Auckland Council Te Atatu Road Fiasco

 

7 December 2006

A report to the Henderson Community Board by Sam Shumane, Principal Engineer, Transport Assets re Te Atatu Road stated “It is necessary to engage Councillors, Community Board members, other transport organisations and members of the public in the decision making process to achieve successful results.”

 

3 February 2010

A report to the Infrastructure and Works Committee of WCC by Hussam Abdul Rassol, Manager, Transport Services, stated inter alia, “It is noted that currently the Waitakere District Plan has a 2.88metre designation along both sides of the corridor between Edmonton Road and the motorway interchange. This will need to be uplifted and replaced to reflect the current concept designation as it requires a wider designation up to 7 metres.” It was intended to start the public consultation, land acquisition process, and detailed design before the end of December 2010. The report also stated “Public consultation will need to take various forms to ensure the public is fully informed of the Te Atatu Road corridor project. Council officers anticipate a lengthy consultation process.” The project costs were estimated at between $18.2 to $23.9 million.

 

29 September 2010

At a meeting of WCC it was moved by Cr Clews and seconded by Cr Neeson, then resolved by all Councillors  that Council

  1. Receive the Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd Corridors Report.
  2. Agree that the Council’s preferred option for Te Atatu Road Corridor Improvements is as outlined in this report, and that this is the basis for further design work on the Te Atatu Road Corridor Improvements project.

In the interim there had been no public consultation and the Henderson Community Board, which was opposed to Cycle lanes, had been cut out of the decision making process.

 

20 September 2011

It came as a complete surprise to the vast majority of the owners of 109 properties when Auckland Transport (AT) wrote to them saying it intended purchasing parts of their properties for road widening and inviting them to attend a Drop in Day on 1 October 2011. The letter was signed by Mohammed Alsakini, AT and said its purpose was “to engage with you and get your feedback.” No plans of the project were enclosed, but the letter stated “A preferred option was chosen by the previous Waitakere City Council.” A number of owners, myself included, saw looming problems, in my own case there would be loss of reasonable access to my garage. 40% of the intended acquisitions were outside the designations in the District Plan.

 

1 October 2011

A Drop in Day was held at Flanshaw Road School but most property owners I spoke to didn’t consider it very useful. I attended and I was asked to contact Michael Riley the following Monday.

 

 

 

7 October 2011

www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/western-leader/5748091/outrage-over-land-grab

 

11 October 2011

I met Stuart Penfold from MWH on site at my property and the feasibility of constructing another garage for me was discussed. My tenants were totally co-operative re access.

 

19 October 2011

Property owners received an “Access Agreement” form from AT with the insult of a 10 c offer in return for 24 months of access for allowing such things as “machinery, vehicles and equipment” onto their land. The form noted “Auckland Transport and its agents will only enter onto the land after giving 48 hours notice to do so and with the approval of the property owner or his/her representative.” Sharon Hunter, spokesperson for AT said this was “Common practice” and there would be “little or no impact” on people like Osborne. (As it is, I’ve now had 4 site visits to date (3/7/12))

 

27 October 2011

Michael Riley, Property Specialist, AT , advised me “Formal negotiations are planned to commence in February 2012.” I was soon to learn that various timelines and assurances given were unreliable. He also added that “the time taken for negotiation does largely depend on the property owner’s preparedness to negotiate in good faith.” He said “We do not wish to pre-empt the outcome of public consultation by entering into irrevocable agreements until the Local Board has approved the final design.” Five months later I was informed by Owena Schuster, Regrettable that  statement was made in error.”

 

3 November 2011

The Henderson-Massey Local Board was presented with an information only report on the Te Atatu Road Corridor project signed off by Roger Wilson, Manager, Elected Members Liaison, AT and Owena Schuster, Elected Members Liaison, AT.  I spoke at that meeting. See earlier comments on this blog under Archives November 2011 “Te Atatu Rd Land Claims”.

 

5 November 2011

A public meeting was held by AT to which local residents were invited. A feed-back form was handed out. This was the sum total of public consultation.

 

8 November 2011

Darryl Griffin, Manager Democracy Services, AC requested that AT provide me with feedback from the site visit on 11 October.

 

15 November 2011

First TPOG (Te Atatu Property Owners Group) meeting. A series of questions were prepared to go to Mark Ford, Chairman of AT Board and a request to view the public submissions. The request to view those submissions was declined initially by Mohammed Alsakini due to “confidentiality requirements” and later by Roger Wilson because he deemed the request “frivolous”.

 

17 November 2011

Darryl Griffin conceded the sole public consultation was the meeting on 5 November and acknowledged there had been no resolutions on the matter by Auckland Council or any input from the Henderson-Massey Local Board.

Mohammed Alsakini, Senior Engineer, Investigation and Design West, advised me “We expect that we will be able to present indicative design actions for your property access by 16 December 2011.”

 

21 November 2011

Mohammed Alsakini advised me ACPL (Auckland Council Properties Limited) would engage with the landowners in informal negotiation prior to formal negotiation.

 

1 December 2011

20 TPOG members attended the HMLB meeting. The Chairman and Secretary of TPOG addressed the Board.(See Archives Dec 2011 “Public Works Act Land Acquisitions”).A Fact sheet was presented to the Board by AT for information only. This differed from the Fact sheet presented to Property Owners in that the Board’s Fact sheet made no mention of  properties outside the designation in the District Plan.

