Ap­peal with­drawn by res­i­dent group

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - TOM DILLANE

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.

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