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Transport Agency slammed for "lazy and inept" design

Media Release: Friday 17 August

Transport Agency slammed for "lazy and inept" design at Basin Reserve

The Save The Basin Reserve campaign has said that it is "simply stunned" at the lazy and inept design announced by the NZ Transport Agency for a flyover at the Basin Reserve.

"In 2007, Wellingtonians were promised an iconic design for a crucial heritage precinct, at a cost of $27 million", said Kent Duston, convener of the Save The Basin Reserve campaign. "Instead we've been handed an ugly motorway on-ramp for $90 million that will destroy much of what our city values at the Basin Reserve."

According to Mr Duston, the Transport Agency's flyover fails to take account of the recently-announced changes to Memorial Park, and attempts to force a flyover into a space that it is clearly ill-suited for. "The design is laughably poor. Instead of looking at the Basin Reserve as an integrated piece of urban design, as the Architecture Centre did with Option X, the Transport Agency has simply jammed a flyover between St Joseph's Church and the entrance to Memorial Park and ignored the impacts on the surrounding area."

"We've always wondered what problem the Transport Agency were trying to solve at the Basin Reserve", said Mr Duston. "Now we know - it wasn't 'how do we improve Wellington's transport and urban form', it was 'how can we squeeze a flyover in, irrespective of whether it's needed or not?'"

According to the Save The Basin Reserve campaign, the flyover is on track to be the most expensive road in New Zealand's history. "The Transport Agency is intending to spend $90 million to build just 400 metres of road, plus the inevitable cost over-runs. It's clearly a lousy investment for the country, and represents a degree of fiscal irresponsibility that hasn't been seen since the Think Big era", said Mr Duston.

"While we're supportive of transport improvements around the Basin, and welcome the recent change of heart at Memorial Park, it's clear that the Transport Agency need to pull back from their grandiose 'flyover-at-any-cost' ideas", said Mr Duston. "In tunnelling Buckle Street under Memorial Park, the government has committed to building half of the Architecture Centre's acclaimed Option X alternative design - so why not do the job properly, and simply build the other half? It would be cheaper, the transport solution would be better, and the iconic Basin would be enhanced rather than damaged."


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