Address to Henderson-Massey Local Board 3rd Nov 2011
Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Some years ago there was a meeting in Pt Chevalier. About 5 people turned up. My concern was the widening of Te Atatu Rd and I was given the impression about 1m either side was to be purchased from property owners.
Six weeks ago Auckland Transport sent out a letter to certain Te Atatu Rd property owners, including myself, advising that parts of our properties (approx 3m) had been identified as necessary for road widening. Part of the acquisition was for 2 cycle lanes on one of the busiest roads in Auckland. The info we were sent claims 38,000 vehicles per day, although some time ago during submissions on the fire station, it was claimed there were 46,000 vehicles per day. I wonder how much will be spent on a public enquiry as soon as the first major accident occurs on this stretch of road involving a cyclist.
The letter dated 20 September invited us to ring Stuart Penfold if we had any questions. I rang Stuart and was invited to come and see him at the Drop-In Day on 1 October. I attended, waited half an hour in a queue for Stuart and was then referred to Michael Riley’s queue. When I got to speak to Michael he asked me to ring him in his office on Monday.
I rang Michael on Monday 3 October and was told he had referred my matter to the engineers. Having heard nothing further by Friday 7 October, I rang Michael to be told he had not heard back from the engineers yet. Later that day Stuart Penfold rang me and arranged to inspect my property at 10.30 am on Monday 10 October. I introduced Stuart to my tenants, gave him their phone number and said he was quite welcome to come back at any time at all for further measurements providing it suited the tenants.
Then on Wednesday 19 October I received a letter from Michael Riley dated 1 October enclosing two forms entitled “Access Agreement” that I regarded as a gratuitous insult.
Now under Section 171 of the Local Government Act 2002 Councils have certain access rights to properties under certain conditions. Auckland Transport does not have those automatic rights.
Auckland Transport was therefore asking property owners for a special favour, before any negotiations had even commenced.
I’ll read the part of the “Agreement” which got up my nose.
“It is agreed that, for the consideration of ten cents (10c), receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, Auckland Transport and or its Agents may enter and re-enter The Land subject to this agreement with or without such assistants, machinery, vehicles or equipment as are reasonably necessary for the purpose of enhancing the current roading network for safety, amenity and to expand the use of alternative transport modes.”
The letter asked the recipient to sign acknowledgement of receipt of ten cents yet ten cents was not even enclosed. I rang Michael Riley and asked how Auckland Transport intended delivering the ten cents. I was told I could come into his office and pick it up if I liked. I did not like but I also asked him who was the lawyer who had drawn up the agreement. He did not know.
Consequently I sent an email to Michael asking 8 questions. I received a reply a week later. Here we are being asked to grant Auckland Transport a huge favour extending to allowing machinery, vehicles and equipment onto our land when it is envisaged negotiations will not even commence for another four months. The depth of gratitude by Auckland Transport for that display of good will on the part of property owners is an offer of ten cents!
Yet in his reply to me on 27 October Michael Riley had the temerity to say “the time taken for negotiation does largely depend on the property owner’s preparedness to negotiate in good faith.” I would suggest if 10c is the best offer that can be made by Auckland Transport for early wide-ranging access to properties before negotiations have commenced, it is the property owners who are largely dependent on the other party’s preparedness to negotiate in good faith. The signals to date do not augur well for the future.
The second matter is Pool Fencing. At a Policy Committee meeting on 29 July I expressed very grave concern about the inconsistencies that would arise by having 21 separate Exemption Committees for Swimming Pool Fencing. Nevertheless it seems Auckland Council is hell-bent on pursuing this approach!