Email Your Councillor Today to say NO to NZTA’s 1960’s East West Link Proposal

Option B is the word

 

Tomorrow the Planning Committee meets with one of the agenda items on which position Council will take in its submission on NZTA’s East West Link over at Onehunga and Southdown.

The agenda item:

Planning Committee

29 November 2016

East West Link Project – political reference group and delegations

File No.: CP2016/22662

Purpose

  1. To establish a political reference group to consider and approve an Auckland Council submission to a Board of Inquiry on the New Zealand Transport Agency’s East West Link project.

Executive summary

  1. The New Zealand Transport Agency (the Agency) has prepared notices of requirement and resource consent applications (applications) to protect and construct a major road connecting State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington and State Highway 20 at Onehunga. The project is named the East West Link, as it runs east to west between the two state highways.
  2. The Agency intends to lodge the applications for the project with the Environmental Protection Authority in early December 2016.
  3. The Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation will jointly make a decision on the national significance of the project and whether a Board of Inquiry is selected to make a decision on the project. This is expected in December 2016.  Depending on the Ministers’ decision, the applications could be notified in late January/February 2017, with a hearing in mid-2017.
  4. The project has environmental and community effects, impacts on council’s assets and impacts on transport systems and strategic outcomes identified in various council plans including the Auckland Plan and Local Board Area Plans.
  5. It is recommended that the council makes a submission on the project.
  6. Establishing an East West Link Political Reference Group comprising the Chair of the Planning Committee, the Ward Councillor for Maungakiekie- Tāmaki, two members of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board, the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair, and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board to consider and approve an Auckland Council submission on the applications will:
  • facilitate development of a council submission representing shared governance views from the most directly affected council wards and local boards and from the Independent Māori Statutory Board,
  • enable preparation and finalisation of the submission within the statutory 20 working day submission period, taking into account the summer holiday shut down period and the Planning Committee meeting schedule.
Recommendation/s

That the Planning Committee:

a)      agree to make a submission to the notices of requirement and resource consent application by the New Zealand Transport Agency for the East West Link.

b)      establish an East West Link Political Reference Group comprising the Chair of the Planning Committee, the Ward Councillor for Maungakiekie- Tāmaki,  the Chairs for Maungakiekie –Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Boards, a second member of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

c)      delegate authority to the East West Link Political Reference Group to work with the Manager Central and South Planning to prepare, approve and lodge a submission to the notice of requirement and resource consent applications by New Zealand Transport Agency for the East West Link project.

 

Comments

Context

  1. The East West Link is a new transport link on the north side of the Māngere Inlet continuing the greater Western Ring Route between State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington, and State Highway 20 at Onehunga. Its features include a new four-lane road along the foreshore, on-ramps, reclamations and connections to key local roads. The widening works on State Highway 1 at Princes Street in Ōtāhuhu and a new shared path bridge over State Highway 1 at Panama Road are part of the project and a broad programme of East West connections. It also includes new walking and cycling routes between Māngere Bridge, Onehunga town centre and towards Sylvia Park and around part of the Māngere Inlet. East West Link is intended to reduce travel times in the area for local businesses, truck operators and others to get in and out of Onehunga-Penrose and Neilson Street. It is intended to be an arterial road (incorporating traffic lights and intersections) and not a motorway.
  2. The East West Link entails a major programme of new infrastructure aimed at improving freight efficiency, commuter travel, walking, cycling and public transport in the area. It seeks to reduce the amount of traffic on local roads by separating through traffic from local traffic. It also addresses the challenging issue of the impact of industrial and manufacturing activities and urban stormwater on the Māngere Inlet by creating wetlands to capture and treat stormwater runoff from the Onehunga and One Tree Hill water catchment (refer to the map at Attachment A – East West Link Key Design Features).
  3. The Onehunga-Penrose-Mt Wellington business and logistics hub is often described as the engine room of manufacturing and industry in New Zealand (Auckland Plan, pages 153 and 325). The area’s accessibility to air and sea ports, the state highways and railway network is vital to how this area functions in the future. The project also has significant implications for the area’s communities and environment and for a range of projects relating to Onehunga, the Onehunga Wharf, Māngere Inlet and local board plans (refer to Attachment B – East West Link emerging issues).
  4. In recognising the East West Link as a key transport project, the Auckland Plan describes the project as: “a strategic transport corridor that will connect the Western Ring Route (State Highway 20) atOnehunga and the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1), providing improved access to the rail freight hub at Metroport and major employment areas, such as East Tāmaki. This link will address the high traffic and freight movements on congested local roads, provide efficient freight movements between State Highway 20 and State Highway 1, and between industrial areas and the port and airport. This link will also enable east-west improvements for public transport, walking and cycling.” (Auckland Plan page 325, Box 13.3)

