Station work starts
WORK starting on a scaled down version of Parnell Station has come as welcome news to residents and business owners.
Auckland councillor Mike Lee says it can’t come soon enough.
‘‘All we want is for people to be able to catch a train to Parnell Village and to the museum and the icing on the cake is that the historic Newmarket Station building is being relocated and restored.’’
The revised plan doesn’t compromise safety or functionality but it does enable future-proofing, Lee says.
‘‘Auckland has a tendency to gold-plate which taken to the extreme means projects become unaffordable. That’s what’s been holding this station back.’’
The project will be completed in stages, Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says.
‘‘This is to balance the benefits against the costs, and to ensure construction starts in the current capital constrained environment.’’
The first stage is estimated to cost $6 million. It includes the heritage Newmarket Station building and the rail platforms as well as the installation of CCTV cameras, lighting and other station amenities.
The original $18.9m design included an overbridge. This will now come at a later date. Until then people can use the underpass which is about 150 metres from where the station will be, Hannan says.
Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers supports the start of construction.
‘‘We’re not going to get a wonderfully internally fitted out station. It’ll have to wait its turn.
‘‘In the meantime people will have to walk down to the underpass. It’s a detour so it’s less than optimal but the bridge over is not part of the current project.’’
Parnell Inc general manager Cheryl Adamson says the station will help connect up the area.
‘‘It will make the city a lot more accessible and also pull together the suburb so it’s not just centred around one main road,’’ she says.
Parnell Community Committee chairman Luke Niue says he’s keen to see the suburb’s history incorporated into the design.
‘‘We’re going to work with Auckland Transport in terms of celebrating the heritage of the area. The Waipapa Stream is a fresh, natural stream and the water was originally used to make beer. Those sorts of stories can be told.’’
Most of stage one will be complete by July and the station building is expected to be in place later in the year.
KiwiRail has put the rest of the 2.2 hectare property on Cheshire St on the market, national property investment and revenue manager Andrew Robinson says.
The tenant Mainline Steam is in the process of moving and will be out by the end of May.
The non-profit locomotive restoration trust hopes to shift to a South Auckland property but the details are yet to be finalised, operations manager Michael Tolich says.
‘‘It’s unfortunate that we have to move but the land does belong to KiwiRail. We can understand why they want to sell it.
‘‘Property values are so high that a non-profit organisation such as ourselves just can’t afford to buy it.’’