Chambers disappointed at Peka Peka roading decision
Wellington Regional Chambers disappointed at Peka Peka roading decision
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s decision to give up on a full interchange at Peka Peka will hurt businesses in the Kāpiti-Horowhenua districts according to the Wellington Regional Chambers of Commerce.
Chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, John Milford voiced his disappointment at the decision saying it only adds to the frustration of local business following the announcement in October last year that the Ōtaki to Levin Expressway would be reduced from four-lanes to two-lanes.
"This is a double blow to businesses’ infrastructure needs in the region. In our recent business confidence survey we asked members about their transport priorities, the results showed overwhelming support for major upgrades across the region," says Mr Milford.
The Wellington Regional Chambers of Commerce business confidence survey found 80 percent of respondents either "support" or "strongly support" the building of the new Otaki to Levin Expressway.
"Infrastructure project such as the expressway and interchange are intended to increase road capacity, increase accessibility, reduce traffic delays. Local business hoping these would increase customers and decrease travel delays have now been let down.
"Our survey also showed that businesses in the lower North Island believe infrastructure is a major barrier to the regional economy. Infrastructure was a major issue for 31 percent of respondents, significantly higher than for any other single issue."
Chairwoman of the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce, Heather Hutchings said that the Kāpiti Chamber has long advocated for the interchange at Peka Peka and believes the decision to scrap the project means local business will miss out on opportunities for growth and would have had long-term benefits to businesses in the area.
A study commissioned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council in 2017 reported that would also be immediate benefits to the local economy.
"Between February 2017 and the end of the year, spending increased across Kāpiti - there was a 22.2 percent jump at Kāpiti Landing/Te Roto area, this means more money is spent in our local businesses," Heather Hutchings said.
Mr Milford said that while the Chambers were disappointed, they would continue to advocate for roading infrastructure that would clearly benefit the business community in the lower North Island.