Make a submission on the Waterview Connection

 Submissions on the Waterview Connection application for resource consent are due this Friday, the 15th of October. Please consider making a submission over the next 3 days!

Apologies for the short notice but this project is massive – the largest roading project ever to be considered under the RMA. The documentation comes to 40 folders and the time available to submit (20 days) has been very short.

The application for resource consent encompasses not just the Waterview Connection itself (the 6 lane motorway that will be built to join together SH20 at Mt Roskill and SH16 at Waterview) but also the widening of SH16. The project will cost around $2 billion in total of your (that’s taxpayers) money.

You can download a submission form here. When filling this out you should:

  • include all your contact details
  • remember to tick the box saying whether you are are fully or partly opposed to the project
  • tick the box that says your submission concerns “all the applications for resource consent.” It’s important that you do this because otherwise if you only ask to comment on some resource consent applications then at the Hearing you won’t be allowed to speak about anything you didn’t tick on the submission form
  • state whether you would like to be heard at the Hearing or not. It can be intimidating to speak at a hearing if you have never done so before but it is your right as a citizen to give your opinion on this project – so don’t hold back, even if you feel you are not an expert.
  • make sure you email your submission BOTH to the Environmental Protection Authority at waterview@epa.govt.nz and the New Zealand Transport Agency on waterview.connection@nzta.govt.nz

You can also include some information in an attachment about why you are opposed to the project or what changes you would like to see made. Some key points to make are:

Widening of SH16

  • A North-Western Busway: The widening of SH16 will do little to reduce traffic congestion long term as NZTA acknowledges in their traffic report. While the current design proposes to extend the bus shoulders on the motorway this is inadequate as the bus-shoulders stop at on and off ramps – meaning buses will be delayed by general traffic. NZTA should use this opportunity to build a bus-way along the North-Western motorway. Redicating 2 or 3 lanes of the motorway to busway would allow them to create a separate busway like the hugely successful Northern busway on the North Shore. This busway would help to reduce congestion, emissions and air and noise pollution from traffic. It would also provide good quality public transport to areas such as Te Atatu and Massey that currently have very few good public transport options.
  • Expanding the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve: SH16 runs through a marine reserve which is home to endangered species such as the NZ fernbird. By widening SH16 NZTA will be taking away part of the marine reserve. NZTA should work with DOC and the Minister of Conservation to help expand the marine reserve in other areas (such as the Waterview inlet) to compensate for the area they are taking for the motorway. They should also improve public access to the marine reserve by installing footpaths, information displays etc on both sides of the motorway.
  •  Improved access for cyclists/pedestrians at Te Atatu: The current design of the Te Atatu interchange provides very poor access for cyclists and pedestrians, requiring them to go through 4 crossings. NZTA should use underpasses and/or bridges across the motorway ramps to provide better access for cyclists and pedestrians going east-west or coming from the Te Atatu Peninsula to the CBD.

Waterview Connection

  • Better public transport through Waterview: The Waterview tunnel will consist of 3 lanes for general traffic in both directions. However, there is little provision for better bus services in the design. NZTA should be required to either, introduce better bus lanes on Great North Road or dedicate one of the lanes in Waterview (each way) to a lane for buses and freight vehicles. This will improve public transport in the area, reduce congestion and partially compensate residents for the many inconveniences they will experience during construction.
  • Better walk/cycle acess to Point Chevalier: Currently the project provides very poor access for pedestrians and cyclists living in Waterview to Point Chevalier. NZTA needs to provide better walk and cycle-ways around this area to help residents access the Point Chevalier shops and schools in this area safely and comfortably.
  • A new cycle/walk-way to connect the SH16 and SH20 cycle-ways: Currently the project includes a short length of cycle-way alongside the above-ground sections of the Waterview motorway. However, there is no cycle-way along the tunnelled section of the motorway. NZTA claims it is not their responsibility to build this as the motorway is underground at this point. NZTA should be required to build a cycle-way along this section that would join together SH16 and SH20 cycle-ways. This would provide some compensation to residents for the many years of inconvenience they have suffered waiting for the design to be confirmed and also for the loss of land/connectivity they will have during construction. It would also encourage more Aucklanders to cycle and walk to work or school which would have numerous health and environmental benefits.
  • Relocating of the exhaust vent at Waterview Primary school: Currently NZTA is proposing to build a 25 metre exhaust vent that will take air pollution from the tunnel directly next to the Waterview Primary school and kindergarten. This exhaust vent will loom over the neighbourhood and discourage parents from sending their children to the school. Further drops in the school roll may lead to closure of the school which would have a highly negative impact on the community. NZTA should be asked to relocate the exhaust vent to a less sensitive location – such as near the BP station on the other side of Great North Road
  • Undergrounding of the control buildings: Currently the NZTA is proposing to build two 17 metre high control buildings – one in the Waterview Reserve next to Waterview Primary School and the other in Alan Wood Reserve. NZTA should be encouraged to build more of these buildings underground to reduce their visual impact on the neighbourhood parks.
  • Care in shifting golden lizards from Hendon Park: As part of the motorway construction process NZTA will be destroying the habitat of native golden lizards which live in Hendon Park. NZTA should be required to use the utmost best practise and care when relocating these lizards to another location.
  •  Care of the Oakley Creek environment: Oakley Creek is the largest creek in Auckland City and also contains the only urban waterfall. As part of the construction process NZTA will be realigning several parts of Oakley Creek and may release sediment into the river. NZTA should have to take the utmost care to protect the Oakley Creek environment including ensuring that they provide sufficient open space to prevent future flooding of Oakley Creek from storm water flows.
  • Monitoring and management of air and noise pollution: The construction of the motorway and the increased traffic after its completion will generate significant air and noise pollution. NZTA should be required to actively monitor this pollution and take steps to reduce it if their monitoring suggests it is causing harmful effects.

