A four-year wait for some bus shelters to be installed in the Bay of Plenty has sparked frustration and defence among the group of people tasked with managing the region's public transport services.
Western Bay of Plenty's mayor Garry Webber was part of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Public Transport Committee meeting on Friday when he questioned the hold-up behind installing the shelters.
In an implementation report to the committee, a breakdown of public transport projects listed what projects have been completed, were in progress or have been delayed. It also named Tauranga City Council as having not yet installed 29 shelters.
Webber said the Western Bay had already installed its share so he did not understand why Tauranga council had been investigating the project since 2017 and as recently as last year chose to "adopt a bus stop improvements action plan and design standards".
"I've built dairy factories in less time it has taken us to do this," Webber said.
"Why does it take three years to design a bus stop when in the Western Bay we've actually installed the sodding things?
"What's the responsibility of this committee when projects sit around for four years and they are pretty [fundamental]?"
Webber said he would like to see progress, a report on when the remaining bus stops were "actually going to happen".
Tauranga City councillor Larry Baldock said the council had to ensure it got residential approval before installing any bus shelters and it had moved forward quickly until Covid-19 arrived.
"We have a huge list of residents ... we have to go through a hearing process. It's a real pain. It does delay things but it's not a big issue."
Baldock said it was easier to install bus shelters in the country where there was a bit more space.
Webber replied that most of the Western Bay bus shelters were in Te Puke, Katikati and Ōmokoroa; "they weren't in the country".
Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Debbie Hyland said this was probably one of the more difficult quarter ends to report on "given the situation with Tauranga City Council's consultation on its Annual Plan for 2020".
"At this stage, we are really waiting for another round of consultation before confirming funding for 2021."
The committee was also about to sign off the reports from the meeting when Webber reminded them there was a report that had not yet been discussed or debated.
The implementation plan confirmed new bus shelters had been installed in Katikati, Ōmokoroa and Te Puke. However, a bus stop improvements action plan that included design standards, criteria to prioritise bus stops for improvements, and a prioritised list of bus stops for improvements in Tauranga was still in progress. Ongoing upgrading to priority bus shelters was also yet to be completed.