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Concerns linger over lack of consultation in Motueka road planning

July 14th, 2010
By David Armstrong

Strong opinions were expressed at this week's Community Board meeting over the perceived lack of engagement by transport planners and engineers at Tasman District Council and NZ Transport Agency with Motueka residents and ratepayers.

The debate, which was triggered by the tabled report written by Motueka High School's community issues class following their survey of people shopping in High Street (reported on this website here). The report showed clearly that most Motuekans did not know about the Motueka Transportation Study and almost all thought they were not adequately consulted on matters to do with the use of High Street.

Board members said they were gob-smacked at this low level of awareness of the plans and saw it as highly significant that 87% of those interviewed wanted more consultation. They agreed that they needed to help raise awareness and participation in planning processes, initially by hosting some kind of public meeting. "The High School survey demands that this be done," said Paul Hawkes.

At this point Tara Forde pushed for a fundamental return to first principals to get people more engaged. When told that it was too late to go back that far, she said she felt unhappy and "aggrieved" that her desire for the process to go back and start consultation from scratch, given that so many decisions had been made already by the authorities and planners alone, could not be considered.

David Ogilvie insisted that they can't go back, and they need to look for a way forward given that the plan has been accepted. "All that can be done at this point is to accept what has already happened and build from there," he said.

Motueka councillor Barry Dowler, who was present at the committee, said that although the April 30th Transportation Plan has been formally adopted by Council, "it's still only a study that will go to Wellington for decisions and funding. There will be plenty of opportunity for consultation on the details of what will actually happen."

The board moved a resolution that the Council's Engineering Services manager be asked to look at making a presentation and hearing residents' comments on the plan, at a public meeting to be held in August.

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