A "critical" document that will underpin $3 billion of spending on the Bay of Plenty's transport projects and developments over the next 10 years will now go out for public consultation.
The draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2021 was presented to the Regional Transport Committee and approved at Bay of Plenty Regional Council in Tauranga today.
The decision means a sub-committee has been created to help finalise the plan. The sub-committee consists of Whakatane deputy mayor Andrew Isles, Rotorua deputy mayor David Donaldson, regional councillor Lyall Thurston, regional councillor Jane Nees, a Tauranga City Council commissioner - yet to be decided on - and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Kotahi's David Spiers.
Together they will oversee public consultation, expected to begin on March 5, and public hearings scheduled to take place from April 13 to 15. The final plan will be put to the regional council and then on June 30 will be submitted to Waka Kotahi NZTA.
Regional Council general manager Namouta Poutasi said the plan was "critical" and involved $3b over the next several years.
The plan sets out a regional 10-year land transport programme and investment strategy and includes emphasis of mode shift, public transport and addressing climate change.
Key objectives identified in the plan were: Healthy and safe people; inclusive access; environmental sustainability; economic prosperity; and resilience and security.
A summarised version of the plan, a Statement of Proposal, will be made publicly available as part of the consultation process in which people will be asked for their thoughts on what the regional council should do, could do better or what it has potentially overlooked.
Regional council transport and urban planning manager James Llewellyn recommended the Statement of Proposal be included in the public consultation rather than lumping a large and weighty document on people and expecting the to read it.
The committee agreed.
Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber asked that a solution to the Katikati bypass be included in the committee's resolutions in approving the plan, which attracted resistance from Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick.
"I get you but we are all going to come out with our shopping list and that's a danger in a regional setting. I know you have to face the community but so do we all about what's not on the list. There must be a better way to finesse what you're after."
Webber responded: "We have been trying to finesse it for nearly 40 years so a blunt instrument is required."
The committee chose to include the matter as a note in the meeting's resolutions and unanimously voted to approve the plan and Statement of Proposal for public consultation.
Concerning highway subject of 'please explain'
A request for more safety measures on a Bay of Plenty highway has resulted in a please-explain from a local mayor after waiting more than year for feedback on a request for a new speed limit.
An exchange between Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell and Waka Kotahi NZTA took place at today's Bay of Plenty Regional Council Regional Transport Committee meeting.
Transport agency director of regional relationships for Waikato and Bay of Plenty David Spiers was updating the committee on a new "action" document in which it detailed the progress and updates of key transport projects and request. While the document was available to committee members, it was not available to anyone else.
Campbell said he had, in 2019, requested changing the speed limit from 100km/h to 70km/h on a 2km section of State Highway 34 which thousands of trucks used daily. He questioned transport agency representatives as to why they classed his request on the document as "closed" when there had been no solution that he was aware of.
Campbell was told the request was likely classed as "closed" because the request had been received, rather than actually acted on.
"We've got three major intersections, heavy transport comes in and out all of the time and it was actually brought up in 2019. Kawerau District Council has a large truck operation with vehicles going through there at 100km/h.
"Believe me, I will not go away for the time being. Just come back to us on that please."
Spiers said the organisation might change the way they classify requests as a result.
After the meeting, Campbell said there had been many close calls in the area and it was only a matter of time before tragedy struck.