the route to make sure they didn’t “buy in the wrong place”.

While there were  plenty of NZTA staff at the meeting, a recurring comment in response to residents’ questions was, “I’m sorry, we don’t have that level of detail at this stage”.

One family said they were stunned when they heard secondhand where the road was going.

“We’re not on the designated route, but it adjoins our property. One day, instead of looking at bush and farmland, our view will be of a motorway overpass. We’ve spent so many hours renovating our house and landscaping our 20 acres.

“There are too many uncertainties about what NZTA is telling us. We live on Phillips Road, which will disappear, so I have no idea how we will access our property when the road goes through.

“I don’t think NZTA has given any thought to how this road will impact on people’s emotions. We moved away from earthquakes in Christchurch to give our kids a better life and now we just don’t know what we should do. We want to stay in the district where the kids are in school, but we don’t know if we will be able to afford it.”

A Kaipara Flats Road resident said he’d been told to expect 4000 cars a day past his house when the new motorway opens.

“This will have a huge impact on residents along the road, which is also a school bus route. They are also talking of raising the road, which means that properties along it will be low-lying. It’s crazy stuff.”
Second interchange
One of the surprises in the motorway plan is the creation of two separate interchanges. The major interchange will allow northbound traffic to exit at Warkworth and southbound traffic to join the highway from Warkworth. However, traffic leaving Warkworth and heading north will have to join the motorway via Kaipara Flats Road. Vehicles travelling south from Te Hana or further north will also have to use the Kaipara Flats interchange to exit to Warkworth.

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