Residents vent fears
RESIDENTS have made a plea to Transit bosses not to leave Waterview a slum after building a $1.89 billion twin tunnel through the suburb.
Transit voted to confirm plans for the 3.2km tunnel between Waterview and Mt Roskill at a meeting in Auckland on Wednesday.
Parents and school representatives who spoke at the usually closed meeting said they were resigned to the project going ahead.
But they asked for worldclass mitigation to meet their concerns about air quality, noise, pollution and vibrations.
Eight-year-old Craig Watson, a year 4 student at Waterview Primary, told the board the tunnel would force some of his friends to move away and his sister’s kindergarten to be moved.
“Please don’t put in the vent or the motorway,” he said.
His mother Margi Watson told the meeting the tunnel project was the biggest threat the community had ever seen.
She said residents didn’t have the money for an Environment Court appeal, so would rely on Transit to address their worries.
She asked for a sevenstorey air vent to be moved away from children’s playing fields, and a planned fourstorey building to be buried.
“Treat the fumes, bury the building, put the parks back and pay for some heritage restoration,” she said.
Waterview Primary School principal Brett Skeen said he was concerned noise, pollution and construction vibrations would affect pupils.
He was also concerned about the number of families being forced to move away, and that some had already been given notice.
The motorway will force 160 homes to move, including about 100 Housing New Zealand properties.
“The motorway may not be built for another five years but the impact is now,” he said.
Board of trustees member Justin Newcombe asked Transit to leave Waterview in a better condition than when it arrived.
“That’s a big challenge, because what you’re proposing is enormous for our community.”
After the meeting residents said they felt reassured their concerns had been heard.
But Waterview Primary trustee Rob Black said they would keep close tabs on the process.
“We can’t sit back and wait for them to come to us because I’m not convinced that’s going to happen,” he said.
Project manager Clive Fuhr told the meeting the tunnel was supported by 75 percent of those who responded to the public consultation.
It was seen as an improvement on earlier proposals to build a “cut and cover” surface motorway, roughly following the route of Oakley Creek.
He said the houses bought by Transit that were now no longer needed could be offered to Housing New Zealand to replace homes being lost.
Transit board members voted to seek designation for the tunnel but also called for further reports on managing air emissions.
They also reminded residents the project was not yet funded, and could be some years off.
“The cupboard is bare, according to the minister of finance, so we may be talking pie in the sky here,” said member Ernesto Henroid.
Transit acting chairman Bryan Jackson said after the meeting that more research will be done on ways to mitigate the effects of the tunnel on the community.
“We’ve asked management to come back with a lot of extra work on things like air quality.”