Mo­tor­way plan puts greenspace at risk

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

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