A Frankton resident has slammed the Queenstown Lakes District
Council for accepting any low-cost proposal from the New
Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the new estimated $5
million to $20 million Kawarau Falls Bridge, as long as the
replacement is not delayed.
Self-described ''ratepayer'' Bill Falcone said during the
council's public forum on Tuesday he had ''never felt more
let down by my council'' than when he heard council transport
manager Denis Mander give evidence at the hearing in
Queenstown in mid-February.
''Although council's testimony asked for acceptable items, I
contend the testimony failed to go far enough in support of
our community's interests and submissions,'' Mr Falcone told
councillors in the public forum, before the council meeting
''The major point communicated was that council would accept
anything given to it, so long as the project is not delayed
Mr Falcone said the transport agency could now use the
council's evidence to justify positioning the piers anywhere
in the Kawarau River if it struck geotechnical problems,
because the council stressed it was vital there should be no
delay in construction.
''I also contend that council blindly accepted [the] agency's
report that a `low' option for the approach to the new bridge
would be able to connect to the bypass in the future via
Robertson St,'' he said.
''In reality, the low option, in practical terms, only works
with Humphrey St. NZTA only want the least expensive option
Mr Falcone asked councillors if they knew a cut of up to 6m
would be needed from the bottom of Robertson St to connect if
the ''low'' option was chosen.
Residents at the lower end of Robertson St would not have
vehicle access to their driveways because their driveways
would be several metres above the road, he said.
The bridge approach needed to be raised 2m to 3m and the
approach widened. The agency estimated an additional $1.2
million to $1.4 million would be required, Mr Falcone said.
''It became obvious [in the hearing] that the Robertson St
connection was not properly considered by the author of the
Transportation Strategy, even though this specific option was
raised at the stakeholders' meetings in September and
November 2012,'' he said.
''Council had six months to consider this option, yet failed
to properly investigate it. And I contend it still has failed
to undertake this work.
''That investigation must be undertaken immediately, so its
results can be implemented without delaying the bridge
Mayor Vanessa van Uden thanked Mr Falcone for his public
forum contribution and asked his comments be considered
during the annual plan process.
When asked to comment, Mr Mander said many of the points made
by Mr Falcone were canvassed at the hearing and will be
considered by the commissioners when reaching their decisions
on the notice of requirement.