Offering a choice

Steve Morris is campaigning to four-lane 15th Ave and Turret Rd if he's elected. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

Nevermind about a stadium, what about the roads?

Spending less on council palaces and more on the city

If Tauranga City councillor Steve Morris wins the mayoralty in October, he’s promising to use the mayoral prerogative to present a long-term budget to council to four-lane Turret Rd and 15th Ave.

“This project is the key to unlocking congestion in our city,” says Steve. “Not only will it relieve delays commuters face from Welcome Bay, Maungatapu and points east, but the knock-on effects will also ease pressure on both State Highway 29 and Hewletts Rd.”

The city council has to pay $28 million towards the $60 million project.

“That’s a lot of money and to fund it we need to rethink our priorities in this city. Reducing the specifications of a new council building from $65m to $45m is a start.

“However, if it turns out a better option, repairing the existing buildings could reduce that bill by a further $25m,” says Steve.

“We can continue to talk for another 15 years about four-laning, but what I propose is doing it now instead.”

His budget includes a second Hairini bridge and four-laning all the way to Cameron Rd.

The pressure growth is putting on the city’s infrastructure could result in disaster if not managed well, warns Steve.

“The next council shouldn’t be distracted by nice-to-have projects, as the city is forecast to start losing water pressure in 2021.

“As Mayor, my budget will include completion of the Waiari water treatment plant by 2021 so we can continue to enjoy what is among the best drinking water in the country, at the pressure a modern city deserves.”

And according to Steve it’s not just the city’s roading network and water supply that is under pressure.

“Many people don’t realise that raw sewage still ends up in the harbour during periods of heavy rain. Our residents don’t expect much from their council, but what they do expect is reasonable roads, good water and a sewage system that works.

“There’s a lot of talk about council needing to provide various amenities but with the rapid growth we are experiencing if you don’t focus on doing the basics right, we’re all in trouble.

“We need to ‘stick to our knitting’ and keep our city moving.”

Absent from Steve’s proposed council budget is a $25million-plus grandstand for the Tauranga Domain. “It’s a nice-to-have but certainly not essential at this time. Drivers down 15th Ave shouldn’t be forced to sit in traffic every day for another 15 years just so the city can get one extra rugby game a year.

“It’s about priorities. A growing city needs a Mayor that focuses on the infrastructure our residents need to get on with their lives.”