Hope this is helpful!

Template for Making Submissions on Waterview Connection

I’ve written a draft submission on the Waterview Connection that you’re welcome to copy and adapt. Submissions are due this Friday so please take a few minutes to read through it, add your name and contacts, delete any points I’ve made you don’t like, add any of your own ideas and then send it in to the NZTA at waterview.connection@nzta.govt.nz You could also send it to Steven Joyce as he is the one driving this project on steven.joyce@parliament.govt.nz

This will be one of the most expensive motorway projects ever built in NZ (per km) and by completing the Western Ring Route it will have a really lasting effect on traffic patterns in Auckland. So, don’t be shy, wherever you live in Auckland feel free to submit!

If you wanted to write your own submission that would be even better! For more information about Waterview check out here: http://www.transit.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection/. And for the Green Party’s position see here: http://www.greens.org.nz/node/21145

Draft Submission on Waterview You Can Adapt

Date
Name
Address

I oppose the early completion of the Western Ring Route (WRR) through the Waterview Connection because I believe:

  • the priority for Auckland should be building new public transport infrastructure. For example, electrifying the Auckland rail system, extending the rail line into a loop around the CBD, or putting in a rail link from Avondale Station to Onehunga Station to the airport and back to Puhinui on the Southern Line.
  • the Waterview Connection will not reduce traffic congestion in Auckland in the long-term. Completing the WRR will not reduce congestion on local roads near the motorway or in the greater Auckland region long-term. This is because building the motorway will induce traffic, that is, it will cause more people to drive in private vehicles than currently do so or are predicted to do so in the NZTA’s modeling of the project’s impact on traffic flows.
  • the costs and benefits of the projects have been calculated in a way that is fundamentally flawed. For example, almost 90% of the economic benefits of the project are based on congestion reduction or time savings for commuters but, as stated above, I do not believe building this motorway will reduce congestion long-term.
  • oil prices may rise sharply in the near future as they did in 2008. Constructing this motorway does nothing to “future proof” Auckland against sudden changes in oil prices. Instead it will simply increase Aucklander’s dependence on private motor vehicles to get around and mean we have no alternative mode of transport if oil prices peak.
  • climate change will require NZ to reduce our emissions dramatically. Road transport is one of the sectors in NZ whose emissions have risen most rapidly since 1990. Building this motorway will increase rather than reduce our emissions.

Some of the specific effects of the Waterview Connection I am most concerned about are:

  • the 240 people who will be forced to leave their homes and will only receive the government valuation of their house.
  • if there are backups of traffic waiting to get onto SH16 at peak times (as seems very likely due to the traffic that the project will induce) this will worsen traffic congestion on Great North Road.
  • negative effects on the local sports club Metro Mount Albert who will lose some of their fields when the Alan Wood Reserve is taken for the motorway.
  • impact of poor air quality in Waterview on the health of children at Waterview Primary School and St Francis School. NZTA traffic modeling suggests there will be more than 90,000 vehicles/day traveling through the interchange between SH16 and SH20 which will be only a few 100 metres from both schools.
  • negative effects on Waterview School of losing some pupils (due to the loss of houses in the area). I do not believe that moving more Housing NZ tenants into an area with poor air quality that will be cut off from the rest of Auckland by two major roads (the Waterview Connection and SH16) is an acceptable solution to this problem.
  • loss of green spaces (e.g., Alan Wood Reserve, Hendon Park) in an area that already has a very low ratio of green to built up space.

If the early completion of the Waterview Connection goes ahead despite my opposition some modifications I would suggest to the project to decrease its negative effects are:

  • make one of the two lanes in each direction available only to buses, freight, and high occupancy vehicles (3 passengers or more). This will counteract the “induced traffic” effect of completing the WRR to some extent.
  • use sound walls and tree planting to minimize the effect of the above-ground sections of the motorway on residents.
  • compensate those people who will lose their houses by giving them slightly more than the current government valuation for their properties.
  • cover the section of the motorway that will be above-ground near the intersection of  Blockhouse Bay & Great North Road.
  • ensure that the project will not make construction of the Onehunga to Avondale rail line any more difficult than it would have been before the Waterview Connection is built.
  • carry out on-going testing to ensure that air pollution from the interchange of SH20 and SH16 will not damage the health of students at Waterview or St Francis School. If there is a health risk then I believe NZTA should investigate the possibility of either relocating the schools to another site close by or using tree planting to provide an air-cleaning buffer between the interchange and the closest classrooms.
  • work with the Metro Mount Albert sports club to ensure that they are compensated for their lack of fields through construction of new fields elsewhere.
  • use bike and walking bridges over the motorway to ensure that residents are not cut off from their communities by the motorway.

Finally, I live in the project area so I hope my comments will be noted with due attention/I do not live in the project area but since I believe that the completion of the WRR will affect traffic throughout the Auckland region I hope the NZTA will attend to my comments.

I would like to be kept informed about this project by email/post. I can be contacted at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx email or xxxxxxxxxxxx phone number as well as by mail.

 Yours Sincerely

XXXXXX