Community divided over motorway benefits

RACHEL YOUNG AND NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013

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Some people worry about losing part of their property but other residents believe Christchurch's new Southern Motorway will make commutes safer and easier.

Templeton couple Kevin and Bonnie Williams have lived on Marshs Rd, where they ran the Tall Tree Stud, for 25 years.

They expected to lose about a third of their 68-hectare property to the motorway.

"I have to say we're quite sad to see it happen, but I do recognise it's the price of progress and for the better for the community," Kevin Williams said.

However, the couple had no plans to relocate.

"This is my life and my lifestyle and having been here 25 years I don't see that there's any good reason why I should [move]."

On Monday night, about 35 people attended a public meeting about the motorway proposal in Prebbleton Hall.

A few disgruntled community members voiced their concerns about the time restraints to enter public submissions and the potential effect on traffic in the area to a spokeswoman from the Environmental Protection Authority.

Prebbleton grandmother Fay Fletcher, who was also at the meeting, said she was "very nervous" about the changes.

"I understand why they need to make the changes but I am not sure why they aren't doing it on disused land," she said.

Consultation on the proposed motorway between Halswell Junction Rd and Main South Rd began in October 2010.

NZ Transport Authority state highway manager Colin Knaggs said the project would affect about 75 properties, depending on the final design.

"Some total purchases will be needed. However, it is likely less than 12 buildings and houses will need to be removed."

Some residents, however, are welcoming the new motorway.

Neil Gardner had wanted to sell his Marshs Rd property, but the motorway development made him decide to stay in the area longer because it was now easier to drive into central Christchurch.

Shayne and Karen Richardson's home was originally in the way of the second stage of the motorway, but it would now bypass their property.

"Even if our house was in the way, we'd still think it was a good thing," Shayne Richardson said.

"I think it's going to improve people's lifestyles out here."

It used to take 30 minutes to drive from their house to Colombo St, but the journey took only seven minutes since the first stage of the motorway opened.

Richardson said the second stage could also make the roads safer for motorists.

"I'm really hoping that the motorway will take some of the stress off these intersections."

Construction is not expected to begin until late 2015 and the motorway will take about three years to complete.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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