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Fletcher: Tamaki Drive Protection Society Debate

Tamaki Drive Protection Society

Chris Fletcher

Mayoral Candidate Auckland City

Tamaki Drive Protection Society Debate

You have asked me to give my views on the Eastern Motorway, the Marina Development at Okahu Bay and growth developments in this area.

Firstly however, I want to tell you about the regionally agreed vision for transport in Auckland .

We are seeing an enormous effort by the roading lobby to influence you to support the Eastern Motorway. The Mayor has staked his reputation on it.

I want to tell you it is time for Auckland Business Forum, Mr. Banks and Mr. Hubbard to stop wasting everyone's time and money driving their own agenda on the Eastern Motorway.

We must support the urgent regional priorities to give immediate relief to the congestion clogging our roads. So what is in this plan for Auckland ?

The adoption of the Regional Transport Plan prioritises SH20 for completion.

We have Government support for funding. We need to accelerate the consenting process whilst looking for strategies to minimise environment effects like cut and cover.

We have to upgrade our existing, under-utilised railway investment now we finally have the rail corridors back in control with new state the art fast electric trains linking our region

Light Rail (option 2A - aboveground trams-based, linking the CBD through Britomart with universities, Newmarket and Western Line, cancelled by this current Council)

Don't let them fool you that we have to become a larger city for light rail to work. That is nonsense. We can do it now on our existing population base.

We need to finish the bus lanes, provide really safe “park and ride” facilities that are convenient for people and not crowd existing inner-city streets.

Provide"walker and bicycle" friendly services by improving the footpaths.

New piers and greater choice of ferry services, taking advantage of our harbour city status, just as Sydney has done.

Integrate the ticketing to make it simple and inexpensive to use and ensure 24 hour service.

I have followed the Eastern Corridor debate now for 15 years. As MP for Epsom it was apparent to me that population growth coupled with the decision to allow unlimited cheap second hand cars to congest our roads meant the country was going to have to make substantial investment in public transport infrastructure.

As MP I polled Auckland issues every three months. From 1996 on I polled the electorate on the Eastern Motorway. These polls repeatedly demonstrated that the Epsom electorate ( Parnell , Remuera, Mt. Eden , and Epsom) favoured urgent investment in rail-based public transport and wanted the retention of the assets of the Auckland Regional Services Trust to provide seeding funds for these initiatives. At no time did they support an Eastern Motorway.

I chaired the Transport and Environment Select Committee In Parliament working closely with the Parliamentary Commission for the Environment Morgan Williams . As a result of an inquiry we undertook we managed to get statutory changes being made to Transfund in to enable the funding of public transport as well as roading.

Acquisition of the rail corridors became the next major obstacle to overcome.

Britomart became the circuit breaker. I am very proud of what the previous Council achieved on Britomart. It is difficult to achieve any major projects inside of a three year electoral cycle but managed to cancel the flawed contract that would have cost the city up to $300 Million in liabilities;

stage an international competition of best design for a state of the art transport interchange;

also allowing for the best use of 5.2 hectare site with the preservation of the 18 heritage buildings to transform the most grotty and rundown part of the CBD to become a vital area of waterfront development that generates further investment and growth in the CBD waterfront area and adds to the Viaduct area;

completing all consenting and funding contracts in place prior to elections.

We achieved with a council that did not have a majority.

That was how we ultimately brought the region together.

It will be the hub of a new state of the art system if we get on with it.

The roading lobby throughout the period kept up a relentless attack on rail.

I knew we needed data and reasoned arguments to defeat the nonsense being promoted by them and on talk back pushing the issue on the emotions of a frustrated public not on well founded facts or policy.

In May 2001 Catherine Harland as the Chair of the Transport Committee and I asked for information that I knew would torpedo the project once and for all.

I believe we have been successful because none of these questions have been answered to date.

The May 2001 resolution required Council to report on:

1. That the impact of any transport development along the Eastern corridor will be predominately experienced by Auckland City communities and for this reason their concerns must be identified and taken priority over those of other interest groups.

2. That the study must not concentrate solely on transport and accessibility issues but it must include an assessment of the growth and land-use objectives which Council and the region are seeking to achieve.

