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One less objection to Skypath

Some great news yesterday that the main objector to Skypath, the Northcote Residents Association (NRA), has withdrawn their appeal against the project. That leaves just the Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society (NPHPS) – made up of many of the same people as the NRA – opposing the project and it appears that their appeal is just on operational matters, not opposing the project itself.

Skypath Consent - Observation Deck

The second-to-last residents group holding up construction of the $33.5 million SkyPath bridge has withdrawn its appeal in the Environment Court.

The planned SkyPath would be a tube-like structure suspended beneath Auckland Harbour Bridge for use by for pedestrians and cyclists, with an entrance and exit point at Northcote Point.

On Wednesday, August 24, the Northcote Residents’ Association withdrew its appeal against Auckland Council’s resource consent for the SkyPath.

……

One other residents’ group is still appealing the SkyPath resource consent: the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society (NPHPS).

However, the NPHPS do 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.

I don’t know the reasons the NRA withdrew their appeal but it wouldn’t surprise me if the cost of funding lawyers and experts to speak for them simply became too much, especially when compared against the chance of winning. We do know the NRA were actively trying to crowdsource funding with this givealittle page.

Of course saying that NPHPS are only seeking operational changes likely doesn’t reflect the true story as they could be seeking operational restrictions so tough as to try and make Skypath pointless.

Regardless of the reason, this is great news and hopefully means that consenting issues can soon been put behind us and focus can shift to construction.

There is no indication yet when funding could start but I’m hopeful we could see people crossing the harbour under their own steam, on foot or bike, by next summer.

43 comments to One less objection to Skypath

  • Sailor Boy

    I really hope they don’t get further restrictions on opening hours. The proposed hours are already far too short.

    • Waspman

      Yet every car you can fit on all lanes and every 50 tonne truck in NZ can happily crash and bang over the bridge with full smog emissions spewing forth and that’s quite okay with this strangely named “Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society” but foot traffic is bad, threatening and sinister to the Northcote Points so called “preservation?.

      Is it because this “historic society” whom being interested in all things historic are trying to “preserve” either the 1959 era in which the bridge was opened, where people knew their place or the 1969 world in which the clip on’s were opened because why the hell wouldn’t you (??). Do they want hippies with flowers in their hair before they give approval? Honestly what is there to preserve, a hideous monstrous motorway? I suspect strongly that in reality they are clearly concerned that certain people in our society, they don’t want to name for fear of being outed as a branch of the KKK, may venture into their nice preserved civilised world and they want to keep their “point” cleansed, sorry I mean “preserved” from those culturally unacceptable.

  • Merv

    aren’t you glad that they cant afford to hire decent lawyers

  • Richard A

    Great news!

    I think in the last sentence you say ‘funding’, but mean ‘construction’

  • The Real Matthew

    Having just visited San Francisco and biked the Golden Gate bridge leaves me a little worried about Skypath.

    For those that haven’t been there a very popular tourist activity is to hire a bicycle from around Fishermans Wharf, bike over the Golden gate bridge then head around to the ferry across the harbour and catch the ferry back to Fisherman’s wharf to drop off your bike. I couldn’t help but see the potential for Auckland to do something very similar.

    However the ability to do so will be limited by Skypath. My understanding is that it’s just 3 metres wide. Whereas the Golden gate bridge has paths on both sides (one for cyclists and one for foot traffic) Skypath is going to combine these two activities on a single, narrow path.

    Whilst in favour of Skypath I’m concerned we aren’t building the best possible version and that we will look back in 20 years time and say “what if we had built this better”

  • As the impacts on the ‘heritage and character’ of Northcote Pt caused by traffic roaring over the bridge are clearly greater than than of a person walking or riding a bike on public streets, I propose that the new route has exactly the same opening hours as the existing road above.

    Which is to say that any case that might conceivably made against people using movement systems available at the age of the construction of built heritage there causes negative impacts can equally, or much more so, be made against the traffic above. The only difference is that motorised traffic is already there, spreading its terrible noise and deadly air pollution on the community below. Any court that agrees with the arguments of this hocum front for the NRA, would have, for consistent application of judgement, to enforce similar restrictions on motorised traffic too.

  • Stranded on the North Shore

    RIP NRA you traitor.

  • mfwic

    Isn’t the Skypath going to be incredibly loud. You will be just under a steel deck that carries a huge level of traffic. I look at the picture and wonder why they aren’t all standing with their hands over their ears.

    • Bigted

      It’s not that loud, even inside the clip-ons but I wouldn’t recommend it for those prone to motion sickness even on a still day.

      • SDW

        Yeah, I couldnt believe the amount of movement on the bridge when walking underneath! That and the stright view down talk your mind of any noise.

    • Gary young

      I don’t remember paying all that much attention to traffic noise on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It certainly wasn’t loud enough to put me off walking across. In addition there are also frequent, much noisier trains running over although admittedly they are on the other side of the bridge deck.

    • Feijoa

      The Golden Gate path is noisy – you’re around a metre or 2 away from fast traffic and no solid barriers. I don’t find that pleasant – particularly as it feels dangerous if something flies off a car or up from a tyre – but that doesn’t put people off. My guess is the Sky Path will feel much different, serene even, being under the bridge with a completely solid deck separating you from the cars and trucks out of sight.

