To Fund and Build a Sky Path – Or Not


That is the (Multi) Million Dollar Question


Debate Now Spinning Its Wheels in the Mud?



I am now running exclusive commentary on the Auckland Harbour Bridge Sky-Path Project. You can find the commentary thus far as well as supporting links in my: “AUCKLAND HARBOUR BRIDGE – SKY PATH – (PART TWO),” “AUCKLAND HARBOUR BRIDGE – SKY PATH” and “TRANSPORT COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS” here at BR:AKL.


The commentary at the moment is mainly run through me consolidating debate threads that pop on Facebook and pasting them into the blog here. Not every one has or wants to use Facebook so I thought the consolidating via the blog would be a good neutral electronic medium for both sides of the debate to take in. Speaking of the debate it has been a bit lop-sided at the moment with the critics doing most of the debating and the proponents going to ground and remaining silent since Wednesday’s Transport Committee meeting. Not wise of the proponents to be doing that unless they really want Council’s Strategy and Finance Committee to ‘dead-duck” the project until long after the Local Government Elections at the end of the year.

Thus as always guest commentary from both sides of the Sky-Path debate is welcome here at BR:AKL and you can contact me at along with your submission piece for consideration and posting – just remember The Rules of the Blog.


And so I present the next round of the debate – consolidated on the Auckland Sky-Path Facebook Debate:

  • Sky Path proposal: The issues that require further work before any decision can be made on the proposal.
    • Nigel James Turnbull Nice but hardly a priority?
    • Luke Christensen SMBA being totally mischievous in every regard, what a bunch of red herrings. For example re Westhaven Boardwalk
    • Lesley Opie Eh? You mean the cyclists exit into residential streets not the inner city? This will be no good at all. Just a waste of money. I thought the whole point of this structure was to exit into the city centre. If I lived in St Mary’s Bay I would be concerned. A lot of the serious cyclists are crazy on their bikes, noisy and speed without concern for pedestrians. Seen and heard them round my way in the Northboro Reserve Green cycleway. The St Mary’s Bay residents are going to be woken up at all hours of the night and early morning. Probably the Northcote residents too.
    • Sharon Stewart One of the SKYPATH presentation papers – I will find and attach so you can read for yourself said that from an operational health and safety perspective, probably no more than 1,000 users are wanted on the Pathway at any on time “However this allows for a conservative throughput of 5000 people per hour which is more than sufficient to make the project doable, he says. The number of Pathway users will be controlled by the barrier gates with a counting device and overseen by on site security personnel and CCTV cameras.
    • Sharon Stewart So a bike is 2 m long approx. Lets do the sums. They say 5000 could cross within an hour that would be a lot of cyclists 10 k long in one direction without gaps with possibly walkers does anyone really believe that is physically possible within an hour without major problems especially in peak hours. It would be worse than this because most people will be going the same direction if they can’t do this the business plan has FAILED already. What is the effect going to be on traffic with suddenly 5000 bikes appearing on the road with cars/trucks etc….? It sounds like a DREAM so the bridge is approx. thousand metres Long. Can someone tell me how they will get them across safely???
    • Sharon Stewart Another question that needs to be answered Lesley – How are they going to keep the structure clean from sea spray? How often will they need to clean it? (THE GLASS) How much will this cost? How are they going to keep the structure clean from exhaust emissions as the structure will no doubt get very dirty from the bridge being used daily with car/trucks etc…??? These are questions that need to be asked. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a life line for those that live on the North Shore to get across to the CBD side.
    • Sharon Stewart Who will be responsible for the on-going maintenance and cleaning of the structure inside and out? Will all this come out of RATES? How many times have we be told this wouldn’t happen? How many times have we been told that these sort of projects will not cost the rate payer 1 cent.????
    • Sharon Stewart How much will the CCTV cost including staff? How many staff will have to be on duty? Really Looking forward to the business plan. ARE YOU????
    • Sharon Stewart Have they thought of the Cyclist coming off the bridge at peak traffic time – Morning and Afternoon peak traffic and mingling with the traffic on or at the bridge approaches etc? HOW WILL THIS BE MANAGED????
    • Sharon Stewart PARKING OF CARS – that want to do the bride crossing will also be a problem. Will the council have to buy more land for carparks next to the bride for all these potential users? They can’t all bike to the bridge if they have to get to the bridge by motorway – can they???
    • Sharon Stewart In one of the reports that I will attach – Barbara Cuthbert from Cycle Action Network says the Council is be asked to be a MINOR – guarantor, putting forward $3 million towards the project. WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT FOLLOW????? She says a further $29 million is being put up by the NZ Super Fund. WHAT. Cuthbert says New Zealand Transport Agency is also backing the project, provided it proceeds on the basis of being a tolled facility. ?????
      Sharon Stewart Millie Liang – I like your comment the other morning on the subject – When I asked will this become a huge burden on the Auckland Ratepayers???? Your answer – It’s going to be another white elephant just like that Manukau Central car park building nearly empty all the time with 100’s of lights burning up ratepayers money 24/7, even on weekends when the building is all locked up … I no body in the council has the common sense to ensure a simple thing like a motion sensor in the lighting system,,, then how much collective brain power and common sense do the Councillors have…. Councillors need to remember they were elected to run the city and I would have their necks on the chopping block not some highly paid cco exec or manager. MILLIE we all better to take not. Your comments on the sensor good one.
      • Lesley Opie How on earth did the NZ Super Fund get involved? Crazy!
    • Millie Liang  I recall the promoters are saying 65% of Aucklanders support this project. If so, how come less than 12,000 have made the effort to support them on their web site….. so where they going to find 5,000 an hr to use it 365 days a yr…. 

