by Lindsay Shelton
The NZ Transport Agency lives in a world of its own. In the same week that the Regional Council and the City Council are being briefed about a second Basin Reserve roading option which doesn’t require a flyover, the Agency has released its latest concept for the area – not just one flyover, but two of them.
The Agency is acting as if it owns this part of Wellington. But its persistence with the flyover plan has lost the support of both councils. The city council voted against the flyover last year. The regional council came to its senses last week, and withdrew its support in favour of assessing other options.
The Agency’s publication of its two-flyover concept is an insult to the processes being followed by these two elected organisations.
It’s also a hasty response to the news that a “no flyover” public meeting is taking place in Wednesday, at St Joseph’s in Ellice Street at 6pm.
The Agency has booked the same venue three days later. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons it is organising what it calls “public information” days. (It’s given up the pretence of listening to the community.)
The venue is an important one. It was St Josephs that was chosen for a meeting almost four years ago when a campaign to stop the flyover was launched. At that meeting, there were concerns that decision-makers didn’t seem willing to respond to anything they didn’t agree with. Almost four years later, the same concerns are being expressed. And the community’s opposition continues, but massively helped by the existence of two professionally-designed alternatives which don’t require a flyover.
What happens next? The Transport Agency is to to apply for resource consent to the Environmental Protection Agency, chaired by former mayor Kerry Prendergast. The process will be handled by a board of review, and the Agency has paid for reports from thirty experts, all of which can be expected to support its plan. Public submissions will be the means by which alternative plans can be advanced. And let’s expect our elected representatives to continue to oppose the flyover as well.