Motorway plan puts greenspace at risk
THE LOSS of greenspace in Owairaka and surrounding suburbs has left residents feeling disappointed after the government did a U-turn on the Waterview connection this week.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s preferred option to complete the western ring route will see a mixture of a surface road and an underground tunnel, rather than sticking with the previous government’s fully enclosed 5km preference.
The route travels the length of Alan Wood Reserve in Owairaka but avoids most other open space areas such as the Phyllis St Reserve and Hendon Park in Waterview, the agency says.
But Eden-Albert Community Board deputy chairman Phil Chase says the decision to scrap the fully enclosed tunnel is disappointing.
“This area already has less parkland than the rest of Auckland city,” he says.
“It’s a permanent loss. There’s no land to replace this. They’re not going to start knocking down more houses.”
Mr Chase says while the government will compensate people forced out of their homes, it hasn’t factored in the social and health-related damage from pollution and noise.
“What’s the cost to the people left behind?” he says.
Friends of Oakley Creek spokeswoman Wendy John says the area will also lose some greenspace, though it could have been worse.
“I understand the route that has been chosen is to minimise the impact on Oakley Creek, but it’s still very disappointing it’s not going to be a tunnel.”
She says the environmental group will still have planting days and other activities at the creek, though the construction is bound to have “a huge impact”.
“That stuff can still happen, but when you’ve got a motorway running alongside a greenspace, it’s not a very pleasant place to be.”
Local sports clubs are waiting to hear how they will be affected, with the Metro Football Club potentially losing one of its main grounds at the Alan Wood Reserve.
However, they and the Metro Softball Club will retain their home base at the Phyllis St Reserve, which includes shared clubrooms, floodlights, and a softball dugout.
Club chairman Wilson Irons says it will be difficult to accommodate their 350 junior players if they lose some of Alan Wood Reserve.
At the moment many of their team’s home games take place at grounds that stretch from Eastdale Re- serve in Avondale to the Auckland Domain.
But he says the kids will continue to enjoy their football no matter what.
“On Saturday night we have a junior prizegiving with 200 kids and families down there.
“These are the things we treasure and want to keep going.”
Preferred route: A map showing the preferred route of the Waterview connection, with surface roads marked in black and tunnels shown as dotted lines.