Basin Reserve flyover plan axed

The Basin Reserve. File photo / Mark Mitchell
The Basin Reserve. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Those opposed to the proposed Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington were thrilled today after learning of an independent Board of Inquiry's decision to decline consent.

In a decision made today, commissioners declined resource consent for the New Zealand Transport Agency's (NZTA's) $90 million Basin Bridge project.

A total of 215 submissions were received, and evidence was heard from 69 witnesses and representations by a further 74 submitters during the hearing.

The Save the Basin Campaign congratulated the Board of Inquiry for declining the approvals.

Save the Basin Campaign spokeswoman Joanna Newman said the Board had made the only logical decision, based on the evidence that emerged during the four-month enquiry hearings.

"During the hearing it became evident that the proposal would have a profound impact on the historic heritage of the Basin Reserve cricket ground and surrounding area, for very little transport gain, and NZ Transport Agency had conducted a biased and incomplete evaluation of alternatives to their flyover plan and ignored all of the improvements already underway in the adjoining War Memorial Park tunnel development," Ms Newman said.

The Board seemed to have listened to the many residents, cyclists, walkers and motorists who explained the unique character of the area and its value to Wellington and the nation, which would have been destroyed by the project, she added.

The decision however left the NZTA less pleased.

Spokesman Anthony Firth said the NZTA noted the Board of Inquiry's draft decision.

"We will be taking the time to closely consider this decision before determining our next steps."

The NZTA and other parties now have 20 days to make comments on minor or technical aspects of the report.

The Board will provide its final decision to the Environmental Protection Authority by 30 August.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the Council was analysing the decision and potential impacts on the future of the Wellington transport network.

"Just as the Council has found, the flyover proposal presented the Board of Inquiry a complex issue of urban design and transport, including public transport," she said.

"It is now time to get on and make the best of our role in improving all aspects of traffic to reduce congestion, including better walking, cycling, and public transport."

The Basin Bridge proposal was for the construction, operation and maintenance of a two-lane, one-way, bridge for State Highway 1 westbound traffic on the north side of the Basin Reserve.

It involved the Basin Bridge, a new Northern gateway building within the Basin Reserve, an elevated shared pedestrian and cycleway on the north side of the Basin Bridge, a building under the bridge on Bogarts Corner, landscaping and planting, including an extension to the National War memorial Park and a clearway on Vivian Street, and upgrades to several intersections.

- APNZ

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