Urgent Tauranga/WBoP housing moratorium, until NZ Government funds SH2N corridor capacity.

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Call to halt further residential development planning, until central government upgrades corridor capacity on SH2 north of Tauranga.

We the undersigned say it is time for the partners of SmartGrowth to delay any further population growth of the Western Bay of Plenty / Tauranga subregion until the NZ Government commits to substantial transport infrastructure investment to support the population growth demanded of local Councils by current and previous governments.

In the next 30 years, SmartGrowth (a collaboration between Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Tangata Whenua) says the population of the subregion is expected to grow to 250,000 meaning the need for 43,000 new homes. State Highway 2 capacity from Tauranga to Katikati is already inadequate.

A moratorium on housing planning in the Western Bay of Plenty / Tauranga subregion is demanded as capital investment is required urgently in both the Tauranga Northern Link (TNL) to Francis Road, Ōmokoroa interchange and the Katikati bypass projects.

The proposed TNL works to Francis Road as circulated to landowners by NZTA in January 2018 would also improve the safety of critical accident blackspot intersections between Te Puna and Ōmokoroa to a fit-for-purpose standard.

A petition to Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Transport Committee in support of these projects attracted 7,000 signatures in a three week period earlier this year.

SH2 is a 2-star safety rated road on a scale of 5 stars. The AA says it is “one of, if not the highest risk” highways in NZ. There have been five fatalities between Te Puna and Apata since December 2017. Recorded traffic in the sub-region has almost trebled in the past 20 years to beyond 150% of NZTA’s maximum capacity for this rural corridor in its environment.

We duly call for the temporary suspension of activity such as any public hearings processes on growth/development plans, and an authorised period of waiting until such time as future events warrant lifting the suspension or issues regarding the activity have been resolved.

In this case, the NZ Government or its Transport Agency must commit to funding construction contracts with a guaranteed timeline.

While we recognise the SmartGrowth partners are obliged to meet the requirements of the NZ Government for a Future Development Strategy (FDS), we strongly recommend that until such guarantees exist for appropriate transport systems to address current safety, access and congestion problems on the northern transport corridor that there be a moratorium placed on all future development plans for the sub-region.

Adding further safety, access and congestion problems to what is already recognised by the AA as New Zealand's most dangerous road would show gross negligence contrary to the intention of the FDS.

Matthew Farrell on behalf of Fix the BLOODY Road campaign group.