Far North District Council and Northland Forest Managers have agreed on restrictions on log truck movements in Kerikeri.
The council is proposing a district transport strategy that it says will address Kerikeri residents' concerns about traffic congestion and a possible influx of log trucks into the town.
The council resolved during its long-term plan 2018-28 deliberations to develop a district-wide strategy that would address key transport issues, including in Kerikeri, Mayor John Carter saying residents had expressed concerns about growing traffic congestion in the town, while a number were also worried about the impact log trucks from nearby Waitangi Forest and other private woodlots may have on traffic.
"I want to assure residents their concerns are being treated seriously, and that considerable behind-the-scenes work is already under way to minimise the impact of logging traffic," he said.
Major Kerikeri roading initiatives proposed in the LTP had been postponed, but funding for them had been retained, and would be reallocated once the transport strategy was finalised.
"We will consult with communities on the strategy, and it will become part of the annual plan 2019/20, due to be finalised next year," he said.
I want to assure residents their concerns are being treated seriously, and that considerable behind-the-scenes work is already under way to minimise the impact of logging traffic."
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In the meantime, a deal struck with Northland Forest Managers would restrict the hours its trucks would be allowed to travel on residential Kerikeri streets.
The company would begin extracting logs from privately-owned woodlots this month, and planned to transport them via Riddell and Shepherd Roads, and out to State Highway 10 via Cobham Road, Hobson Avenue and Kerikeri Road. It estimates there would be a maximum of five truck movements a day.
The agreement with the council will prevent log trucks from using those roads before 9am or after 2.30pm, to reduce disruption for school children and parents on school runs. The company will also restrict its vehicles to 30km/h on residential streets.
PF Olsen Ltd., which manages Waitangi Forest on behalf of the China Forestry Group, will implement similar speed restrictions, and keep log trucks off the Cobham Road — Hobson Ave route between 7.30am and 9am, and after 2.30pm.
Mr Carter said the agreements were designed to safeguard children and reduce the impact of traffic congestion and noise on the community, while recognising the important role forestry played in employment and the wider Far North economy.
"We are holding regular meetings with forestry companies, several of which will be operating in forests and private woodlots that will require logging truck access through Kerikeri township in coming years," he said.
"I want to commend PF Olsen and Northland Forest Managers for working with the council to reduce the negative impacts their activities may have on residents."
Harvesting at Waitangi Forest was not expected to peak for a decade or more, giving the council ample time to complete its transport strategy and the required road improvements, he said.