$800,000 fee blocks SkyPath

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

Hag­gling over an $800,000 an­nual fee for public ac­cess is jeop­ar­dis­ing the pro­posed SkyPath, Be­van Wood­ward says.

Westhaven Ma­rina Users As­so­ci­a­tion wants to charge for public ac­cess to Westhaven Drive on the St Mary’s Bay side of the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge, Mr Wood­ward says.

The pro­ject man­ager for the $28 mil­lion pedes­trian and cy­cle path says the fee ‘‘doesn’t make the pro­ject fea­si­ble’’.

The pro­posed path would run un­der­neath the har­bour bridge’s city-side clip-on lane, with in­creased traf­fic and an exit in North­cote Pt a top is­sue.

The toll for users would have to in­crease from $2 to an es­ti­mated $3.50 to cover it.

‘‘I’m con­cerned that this kind of at­ti­tude is go­ing to risk what would be a won­der­ful fa­cil­ity for Auck­land,’’ Mr Wood­ward says.

‘‘When peo­ple start hag­gling for money like this, it’s in­her­ently wrong.

‘‘They be­lieve it’s their ter­ri­tory. Legally, it’s a public road.’’

The de­mand is not hold­ing the pro­ject back, he says, but it is ‘‘jeop­ar­dis­ing’’ the work that groups, such as the trust and Wa­ter­front Auck­land, want to do in Westhaven.

Trevor Dunn, chair­man of the Westhaven group, would not con­firm if the group had asked for a fee. ‘‘We’re a rep­re­sen­ta­tive body.

‘‘We can­not charge a our mem­bers pay fees.’’

But of­fi­cial notes from a

fee, meet­ing be­tween SkyPath rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Mr Dunn show the group said it ‘‘can in­vite [SkyPath] to be part of Westhaven but it will in­volve pay­ment of a fee’’. Mr Wood­ward hopes an­other so­lu­tion can be found.

An agree­ment be­tween SkyPath and the Auck­land Coun­cil on how to de­liver the pro­ject and its fund­ing is be­ing worked on.

Mr Wood­ward says the coun­cil is ‘‘ drag­ging its heels’’ which may de­lay the pro­ject un­til next year.

Kaipatiki Lo­cal

Board mem­ber Vivi­enne Keohane has raised con­cerns that the wind tun­nel test­ing for the pro­posed SkyPath is out of date.

The last from 2008.

Mr Wood­ward says the trust wants test­ing done again.

Pre­vi­ous test­ing was for a path­way more ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

of­fi­cial re­port

is

Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH

Sky high: SkyPath rep­re­sen­ta­tive Be­van Wood­ward says an an­nual fee of $800,000 for ac­cess to Westhaven Drive would drive up the price for the public.

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