Res­i­dents vent fears

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

RES­I­DENTS have made a plea to Tran­sit bosses not to leave Water­view a slum af­ter build­ing a $1.89 bil­lion twin tun­nel through the sub­urb.

Tran­sit voted to con­firm plans for the 3.2km tun­nel be­tween Water­view and Mt Roskill at a meet­ing in Auck­land on Wed­nes­day.

Par­ents and school rep­re­sen­ta­tives who spoke at the usu­ally closed meet­ing said they were re­signed to the project go­ing ahead.

But they asked for world-class mit­i­ga­tion to meet their con­cerns about air qual­ity, noise, pol­lu­tion and vi­bra­tions.

Eight-year-old Craig Wat­son, a year 4 stu­dent at Water­view Pri­mary, told the board the tun­nel would force some of his friends to move away and his sis­ter’s kinder­garten to be moved.

“Please don’t put in the vent or the mo­tor­way,” he said.

His mother Margi Wat­son told the meet­ing the tun­nel project was the big­gest threat the com­mu­nity had ever seen.

She said res­i­dents didn’t have the money for an En­vi­ron­ment Court ap­peal, so would rely on Tran­sit to ad­dress their wor­ries.

She asked for a seven-storey air vent to be moved away from chil­dren’s play­ing fields, and a planned four-storey build­ing to be buried.

“Treat the fumes, bury the build­ing, put the parks back and pay for some her­itage restora­tion,” she said.

Water­view Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Brett Skeen said he was con­cerned noise, pol­lu­tion and con­struc­tion vi­bra­tions would af­fect chil­dren at the school.

He was also con­cerned about the num­ber of fam­i­lies be­ing forced to move away, and that some had al­ready been given no­tice.

The mo­tor­way will force 160 homes to move, in­clud­ing about 100 Hous­ing New Zealand prop­er­ties.

“The mo­tor­way may not be built for an­other five years but the im­pact is now,” he said.

Board of trustees mem­ber Justin New­combe asked Tran­sit to leave Water­view in a bet­ter con­di­tion than when it ar­rived.

“That’s a big chal­lenge, be­cause what you’re propos­ing is enor­mous for our com­mu­nity.”

Af­ter the meet­ing res­i­dents said they felt re­as­sured their con­cerns had been heard.

But Water­view Pri­mary trustee Rob Black said they would keep close tabs on the process.

“We can’t sit back and wait for them to come to us be­cause I’m not con­vinced that’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

Project man­ager Clive Fuhr told the meet­ing the tun­nel was sup­ported by 75 per­cent of those who re­sponded to the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

It was seen as an im­prove­ment on ear­lier pro­pos­als to build a “cut and cover” sur­face mo­tor­way, roughly fol­low­ing the route of Oak­ley Creek.

He said the houses bought by Tran­sit that were now no longer needed could be of­fered to Hous­ing New Zealand to re­place homes be­ing lost.

Tran­sit board mem­bers voted to seek des­ig­na­tion for the tun­nel but also called for fur­ther re­ports on man­ag­ing air emis­sions.

They also re­minded res­i­dents the project was not yet funded, and could be some years off.

“The cup­board is bare, ac­cord­ing to the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, so we might be talk­ing pie in the sky here,” said mem­ber Ernesto Hen­roid.

Tran­sit act­ing chair­man Bryan Jack­son said af­ter the meet­ing that more re­search will be done on ways to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of the tun­nel on the com­mu­nity.

“We’ve asked man­age­ment to come back with a lot of ex­tra work on things like air qual­ity,” he says.

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