A petition, supported by nearly 7000 people, protesting the priority given to upgrading State Highway 2 north of Tauranga is being lodged online today.
The petition has collected a total of 6852 signatures, and is one of many submissions being made to Bay of Plenty Regional Council in regards to the Regional Land Transport Plan.
Omokoroa resident Gillian MacColl says the petition is a result of a passionately engaged community.
“We've attracted way more signatures than I expected, I thought if we would've got 2000-3000 that would have been fantastic but this whole petition and protest has grown legs.
“Te Puna and Katikati have also asked to come on board, who together have contributed nearly 1200 signatures to our total in the last three days.”
Chairman of the Omokoroa Community Board Murray Grainger will be lodging the submission today alongside speaking to the submission hearing on April 11 or 12.
Submissions towards the plan close at the end of the day.
“This will give us some feedback on where we stand, but it all rolls out over quite a length of time,” says Gillian.
“We hope we can get through. There's been an awful lot of press about the feelings of people in the Western Bay.
“From an emotional point of view everyone is very supportive of the petition, but from a factual point of view the number of accidents we have on this road are the highest in New Zealand when you consider the volume of traffic.
“The fatal and serious injuries that occur here are by far, in a way, some of the highest in New Zealand and the road just needs to be fixed.
“Omokoroa is such a growing area and the roads are not up to handling this volume of traffic as it is, with new people coming into the area it's just going to exacerbate that even more.”
Gillian says hopefully, by residents having their voice heard, a change will happen.
“It's not only this group submission we are putting forth, we're also encouraging individuals to put their submissions through as well.
“I think regional council will be surprised about how much engagement there will be from the community.”
SunLive has contacted Bay of Plenty Regional Council for comment on the submissions.