      note they state on web site Council get the privilege to own it after 20yrs….. and they got a 50yr guarantee for the structure, which is fantastic negotiating……

      BUT HOLD ON…The clipons have been stated as only having 15-20 yrs max left in them…… AND WHOS GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR THE SKY PATH TO BE DEMOLISHED…

      February 11 2013 Auckland Council’sRead more…
    • George Wood Good work Sharon. We need to get our meeting w/ Doug McKay expedited.
    • Millie Liang Remaining life in clipons 15-20yrs is what I understand from the below..(about second comment down on web page.
      Jon C
      August 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      @Andrew No they’re not. Leigh Hooper told the gathering the bridge was said to have 15-20 more years life so the pathway would be fine for then although they would be built to stand another 50 years.

      The Auckland Harbour Bridge cycle pathway design was unveiled this afternoon.
    • Ben Ross As usual I am consolidating all the Facebook comments (not everyone has FB but everyone can read a blog) into my Ben Ross : Auckland blog such as the post yesterday which proponents and critics liked as it was a one stop shop for reading, then commenting, then flinging emails to Councillors (INCOMING >_<)

      To Fund and Build a Sky Path – Or Not   That is the (Multi) Million Dollar Quest…See More
    • Ben Ross George and Sharon when is Sky Path likely to end up in Strategy and Finance for a decision?
    • Sharon Stewart When we are told we will make sure your made aware Ben and all those interested.
    • Millie Liang I mustn’t be thinking straight…
      1. ratepayers get the privilege of owning the sky path after 20yrs.
      2. Leigh Hooper tells people at opening bridge (I presume clip-ons) only good for 15-20yrs.
      3. rate payers get the privilege of get ownership and demolishing it at same time…. 
      4. 5,000 people using it an hr 365 days a yr but they will only allow 1,000 hr 365 days a yr.

      I got to be missing something… nobody can be that stupid to be conned that easy… it got to be me that’s stupid surely ?
    • George Wood This needs to be done in a thorough manner Benjamin Ross. Auckland Council have a huge responsibility here. Northcote residents want a lot of answers and I propose taking their concerns to heart.
      Millie Liang Ben Ross on one post an engineer when finding out how much it was all going to cost did a few calculations and what the $/Lm rate was left me with the impression it was far cheaper $/Lm to go on Sir R. Bransons plane ride into outer space… Will try and find it later today but shore it was on a councillors page.
      • Lesley Opie We who do not live in Northcote also want answers.
    • Ben Ross My comments are getting lost in transit again (Thanks FB and Telstra Clear).
      George I am aware Sky Path needs a major line by line review of the project – however as I said yesterday:
      Well then if that is the case Millie, the Skypath people are going to find a fast rejection from Strat and Finance just as AT did rather quickly with trying to get a half baked application for money reallocation in regards to the Manukau North Link duplication – although AT are going to be stupid enough to try again next month (insert Tui Ad here if I get a speaking slot) 

