Bulldozers on the brink
DEBATE about the future of the Onehunga foreshore hasn’t stopped the bulldozers.
The New Zealand Transport Authority got ready to start widening the Onehunga causeway yesterday despite unresolved issues over foreshore reclamation.
Meetings are planned today as The Onehunga Enhancement Society – TOES – seeks an agreement for the reclamation of 11 hectares of the foreshore for beaches.
NZTA Auckland regional director Wayne McDonald says the work will not pre- clude any foreshore restoration agreed to between the Auckland City Council and the society.
“We believe we have done everything possible to broker an agreement on longterm restoration plans for the Onehunga foreshore,” he says.
NZTA has agreed to contribute $18 million to the project, with a further $10m confirmed from the council.
The enhancement society has been involved in 11th hour discussions with NZTA and on Tuesday the council indicated it would take responsibility for driving the project.
After a struggle stretching more than 30 years, a decision regarding the reclamation of the Onehunga foreshore is close to being reached.
“We want to ensure a good outcome,” says society chairman Jim Jackson.
“TOES is looking at innovative solutions and would like an environmentally acceptable outcome.”
Legal action has been threatened by the group and a protest was held Tuesday night as bulldozers were moving in to begin work.
It was given a one-day reprieve.
A meeting held Wednes- day did not solve the issue but negotiations were based around the number of hectares to be reclaimed.
Council arts, community and recreation general manager Jill McPherson and group manager Ruth Stokes will now look after the issue.
Ms Stokes says the council is committed to investing in the Onehunga foreshore and it is looking at the operating costs and maintenance.
Mr Jackson says he does not want to settle for less than 11 hectares.
“We are now setting up a memorandum of understanding to be signed by key stakeholders.”
He says the society has been seeking an agreed master plan before the work takes place.
“We believe NZTA has unfulfilled historical legal obligations dating from when the motorway was first planned and constructed in the 1970s.”
Labour list MP Carol Beaumont supports the society’s position.
“Commencing motorway extensions without real commitment to restoring the Onehunga foreshore shows appalling lack of political courage and a complete indifference to local community views.”