'Very disappointing': Shock at road project news

The Otago Peninsula Community Board was unanimous in its shock at hearing the Peninsula Connection road safety project would not reach Portobello School until 2028.

Peninsula Connection project manager Nick Watt gave the board a progress report at its meeting on Thursday morning, including the news that Fulton Hogan had been engaged to complete sections 5 and 9 of the project, which encompass parts of Broad Bay and Portobello.

However, things turned contentious when the topic of conversation turned to the Portobello portion.

Board member Cheryl Neill asked what the timeline was for the section outside Portobello School to be completed.

Mr Watt said while the area was in the design, it was not scheduled for completion until 2028, which drew an audible gasp from Ms Neill.

"The current works package that we’ll be doing through Portobello ends at Allans Beach Rd."

Board chairman Paul Pope said he was not a fan of surprises and he had big concerns upon hearing that the project would not reach the school for another six years.

The board had consulted the community under the understanding that the 2022-23 phase of work would reach as far as the raised crossing opposite the school.

Mr Pope asked his fellow board members whether that was their understanding also, which met with universal agreement.

"Now what you’re telling us is this will no longer occur until 2028.

"That is news to this board, Nick, and very big news and very disappointing news for the fact that we were not informed nor was the community informed.

"You’re making fools of us by asking us to undertake consultation with a community whose expectations are based on the information that we give them."

Mr Pope said that he would like to know who made the decision for the forthcoming work phase not to reach to the school, and why the community board was not informed of the change.

Mr Watt apologised for the breakdown in communication, and promised to produce a formal response for the board and speak to them directly after he had investigated the situation.

andrew.marshall@odt.co.nz

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