Kāpiti Business – Sam Pritchard, deputy chair of the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce says Ōtaki needs more certainty on roading plans.
The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce welcomes news the Government will fund four lanes from Ōtaki to Levin but is concerned construction won’t begin until 2025 and be completed in 2029.
The four-lane road was originally announced last decade by the previous Government. Funding has been confirmed for the next phase of the Kāpiti Expressway, as part of a nationwide package announced yesterday, which also includes improvements to the Wellington rail network and refurbishment of the Capital Connection carriages.
Jacinda Thorn, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce says while the announcement is a relief to the business community, there is a sense of urgency to begin work as soon as possible, before 2025.
“The next phase of the Expressway – Peka Peka to Ōtaki – is due to finish next year. It makes sense from an economical and construction perspective to begin Ōtaki to Levin straight after. We have construction workers already located here, people already on the ground doing the work and we’ve been talking about this section of road for ten years, so why not begin straight away,” says Ms Thorn.
Sam Pritchard, Deputy Chair of the Chamber and a local business owner in Ōtaki says while the announcement is great news for the region, it still leaves people with uncertainty.
“There are a number of locals living in the 300-metre corridor which could be designated for the final road. Delaying the start of construction until 2025 means another five years of not knowing whether or not their home will be affected – impacting their ability to sell and move on, or the overall value of their home,” says Mr Pritchard.
Ms Thorn says the Chamber is also disappointed that electrification of the rail network to Ōtaki was not part of the national rail announcement.
“With projected population growth – which will be spurred on by Transmission Gully – it’s timely and logical to increase capacity for people to travel to Ōtaki from Wellington by rail. We would have liked to see more from the Government today on this critical issue. A rail connection from Wellington to Ōtaki will mitigate some of the risks Ōtaki faces when the Expressway bypasses the town as better connectivity will encourage more people to live there and in turn support an increase in local businesses.
“In 2020 the Chamber will continue to push for Ōtaki to Levin to begin sooner than 2025, and for electrification of the rail network to Ōtaki. With the General Election in just under eight months, these will be key issues for the Chamber this year,” says Ms Thorn.