08 Apr, 2023
A stretch of a popular local road is en route to becoming a lot less dusty and easier to traverse now plans to pave the way have been kicked into first gear at a recent council meeting.
At the April 26 meeting council senior asset manager Andy Brown outlined the Te Arai Residents Association [TARA] wish to pay for a two-kilometre section of Black Swamp Road to be sealed. The members, consisting of 74 landowners including the golf club, are wanting the drive between their golf course and Mangawhai Village to run more smoothly and are willing to fund the sealing between Raymond Bull Drive, where current sealant from Mangawhai Road ends, to Raka Drive.
First approaching KDC a year ago regarding the plan, TARA will be responsible for the investigation, design, consenting, contract procurement and construction, which will need to be in accordance to council standards, and health and safety practices. Northland Transport Alliance (NTA) will also be monitoring the project, to ensure it is completed to the appropriate standard. Construction is set to start in September.
Council policy regarding communities contributing funds for road sealing, the Road Seal Extension Policy [RSEP], involves council collecting the up-front funds and then the balance of the required money with targeted rates. However, in this particular situation, the construction and second seal of the road will be paid for by TARA in full, with a price tag of sealing the two kilometre section standing at around $1 million.
Financial contributions collected by KDC from Black Swamp developers of $106,614, will also be allocated to the work, paid at the expiry of a two-year maintenance period.
The motion received wide support from elected members, especially in terms of reducing road dust from gravel roads and safer driving, with deputy mayor, Cr Jonathan Larsen, saying having ratepayers offering to ‘foot the bill’ to seal a road does not occur very often.
“Council can’t get any seal extension funding from NZTA, so I think it’s an amazing outcome, it will be good to work more collaboratively with our ratepayers and make these things happen… everyone on Black Swamp Road will be singing with glee I’m sure.”
Te Moananui o Kaipara Maori Ward councillor, Pera Paniora, ‘echoed the sentiments’ of Cr Larsen, as long as the project was not prioritised or utilised KDC resources which were already stretched in other much-needed community roading works.
Cr Eryn Wilson-Collins also agreed that residents taking opportunity of the RSEP is ‘an awesome situation’ however the Wairoa General Ward councillor also highlighted the restriction of the roading policy as well as the lack of funding from NZTA, and the complications the RSEP creates for the district.
“Very few people can come up with a million dollars to seal their own road. We are aware, and are mindful, of other unsealed roads in the district that are causing
significant health and nuisance issues, with residents not having the resources to get their roads sealed,” she says. “It’s also been a long time since council have been able to do any seal extensions and in the meantime we are having an increase in houses down those roads. There’s a real disconnect between the growth and being able to provide the infrastructure, so if there is any opportunity to lobby NZTA, to convince them to re-look at seal extensions, it would be well worth our time and energy.”
The price tag to seal the two kilometre section of Black Swamp Road will be around $1 million. PHOTO/JULIA WADE