Mayor Justin Lester’s commitment today to building a second Terrace tunnel as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project has been welcomed by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
The Mayor was speaking at the PwC Centre where he gave Chamber members an update on the project and his vision for how it will work for the city.
Chamber Chief Executive John Milford said the Mayor came under robust questioning from members.
“He said he was prepared to push the project along, and that’s what we needed to hear.
“He also committed to building a second Terrace tunnel, and we will hold him to that. Even though it remains down the list of priorities and that no funds have been committed to it yet, it’s great that the Mayor sees it as a vital part of the project.
“The key is that now that we’re getting the momentum and the commitment, we’ve got to drive the whole project forward, and the most important thing we need is courageous leadership. If the Mayor puts his hand up for that then I would be delighted, and he’ll get our support
“Chamber members overwhelmingly supported option D but cost is a big problem, and we are prepared to work with council on mechanisms to help solve that.
“The other big problem is the time-frame. If congestion is bad now, imagine what it will be in 10 years’ time.
“We’re now playing catch-up with our infrastructure, and the critical thing is to get the funding locked in and then start unlocking the choke-points to give us some breathing space while the bigger parts are rolled out – like bringing the Mt Victoria tunnel forward.
“The challenge will be the consenting and consultation process across the project, and I’m looking to the Mayor and the council to lead that and make it as smooth as possible.
“Business backs mass transit and the other options that will help make it all work, but we must remember that cars and service vehicles will be a big part of the city landscape into the future, so it’s no good saying fix part of it but not addressing those issues as well.”