Road could change to protect orchards

By Lawrence Gullery

Plans for the Whakatu arterial road could be altered to minimise the impact on orchard land at Mangateretere as the Hastings District Council prepares to make a decision on the multimillion-dollar project next week.

Council roading manager Jag Pannu updated the Maori Joint Committee on the project on Thursday.

The new route from State Highway 2 near Mangateretere would cross over pipfruit land to the Whakatu industrial park, and on to Pakowhai Rd.

Mr Pannu showed an adjusted route which followed the border line of fruit growing properties in Mangateretere, instead of running through the centre of prime horticultural land.

At least two Mangateretere land owners, who stand to lose ground if the new road goes ahead, were at the meeting, as was the principal of Mangateretere School, to listen to Mr Pannu's report.

But the issue was last on the committee's extensive agenda and at the end of Mr Pannu's presentation the meeting did not have the minimum number of committee members to continue, so there was no time for questions or discussion.

Mr Pannu acknowledged one of the biggest issues was the loss of land near Mangateretere.

"We have had a number of meetings with landowners and the issue is again the impact on horticultural land and how we can minimise that.

"We are still to put this through technical rigour but taking the road down the boundary of the horticultural land would minimise the impact."

Mr Pannu said staff would work towards finding a solution which would "hopefully keep everyone happy".

Another key issue was improving safety at the Ruahapia and Pakowhai road intersection, which connected to Farndon Rd and Chesterhope Bridge.

"We are still looking at that intersection and what role it will play in the future."

Safety at Napier and Pilcher Rd, which connected to State Highway 2 near Mangateretere, was also crucial and could be improved as part of the planning for the new Whakatu arterial road.

"This project ticks a number of boxes in terms of the safety improvements at those intersections and the benefits it would provide to the roading network."

The committee heard no Maori land would be used in exchange for the new road. The council would meet on August 7 to vote on the preferred route of the new road.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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