Planning for an east-west road in Peacocke has been designed to have the least impact on the local environment and has been through rigorous environmental, design and roading studies.
Council has also consulted extensively with all landowners in the area, including the owners of a property known as Shaw’s Bird Park. In their feedback, the Shaws congratulated the Council for its forward thinking and said very clearly they were not opposed to the roading network. All feedback on the proposed route was considered by, and signed off, through a quasi-judicial process independent of Council.
The Council’s chief executive Richard Briggs says recent statements by the Shaws, a petition they have started to oppose the road, and recent media coverage, are misleading.
“We are not ‘destroying’ a bird park; that’s just simply not the case. The route for the road leaves the majority of the property and ponds intact, plus we will be doing substantial additional planting along the roads and gullies in the area.
“The Shaws have been aware for years about this road, which also would provide access to a residential subdivision they proposed themselves. During the consultation process for Southern Links in 2014 (the roading network in Peacocke) the Shaws noted the path of the road through their property.
“They did not oppose it but noted they wanted to discuss access across the road and compensation. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing and we’re continuing to try and reach an agreement with them,” Mr Briggs says.
The Council, by law, is guided through the property process by the Public Works Act and in accordance with this process has provided the Shaws with an independent valuation. The Council is also paying legal and valuation costs for the Shaws so they can obtain their own independent valuation.
Mr Briggs says there is misinformation being circulated about the project.
“I’m sorry to say that the statements on social media about it being cheaper to move the road, that we are draining all the ponds, cutting down all the trees and destroying the bird park are complete rubbish.
“The route has been confirmed after a four-year, $4.5M project by the Council and NZ Transport Agency. It involved full consultation, Hearings by independent commissioners and an appeals process. The reason this process is so robust is because there are huge financial implications. It’s been done very thoroughly.”
“This is why we sought feedback from landowners through this process, and why this feedback was provided to the commissioners. Changing the designations now, even if it were possible, would cost ratepayers tens of millions of dollars, set the Peacocke programme back by years and negatively impact many other landowners in the area.”
The Council is absolutely committed to protecting the environment in the Peacocke growth cell.
“Peacocke is not just our biggest investment in growth, it’s our biggest environmental investment. When complete it will have 15 hectares of gully restoration, around 30 wetland areas and over 100,000 new native plants,” Mr Briggs says.
The Council continues to work through the statutory processes and is seeking a negotiated solution with the property owners.