Trench no pipe dream

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

A “CHEAP and nasty” plan for One­hunga’s water­front is un­likely to get Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil sup­port, chair­man Mike Lee says.

The coun­cil’s back­ing is all that stands in the way of restor­ing sandy beaches and water­front re­serves to the One­hunga fore­shore.

But Mr Lee says the mo­tor­way should be low­ered into a trench, which could add be­tween $190 and $230 mil­lion to costs.

“If they want to do the cheap and nasty op­tion, then good luck to them, but when it comes to fund­ing they’ll need to get in the queue,” he says.

Mr Lee says the trench op­tion is not un­re­al­is­tic.

“I’m fed up with peo­ple say­ing it’s a pipe dream,” Mr Lee says.

“Once upon a time ad­vo­cat­ing for rail elec­tri­fi­ca­tion was con­sid­ered a pipe dream. Re­open­ing the One­hunga branch line was con­sid­ered a pipe dream.”

Mr Lee says the coun­cil is yet to see a fund­ing pro­posal for the smaller-scale plan, but will con­sider any re­quest se­ri­ously.

Trans­port au­thor­i­ties last week pledged to spend $20m shift­ing State High­way 20 west, a key part of the com­mu­nity plan.

The money will also pay for a pedes­trian and cy­cle ac­cess over the mo­tor­way.

Auck­land City Coun­cil has agreed to spend $10m on the water­front pro­posal, es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $18m and $33m.

Cen­tral gov­ern­ment will also chip in, pro­vid­ing the re­gional coun­cil meets its share of the cost.

One­hunga En­hance­ment So­ci­ety chair­man Jim Jack­son would like to see the trench op­tion con­sid­ered in fu­ture.

But the so­ci­ety wants coastal restora­tion work to go ahead now, as part of the cur­rent mo­tor­way widen­ing project.

He’s pleased the trans­port agency has agreed to fund the west­ward shift.

Cre­at­ing an 11 hectare coastal re­serve is a “foun- da­tion stone” for ad­dress­ing decades of ne­glect on the fore­shore, he says.

The trans­port agency’s 11th hour de­ci­sion came af­ter a meet­ing last week led by Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff.

It was at­tended by lo­cal politi­cians in­clud­ing mayor John Banks, Auck­land City Coun­cil­lor Pe­seta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Labour can­di­date Carol Beau­mont and Mr Lee.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says of­fi­cers are putting to­gether op­tions to for­ward to the re­gional coun­cil for a de­ci­sion but he says the “gold­plated” trench op­tion is too ex­pen­sive.

“That’s the dream sit­u­a­tion, but it’s not one that’s re­al­is­tic.”

A de­ci­sion will need to be made by the end of Novem­ber to al­low the mo­tor­way project to stay on sched­ule.

The city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee is also con­sid­er­ing a mas­ter plan for the One­hunga la­goon and fore­shore at a meet­ing on Novem­ber 13.

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