Trench no pipe dream
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.