By Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers
Beware. Most of Main Road in the heart of the Kumeu-Huapai business area is proposed to be destroyed.
Last month, property owners along this stretch of SH16 received surprise letters outlining plans for new roads for buses and cycling.
Astonishingly, the route for the new roading cuts through most of the existing private properties and buildings. These letters were sent by a co-operative department of Auckland Council and Auckland Transport called “Supporting Growth”.
Spearheaded by commercial property owners with support from members of the Kumeu Community Action (aka Kumeu-Huapai Residents and Ratepayers Association), an emergency meeting was promptly called inviting affected property owners.
This open meeting wanted to discover who had and who had not received letters, what people knew about the plans, and what to do next. What was particularly concerning was most people had not received letters and had absolutely no idea of what is planned for Kumeu-Huapai. Naturally, the audience was gravely concerned about the township’s future.
Called the Rapid Transit Corridor (RTC), roading is planned to be widened to at least 32 metres, doubling existing widths. Its objective is to create dedicated lanes for buses, cycles and walkways. Surprisingly, the objective is not to create more capacity for cars.
There are helpful maps on my website www.gregsayers.co.nz/news which provide further information.
If these maps are accurate, then on the southern side of SH16 the new bus routes would destroy Barry Auto Electrical, Bridgestone Tyres, Eurobake and the other shops in that block including the SPCA Op Shop, liquor wholesalers, the Gull Station, Kumeu Tyres and Cottle Motors.
The RTC would take all the fire station backyard and the backyards of all the houses and businesses from 335 to 375 Main Road, and would run through the Kumeu Mowers & Chainsaws building.
The grim picture continues.
Entering Kumeu from the east, the likely destruction to the properties on the northern side is harder to define. From the Route 16 Café to opposite Access Road all the front yards and access-ways would be reduced or compromised. Artisan Bakery, Mrs Sushi and Harcourts would need to have their buildings demolished. The next block of shops would have their access and parking compromised.
The yards and access for Castle Panel beaters and Burger King are compromised.
New World Kumeu appears to lose the front of its building. The real estate agent and the old Wrightson building as proposed lose their front yards.
The Z Station would lose its front yards and possibly the building.
Atlas Concrete and the properties just before Atlas are likely lose their front yards.
The buildings between Matua Road and Oraha Road are compromised or could even require demolition. The Kumeu Cricket Club and Norwest United Football Club buildings would be destroyed.
The timeframe for building the RTC is the same as for building the new “Alternative Highway” or bypass around Kumeu – 30 years away. However, the interim problem is all the identified properties are likely to be devalued and harder to sell or lease.
The property owners meeting voted to form a steering committee which has already begun engaging directly with the Supporting Growth department to clarify all of the above.
Supporting Growth have given reassurances the devastation will not be as dramatic as the initial maps show. The next step is for detailed drawings to be compiled, in consultation with individual landowners, over the next three months to find ways to minimise the demolition required.
Although the basic route of the new RTC is established, there is flexibility to build the new roads, busways and cycleways so the least number of businesses will be affected. Some, however, are still likely to be purchased under the Public Works Act over the next 10 to 20 years.