Informal Workshop Notes
Regional Transport Committee Workshop
Held: 1.00 pm, Friday 15 December 2023, Tōtara room, Whakatāne District Council, Ground floor, Commerce Street, Whakatāne
Deputy Chairperson: Cr Ken Shirley - BOPRC
Members: Mayor Faylene Tunui - Kawerau District Council, Mayor David Moore - Ōpōtiki District Council, Deputy Mayor John Scrimgeour – Alternate, Western Bay of Plenty District Council (via Zoom), Commissioner Stephen Selwood – Alternate, Tauranga City Council (via Zoom), Cr Andrew von Dadelszen – Alternate, BOPRC, Mayor James Denyer - Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Mayor Victor Luca - Whakatāne District Council, Deputy Mayor Lesley Immink – Alternate, Whakatāne District Council, Jess Andrew – Alternate, Waka Kotahi
In Attendance: External Advisors: Glen Crowther – Environmental Sustainability, Peter Bedford – on behalf of New Zealand Automobile Association
BOPRC: Cr Ron Scott, Cr Malcolm Campbell, Michael Seabourne – Director, Public Transport, Presenters – as listed in the minutes, Amanda Namana – Committee Advisor
Apologies: David Speirs - Waka Kotahi, Angus Hodgson – KiwiRail (non-voting), Lyndon Hammond – Alternate, KiwiRail (non-voting), Dan Kneebone – Port of Tauranga Advisor, Greg Pert - Freight Advisor, Stacey Spall - NZ Automobile Association Advisor, Mayor Tania Tapsell - Rotorua Lakes Council, Logan Marsh – NZ Police Road Safety Advisor, Chairman Doug Leeder – BOPRC (ex-officio)
Chairperson Cr Thurston advised that the workshop would be recorded for the purpose of obtaining feedback from any members who were unable to attend. He also acknowledged the changing landscape that would continue to shift with the new government now in place, and the potential impacts this may have on the development of the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).
The workshop was presented in its entirety by: Oliver Haycock – Manager, Transport Planning, Andrew Williams – Team Leader, Transport Planning and Niki Carling – Senior Transport Planner, supported by Mike Seabourne – Director, Public Transport
· Outlined the background of the development of the RLTP and the progress of the document to date
· The Regional Advisory Group (RAG) had developed the draft prioritised list. Noted that the RAG was comprised of strong technical staff with a range of expertise and the technical workshop they held included all potentially proposed activities, both funded and unfunded
· The timeframe for submitting the final RLTP to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) had now been shifted to 14 June 2024, although this and the current timeline for the next steps were also subject to new government direction expected over the coming weeks and months.
Draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2024-34
· Sought feedback on the first draft of the RLTP and the early strategic thinking within the document
· Updated the Regional Transport Committee (RTC) on the current draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS), and advised that an announcement would be forthcoming from the new Minister of Transport, Hon. Simeon Brown. This may provide further information around timeframes and strategic priorities for the new GPS, which was expected to be released in February 2024
· The draft RLTP structure closely followed the Transport Special Interest Group (TSIG) guidance.
Direction Provided/ Member and Advisor Comments:
· Considered some areas where the strategy required strengthening and re-aligning with the new government’s position on the GPS:
o Regional transport strategies would likely need to align with a stronger emphasis on housing, economic growth and productivity
o The strategy needed to be stronger in terms of recognising the need for transport investment to enable housing and commercial land development. Signalled the implications this had on prioritising the projects, particularly State Highway 29 and State Highway 2, Stage 2 investments which were considered critical
o Further emphasise transport infrastructure constraints on housing supply
o The role and importance of the Port of Tauranga needed to be strengthened
o The size of funding gaps faced and the need to identify alternative revenue streams needed to be bolstered within the strategy
o The Bay of Plenty encompassed one of the fastest growing cities, combined with one of the most productive regions, as well as the most significant port in New Zealand. This was supported by one of the weakest transport infrastructures, which made for a compelling investment case and needed to be set out in a strong and robust manner
· There was a disconnect in some of the Headline Targets from an environmental sustainability perspective, particularly with public transport mode share aspirations.
In Response to Questions:
· The Objectives had been amended through prior feedback to recognise the need for enabling housing and commercial land, however these could be amplified within the Objectives and the Narrative in the RLTP document. The next step was ensuring the mechanisms for reflecting the importance of housing and economic prosperity to flow through into the prioritisation of projects
· Outlining the problem with funding gaps would be easily achievable, however identifying potential solutions would be far more challenging.