      It belongs in Strat and Finance no matter where they are with the progress for two reasons:
      1) To get the financial officers to run over this with a red pen and ruler
      2) So Strat and Finance can pass the rejecting resolution which is binding and tell Skypath one of several things: it will be deferred in any solid decision until your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted, it will be rejected outright regardless until we get a new council at the end of the year, it will be rejected and sent back to AT (please don’t do that one) for more reports

      That proposal got stuck in the Transport Committee for over two hours leaving me fuming on the time-wasting exercise that was when Skypath did not belong there at that point in time.

      Least it is now in Strat and Finance where the answer is simple: Half bake it like AT did last week with Manukau and it is rejected – pure and simple. Just don’t take two and a half hours to reach that conclusion please

      By the looks of it, Sky Path will be up before Strat and Finance hopefully in April (better not be next month) for consideration.

      Councillors have three options on that day: Pass the resolution, Reject the resolution, or spend over two and half hours spinning their wheels in the mud going no where and annoying the city to no great edge. For the sake of it, if Councillors can not get the information in 30 minutes on Sky Path at Strat and Finance then REJECT THE PROPOSAL – simple

      Either that or I start charging $80/hour for advocacy and efficiency services 
    • Millie Liang George, I realise you and the other good Councillors like SharonDickCameron and future AT CEO nominee Mr Benjamin Ross are busy sorting out other matters of concern to rate payers, I just can’t figure out how the promoters got so far with pushing it through council… Like I said previously if it was a half completed resource consent or bank loan proposal they would have been spun round at the counter that fast and shown where the exit first…..How come with all the experts/consultants/ pr machine/mayoral announcement/slick promo & video,,, how could they get it so wrong…

      I’ve may have possibly floated some big kites to get traction but never in my wildest dreams something like this based on the info I have been provided or researched and found on the internet…

