Smith sidesteps Auckland Council to open up Worker Road
Posted at 12:45pm Tuesday 04 Jun, 2019
Frustration at the lack of action over Wellsford's unsealed roads has prompted the Wellsford Rodney Local Board representative to spurn official channels and take matters into his own hands.
Colin Smith originally bought $1800 worth of loose metal at a Plunket auction fundraiser for use on his own farm. But he quickly decided the material could be better utilised to open up a road to alleviate Wellsford's traffic congestion.
Mr Smith was vexed by the fact that traffic from the west of Wellsford, travelling along Wellsford Valley Road, found it increasingly difficult to exit on to State Highway 1 via School Road.
The problem has grown steadily worse as traffic volumes along the main highway have soared.
“The traffic up the main street of Wellsford is just unbearable,” Mr Smith says.
To get around the School Road jam, knowledgeable locals have risked ducking down Worker Road – a largely unformed, unsealed road that emerges at the southern end of Wellsford.
The 3km road has been in existence for transporting stock for around 100 years and, at various times, local farmers have metalled and sealed sections.
However, this has still left a 700 metre heavily pot-holed, rough, muddy section in the middle that proved a nightmare for motorists and was impassable in winter.
Mr Smith says he has been bringing Council elected representatives and other officials to the site for decades and, while all have agreed Worker Road would make an excellent link road for Wellsford, absolutely nothing has been done.
So, despite his wife's protestations, Mr Smith decided he would donate his loose metal to cover the remaining 700 metres.
Several local contractors and farmers offered their support – donating and delivering more metal and organising the grading and compacting of the road.
Among those helping out were David Smith, of Smiths Transport; Steve Levet of Silverhill Quarry, and farmers Brian Mason, Colin Buckton and Terry Sharp.
The road can now be used throughout winter. Mr Smith says it was essential to act because the road is critical to keep Wellsford traffic moving and official channels had failed.
“To go through proper channels would have taken another 100 years. It's just ridiculous,” he says.
Mr Smith complains Wellsford is the only township in Rodney where there are still unsealed roads within one kilometre of the town centre.