 

8 December 2011

I rang Stuart Penfold endeavouring to get feedback from the 11 October site visit and asked for a likely date for the next visit. I was told there would be no reinspection of my property within the next month.

 

14 December 2011

Owena Schuster from AT advised me it was first decided to take sections of land beyond those designated in the District Plan in mid 2011. This conflicted with the minutes of the Infrastructure and Works Committee meeting on 3 February 2010. I asked who took responsibility for the information provided to me by AT. She told me “Auckland Transport as an entity takes responsibility for the external communications of the organisation  — any response you get is from the organization and does not reflect the views of any individual.”

 

15 December 2011

The Chairman and Secretary of TPOG met with Owena Schuster and Roger Wilson of AT to discuss our concerns. Roger assured me he would chase up a site report from 11 October. As far as the designations were concerned, he said AT had taken a different view from WCC.

 

22 December 2011

Western Leader. Sharon Hunter says it’s too early to be talking about budgets.

 

9 January 2012

In reply to the question I put to Roger Blakeley, Chief Planning Officer, AC on 20 December.

“Does AT have an obligation to uplift the District Plan to amend it and therefore put it up for public consultation?”

Roger Wilson said “No. Auckland Transport does not have an obligation to amend the District Plan in order to carry out the roading works proposed.” Not happy with this, I pressed for more detail. The same day Roger Blakeley responded more fully. “On 1 November 2010, all roading designations were transferred to Auckland Transport. You are correct that the former Waitakere City Council Infrastructure and Works Committee received a report on 3 February 2010, where the possibility of uplifting the existing designation and replacing it with another was included in the text of the report. This did not however translate into a resolution of the Committee directing the Council to undertake the uplifting and replacement of the designation. Without such direction from the Infrastructure and Works Committee, Auckland Transport does not have any obligation to uplift the existing designation or alter it.”

I had also asked for a reference to the relevant page in the 2011/12 Annual Plan documenting the budget.

His response was “My understanding is that the relevant pages of the 2011/2012 Annual Plan are Volume 1 pages 159-168. This information is aggregated, and the amount of budget you specify in your letter is not specifically identified there.”

As to the reason for AT not applying to amend the designation in the District Plan, he said AT had a choice to amend an existing designation or negotiate directly with landowners. They had chosen to negotiate directly.

It seems then that some of the material provided by AT to landowners re the Public Works Act was misleading.   

 

17 January 2012

Not satisfied with Roger Blakeley’s response re planning issues, I referred the matter to Doug McKay, Chief Executive AC.

 

23 January 2012

Having received no reply I lodged a complaint. Darryl Griffin responded “Roger’s advice is that the delivery of this project  is a matter for Auckland Transport.”

 

26 January 2012

Auckland Council Property Limited sent notices to land owners saying it wished to enter into negotiations for purchase of designated land. And asked owners to ring Linda Holdaway.

 

1 February 2012

I confirmed an appointment for a site visit by ACPL at 9 am next morning, having confirmed that was OK with my tenants. When I got home my wife informed me some-one called Mohammed from AT had rung and wished to meet on site at 12 pm next day. So much for 48 hours notice! Not unreasonably I assumed there was a change of time at short notice.

I had a prior engagement for 12 pm next day so rang Mohammed Alsakini to cancel. I also advised my tenants of the cancellation.

 

2 February 2012

Shortly after 9 am I received a phone call from Grant Sextone (ACPL) asking where I was. I said there had been a miscommunication. I had left a message on Linda Holdaway’s answer phone but she evidently hadn’t checked it yet. I would be straight up there. I apologised to my tenants for the last minute change of plan and suggested ACPL might like to co-ordinate with AT for future visits. I asked if either Linda or Grant had seen the site report from 11 October. They hadn’t.

That night I addressed the HMLB on the Te Atatu Road widening issue. (Archives Feb 2012 “The Public Works Act.”)

 

14 February 2012

My third on-site visit. Linda Holdaway, ACPL, Mohammed Alsakini, AT. Mohammed turned up without a tape measure and I suggested it might be useful for a Project Engineer to carry one with him on future visits. He then proceeded to show me how a skilful driver could manoeuvre a Mini, execute a three-point turn and go out onto the road in a forwards direction.  – no need for another garage. This must have been the “indicative design action” he was referring to on 17 November 2011. It was unacceptable to me and it was decided he would go back to the drawing board. I asked Linda if we were in informal negotiations or formal negotiations. I produced a copy of Mohammed’s email from 21 November 2011 and it was decided we were in “informal negotiations.”

 

15 February 2012

Frustrated at still not having received a site report from 11 October I put in a LGOIMA request.

 

21 February 2012

TPOG’s second public meeting.

 

22 February 2012

Mike Lee, Chairman AC Transport Committee told me he had been informed by AT “consultations with you are ongoing.”

 

23 February 2012

I received a copy of the site report from 11 October confirming garage discussions and retention of my brick wall.

 

15 May 2012

Fourth site visit.

Initially it was suggested “garage or carport”. No I wanted a garage.

Then do away with my brick wall. No I wanted a replacement brick wall.

 

REPORTS OF OFFERS TO TPOG MEMBERS ARE NOW COMING IN.

THEY ARE REGARDED AS INADEQUATE.

ACPL IS EVEN QUIBBLING OVER VALUATION FEES.

 

WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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