Mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says the New Zealand Transport Agency's community meeting in Te Horo about the scrapping of the Peka Peka interchange has only served to highlight how deeply flawed their decision was and is calling for it to be urgently reviewed.
"Residents of Peka Peka and Te Horo are justifiably angry that NZTA has described their communities as being "void of employment, business or significant tourism activity". To be told that your community has no jobs or businesses is a real slap in the face from NZTA," says Gwynn Compton, who attended the meeting.
"Anyone who is familiar with the area will know Te Horo hosts two of New Zealand's top venues in Sudbury and Ruth Pretty's, there's popular cafes like Te Horo Cafe, the Bus Stop cafe at Te Horo Beach, as well as Harrisons Gardenworld in Peka Peka, not to mention the two fantastic beaches which attract visitors from across the Wellington region," says Mr Compton.
Along with the failure to recognise any economic activity, NZTA also admitted that it ignored the growth in lifestyle properties in the area, and it was revealed they had used overly conservative population growth figures from Kāpiti Coast District Council.
Residents also raised significant concerns about the impact on safety that increased traffic going through Waikanae would have.
"While NZTA professed to be very concerned about safety, it's apparent they've given little thought to how increased volumes of traffic going through Waikanae's residential streets, especially heavier rural vehicles, will be handled safely," says Mr Compton.
With NZTA's business case falling short across the board, Gwynn Compton is calling on the agency to go back to the drawing board and urgently review their work.
"It's clear the business case NZTA based their decision on is fundamentally flawed, not only from its understanding of the area and its lack of analysis of the negative impacts of not building the interchange, but also because far simpler options such as making the existing emergency access slipways into on and off-ramps haven't been taken seriously."
One positive sign was thanks to Ōtaki Ward Councillor James Cootes, who got a commitment from NZTA to at least consider the issues raised at tonight's meeting.
"Councillor Cootes getting a commitment from NZTA to look at the issues raised tonight is a step in the right direction, but NZTA needs to admit they've gotten this badly wrong and conduct a full review in light of the significant shortcomings residents identified tonight," says Mr Compton.
"As one resident put it tonight - without the interchange they feel like NZTA has cut them off from Kāpiti for the next 30 years. It's simply not good enough."