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Meet your new neighbour – a four-lane expressway

Oct 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Article, News

Marie Grant worked two jobs to afford her house. Joan O’Dea describes hers as a slice of paradise. But both women fear they are about to either lose their homes or find themselves living next to a motorway. LEE STACE finds out about the downside of the Kapiti Coast expressway options:

MarieJoanMAIN1MARIE GRANT (right) is one of 20 Kapiti Coast residents who could end up with a four-lane expressway as their next-door neighbour.

That’s a possible scenario for people living in Buckley Grove if one of the Kapiti Expressway options goes ahead.

Under the proposal – which was put forward by Kapiti Coast District Council as its preferred option (to be put to NZ Transport Agency) – the expressway would be constructed on the eastern side of the railway line, rather than the western side, between Kapiti Lights and the Camelot subdivision north of Otaihanga.

The council now says it’s unlikely to go this way, but the final decision won’t be made until Thursday.

Ms Grant says it is a very nervous time. The prospect of an expressway has caused huge emotional distress and made her “quite depressed”.

“I don’t sleep very well,” she says.

Ms Grant (54) moved to Paraparaumu seven years ago with the intention of settling in the area and has worked two jobs to buy her house.

She has also spent around $100,000 renovating the property.

Unlike her neighbours on the Western side of the street whose houses will be purchased and bulldozed, she would be lumbered with a noisy expressway on her doorstep.

That could see the value of her property drop by around 30%, she says.

“I don’t want to have to start all over again because it’s too hard. I’ve put a lot of hard work in, and I love this house.

“It’s not the flashest house on the block, but it’s mine,” she says.

“At the back, I look over the farmland, which is lovely. In the summer, we spend so much time [by the swimming pool]. It’s really nice.”

She would likely sell her house if the proposal goes ahead, as the dirt, dust and pollution from the expressway will affect the asthma she and her son suffer.

“But that’s going to be really hard, because properties have gone up quite a lot since I bought this, and you don’t really get much for under $300,000, ” she says.

“I don’t really think I can afford a house that costs that much, otherwise I’ll be working three jobs.”

She would like to see all the residents compensated by the New Zealand Transport Agency, not just the ones who live on the western side.

MarieJoanMAIN2Someone who can relate to Ms Grant’s situation is retired Lambert Way resident Joan O’Dea (left).

The writer and keen gardener should be excited about the prospect of having a book published, but instead is worried as two of the proposed routes for the expressway run through her dream house.

While the Government will buy out her and her husband, the thought of losing their “slice of paradise” has caused much anguish.

“It’s like waking up with something heavy above you and not knowing whether it’s going to concertina down on you and squash you,” says Mrs O’Dea, who suffers from lymphodema (a chronic illness which causes swelling and the body to produce excess fluid).

“Everything in here represents us and the 40 years of our lives.

“All those bits in the garden represent people that have touched me over the years.”

The pair had “poured their heart and souls” into the property since building it nearly three years ago and planned to spend their retirement there.

“I thought that at 61 I’d probably be here for the next 10 years, God willing, and I never perceived that life could change instantly as a result of other people’s input,” she says.

“Our whole life is on hold, and the future is uncertain.”

She has sent a submission to the NZTA and is trying to influence others to do the same as “D-Day” approaches: “That’s all we’ve really got left. That and hope.”

The council is expected to unveil its own submission to the NZTA early this week.

Public meetings were scheduled this week at Waikanae’s Memorial Hall (today) and at Paraparaumu’s Meadows Church (tomorrow, Tuesday), with the council deciding on Thursday what option it will support.

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is a graduate from Whitireia Journalism School. He is as well rounded as a beachball, with his interests including rugby, sport, politics, business, tertiary education, social issues, sticking up for the little guy, investigative journalism, cooking, music, shooting the breeze, telling jokes and having a laugh. After a short stint as a general news hound at the Kapiti Observer, he now works for Rugby News in Auckland.
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  1. This article exemplfies the growing culture of free media willing to express the views of the disenfranchised, Ms O Donnell would be proud.

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