Coastwide mailout for Hollyford road

By Janna Sherman

A mass mailout to 13,500 West Coast homes is planned to promote the development of a Haast-Hollyford road.
The two-page leaflet will be distributed in the next two weeks, giving a detailed outline of the project including costs and projections and seek overall support for the suggested $250 million toll road.
Haast Hollyford Highway Ltd chairman Durham Havill said yesterday that as the road project continued to progress, the support of the West Coast and Southland communities was recognised as something that carried considerable weight when dealing with the Government.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce was given a confidential update on the project yesterday during a visit to Greymouth.
He was also given the letter of support for the road signed by all three West Coast mayors and the chairman of the West Coast Regional Council, which Mr Havill claimed was a reflection of public opinion.
Residents were now being asked for a physical show of support through answering the flier, which claims the new road would double tourist numbers on the West Coast and create 1500 jobs.
“It needs no financial government support and I now need your support,” Mr Havill says in the flier.
“Our partners are infrastructure investors and they have requested information on a number of Coast projects including a slurry line at Buller Bay north of Westport, a road link between Westport and Nelson, bringing Westport into the South Island tourism loop, and a number of other investment proposals. They have met with our mayors and chairs Garry Howard, Tony Kokshoorn, Mike Havill and Andrew Robb, who have signed a joint request to Government to support the project. I am asking the support of the people,” Mr Havill said.
“When dealing with government and councils the voice of the people is very important and that’s where you come into it. I ask you to express your support by e-mailing me and allowing me to group it with others to show just how much support exists for the road.”
The ‘Support the Road’ brochure says Haast Hollyford Highway Ltd partners — Chinese investors JCP Partners, who are finance partners with Blakely Construction — had signed a memorandum of understanding allowing $250m to design, build, finance and maintain a toll road for a period of 30 years from the opening date.
“When the road opens in 2020, visitor numbers to the West Coast are projected to increase by 100% to over 2 million, providing approximately 1500 new jobs and a further boost to the economy. If only half of the 125 buses per day that travel into Milford use the new toll road, the boom will be greater than when the Haast Pass road opened in 1965.”
The flier also says that after 30 years the road will revert to the Southland and Westland district councils in proportion to the amount of road located in each district.
Based on current projections, after maintenance costs, and with the toll continued as projected, Southland would receive $30.74m every year and from 2051 Westland would receive $22.6m every year, Mr Havill said.
“This would remove the need to have a general rate, something that Westland District Council insisted on in 2011, along with a ‘no liability to ratepayer’ clause when they included the road into the council’s 2030 plan.”
The highway project is currently stalled due to a missing section of road no longer on the cadastre.