Road rage on council

A crash on the Ferguson ‘Low Level’ bridge in 2017 created gridlock in central Cambridge. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Roger Gordon

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

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.

Read: We’re jam-packed

Read: Government must step up on third bridge

Read: Bridge the gap: Gordon

Have your say

Watch the workshop.

 

More Recent News

Getting to the ball in style

Brett Dixon got up to work before sunrise so he could spend seven hours cleaning his John Deere tractor before Cambridge High School’s 2024 Las Vegas Casino Ball on Saturday. He used the sparking farm…

Farmers told to lobby

A Federated Farmers leader has responded to last week’s story in The News where farmers were encouraged to lobby for better milk prices. Waipā accountant Jarrod Godfrey said Fonterra’s opening milk price forecast for the…

Price hedging gains traction

A record number of dairy farmers and rural professionals have turned out for a milk price hedging workshop. Thirty-two people showed up for the workshop at Fonterra Farm Source, Cambridge, a larger turnout than previous…

News ….. in brief

Te Awamutu local Corban George-Potterton has won the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Young Volunteer of the Year Award for 2023 from a pool of 48 RDA groups across New Zealand. He is a Riding…