What is CONSULTATION?
BACKGROUND TO TE ATATU RD CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENTS
In 2003 Waitakere City Council commissioned a number of corridor studies dealing with all arterial roads in the city.
Several options were reported to a joint meeting of the City Development Committee and Henderson Community Board in December 2006. An Options Consultation process was approved at that meeting. It included “consultation” with individual property owners by March 2007, and “community consultation” including a public open day by April 2007. Such consultation did not take place.
In 2008 Council commissioned the concept design stage of the Te Atatu Rd corridor. This included updated traffic turning counts at all intersections, urban design improvements in the vicinity of Te Atatu Rd/Edmonton Rd, and identifying ways to improve transport and efficiency. The study was completed in March 2009, then placed on hold. Rather than staging the work it was recommended by Council officers that it be delayed until 2014/2015 to coincide with NZTA’s motorway interchange project.
On 3 February 2010 a meeting of WCC’s Infrastructure and Works Committee approved a preferred option, subject to “public consultation” and detailed design. Acknowledged problems with delaying the project were: problems associated with the Edmonton Rd roundabout and lack of appropriate turning facility at Covil Ave, the south-bound bottleneck in the afternoon/evening peak at the Edmonton Rd roundabout, high accident rate and lack of turning facilities for private access unresolved. Note 18 of the Agenda pointed out the Waitakere District Plan had a 2.88m designation along both sides of the corridor between Edmonton Rd and the motorway interchange but in some cases council would require up to 7m.
Note 19 stated a desire to “start the public consultation, land acquisition process, and detailed design before the end of December 2010.”
Note 23, under the heading CONSULTATION said “A number of workshops were held in 2008 to develop the concept design.”
Note 26 stated “Public consultation will need to take various forms to ensure the public is fully informed of the Te Atatu Rd corridor project. Due to the significant amount of land acquisition required, Council officers anticipate a lengthy consultation process.”
On 29 September 2010 Waitakere City Council agreed to receive a Te Atatu Rd corridor report and that the Council’s preferred option was as outlined in the report and was the basis for further design work.
During the last week of September 2011, property owners whose land was subject to acquisition received a letter dated 20 September from Mohammed Alsakini headed Te Atatu Road Corridor Improvements Project – Consultation. It advised that a preferred option had been chosen by Waitakere City Council in 2009 and approved to proceed to the preliminary design stage in 2009. It stated “It is now Auckland Transport that will progress and manage the project through to completion.”
I rang Auckland Councillors on the Transport Committee who appeared to know little about it. I was advised to attend a “Drop-In-Day” on 1 October. Unfortunately no decision-makers were there.
In the first week of November a pamphlet entitled “Te Atatu Rd Corridor Improvements” arrived in our letter boxes inviting us to attend a “Public Open Day” on 5 November. Residents were invited to complete a “Feedback form.”
On 3 November I expressed my concerns to the Henderson-Massey Local Board during Public Forum.
On 5 November the Project Team members on hand to “answer your queries” were not decision makers and in some cases not in control of the facts.
There has been no vote on these matters in any of the Auckland Council meetings.
It has been acknowledged by Darryl Griffin, Manager of Democracy Services that the only “public consultation” that has taken place was an Open Day on 5 November 2011.
Property owners trying to engage in discussion about their particular concerns have been greeted with bureaucratic double-speak and a series of delays.