Statement from Mayor’s Office
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is calling on the New Zealand Transport Agency to show how all impacts from the proposed Basin Reserve flyover can be minimised.
She says the Council will actively express its concerns about the environmental and urban design impacts of the flyover now that the Board of the NZTA has announced it favours a flyover to be built, instead of undergrounding State Highway 1 past the Basin Reserve.
“Our principal aim is to ensure the flyover’s impact on the Basin Reserve and the nearby Mt Victoria neighbourhood are minimised while ensuring the significance of the area is preserved. This historic precinct is too important to get wrong.”
Mayor Wade-Brown says she is disappointed that NZTA has found a tunnel option is not feasible.
“After the great news that the highway will go under Memorial Park, and then yesterday’s announcement of progress on light rail, it’s disappointing for the NZTA to say that the Basin tunnel can’t realistically be built.
“I urge Wellingtonians to make their views known on the flyover and the balance between urban form, transport outcomes and economic impact during NZTA’s planning process – which is likely to go to an Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry.”
Mayor Wade-Brown says she notes that NZTA has said the flyover will free up space for public transport through the Basin area. “I hope the NZTA Board’s decision will therefore lead the way to an early start on a light-rail route.
“I acknowledge that this is a significant investment in the Capital City and I would like to see a genuine commitment from the Government to invest in public transport to the same level as road building.
“The Board’s decision raises the importance of public transport. Without a better public transport network then the State Highway 1 improvements will encourage more traffic onto the roads and soon we’ll end up with more congestion.
She says the City Council’s official submission to NZTA in October 2011 outlined that its preference was to tunnel the state highway from Buckle Street to the approach to the Mount Victoria Tunnel.
In the submission the Council also agreed its preference between the two flyover options was for the ‘Option A’ flyover that has now been chosen by the NZTA Board.
Statement by Councillor Iona Pannett
“It’s just not cricket,” said Wellington City Councillor and Mt Victoria resident Iona Pannett after this morning’s announcement that the Transport Agency will press ahead with the much despised flyover around the Basin Reserve.
“The community will fight this proposal using every legal and political avenue possible. I very much hope that they will be successful.”
“At $90m for just 400m of new road, this will be the most expensive road in the country,” she said. “The country cannot afford such an extravagant project. The current benefit cost ratio is marginal at best. It currently stands at around 1 which means that any cost overruns such as an $11m stand at the Basin will quickly erode the benefits.
“NZTA continues to use the failed model of predict and provide to plan for major roads at a time of peak oil and climate change,” said Cr Pannett.
“NZTA has consistently ignored public feedback which has opposed the flyover. Nearly 80% of submitters to the Ngauranga to Airport Strategic Study in 2008 objected to this project whilst NZTA’s own process showed that hundreds of people were critical of the proposal. The consultation process has been a sham with a pre-determined outcome.
“NZTA has failed to consider alternatives such as increased investment in public transport and basic travel demand mechanisms. Given that it is a sensitive area – home to a number of national institutions, schools and residents, building such an intrusive road just doesn’t make sense,” said Cr Pannett.
“The myth that the flyover will assist public transport, pedestrians and cyclists should be busted. It is a disaster for all of these modes. The flyover will be a magnet for taggers and potentially criminals.”