Anger mounts over buses
A woman who has been abused by bus drivers while walking her children up Mt Eden wants vehicles banned from the mountain.
Angela Sparks says buses have been forced to slow down behind her when she was pushing a pram up the narrow road to the summit.
In some cases she has been insulted when she couldn’t get out of the way.
“A driver jumped out of the bus and verbally abused me. I asked why he didn’t just go up the Sky Tower if he was in such a hurry and he insulted me.”
Ms Sparks spoke to the Auckland City Council’s arts, culture and recreation committee last month about the problem.
She congratulated the council on recognising that heavy buses need to be removed, but was not happy with the proposal to re- place them with smaller shuttle buses.
Ms Sparks said tour buses could stop at the old kiosk, the proposed site of a visitors’ centre, and visitors could walk the rest of the way to the summit.
“It’s a natural site, people should be able to visit it naturally.”
Committee chairman Greg Moyle said a lot of the buses carried elderly people who might not be able to make the walk.
“This council needs to get a solution that appeases as many people as possible.”
Friends of Maungawhau volunteer group chairman Kit Howden also voiced his concerns about management of the mountain.
“It’s an international heritage site with 1.2 million visitors a year and half of those are overseas visitors.
“They pay nothing to the care of the mountain, nor do the television crews and media who use it.
“It’s been commercially exploited and poorly managed.”
He said a lot of money had been spent on consultants looking at the mountain’s management, but there had been no improvements on the ground aside from work by volunteers. “There must be a better way.” The group supports the kiosk, previously known as Langtons Restaurant, being turned into a low-cost visitor and community centre with a cafe.
It is also concerned about the stability of the road and old quarry sites and says heavy traffic needs to be urgently removed.
Under the revised Maungawhau-Mt Eden management plan released in February last year, the council has allocated $2 million over the next three years for the protection and enhancement of the mountain.