Tighter restrictions on heavy vehicles parking and travelling through urban areas in the Whakatane region are some of many key changes being proposed by council.
The changes are part of a proposal to introduce a new Traffic and Speeds Bylaw and to also revoke both part 12, Traffic and Speed Limits, and part four, Mobile Trading, of its existing Consolidated Bylaw 2008.
Community consultations on both proposals begin on Tuesday and continue through until Friday March 2.
The Draft Traffic and Speed Limits Bylaw 2018incorporates most aspects of the existingTraffic and Speed Limits Bylaw, but will propose some key changes.
One proposed change is the restriction on heavy goods vehicles parking in urban traffic areas at night.
This excludes drivers staying overnight at a registered commercial accommodation facility.
Council says the reason for the change is to prevent safety issues created when heavy goods vehicles obstruct traffic lanes, and the disturbance caused by drivers starting their vehicles early in the morning.
Heavy goods vehicles travelling through the district are to also use State Highway 2 via Taneatua and Nukuhou, rather than the route through Ohope.
Logging trucks will no longer permitted to travel through Ohope at any time, except when permitted for the harvesting of nearby forest plantations.
Heavy goods vehicles will also be banned from driving through Ohope at any time, unless they are servicing the Ohope and Wainui Road areas, or they have a council-issued permit.
In addition no permitted heavy goods vehicles will be able to travel through Ohope between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
Council says the proposed restrictions address the safety and amenity impacts created by heavy goods vehicles travelling through Ohope.
They recognise the alternative state highway network is more appropriate in terms of strength and alignment to carry long haul heavy traffic through the district.
Alongside these changes the Speed Limits Schedule has been updated to align with the New Zealand Transport Agency’s recently-adopted Speed Management Guide.
This sets out technical information around the range of speeds that can be set, based on the type and condition of a road.
Changes proposed for 21 sections of road in the Whakatāne District are set-out in the Statement of Proposal: Draft Traffic and Speed Limits Bylaw 2018, which is available on the Council website.
An assessment of the existing Mobile Trading bylaw highlighted a number of issues, including:
• Much of the bylaw cannot be enforced;
• A restrictive approach does not align well with Council’s strategic aim to encourage diversity and vibrancy in the business sector;
• The current bylaw does not fit well with legislation setting out the reasons councils may implement a bylaw.
Following the formal consultation process, all of the submissions received will be considered by the Council at a hearing in April.
Any person or organisation is welcome to make a submission on the proposed bylaw changes, either online, or in writing by email or post.
Informal submissions can be made by commenting on the Whaktane District council Facebook page.
Hard copies of all documents relating to the proposals are available from Whakatane District Council, Whakatane Library, Edgecumbe Library, Ohope Library and the Murupara Library/Service Centre.