Addressing the roading crisis

ROAD CRISIS MEETING: Getting as close look at our roads over the past two days were (L-R), CEO Activate Tairawhiti Steve Breen, CEO Eastland Wood Council Prue Younger, Director lifelines David Wilson, Director of MPI Oliver Hendrickson, Chairman Eastland Wood Council Iain McInnes, President NZ Forestry Owners Association Peter Clark. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE need for greater co-ordination between all parties involved in the region’s ‘‘crisis’’ roading situation came out of a two-day meeting in Gisborne.

It was attended by representatives from the NZ Transport Agency, Ministry for Primary Industries, Forest Owners Association, forest managers, Tairawhiti Roads and Gisborne District Council.

On Thursday they were flown and driven to Waiteata Forest inland from Tolaga Bay, to Mangatu Forest and to the Tarndale Slip. Yesterday there were presentations and talks at the Eastland Community Trust offices.

“They got a first-hand look at the situation,” said Eastland Wood Council chief executive Prue Younger.

“It has helped them to realise how serious the roads crisis is, and also shown them the extent of challenges facing steep hill- country forestry.

“The meeting has opened doors and triggered closer engagement.”

Eastland Wood Council presented each representative with a copy of the report it put out in June this year entitled A Regional Economic Disaster About to Worsen — Does Anyone Care?

The report outlined how underfunding for rural roads had made some unfit for heavy trucks. Others, while fit, were deteriorating rapidly.

“The situation has reached crisis point.”

An eye-opener

MPI director of spatial forestry and land management Oliver Hendrickson said the visit had been an eye-opener.

“While I have previously driven many of the region’s roads, to see the extent of the active forestry from the air really was an eye-opener. It has been massive. I have gained a sense of scale.”

The region contains nine percent of the country’s 1.7million hectares of forest.

“The potential for economic growth in the region through plantation forestry is massive, but that includes learning from past mistakes and considering other forestry models like native regeneration for permanent carbon sinks,” Mr Hendrickson said.

“But it has to be done in tandem with good investment in the region’s infrastructure — particularly your roading network.

“We all need to work in partnership more. That includes MPI, the forestry industry, the NZTA and the local council.”

NZTA regional relationships director Emma Speight said her organisation welcomed the opportunity to spend time with the forestry sector businesses and agencies to develop shared priorities for investment in the transport network in the Gisborne region.

“This week’s visit was a great opportunity to hear from our forestry sector stakeholders about their priorities, as well as understanding the impact that damage to the roading network has on their businesses,” she said.

“We are continuing to work with stakeholders across the region to build a comprehensive understanding of regional priorities, which will feed into the Regional Land Transport Programme for funding in the 2018-21 period.”

Tairawhiti Roads makes presentation

Tairawhiti Roads made a presentation to the meeting on the state of the roads and what they were doing to try to get them to a better state.

President of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association Peter Clark said his organisation had no issue with that.

“Under this new Government there is the chance we can get some action when it comes to broken roads here.

“There is real concern in the forest industry that some roads will be closed because of their state, and that would be highly disruptive for everyone getting trees out of the forest.

“It is not a small thing to close a road but it is on the cards if nothing is done.”

Mr Clark said more money for roading in this region was clearly needed.

“The Government’s road funding model needs to be revisited and there needs to be high-level messaging to get that done.

“We do not want an endless series of reports about the roads situation.

“What we want is graders, roading metal or aggregate. The need is obvious.”

“This is not just a forestry issue.

“It’s an issue for pastoral farmers as well.”

Forestry sector supports GDC approach

Mr Clark said the forestry sector certainly supported GDC’s approach to Government for funding under the billion-dollar regional growth fund.

The council has applied for an additional $35 million for road works.

He also pointed to the support forestry could itself provide with its own roading equipment and quarry rock.

“We in the forest industry are all very concerned about the situation too. That is why we are all here at this meeting.”

Mr Hendrickson said the basics had to be done right.

“In order to secure long-term growth, and investment in the region, we must pragmatically consider the right steps that need to be taken from here to improve the situation on the roads network.

“We need to be thinking more about the community.

“There is a lot of work to be done in terms of better co-ordination between everyone involved if we are to fully realise the potential of the region.”

THE need for greater co-ordination between all parties involved in the region’s ‘‘crisis’’ roading situation came out of a two-day meeting in Gisborne.

It was attended by representatives from the NZ Transport Agency, Ministry for Primary Industries, Forest Owners Association, forest managers, Tairawhiti Roads and Gisborne District Council.

On Thursday they were flown and driven to Waiteata Forest inland from Tolaga Bay, to Mangatu Forest and to the Tarndale Slip. Yesterday there were presentations and talks at the Eastland Community Trust offices.

