Mayor's Response to NZTA Basin Decision

17 August 2012

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is calling on the New Zealand Transport Agency to show how all impacts from the proposed Basin Reserve flyover can be minimised.

She says the Council will actively express its concerns about the environmental and urban design impacts of the flyover now that the Board of the NZTA has announced it favours a flyover to be built, instead of undergrounding State Highway 1 past the Basin Reserve.

"Our principal aim is to ensure the flyover's impact on the Basin Reserve and the nearby Mt Victoria neighbourhood are minimised while ensuring the significance of the area is preserved. This historic precinct is too important to get wrong."

Mayor Wade-Brown says she is disappointed that NZTA has found a tunnel option is not feasible.

"After the great news that the highway will go under Memorial Park, and then yesterday's announcement of progress on light rail, it's disappointing for the NZTA to say that the Basin tunnel can't realistically be built.

"I urge Wellingtonians to make their views known on the flyover and the balance between urban form, transport outcomes and economic impact during NZTA's planning process - which is likely to go to an Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry."

Mayor Wade-Brown says she notes that NZTA has said the flyover will free up space for public transport through the Basin area. "I hope the NZTA Board's decision will therefore lead the way to an early start on a light-rail route.

"I acknowledge that this is a significant investment in the Capital City and I would like to see a genuine commitment from the Government to invest in public transport to the same level as road building.

"The Board's decision raises the importance of public transport. Without a better public transport network then the State Highway 1 improvements will encourage more traffic onto the roads and soon we'll end up with more congestion.

She says the City Council's official submission to NZTA in October 2011 outlined that its preference was to tunnel the state highway from Buckle Street to the approach to the Mount Victoria Tunnel.

In the submission the Council also agreed its preference between the two flyover options was for the 'Option A' flyover that has now been chosen by the NZTA Board.