I was the planner for the community groups that were responsible for persuading the Board of Inquiry for the Waterview Connection to get serious improvements to the project. I also live close to the southern end of the project (near Alan Wood Park) and I continue to be involved with the community liaison for the project.
NZTA were not keen on funding the 2.4 km of cycleway parallel to the tunnel, which would have left a gap between its (proposed) termination in the middle of Alan Wood Park and Point Chevalier. Thankfully, NZTA were required to fund Auckland Council/Auckland Transport to do the project. It does involve bridges across the railway and the Oakley Creek and some private land acquisition so perhaps I should not have been as disappointed as I was when I learned that it was going to take as long to build as the motorway itself (projected completion 2017). So it will not be able to fulfil one of the roles we saw for it – to provide access to alternative open space for those of us living in the vicinity of Alan Wood Park for the duration of the project.
I argued for much more open space retention at Alan Wood Park, but because so much of it was railway land which was loaned to the Council, it appeared not to count. (The ownership issue meant that there was very little investment in the park, so the land was kind of rough, not very park-like, and quite lightly used). What’s left of the park is now very constrained with a huge pit and topsoil dump (and continuing rock-breaking and blasting) – and the extent of these works has come as something of a surprise to locals, even those of us who have had continued involvement in the project.
We did go into some detail about what might be involved in direct motorway connections between SH20 and Point Chevalier – these would have added a level of complexity to the already complex interchange that would have been even more destructive to the community, so we conceded that.
The project does involve some improvements to Oakley Creek, including “naturalisation” of the Creek at its southern end, as well as the more formal protection of the Creek mouth (where there are many pre-European and European archaeological sites). This is at the expense of course of a motorway alongside and above the Creek (and some shortening of the stream bed). Between these extremes, the Creek will be largely untouched. (I must put a plug in here for Friends of Oakley Creek, a tireless community group who have had huge input into improvements along the course of the Creek).
We also got some quite major changes to the buildings at either end of the tunnel – relocating a vent stack at the northern end, and getting most of a supermarket-sized building at the other end placed under the ground.
The project is a monster, but not as monstrous as it could have been!
There is some potentially good news for cyclists in Auckland.
The NZTA in its Waterview Connection application stoutly resisted providing a cycleway parallel to the proposed 2.3 km tunnel extension of SH 20 from Allan Wood Park through to Point Chevalier. Submitters (incluidng the community groups I was the planning consultant for) considered that this extension should be provided. The Board of Inquiry, in its draft report and decision (warning, 400 page document) agreed with us. It will be Auckland Council/Auckland Transport's responsibility to secure the route (it is mostly through Council park but there will be a rail crossing involved, as well as passage through Unitec grounds) and once they can certify that has been achieved, NZTA is obliged to come up with $8 million.
My clients are delighted, Auckland Council a little stunned, and NZTA rather grumpy.
There is a lot that could go wrong (NZTA could appeal on a point of law, Auckland Council fail to meet its obligations and forfeit the money), but here's hoping...
Writing reports is a political game really.
Sorry Christopher, I've been in that game a damn sight longer than Daniel Newcombe. If what went in under his name was his genuine opinion I would have to respect that (even while disagreeing with it). If it wasn't his genuine opinion then that's either downright unprofessional or a forgery. I cannot respect that.
the tie/shirt wearing guy with the backpack on with the "one less car" covering in your picture Russell is Daniel Newcombe who works at Auckland City Council
Surely not the same Daniel Newcombe who let the Waterview/Mt Albert residents so badly down with his report to the ACC Transport Committee on the Waterview connection? Or are there two of them at the Council?
Can someone help me here? We have a securities commission, a commerce commission, a serious fraud office, all of which have interlocking responsibilities and none of which have up until now have distinguished themselves with much action against the finance rogues. Two of them are or have been headed up by women, (and wasn't one of them not reappointed?). Is this new commission the consolation prize - benefit cheats being so much easier game than finance company cheats?
And then there are the trustees who supposedly oversaw the finance companies on behalf of investors. Perhaps they are being lined up for new jobs investigating something else - after all, they don't seem to have stretched themselves at their old jobs.
I think you'll find the Waikaraka cycleway is in Auckland, not Manukau City.
My late father in law, southern man to the core, told me "people down here don't think much of Aucklanders". I was considered the epitome of rudeness when I responded that Aucklanders probably didn't give a toss wnat "people down here" think of them.
A petrol pump jockey in Christchurch was perfectly willing to engage with me because he thought I was an Australian. When i admitted to being from Auckland, the conversation died.
I was born in South Canterbury and educated in Otago - didn't come north until my early twenties - that makes me a deserter and compounds the character deficiencies that being a resident of Auckland involves.
I'm sure the residents of Royal Oak, Mt Roskill, Hillsborough, Waterview, Avondale, New Windsor, Rosebank, New Lynn, Te Atatu and sundry other suburbs ...will be relieved to hear that they actually imagine that their suburbs are utilised as conduits for airport-bound traffic originating from throughout the isthmus north of Greenlane.
Well as a resident of New Windsor/Avondalewhose local park is going to be taken out by the new motorway, I know what I would prefer.
But residents of suburbs further east than me should not get too complacent - a motorway was once gazetted from the CBD to Mangere Bridge running somewhere to the east of Dominion Road. Let action-man Mr Joyce and his friends in the trucking lobby get to think resurrecting that is a good idea and you could be toast.
So who are the real beneficiaries of the Waterview connection?
The residents of Epsom.
I agree that we have to give John Boscowan credit for campaigning hard. I did have him banned from campaigning on the buses but he does keep on popping up in other places.
He was at the "tunnel or nothing" march on Saturday. I suggested to him that he should support the tunnel because there could be an argument for a PPP and tolling to get it built. He didn't see that but was promoting a mad-arse alternative scheme that would take out quite a bit of Unitech.
At the speechifying at the end of the march, Russel Norman's reception was at least as warm as David Shearer's.