3. The study must include detailed consideration of the wider effects of any transport developments in the Eastern Corridor and take into account:

Ø The effects on the sensitive natural environments including an assessment of the impact on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Ø Community severance and or cohesion

Ø Priority provision for a separate rail based rapid transit facility through the corridor

Ø Auckland City Council Strategic Plan "Effective Transport" outcomes

Ø Auckland City Council Liveable Communities Strategy

Ø The Regional Plan: Coastal

Ø Other relevant plans and legislative requirements

Ø Options for using only portions of the corridor for roading purposes

Ø Iwi concerns

Ø A traffic impact assessment of a highway upon Tamaki Drive and the CBD

That there is no presumption in the Study that the Eastern Corridor will automatically become part of the State Highway/Motorway network and therefore must be designed to meet those standards.

That the Manager Transport Planning be authorised to approach Transfund NZ for a subsidy to undertake the phase 1 study with costs estimated at $200,000 (it is noted that the study will not proceed if the Council is not successful in gaining a substantial subsidy from Transfund.) ends

This was 2001. Here we are today, three years later with the most senior officers of council unable to answer any of these issues. I might add the budget we set of $200,000 has under Banks run without into the millions whilst not being disclosed within the city's budget.

The only response Auckland City has made has been in the area of route protection. The designation has been extended for a further 10 years.

The fact is the implications of the Eastern Motorway are so devastating on community, environment and so ridiculously expensive that there are no answers. Hence no officer of Council has been able to sign off a report to proceed.

The June 2004 report to the Transport Committee was signed out at the highest level of Council under Director McPherson . This report states there is no authorisation for Council support or publicly commit to the component of the Eastern Corridor that is roading. The report says on page 5 " is clear that more work is needed in all of these areas to develop a comprehensive understanding of the extent and range of impacts and processes that will need to be addressed to enable the project to be progressed."

I don't have time to outline the many concerns this report identifies, however read pages 60 -63 and the heading under

Consistency with National and Regional Policy Framework

Purpose of the ETC

Network Considerations

Passenger Transport

Rail Network

Walking and Cycling

Freight

Alignment and Form

Landuse/Transport

Economic Impacts

Heritage/Cultural Impacts

Environmental Impacts

Social/Community Impacts/

Aesthetic Impact

Property/Land acquisition

Funding

Staging

Consultation

Just to name a few

Never in my 15 years of political life have a seen a senior Officers report on policy that is so openly damning of a project. I am happy to take any further questions on this matter later in the meeting.

On the matter of growth in this area I am concerned that the Central Sector Agreement has not sufficiently taken into account the vital social services that make up communities. There is little or no provision for planning for schools, hospitals, parks, and open space. I believe that a review must be put in place on the population targets that exceed 250,000 additional residents inside of the next twenty years.

I also believe that there are far too many developments being pushed ahead Auckland anticipating this growth and many of these are being processed on a non notified basis. If there is one thing we must urgently do in the city it is to demand that this stop and where intensive development is taking place applications be notified.

The status of the marina development is that Resource Consents were obtained in August 2003 and finalised in May 2004 after appeal for a 172 berth marina.

I understand that they were lodged by a Mr Tony Mair with Orakei Marina Developments.

I am surprised that the consents were approved because I would have thought the proposal inconsistent with the city plan.

Finally Auckland 's strategic plan calls for a boardwalk from St Heliers through to Westhaven and Herne Bay ; with international events like the Volvo stopover to complement Auckland 's reputation as a premier harbour-city tourism destination.

I want Auckland to build an eco-economy that builds on the city's unique icons, with tourism and marine events; we need real business and not just property development. We cannot achieve this without clean and unpolluted water, land, and air. The investments in our water/waste water/stormwater infrastructure are urgent and overdue. The challenge is to ensure that the costs are shared equitably over the generations that will share these services. Council must begin must imposing the new provisions of the Local Government Act by increasing developer financial contribution to city infrastructure where any new growth is occurring.

I look for your support for based on my experience of the issues, my political independence, and my demonstrated ability to work for Auckland with or without a majority.

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