Project could be trimmed

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

Politi­cians say they’ll con­sider com­mon sense al­ter­na­tives to San­dring­ham’s $22 mil­lion re­vamp for the Rugby World Cup.

Sub­mis­sions closed on Tues­day on the Auck­land City Coun­cil plan for traf­fic im­prove­ments around Eden Park.

Res­i­dents have voiced se­ri­ous con­cerns about the plan, which in­cludes re­mov­ing or de­mol­ish­ing houses to cre­ate a link road be­tween San­dring­ham Rd and Wal­ters Rd.

But trans­port com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says sen­si­ble al­ter­na­tives that re­duce the cost and im­pact on the com­mu­nity will be con­sid­ered.

“If there are log­i­cal sav­ings to be had, I’ll fully sup­port those changes be­ing made,” he says.

“If we can do some kind of peer re­view on th­ese projects and the thing doesn’t stack up, I’d ex­pect things to change.”

One sug­ges­tion be­ing con­sid­ered would see the widened Kings­land rail­way plat­form over­hang the foot­path, re­duc­ing the need to re­align San­dring­ham Rd.

But Mr Bag­u­ley says the changes should be seen as a long-term up­grade for San­dring­ham, not a short-term fix for the cup.

“The big events at Eden Park can be pretty much han­dled by shut­ting down San­dring­ham Rd for a cou­ple of hours,” he says.

“Im­prov­ing th­ese roads has been on the draw­ing board for many years.”

Wal­ters Rd res­i­dents Fleur O’Leary and Paul Nola are among those whose land is needed for the cur­rent pro­posal. The cou­ple say they won’t sell the two-me­tre strip of their gar­den back­ing on to San­dring­ham Rd.

“I’m not will­ing to give up my fig tree and my bar­be­cue so they can get an ex­tra me­tre and a half of as­phalt,” Ms O’Leary says.

The cou­ple say they weren’t no­ti­fied un­til late Septem­ber, when the plans were al­ready well ad­vanced.

They’re vow­ing to fight any at­tempt to take the land us­ing the Pub­lic Works Act.

“We have the determination to take this as far as we need to,” she says.

Plans for a link road be­tween San­dring­ham Rd and Wal­ters Rd have also drawn fire from res­i­dents and the Eden Al­bert Com­mu­nity Board.

The board passed a res­o­lu­tion ex­press­ing “grave con­cerns” on both the de­sign op­tions and the cost.

Mem­bers ques­tioned the need for whole­sale changes, and asked the coun­cil to in­ves­ti­gate cheaper op­tions.

Eden Park Neigh­bours As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent and city coun­cil­lor Mark Don­nelly sup­ports widen­ing the rail plat­form and shift­ing the pedes­trian cross­ing, but says the coun­cil plan is too ex­pen­sive for too lit­tle ben­e­fit.

“We just don’t see the sense in it,” Mr Don­nelly says. “We need to be looking for lower cost com­pro­mises that will give us the ben­e­fit.”

Mayor John Banks said at last month’s coun­cil meet­ing that he’s will­ing to talk to Mr Don­nelly about his ideas for the area.

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