We would be interested in readers’ views on these remarks.
(Sent to Blanche Charles)
“Thank you for your email. The fact that we keep the matter front and centre means it is an important issue for the Community Board.
“There have been a number of potential sites put up for consideration. On their detailed examination they have been found to not be viable. Transrail [presumably he means KiwiRail, the owners since 2007] guard their rail corridor very carefully and are thus reluctant to allow other crossings of the railway line, even for an emergency. The fact there is a paper road at the End of Huia Street does not give us the right to cross the rail corridor.
“There was an underpass on the agenda for some years. It as part of a planned process for connectivity promoted by the WCB. It was taken off the priority list by an earlier council, something I was not responsible for. The cost then was 27 million dollars. That price will not have diminished over time. Practically there is no money for an underpass. With the construction of the Expressway, the connectivity imperative has been lost.
“I am going to continue to work with our council staff to see if we can find an alternative emergency access across the rail corridor. Certainly I want to see an emergency alternative as soon as possible so I appreciate your concern Blanche, but a less aggressive presentation would be appropriate in the future.
Waikanae Ward Councillor”
Blanche Charles’s comment:
My “presentation” was deemed “aggressive” because I quoted three meetings with the resulting “Emergency Rail Crossing – Cr M Scott would discuss further with Council and report back when further information is available” and said that it was a joke, that his ratepayers deserve better than this and that we needed some action on the matter.
At this stage we need to find out what the plans were for the $27 million underpass construction referred to and establish how much of this related to an upgraded SH1 through Waikanae, which has since been replaced by the distant Expressway. This figure was probably based on designs and costings made by the central government roading authority and involved more elaborate provisions that would be needed for a local road.
One thing which is clear, however, is that Michael Scott agrees with the council having taken it off the project list.