Petition to reinstate speed limit

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014
residents
ANDY JACKSON/FAIRFAX NZ
Otaraoa Rd residents Simon Payne, Ollie Payne, Paul Bourke and Teri Collins are against the NPDC decision to lower the speed limit along Otaraoa Rd from 100k to 80k.

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A speed limit change is causing a Neighbours at War battle in Tikorangi.

Last week a group of Tikorangi residents celebrated after councillors agreed to lower the speed limit of Otaraoa Rd to 80kmh, despite council officers' recommendations against it.

The decision came after months of campaigning by a group of Tikorangi residents for the New Plymouth District Council to lower the speed limit and acknowledge the effect the petrochemical industry has had on the area.

However, Otaraoa Rd dairy farm owner Simon Payne criticised the decision and said many Otaraoa Rd residents were against the change.

Those residents had met this week and were putting together a petition against the decision.

"We don't want it changed," Payne said.

"The council has only listened to a very small group of people who were trying to speak for the whole community.

"Most of those residents don't even live on Otaraoa Rd. Otaraoa Rd residents are totally against it. It's already a policy for trucks to only travel at a maximum of 80kmh along Otaraoa Rd and they have a GPS system in them for it to be monitored."

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However, Abbie Jury, a fellow Otaraoa Rd resident who campaigned for the 100kmh speed limit to be reduced, said the men had ample time to make their concerns known before now.

"It's really disappointing they did not pick up the phone and talk to the people who have worked very hard to try and make positive changes for our community," she said.

However, Payne, and fellow Otaraoa Rd residents Teri Collins and Paul Bourke said the first they heard of the issue was in the Taranaki Daily News last week.

But Jury said the information had been sent out to all residents of Tikorangi in a newsletter.

The group campaigning for a lower speed limit on Otaraoa Rd had emailed residents, including Payne, at least a year ago asking for their feedback on the issue.

Payne maintained there was no need for the limit to be lowered and those campaigning for it were just trying to get a win over the oil and gas industry.

"It's taken until now for us to stand up and say we are actually happy with all that is happening in our community.

"Councillors should take the time to find out what the genuine locals want, not just the ones who love protesting against the oil and gas industry," Payne said.

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"The council's done a top job in upgrading this road and Todd Energy are considerate users of it."

What was necessary, the four men said, was for roadside vegetation, namely near The Jury Garden, to be trimmed so cars at intersections could see what was coming up and down the road.

Payne pointed out the councillors had gone against national policy in deciding to lower the speed limit.

"It's disappointing. It should never have got to this stage," he said.

"Now we feel like we are on the back foot, because we weren't even approached about it."

- Taranaki Daily News

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