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Traffic lights, roundabouts again under consideration

May 13th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

NZ Transport Agency is reconsidering earlier negative decisions about traffic lights and roundabouts in Motueka's High Street, as part of a holistic study of State Highway 60 from south Motueka to the bottom of Takaka Hill.

TDC Ward Councillor Barry Dowler told the Motueka Community Board meeting yesterday that NZTA intends to finish its study by June 20th this year, with the resulting plans for improvements aimed at a new pot of contestable government funds for rural roads for the next financial year.

Tasman District Council is supporting this study because the local problems of SH60 are now known to be increasing, especially with new traffic and intersection loads as a result of the Motueka West development.

Barry said the plans, which are likely to include widening Motueka River bridge, will aim for a bulk fund for the whole stretch of highway, not just piecemeal improvements to parts of it.

Key parts of this plan will certainly include the possibility of traffic lights at the Greenwood Street / Pah Street intersection, and roundabouts at the King Edward Street and Whakarewa Street intersections.

Board to try six-weekly meetings
The community board decided to trial holding its regular meetings every six weeks for the rest of this year, rather than monthly. (see our earlier story.)

The goal is to make meetings better organised and more efficient, and to bring it into line with TDC's six-weekly meeting schedule of the full Council.

The board will also trial holding drop-in sessions for the general public to discuss their issues and problems and make suggestions, also every six weeks and falling in between for board meetings. Matters that arise may then be taken on to the next board meeting and homework done before they are considered in more depth.

One board member said he was nervous about an open forum with no structure to it, but others said it will come down to who is running the meetings and how they want to control it.

Another pointed out that some people even feel intimidated by speaking in front of other people at a drop-in forum, and may prefer a one-on-one style.

The next open forum will be held on Tuesday June 2nd and advertised on this website and in the local papers, with the next full board meeting on June 23rd.

The new arrangement will continue for the rest of 2015 and be reviewed on December 8th.

Fundraising going well for Security camera upgrade
The board were told that, following discussion at the previous meeting (see our story here), Police Constable Grant Heney has succeeded in raising funds of around $15,000 so far to upgrade the town's camera system.

Grant has been doing the work involved, going round local businesses and talking with other donors. Thanks to his effort, it is now looking likely that a new system will be affordable.

Criteria agreed for special projects
The board's "special projects" fund criteria and selection process were discussed, following the line of a detailed proposal put to the board in March by Vision Motueka. (See our earlier story here.)

Most discussion was around the criteria for what projects may and may not be included in the fund. It was agreed that projects will usually be for Council-approved infrastructure (such as footpaths), but which are so low on Council's priority list that they may not be done for several years.

A second type of project would be one which Motueka people themselves believe will make the town better, but is not necessarily one which is a responsibility of Council (such as town promotions, or the litter cart).

Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne agreed strongly that this second type of project would be vital for the town, allowing it to take responsibility for local initiatives, as long as residents were well consulted and in favour of the project.

As with consultation around the special projects for the past few years, the community board would have the task of developing a list of potential projects and then asking the community through surveys and other means which projects they would prefer.

Program for footpath repairs
The community board were told that Council has decided to put in place a two-year project for identifying and fixing problematic paths and pram crossings in Motueka.

A tender process for repairs is being finalised now in order for a June / July start.

Board chairman Paul Hawkes said he was very pleased with this development. "As minimal work has been done on footpath maintenance over the last few years, I see this systematic program of high priority as there have been many injury related accidents on numerous footpath within the ward," Paul said.

"This project will see a long awaited upgrade of many troubled sections." The board agreed to contribute $7,000 from its special projects fund to the creation of pram crossings as part of this program.


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