The road to some of Waikato’s premier tourist attractions starts with a weed-infested roundabout which Waka Kotahi says it doesn’t have a budget to clean up.
And one local body politician says the mess is now so embarrassing residents are prepared to clean it up themselves.
The roundabout is on State Highway 3 just a few hundred metres from Hamilton Airport where visitors link up with tourism operators.
Tourists can turn left for Te Awamutu and Waitomo Caves, right for Hamilton.
Waka Kotahi says it would not encourage residents to do the weeding despite the comments from Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board member Jill Taylor, who says she has spent four years trying to get a solution.
But the transport agency acknowledges the state of the roundabout is not as good as it would like. Taylor approached The News last week saying she felt she is at an impasse.
She said the roundabout was a horrible first impression of the Waikato for travellers passing through.
“As it is, it’s an embarrassment. I’ve been to several other places around the world where the roading and roundabouts is absolutely pristine.
“I wonder what visitors must think. My question is, if those other places can do this so beautifully, we can’t we?” she asked.
Because it’s on a state highway, the roundabout falls under Waka Kotahi jurisdiction.
Waka Kotahi acting maintenance and operations regional manager Roger Brady said the roundabout was completed in 2017 with an undertaking that landscaping maintenance would be carried out for five years under the scope of the project.
“Unfortunately,” Brady said, “…the planting and maintenance hasn’t been as successful as we hoped.
“Some areas need additional maintenance and repair and more funding is being sought to get the situation remedied. However, this is not guaranteed.”
Brady said Waka Kotahi undertook landscaping and gardening maintenance at the roundabout last summer.
“It’s important to note that this is highway landscaping, and not a garden. As such, it may not meet everyone’s expectations,” he said.
And, while a remedy was sought, Brady said the public shouldn’t take a solution “into their own hands”.