Appeal withdrawn by resident group
The second-to-last residents group holding up construction of the $33.5 million SkyPath bridge has withdrawn its appeal in the Environment Court.
On August 24 the Northcote Residents’ Association withdrew its appeal against Auckland Council’s resource consent for the SkyPath.
Northcote Residents Association chairman Kevin Clarke says the withdrawal was made under ‘‘severe duress’’ due to threats the applicant would ‘‘claim costs against it ‘to the maximum extent possible’, in the event that Northcote Residents Association lost the appeal.’’
The applicant, Woodward Infrastructure Limited, is the main private partner under the SkyPath Trust.
Northcote Residents Association opposed SkyPath on the basis Auckland ratepayers would cover the financial shortfall in the project and SkyPath would become redundant once an additional tunnell crossing is built under Auckland Harbour in the next 15 years.
Begun in July 2015, the ongoing Environment Court case has cost Auckland Council $55,000 in legal fees. Northcote Residents’ Association has withdrawn its appeal against Auckland Council’s resource consent for the SkyPath.
Massey University senior lecturer in engineering Dr Naseem Ameer Ali says the cost of the ongoing construction delays would be more than $1 million.
Picking up those estimated liquidated damages would be a public-private partnership (PPP) of private company SkyPath Trust and Auckland Council, which agreed to underwrite the project to an agreed level on July 20.
Originally there were six residents’ groups opposing SkyPath. One other residents’ group is still appealing the SkyPath resource consent: the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society (NPHPS).
However, the NPHPS does not object to the SkyPath project outright but rather have requirements for its operation including: limitations on user numbers, a suitable parking scheme and their own recommended operating hours.
The Northcote Residents Association was contacted for comment.