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Rail Corridor Joint Venture Approved


Date: 21 February, 2008


Rail Corridor Joint Venture Approved

The Northland Regional Council has formally agreed to proceed with the formation of a 50/50 joint venture to share the costs of designating land for a proposed Marsden Pt rail corridor.

Councillors at their first full meeting of the year in Whangarei yesterday (subs: Weds 20 February) formally confirmed the Council would work with rail infrastructure agency ONTRACK to secure land for the approximately 16km long corridor.

The Council had earlier signalled its own intention - through an amendment to its Long Term Council Community Plan - to negotiate with about 20 Bream Bay landowners to try to secure the necessary land.

However, under the Local Government Act, the Council legally had to consult separately on the proposed 50/50 joint-venture because it would create something called a ‘Council Controlled Organisation’ (CCO).

An extended six-week public consultation period closed on February 1 with almost 100 submissions received; about two-thirds in support of the joint venture proposal and one-third against. Submissions were heard in Whangarei on 11 February with the Hearings Committee recommending the proposal proceed.

In a report to Councillors yesterday, the Council’s Strategic Development Manager, Linda Stansfield, said some submitters appeared to be under the incorrect impression that ratepayers would be asked to fund construction of the $120M link itself.

In fact, the main objective of the joint venture will be to legally protect the land needed for the rail link from incompatible subdivision and development until the link is eventually built.

“This action will preserve the opportunity for the rail link to be built by central government and/or other funders at some time in future.”


Ms Stansfield says with the public consultation on the joint venture proposal now complete and the Council decision to proceed made, work would continue towards determining the final form of the Council Controlled Organisation. This process could take another several months.

Meanwhile, she says background information on the joint venture is available on the Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/jointventure


ENDS


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