Auckland Council involvement in East West Link

  1. The Agency has been engaging with Auckland Council for several years including local boards, Panuku Development Auckland (Panuku), other Council Controlled Organisations, social and network infrastructure providers, planning and regulatory staff, and technical experts (refer to the Local Board Views section below for details).  The focus has been to balance the various land use, environmental, and economic outcomes to achieve a high quality urban form.
  2. On 6 July 2016, the Council’s Auckland Development Committee agreed that the East West Link project is a proposal of national significance, that it should be referred to a Board of Inquiry, and that Auckland Council has the capacity to process the matter, if required.  It also delegated authority to prepare a list of potential Board of Inquiry members, which was sent to the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation.
  3. The Agency engaged with council staff and local boards on six different alignment options in October 2014 and feedback was provided. Feedback on proposed connections into and out of Onehunga-Penrose and public transport and cycling options between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park was provided in June 2015.  The Agency provided copies of preliminary draft technical assessment reports and plans for their preferred alignment and project proposals in September 2016 and council staff provided feedback on 18 October 2016.

Board of Inquiry process

  1. The Agency intends to lodge notices of requirement and a number of applications for resource consent that identify the corridor and works in detail and will include an Assessment of Effects on the Environment.  It intends to protect and construct the corridor for the East West Link through the designation and to obtain a range of land use, discharge and coastal resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991. Part 6AA ‘Proposals of national significance’ of the Resource Management Act allows these matters to be processed by the Environmental Protection Authority.
  2. There are a number of differences with the Board of Inquiry process from the usual process for a notice of requirement and resource consent combined hearing led by the council which include the following features:
  • the Environmental Protection Authority notifies and assesses the applications and council is a submitter and not the regulator
  • appeals are limited to points of law which reduces the risks of delays and uncertainty.
  1. The council has a statutory role to assist the Environmental Protection Agency with the Board of Inquiry with pre-lodgement checks and a Key Issues Report.  Like any other affected organisation or individual, council can make a submission on the proposal.  There must be clear separation between these statutory and submitter roles. It is this second role that is the subject of this report.

Submission options

  1. Options for council’s submission have different resource implications and include making detailed or general comments which could:
  • oppose the proposal and seek to have it withdrawn
  • support the proposal and seek appropriate outcomes and conditions to mitigate effects
  • support the proposal with no additional requests.
  1. It is recommended that the council makes a detailed submission because of the importance of the project for the region and local economy and the potential for effects on local communities, the environment and other projects in the area including:
  • council assets (stormwater and leachate collection systems and roading assets)
  • council land (14 open space sites including Gloucester Park, Waikaraka Park and Cemetery, and Ann’s Creek Esplanade Reserve)
  • new council and community assets such as roading assets, recreation and cycling paths, boardwalks, lighting, artwork and information signage
  • effects on natural features, ecological areas and heritage sites protected in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and reclamation works within the coastal marine area.
  1. By making a detailed submission on the project, council will be privy to any changes that evolve during the Board of Inquiry, and be able to participate in discussions over detailed technical matters.

Delegated authority options

  1. Creating a political reference group will greatly benefit the development and agreement of a submission within the 20 working day submission period which is likely to fall between late- January and mid-March 2017. The Planning Committee is scheduled to meet on 7 February and 7 March 2017, which will not allow for careful development and decisions on a Whole of Council submission in the timeframe.
  2. Alternatives to the recommendations include expanding or reducing the size of the political reference group, and having the Planning Committee consider and approve a council submission.

Consideration

Local board views and implications

  1. The project is important to the region but has particular implications for the industrial areas of Onehunga, Penrose and Mount Wellington, and is relevant to a range of projects within these Local Board areas including: Panuku’s Onehunga Transformation Project, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Area Plan 2013, Onehunga Port, and the Ōtāhuhu – Middlemore Spatial Priority Area project.
  2. Feedback from Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board in July 2016 on the project recognised the need to improve road, walking, cycling and public transport connections in the area and highlighted the 2014-17Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board Plan statements about the importance of the area’s business economy, the need for infrastructure projects to enable freight movements, the need to reduce heavy traffic in residential areas, the need to engage with communities, stakeholders and iwi in a robust and understandable way, and the need to clearly identify a suite of mitigation initiatives.  It also made detailed comments on Hopua Crater, Gloucester Park, stormwater treatment, historic heritage, walking and cycling routes, rail to the airport, Ann’s Creek and Riverside (Panama Road).
  3. Feedback from Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board in July 2016 identified the potential impacts on business areas at Highbrook and Auckland Airport and the need for integration with greenways and other projects in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu area. It also discussed protecting future rail connections and the importance of meaningful and timely engagement. Pedestrian safety in relation to Princess Street Bridge and congestion at Highbrook Interchange were also discussed.
  4. Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board representatives have been briefed on the current status of the East West Link project, the role of council in the Board of Inquiry and the anticipated timeframes.
  5. It is recommended that the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board chairs (or the chairs’ nominees) participate in the Political Reference Group and ensure local board views are considered in any submission by the council. Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board has requested to have two members on the Political Reference Group (see Recommendation/s for details).

