Tawa residents shocked by agency motorway proposal

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Wellington

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News a road could wipe out their homes was as big a bolt from the blue for residents of Cecil Rd in Tawa as it was for their counterparts in the Takapu Valley.

Cecil Rd homes could also be lost under New Zealand Transport Agency plans for a road connecting Petone and Grenada.

Residents in Takapu Valley, north of Grenada North, were blindsided last week by the news the agency wanted to bisect their properties to build the link road for Transmission Gully.

But if that plan doesn't go ahead, an alternative widening of the existing motorway in Tawa would also see homes demolished to make way for tarmac.

Each proposal would affect about 40 properties.

Brian and Faith Delaney have been told their home of 40 years, on Cecil Rd, would be bulldozed under the plan as it is.

The motorway has been up a bank from their home since they bought it, but the news last week was a shock to them.

As they are getting older, they may have to move out soon, which made it even worse because a decision on the road is not due until the middle of next year.

"If our health gave out before the decision was made, how would we sell this house?" Mrs Delaney asked.

"It's the not knowing. What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Can we afford to go?

"We don't need this at our time of life."

The agency could create a Takapu Valley versus Tawa situation, with both sides hoping the other ended up with the road.

Mrs Delaney said: "I can understand [the Takapu residents'] point of view, but it's more houses going to be destroyed here . . . I want NZTA to take the other [route] but that's unfair for them."

Neighbour Jen Beauchamp's home would not be destroyed but the proposed route would cut a chunk out of her garden and potentially wreck the value of a house which had been in her family since the 1950s.

NZTA spokesman Anthony Frith said about 40 properties would be affected in each proposal.

"The two routes are potential routes. We are asking for feedback and input from residents in the consultation process."

A more detailed announcement would be made on February 13.

Wellington City councillors were briefed on the options by NZTA in a closed session yesterday.

Transport portfolio head Andy Foster said it was too early for councillors to express a preference on a route.

"It's a process which has to be exercised sensitively and with knowledge you can create huge stress and put people's lives on hold while you decide what you are going to do."

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- The Dominion Post

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