Prioritisation of draft RLTP 2024-34 Significant Activities
· Outlined the regional programme, and that the proposed activities seeking National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) funding were only those defined as ‘significant’ for the purposes of prioritisation. The focus for this workshop was the order of priority for the significant activities considering a regional lens, and to identify any significant projects that were potentially not addressed
· Noted that the RTC had previously directed an unweighted approach to project prioritisation, pending further direction from the GPS, therefore prioritisation within each Band was sought at this stage of the process
· Each project within the Bands provided had been ordered by staff and the RAG as a starting point for the RTC to consider.
Direction Provided/ Member and Advisor Comments:
· Takitimu North Link Stage 2 (TNL2) was omitted due to not being in the NZTA State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) at the time that projects were put forward for the RLTP
· Thinking strategically as an RTC and prioritising projects as a region was critical to achieve the best funding outcomes
· Aligning the same language/terms across each project and their descriptions would be helpful for prioritisation
· Supported staff describing full packages in their entirety to convey complete definitions, particularly the most significant ones. Staff noted that the final version of the RLTP would provide a commentary around these packages and how they related to the prioritised list, which was a key part of the final document
· Band 1 rankings: Cameron Road Stage 2 and the PT S & I Transformation (UFTI) projects needed to go hand in hand at the top of the list, followed by State Highway 29A Tauriko as this was the next stage. The two Connecting Mount Maunganui projects should be grouped together next, meaning the five projects within Band 1 were spread across three priorities
· Noted current community dissatisfaction around Cameron Road Stage 1
· Considered that the High prioritisation of Cameron Road Stage 2 project was due to its enabling of urban intensification along the public transport corridor. As opposed to other projects (e.g. 15th Ave to Welcome Bay) that were equally important, but had limited transport benefits from a housing perspective - the biggest challenge in Tauranga was the housing supply not keeping pace with city growth.
In Response to Questions:
· Information on projects for the RLTP were drawn from Transport Investment Online (TIO), therefore a project not loaded in TIO at the time of the RLTP being drawn up would not be featured
· When the new GPS was available, projects updated in the SHIP would then also be pulled through
· In the previous RLTP, there was a list of activities that were not funded and there was the option to include this in the new RLTP
· The challenge with awaiting a new GPS whilst proceeding with development of the RLTP was that the landscape would likely change, however the timeline that existed at present must be adhered to with the current information at hand
· There was just one opportunity for community consultation and a pragmatic approach was advised by NZTA – it was important to consider what the community needed to understand and effectively communicating the region’s collective priorities
· Noted that projects in the RLTP needed to be sufficiently advanced to be included for investment proposal
· Concerns were raised by members around details of projects to prioritise at the workshop, as the information provided in many cases was insufficient to identify what each project involved. Noted that this information had been provided by technical staff from the various Territorial Local Authorities (TLA’s), and subsequently prioritised through the RAG. However, clarity around the naming of these projects was critical to the RTC being able to effectively prioritise them
· Suggested members ask their technical staff if there were local projects not included on the prioritised list that should be, and query why they were not loaded to TIO
· Objectives within the RLTP and the TSP were generally aligned, however it was important to note that programme integration was a constantly shifting task, and that the documents were considering different time horizons
· Noted that in previous discussions, the RTC had directed that the RLTP should also align with the Transport System Plan (TSP) as closely as possible due to the conflict in integrating this in the previous RLTP. Staff noted the regional nature of the RLTP, as opposed to the subregional focus of the TSP
· The RLTP process had commenced with the development of the Investment Logic Map (ILM), followed by considering the transport investment priorities as identified by the RAG
· Clarified that the Stage 3 project listed under Band 1 for State Highway 29A Tauriko included the junction with Cameron Road at Barkes Corner.
In Response to Questions – Jess Andrew, Waka Kotahi:
· The current version of the TSP did not prioritise projects in order, rather provided a high, medium and low rating – the projects were numbered but not ranked in order to reflect high priorities
· Each region had a generic allocation for transport planning work, providing Waka Kotahi the ability to consider investment management funding for broader strategic planning activities.
Following robust discussion, it was identified that there was insufficient detail and descriptive text around many of the projects involved (including linkages) for the RTC to effectively prioritise them at this workshop. Therefore, members were encouraged to request detailed briefings from their staff regarding the respective projects and ask them to update the reporting tools to ensure the most detailed descriptions were provided, prior to the workshop being rescheduled to a future date to prioritise the projects.