“They got a first-hand look at the situation,” said Eastland Wood Council chief executive Prue Younger.

“It has helped them to realise how serious the roads crisis is, and also shown them the extent of challenges facing steep hill- country forestry.

“The meeting has opened doors and triggered closer engagement.”

Eastland Wood Council presented each representative with a copy of the report it put out in June this year entitled A Regional Economic Disaster About to Worsen — Does Anyone Care?

The report outlined how underfunding for rural roads had made some unfit for heavy trucks. Others, while fit, were deteriorating rapidly.

“The situation has reached crisis point.”

An eye-opener

MPI director of spatial forestry and land management Oliver Hendrickson said the visit had been an eye-opener.

“While I have previously driven many of the region’s roads, to see the extent of the active forestry from the air really was an eye-opener. It has been massive. I have gained a sense of scale.”

The region contains nine percent of the country’s 1.7million hectares of forest.

“The potential for economic growth in the region through plantation forestry is massive, but that includes learning from past mistakes and considering other forestry models like native regeneration for permanent carbon sinks,” Mr Hendrickson said.

“But it has to be done in tandem with good investment in the region’s infrastructure — particularly your roading network.

“We all need to work in partnership more. That includes MPI, the forestry industry, the NZTA and the local council.”

NZTA regional relationships director Emma Speight said her organisation welcomed the opportunity to spend time with the forestry sector businesses and agencies to develop shared priorities for investment in the transport network in the Gisborne region.

“This week’s visit was a great opportunity to hear from our forestry sector stakeholders about their priorities, as well as understanding the impact that damage to the roading network has on their businesses,” she said.

“We are continuing to work with stakeholders across the region to build a comprehensive understanding of regional priorities, which will feed into the Regional Land Transport Programme for funding in the 2018-21 period.”

Tairawhiti Roads makes presentation

Tairawhiti Roads made a presentation to the meeting on the state of the roads and what they were doing to try to get them to a better state.

President of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association Peter Clark said his organisation had no issue with that.

“Under this new Government there is the chance we can get some action when it comes to broken roads here.

“There is real concern in the forest industry that some roads will be closed because of their state, and that would be highly disruptive for everyone getting trees out of the forest.

“It is not a small thing to close a road but it is on the cards if nothing is done.”

Mr Clark said more money for roading in this region was clearly needed.

“The Government’s road funding model needs to be revisited and there needs to be high-level messaging to get that done.

“We do not want an endless series of reports about the roads situation.

“What we want is graders, roading metal or aggregate. The need is obvious.”

“This is not just a forestry issue.

“It’s an issue for pastoral farmers as well.”

Forestry sector supports GDC approach

Mr Clark said the forestry sector certainly supported GDC’s approach to Government for funding under the billion-dollar regional growth fund.

The council has applied for an additional $35 million for road works.

He also pointed to the support forestry could itself provide with its own roading equipment and quarry rock.

“We in the forest industry are all very concerned about the situation too. That is why we are all here at this meeting.”

Mr Hendrickson said the basics had to be done right.

“In order to secure long-term growth, and investment in the region, we must pragmatically consider the right steps that need to be taken from here to improve the situation on the roads network.

“We need to be thinking more about the community.

“There is a lot of work to be done in terms of better co-ordination between everyone involved if we are to fully realise the potential of the region.”

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Winston Moreton - 13 days ago
A Matter of Trust

In the group photo (TGH2/12) captioned "dealing with the district's road 'crisis' " we had Activate Tairawhiti CEO Steve Breen, Eastland Wood Council CEO Prue Younger, Lifelines director David Wilson, MPI director Oliver Hendrickson, Eastland Wood Council chairman Iain McInnes and NZ Forestry Owners Association president Peter Clark. The young MPI man representing government money is surrounded by people who are, in my opinion, unlikely to actively promote rail as a transport option for our district. He is now back in Wellington thinking we have a "roading crisis" rather than a regional log transport issue to address.
He probably flew in for the day expecting rail to come up in the conversation, as did the Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones a few days before. Jones spoke eloquently about rail at Muriwai Marae, before the anti-rail lobby could cluster around and nobble him. No, our civic leaders, led by our wonderful Community Trust (ECT) - which also happens to run Activate Tairawhiti - want rail to be kept right out of the picture. Our Mayor, a member of ECT, no longer supports reinstating rail. The trust, which also owns the port, saw the blow-out of the rail track a few years ago not as a crisis but as an opportunity - an opportunity for the port to expand. Our civic leaders now want to snaffle the government's roading money to do it. There is only so much. Once we've had our whack for roads and bridges, that will be it. Nothing for rail.
Do you trust the guys in the photo to tell Mr Hendrickson and government what the community want?


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