    • Nick

      I’ve done the bungy which involves walking out on a walkway underneath the deck to the middle of the bridge then spending some time in a pod there. I don’t really remember noticing the noise or movement, certainly not an issue at all.

  • Open by next summer seems a bit optimistic Matt. Have they stated an expected construction timeframe? I would have thought a couple of years or so to build it. It won’t be easy building 60 metres up in the air, it’ll be a case slow and steady as she goes, with daily safety briefings probably taking until morning tea 🙂

  • spartan

    Glad to hear the Nationsl Rifle Association has finally come to their senses over this

  • Ricardo

    Any thoughts on who will Police behaviour all hours of the day? Not a silly question. It could be a muggers paradise at certain times of the day.

    • Sailor Boy

      Probably the same people that police behaviour on all other private property.

    • Gary Young

      It is a silly question. Muggers will go where, exactly, to escape interception after committing their assault?

      The bridge is over 1000m long. I doubt many felons would consider the crime worth a 500m sprint to escape with their booty, not to mention a single, easily blocked exit point at the end of the run.

      Perhaps you think they might jump over the side to the fast getaway dinghy waiting below?

    • Harriet

      I’m less worried about muggers, as I am about being run over on one of those dangerous perfect flow designed roads you support.

    • Nick

      People might drop litter on it. People might be rude to each other on it. People might have heart attacks on it. People might bump into each other on it. People might feel sad on it. People might be robbed on it. People might be too cold on it. People might be too hot on it. People might fall and hurt themselves on it. People might drop their phones and break them on it. People might be punched on it. People might be drunk on it. People might receive bad news on it. People might be sick on it. People might be late on it. People might be tired on it. People might be noisy on it. People might be angry on it. People might die on it.

      LIKE ANY OTHER PLACE PEOPLE GO FFS

    • Mugging? Haha, where do you think you live? Da ghetto?

      As above, the same people who enforce the law anywhere else in Auckland. The scariest places in Auckland are the areas that are traffic sewers and therefore devoid of people. The Sky Path will be full of people almost all the time.

  • Harriet

    This project has shown perfectly why our planning system is broken, a few selfish people can hold up an entire project based on complete BS, then escape from it with no liability because they hide there personal assets but setting up a society, but the taxpayers/ratepayers having to foot the massive legal bill. I understand appeals based on real genuine concern should be protected, but appeals like this the taxpayers should be able to get the money back, it will deter a lot of BS suits as well tbh when the precedent is set.

    • Dave B (Wellington)

      Problem is there are many who would consider the Basin Flyover opposition as “holding up an entire project based on complete BS”, and this no doubt includes a few politicians and councillors. Even now that the case against it has been convincingly won, they still nurse their view. Before the win they were adamant that righteousness was on their side and the opponents were a mere loony fringe.
      So who should be the impartial arbiter to decide whether opposition is reasonable or BS, prior to the issue ending up in court? I fear any move to restrict the right to object could bounce back and deter objections that some of us here might consider “genuine”.
      It’s a thorny one.

      • Harriet

        Except you can make demonstrably legitimate environmental & economic arguments regarding Basin, so that would be fine. Basically the standard should be motive, if the motive is clearly & demonstratively complete NIMBYism/Time Wasting then you shouldn’t have your assets protected. There are torts that could be expanded that would have standards and precedent that could cover this.

      • Peter Nunns

        Considering that Basin Reserve was refused consent because the traffic modelling was reported in a misleading way – i.e. claiming benefits from another project as benefits from the flyover – it’s a very different case. At no point in the Skypath hearing has it turned out that the project promoters were making up numbers.

        However, I take your point that a hearing is a discovery process. We wouldn’t have gotten the truth about the Basin Reserve modelling without undertaking the hearing. So it wasn’t really possible to determine whether the critiques were well-founded or not without going through the process.

        Ideally, we’d have better quality assurance on business cases and quantitative analysis, but at the moment there’s no fully independent body tasked with doing that.

  • Are the bars on the side in open air, or is the tube enclosed with glass/perspex, and if enclosed, will the outside be washed regularly? If bars only, it’ll be cold, wet and windy, or if enclosed, a very murky view with all the salt spray encrusted on the outside, so they’ll need a good wash programme to go with it.

  • Dan C

    Shouldn’t the “Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society ” be lobbying for this path, as a bit of foot and cycle traffic back on the streets will return some of the historic character it had as a busy little ferry port?

  • mfwic

    I am surprised the urban designers are prepared to accept the Skypath. I a mean just look at the picture- a footpath without an activated edge! Surely they should have been required to build shops with windows fronting it the whole way along.

  • Schmidt

    The business case presented to the Auckland Council is full of holes and indicates the Skypath will degenerate into a Council longterm debt. All cyclists who support Skypath – pay for it ! User pays REMEMBER

    • Oh please. It is a private project, ridiculously. Unlike every other transport project in the country which are socialised. Including every single road you drive on. Even if Council or NZTA took it over that would simply normalise its cost to that of every footpath or shared path everywhere… you may confused and frightened by it, bafflingly, but that still doesn’t mean there is anything scandalous about its funding.

    • You mean like local roads that are mainly paid for out of rates and general taxation? Yes, they are, look it up.

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