News from EPA
The independent Board of Inquiry appointed to hear and decide the Basin Bridge Proposal has released its final report and decision. The Board by majority decision (3 to 1) has cancelled the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its applications for resource consent for the construction, operation and maintenance of State Highway 1 in Wellington City between Paterson Street and Buckle Street/Taranaki Street.
Following the release of the draft report and decision on 22 July, a total of seven comments were received from parties. The Board deliberated on the comments and made consequential amendments before producing their Final Report and Decision.
The EPA Board’s Acting Chair Dr Kevin Thompson says the amount of information before the Board of Inquiry was significant, the matters were complex, and the hearing involved a large amount of expert evidence and cross-examination. There was also a high degree of public interest in the outcome of the hearing.
Dr Thompson thanked the Chair of the Board of Inquiry, Retired Environment Judge Gordon Whiting, David Collins, James Baines, and David McMahon for their work with this proposal.
The final decision and report will be sent to all parties involved in the application. It is also available on the EPA website at http://www.epa.govt.nz/Resource-management/Basin_Bridge/Pages/Basin_Bridge.aspx
Following comments received on the draft report and decision, the Board has:
• Altered the structure of the report, separating out the Majority Decision (now Part One) from the Alternate View of Mr McMahon (now Part Two);
• Added a preamble, including a summary table of minor or technical comments received on the Draft Report and Decision and the Board’s response;
• Made a number of changes in the Final Report and Decision after considering the comments received on the Draft Report and Decision; and
• Edited out parts of the Draft Report and Decision where there was little or no contest and where that material was not necessary to support their findings (including large sections of the Introduction section, Resource Consents section, Social and Public Health Effects section, and Appendix 2 containing the conditions).
The Basin Bridge Proposal was referred to the Board of Inquiry by the Minister for the Environment on 3 July 2013.
The Board conducted a hearing between 3 February and 4 June. It ran for 72 sitting days, over a four month period.
The Project consists of a two-lane one way bridge (the Basin Bridge) and involved:
• the proposed construction and operation of the 265m long Basin Bridge
• a new Northern Gateway Building within the Basin Reserve
• an elevated shared pedestrian and cycle way on the north side of the Basin Bridge
• a building under the bridge on Bogarts Corner, including a multi-storey planted trellis ‘green screen’ adjacent to the Grandstand Apartments
• landscaping and planting, including an extension to the National War memorial Park
• a clearway on Vivian Street and upgrades to several intersections.
The Board makes its decision independently of the EPA and of the Minister. Its decision can be appealed by parties to the High Court on points of law only, and it cannot be overturned by the Minister.
A total of 215 submissions were received, and evidence was heard from 69 witnesses and representations were made by a further 74 submitters.
Copies of the Final Report and Decision can be viewed at the following locations:
Environmental Protection Authority
EPA Head Office, Level 10, 215 Lambton Quay, Wellington
Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street, Wellington
Greater Wellington Regional Council, Shed 39, 2 Fryatt Quay, Pipitea, Wellington
Wellington Central Library, 65 Victoria Street, Wellington
Newtown Public Library, 13 Constable Street, Newtown, Wellington
Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Public Library, 101 Kilbirnie Crescent, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Miramar Public Library, 68 Miramar Avenue, Miramar, Wellington