Project could be trimmed
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.