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Uncertainty ends and growth expected to accelerate in Horowhenua - council

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

After more than a decade of uncertainty, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has committed to announcing a preferred location for the final stage of the Wellington northern corridor by year’s end.

This afternoon NZTA officials briefed Horowhenua District Council Elected Members about the timeline.

Mayor Michael Feyen said it had been a long and difficult process for all concerned, but the end is near.

"For landowners they have a few more months of waiting until the preferred route is announced - it remains a stressful situation for them," he said.

"I’m pleased NZTA is committed to fixing the existing safety issues on the current State Highway One. In the first half of this year, there were 16 death and serious injury crashes on this road between Levin and Ōtaki - it is a high toll for our community to bear and places an unfair strain on our local emergency responders, many of whom are volunteers."

Mayor Feyen said he is delighted there is a commitment to enhancing public transport and amenity in Levin.

"The electrification of the rail link to Wellington is paramount - our people need options and improved connectivity to family and friends."

Horowhenua District Council Chief Executive David Clapperton said it is a red-letter day for Horowhenua as it has lifted the cloud of uncertainty.

"While it will be a staged approach, there is no doubt in my mind that a four-lane expressway will be built as traffic volumes and population numbers continue to climb."

Mr Clapperton said the district had grown at a faster rate than predicted for two years in a row and 2018 is tracking even further ahead. "Today’s announcement from NZTA will accelerate that growth. We will need to reassess the predictions to ensure we are not caught out by growth as has happened elsewhere in the country."

Growth Response Manager Daniel Haigh said to meet demand a minimum of 244 homes need to be built every year for the next 20 years.

"We have been preparing Horowhenua for growth and today’s announcement means we can move ahead with confidence with a raft of projects that will provide capacity and transform our communities," he said.

Projects include:

A master plan for 2,000 homes at Gladstone Green, Levin

A master plan for 500 homes at Foxton Beach

The Transforming Taitoko Levin Town Centre Strategy

The Horowhenua Growth Strategy - sets out where new subdivisions and industrial areas can be built.

Mr Clapperton said Council is also progressing with its Horowhenua 2040 Vision, which includes a raft of projects aimed at transforming the district, improving the wellbeing of residents, protecting the environment and improving iwi relationships.

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