      Maybe they consultants/promoters haven’t released some info on the basis of confidentially or commercially sensitive…. I don’t think that excuse “commercially sensitive” would stack up because I don’t think anyone else wants the job and in any case it is often an advantage to reveal all the cards because anyone else interested would have to come in with a lower tender.
      • Lesley Opie “I just can’t figure out how the promoters got so far with pushing it through council… “. It is who you know Millie – not what you know – or whoever makes the loudest noise. There are some in AKLD Council and in the Local Boards who are personally pushing this Skypath dressed up to look as if there is massive local board and ratepayer support.
      • Ben Ross Dont worry Lesley that so called Ratepayer support is near non existent and the Local Boards in the affected areas are blowing smoke up people’s noses – which will come back to bite them later (probably in the elections). It is of note while the Local Boards are singing and dancing the two concerned Ward Councillors which happen to be George Wood and Mike Lee are certainly not dancing to that tune – at all..
    • Millie Liang It’s an absolute disgrace Ben, that it took the council more than 10 min to flick through all the fluff and get to the nuts and bolts and have your answer. If people can do it on $5-$200 million property developments whey can’t Councillors. They are in charge of a multi $ billion dollar business paying huge salaries to people and it appears like the council is being run like some benevolent society or home of compassion, while hundred’s of lights continue to glow 24/7 at the Manukau Central Car Park building which is no doubt locked up as usual on weekends.. Anyone one know what the power bill is per day,, or does anyone really car as there are still some rate payers left in this city..
      • Ben Ross Might go LGOIMA the running costs of that building although I might get stone-walled on Commercial Sensitivity grounds
      • Ben Ross Already offered my now paid services to “assist” councillors get through things in a more “efficient” manner. In other words I am going to start charging by the 6 minute block for advocacy and efficiency services
    • Lesley Opie Most of the Aucklanders asked about whether they want a Skypath would not have known the detail and all the extra costs associated with this proposal. Where are all these cyclists coming from. Hardly ever see a cyclist using the cycle lanes down Lake Rd where I live – maybe more in the weekends for recreational use. In the end this Skypath is going to be used mainly by recreational cyclists. Council and ratepayers should not be part of the Skypath equation. Seems those who make the loudest noise get what they want. If Barbara Cuthbert and her cycling friends want to travel the harbour bridge then they can pay for the Skypath and the ongoing maintenance costs. Don’t talk to me about seaspray Sharon Stewart. We are more sheltered than the harbour bridge as we are exposed only to the south west. The glass on this Sky path will need to be cleaned every few days at the least. Makes me laugh about these consultants. The new Northboro Pipeline bridge over the mangroves is being held up because they suddenly found out they can’t put heavy machinery that will build the bridge on the O’Neills side of the bridge because under the existing narrow footpath that leads to where the new pipe bridge is to be built is the main sewer pipe from Devonport. A special temporary bridge is now having to be built over this area heavy machinery. The cost of this pipe bridge is getting more expensive George Wood. The consultants hadn’t thought about the fact that having a sloping footpath leading to the new wider bridge will mean that cyclist will speed over the new bridge. Guess it won’t be until a pedestrian gets hurt that this problem will be addressed. If our councillors took 10 mins to decide to give the green light to this Skypath – then they do not deserve to be stewards of our money
    • Luke Christensen many more people would use the Lake Road cycle lanes if they went somewhere, ie the CBD! The biggest issue I see if parking/congestion at the Northcote End. Although presume walkway would end next to Ferry Terminal where there are many parks, and neighbours used to ferry traffic. As for St Mary’s Bay have no idea what the issues are, will link to the Westhaven Boardwalk that Councillors should be aware of, so no issues there. This will be a fantastic tourist attraction for Auckland, at a tiny fraction of the cruise ship terminals, and could see a great link where people take Ferry to Northcote, and cycle or walk back again.
    • Lesley Opie Luke – I saw very few cyclists use the Lake Rd cycle lanes today between 10:00am and 12:00pm when I went out. A bunch of recreational cyclists (about 6) were using the cycle lane then when they got past New World (going towards the city direction) they decided to leave the cycle lane and break into the traffic and ride in the middle lane going through to Takapuna. They didn’t want to stay in the cycle lane on the left hand side and then cross at the lights at the Esmonde Rd intersection to go to Takapuna. They should be fined for not using the available cycle lane.

    • Millie Liang For those interested here are a couple of comments from Sharon Stewart facebook page who brought this to my attention first.

      Just a thought Sharon, Ben, George, Ken. I’m just working on a scoping and feasibility report for a development that will either go to market via a private offer to high net worth individuals or by way of syndication to the general public… If the Sky path is going to be financially viable with say 1,000-5,000 people using it per hr say paying $2 each I would have thought the promoters would have simply put and Investment Statement & Prospectus together, retained share options for their effort in putting it together and gone to the open market like any other private enterprise would. Then they could keep all the profits/management fees etc… Just simply treat the air rights license etc as say a typical ground lease agreement. Then the promoters are in the drivers seat and can lease off signage rights,cafe, gift booth, naming rights on seats in viewing areas, collect the money from viewing binoculars etc etc.

      If the numbers stack up I can’t see why anyone would go cap in hand and lobby Councillors to achieve the same result.
      Like · Reply · 3 hours ago

      Ken Shock Precisely !
      Like · Reply · 3 hours ago

      Millie …. just look at the model used by promoters of Hampton Downs whereby they took a bare paddock and created what it is today and selling it off with enough fat in it for a investor to take it to the next level. Surely Tony Roberts and Chris Watson aren’t any smarter than the sky path promoters in executing there well thought out and costed proposal and it wouldn’t cost much to take to market if their was a lawyer/accountant amongst their ranks.
      Like · Reply · 2 hours ago



And that is round two for the day. The consolidations will continue to happen on this important project until it either passes or gets rejected by the Strategy and Finance Committee (whenever that is)


As I said guest commentary is welcome and you can submit your guest submissions for consideration at


Next round of consolidation will be done on Monday or Tuesday.



Consolidating Debate Threads

For Your Easy Consumption


Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

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