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Mayor outraged by NZTA decision to put funding on hold for cycle/walkway

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A long-planned cycle/walkway for Eastbourne is unlikely to be completed anytime soon, after New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) confirmed they are not in a position to partner with Hutt City Council to complete the entire walkway. It is claimed they may only fund part of the first stage of the Eastern Bays Shared Path due to funding restraints.

Mayor Ray Wallace says this delay by government is outrageous, especially since residents were expecting work to begin as early as next year. The Council has been working with NZTA officers on final designs of the shared pathway which were recently submitted for consent. Government policy is that projects that meet their criteria can receive up to 58 % of the projects costs from Government. Mayor Ray Wallace says the u-turn by government is incredibly frustrating, especially since residents were expecting work to begin as early as next year.

"I am deeply concerned that this crucial project which has been in the works for more than a decade is being stalled by NZTA because they claim they have no money. We have spent years working with NZTA co-designing the plans, to get us to the resource consent stage. That work has also included many hundreds of hours engaging with residents. This is incredibly frustrating and disappointing and I am seeking urgent confirmation from the government that they will commit to funding the entire pathway.

"This pathway is crucial for Eastbourne. We all know there’s a lack of dedicated cycling and walking facilities and the tightly constrained nature of Marine Drive has meant that there is currently low pedestrians and cyclist use. For the most part, cyclists and pedestrians must use the road shoulder, which is very narrow and even non-existent in sections.

An efficient road network system is crucial to our region. We are still coming to terms with NZTA’s shock announcement to defer funding of the Melling Interchange to at least 2028, Petone to Grenada is off the table and now the Eastern Bays Shared Path is potentially put on the backburner. It is incredibly disappointing to see the government direct its NZTA funding to Auckland, despite more than 75 per cent of the population living outside of the region. I am not prepared to sit idle why our region continues to miss out on these crucial transport projects" says Mayor Ray Wallace.

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