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Split Views On City's Road Resealing Options

Split Views On City's Road Resealing Options

Split views on city's road resealing options

North Shore City residents are divided on whether they want to pay more to have smoother roads while almost all ratepayers do not consider a new city-wide resealing policy to be their council's main priority for increased spending.

The results of the council's consultation process and an independent representative telephone survey of ratepayers conducted last month, show similar findings.

North Shore City's current practice is to use chip seal (graded loose stone chips spread over hot bitumen and rolled into place) for all residential streets and main roads, except for areas where there is high wear and tear. Hot mix (pre-made bitumen and aggregate mixture, laid at high temperature by a paving machine as smooth, black asphalt) is used for all commercial and recreational roads such as commercial centres and along beach fronts.

The telephone survey shows just over two in five North Shore City ratepayers (41 per cent) want to see the current policy retained with no rate increase while 36 per cent would like to see the city shift to hot mix only with a $48 rate increase. Twenty-two per cent opted for something in between at a cost of between $22 and $27. The general consultation leaflet returns (4,592) show similar results with 40.7 per cent favouring the current policy, 7.6 per cent choosing the $22 policy option, 8.1 per cent choosing the $27 option and 42.9 per cent choosing the all hot mix option.

The council received 4,592 completed forms (e-mail and post) as a result of its city-wide consultation process, with leaflets delivered with community newspapers to all households and businesses in the city. A website was also set up with an interactive feedback form inviting people to e-mail their responses back.

The council also commissioned a representative telephone survey of 500 ratepayer households from an independent research company. Along with canvassing views on the policy options, those surveyed were also asked questions about spending priorities and road resealing satisfaction.

In the telephone survey, almost all North Shore City ratepayers interviewed (96 per cent) do not consider a new city-wide resealing policy to be the city's main priority for increased spending, with funding for improving beach water quality and traffic congestion being considered more appropriate reasons for rates increases.

When asked to select from a list which issue they felt was the main priority for more spending by the council through rates increases, three in five respondents (60 per cent) felt that improving beach water quality was the main priority, while a quarter (26 per cent) cited easing traffic congestion. Only four per cent of respondents considered that road maintenance, including road resealing, was the city's main priority for increasing rates.

On the issue of satisfaction with their current road surface overall, 71 per cent of respondents are satisfied to some extent with the current surface of their road, 23 per cent being very satisfied. However, the degree of satisfaction varied considerably by type of road surface, with respondents living in roads sealed with hot mix (96 per cent) being significantly more likely to be satisfied overall (satisfied or very satisfied) than those with chipsealed roads (63 per cent). Similarly, respondents whose roads have been recently resealed with hot mix were notably more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with the resealing work done (88 per cent) than those respondents whose road was recently chip-sealed (51 per cent).

There is evidence of a relationship between satisfaction with current road surface and the city-wide resealing option preferred.

Of those who would like to see the current policy retained, 85 per cent stated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their current road surface. Among those respondents who expressed a preference for something in between, 73 per cent were satisfied to some extent with their current road surface. By contrast, only half of those who preferred hot mix only (53 per cent) were satisfied or very satisfied with the road surface on the street where they currently live. Consequently, the less satisfied a respondent was with their current road surface, the more likely they were to prefer the increased use of hot mix.

The key reasons for respondents' dissatisfaction with the current road surface related to the physical characteristics of chipsealed roads, with three in five dissatisfied respondents citing problems with loose stones on driveways/footpaths, damage to vehicles and the time taken for the stones to settle after resealing. The noise created by chipsealed roads (39 per cent) and the patchiness of the roads (28 per cent) were also frequently mentioned. This was similar to the comments made on the general consultation forms.

Quality of workmanship and the laying of chip seal featured strongly in the comments on the feedback forms with many requesting roads and footpaths to be swept more frequently when chip seal was laid.

The council will consider the results of the consultation process and research at its works and environment committee meeting on November 5 when a report will be presented with recommendations on ways forward for developing a draft policy.

Committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says it is clear that there is some dissatisfaction in the community with chip seal road resealing - but that opinion on the way forward in terms of policy direction is divided.

"We're already improving the way we manage the process of road resealing to minimise the inconvenience and negative effects such as loose chips and tar overspray. But there is more we can do to ensure that reseal work is done more carefully - such as robust supervision of contractors.

"We will have to weigh up the results of the consultation and the research in deciding on what kind of policy we should pursue - as support is fairly evenly split between two main options," says Councillor Cayford.

"The consultation process and research have succeeded in giving us a much better idea of how our community feels about this issue before we decide on a policy. We have some clear feedback that most ratepayers don't consider road resealing as a main priority in terms of extra spending and would rather see any rates increases spent on improving beach water quality or traffic congestion," he says.

Note: Respondents to the council's consultation process were eligible to go into a draw for one of 10 $200 tyre vouchers from Frank Allen Tyres. The winners of the 10 vouchers have been drawn and will be notified by post.

The two full reports on the consultation and research results will be available on the council's website - http://www.nscc.govt.nz- from Tuesday October 29.


Note for editors: The telephone survey has a margin of error of + or - 4 per cent.

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