Councillors have ripped into the integrity of Waipā District’s long-term transport plan in a week when Taupō MP Louise Upston said finding a site for a third bridge was a matter of urgency.
At a workshop yesterday (Wednesday) councillor Roger Gordon called for the withdrawal of the draft transportation strategy because of “major critical errors.”
In a document he tabled, Gordon listed 27 concerns in the strategy, currently out for consultation. They include incorrect population and traffic assumptions.
Council should “confidentially” approach several current developers to find out their short and long-term plans while Waikato University’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis should review its population projections, he said.
He said traffic levels predicted for 2035 would be reached years earlier given development already underway in Cambridge while the Victoria ‘High Level’ Bridge had already reached its capacity.
Both he and the Cambridge Community Board, which will make its own submission, have pointed to the failure to identify the impact of light rail and the possibility of a park and ride service at Hautapu.
The board also called for the council to future proof a site for a third bridge and noted measures to encourage urban people out of their cars for short trips should not inadvertently become barriers to rural people coming into Cambridge.
Consultant Robert Brodnax told the workshop it was unlikely Waka Kotahi would invest in a third bridge without a robust business case.
He acknowledged some of the projections were unreliable because of imperfect Census data.
“If you poke and probe any of these projections, you will find that they’re not 100 per cent accurate.
“As policy makers we have to work on something.”
Louise Upston, in an opinion piece for The News, said a third bridge for Cambridge was critical.
She is concerned the council had yet to decide where the third bridge site should be.
“If the site isn’t secured soon, the rate at which development is occurring will mean fewer options available.”
Transport minister Michael Wood and the government seemed “blissfully ignorant of the crisis unfolding on the roads” in Cambridge, she said.
“This is a community issue that cannot be ignored.”
The council has faced lobbying from Cambridge residents to get the third bridge built, and the issue is likely to be an election issue this year.
Cambridge councillors who supported Gordon raising the issue were Philip Coles, Mike Pettit and Elwyn Andree-Wiltens.
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Read: Government must step up on third bridge
Read: Bridge the gap: Gordon