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Big projects coming up for community consultation

April 14th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Some of the most important infrastructure projects that will affect the growth and prosperity of Motueka for decades to come are up for community discussion and consultation this month, with hopes that ratepayers make their opinions known while plans are still at draft stages.

As well as the annual consultation and submissions around the Council's annual plan (which, it should be noted, have been poorly attended), two of the arguably four biggest issues faced by present and future residents (flooding, town planning, water supply and traffic congestion) are the subjects of draft proposals open to public comment, while a third is being guided by a new representative working party.

One of the issues, the Motueka Flood Control Project, will be the subject of a public meeting and presentation at Memorial Hall on Wednesday afternoon and evening, April 20th. This relates to Council's engineering-backed view that the Motueka River stopbanks are inadequate to protect the town from a large flood event.

Following initial plans developed in 2010 and a series of public meetings where Council and consultants heard from locals, Council has come up with a thorough document setting out the five viable options for dealing with the problem (including one option of 'no change'). It is this document that Council wants discussed at next Wednesday's meeting. (See our story here.)

This is likely to be an expensive project and Council and local Community Board members are urging residents to take part in the decision making process.

Also just a week later Motueka residents are invited to learn about and provide opinion on the Council's 'Motueka West and Central' draft plan for the development of the town over the next 20-30 years. This refers to new residential and industrial areas west of High Street mainly between King Edward and Whakarewa streets, and the consolidation of the central business district between Tudor and Wallace streets.

Council has placed its draft plan on its website, and you can also download it here (it's a PDF file of about 750Kb). This document is worth reading carefully; it is not long and is written in simple English. Because the outcomes of this project will affect the shape of Motueka and residents' lifestyles for decades to come, all residents should check this out.

Next Thursday, April 28th, Council will host two public meetings at which the plans will be presented and discussed. They will be at the Council meeting room, Hickmott Place, from 3pm to 5pm, and at St Johns Hall, Courtney Street, from 7.30pm to 9pm.

As was reported yesterday, the other key long-term planning process occupying the minds of local leaders of late - the extension and improvement of the town's water supply - is back on the front burner as the Health Department considers a subsidy for a reticulation scheme, while the Community Board and ward councillors begin a working party process to plan for the future.

In this writer's opinion, residents have no cause to complain about inadequate consultation by Council on these vital issues, at least so far; ratepayers need to meet them half way by attending these meetings. The other major issue we face - increasing congestion on High Street - is, sadly, not a matter of consultation right now as NZ Transport Agency continues to be uninterested in the views of residents.

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