The Public Works Act

 

Address to Henderson –Massey Local Board 2 February 2012

 

Madam Chair, Ladies & Gentlemen

 

Most Councillors and Local Board members are unlikely to be personally affected by the Public Works Act during their lifetimes. However, it is important that they have an understanding of what the ratepayers whom they are paid to serve, have to endure in cases where their land or parts of their land are acquired under the process.

 

When I addressed this Board on 3 November 2011, it was 2 days before a meeting at Flanshaw Rd School billed as a Public Open Day advertised in a pamphlet saying “We want to hear from you.”  “Auckland Transport is in the process of finalising the preliminary plans for the project, and would like to hear your views.” Did they really?

TPOG (Te Atatu Property Owners Group) asked to view the public submissions but was told its request was regarded as frivolous. I therefore question the relevance and credibility of those submissions. For most of us, the first we knew about our loss of property was the letter dated 20 September 2011 from Auckland Transport.

 

Research revealed that 2 years ago, on 3 February 2010, at a meeting of the Infrastructure and Works Committee, the Waitakere City Councillors approved a preferred option for the Te Atatu Road Corridor subject to public consultation and detailed design. What public consultation? I have addressed that issue in a blog on my blogsite entitled the “Con” in Consultation.

Note 18 in the Agenda of the meeting of 3 February 2010 stated “It is noted that currently the Waitakere District Plan has a 2.88m designation along the sides of the corridor between Edmonton Road and the motorway interchange. This will need to be uplifted and replaced to reflect the current concept design as it requires a wider designation up to 7 metres.” As it turns out 40% of the 109 properties being acquired by Auckland Transport are outside the designations in the District Plan yet no application for a change in designation was made.

 

Now, if a private citizen wants to do something that affects the boundaries of his own property, he is subject to all sorts of hurdles through the Resource Management Act and the process of public consultation. A change of designation also requires public consultation but Auckland Transport argues it is exempt from the need to apply for a designation under Section 16 of the Public Works Act. I asked the Chief Planner for Auckland Council if that rested comfortably with the Council but he refused to answer. Eventually I got an email from Darryl Griffin for Auckland Council saying “Auckland Council has no opinion on the method chosen.”  How convenient!

I also asked if AT had officially notified Auckland Council of the property acquisitions and his reply was “Auckland Transport is not required to notify Auckland Council of its intentions and has not done so.” What wonderful coordination!

 

I was dismayed yesterday to read the Agenda for tonight’s meeting and see not a single word devoted to the Te Atatu Rd Corridor. We were promised the Super City would deliver accountability and transparency. This cloak and dagger approach to business and treating the public as mushrooms can only lead to increased dissatisfaction and growing mistrust. 

 

The ultimate sentence in the Chair’s message tonight is “It is the job of the local board to be the voice of the community and we are adamant the voice of the Henderson Massey community will be clearly heard in Auckland Council.”

I would ask you as a board to voice the concerns of over 100 property owners in Te Atatu South, who after 4 and a half months are still very much in the dark!

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