Māori impact statement

  1. The relationship of mana whenua with Onehunga, Manukau Harbour, Māngere Inlet, volcanoes, creeks and other places of significance is acknowledged.  The Agency has engaged with mana whenua on the development of options and details for the project over several years.  The following iwi have declared an interest in the project as mana whenua:
  • Te Akitai Waiohua
  • Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua
  • Ngāti Paoa
  • Ngāti Maru Rūnanga
  • Te Kawerau a Maki
  • Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki
  • Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei
  • Ngāti Whatua
  • Te Ahi Waru
  • Ngāti Tamaoho

 

 

  1. Panuku and Auckland Council staff have met with a Kaitiaki Project Working Group for East West Link and attended a mana whenua governance hui for East West Link in October 2016 to discuss respective roles of the council and mana whenua in the Board of Inquiry process, the relationship of East West Link to other council and Panuku projects and to explore opportunities for council/ Panuku and mana whenua to work together.
  2. Council staff will seek to meet with mana whenua representatives once the project is lodged, to understand issues.
  3. It is recommended that the Political Reference Group includes a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.  This, together with future planned engagement with mana whenua, will ensure Māori perspectives are considered during the preparation of a council submission.

Implementation

  1. Council staff will advise on and prepare any submission and will workshop with the Political Reference Group.  The costs of this work will come from existing budgets.

 

 

Attachments

No. Title Page
A Attachment A – East West Link proposed alignment 25
B Attachment B – East West Link emerging issues 27

 

NZTA's proposed East West Link
NZTA’s proposed East West Link

 

 

The concerns from the East West Link:

NZTA East West Link concerns
NZTA East West Link concerns

 

Effectively NZTA are doing a grand 1960’s motorway project that will seriously impede other aspirations such as Transform Onehunga (effectively kills it off) while creating issues by running extremely close to Mutukaroa (Hamlin’s Hill which is a regional park).

 

The East West Link originally was designed to improve freight movements WITHIN (note the key term) the Onehunga and Southdown industrial complex and to State Highway One via new south-facing ramps on the South Eastern Highway Interchange. These new ramps means trucks would bypass the Mt Wellington Interchange which currently is tangled up with freight traffic and Sylvia Park Traffic.

 

Option B from NZTA at a cost of ~$300m (current option above is $1.85b) was exactly designed to move freight within the complex, link that freight to State Highway One while bypassing Mt Wellington Interchange and not cause as serious environmental concerns along the Mangere Inlet Foreshore as well as Hamlin’s Hill.

 

Option B This Should Be the East West Connections
Option B
This Should Be the East West Connections

 

 

What we must do!

 

I will admit this is a very long shot but one to take given three years ago Mangere and Otahuhu managed to stop the East West Link ploughing through their neighbourhoods (hence why the link has gone north) taking action can be done again.

 

Tomorrow the Planning Committee meets to decide which option they take for their submission on the East West Link.

This is the option I recommend the Council takes:

  1. Options for council’s submission have different resource implications and include making detailed or general comments which could:
  • oppose the proposal and seek to have it withdrawn

 

It basically means Council is not happy with the current proposal by NZTA on the East West Link and NZTA should go back to the drawing board entirely – basically go back Option B.

 

The contact details (please email) for the Councillors and the Mayor are here: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/representativesbodies/Pages/Wardcouncillors.aspx

 

Email the Councillors today and tell them to oppose the NZTA proposal as it stands based on the concerns as outlined in the “Attachment B” above. As an alternative (as you need to give one to the Councillors) you would recommend that Council supports OPTION B (pic below) in place of what NZTA is proposing now in acknowledgement we do need to improve freight links in the Onehunga-Southdown industrial complex.

Essentially we are not opposed to the East West Link at all but we DO oppose what NZTA has currently proposed!

 

Option B This Should Be the East West Connections
Option B
This Should Be the East West Connections

 

The history of the East West Link can be found here: http://transportblog.co.nz/our-campaigns/an-alternate-east-west-option/

 

For the economics of Option B and F check here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/12/03/costs-benefits-and-east-west-connections/

East-West BCR table
East-West BCR table Source: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/12/03/costs-benefits-and-east-west-connections/

 

 

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