Auckland's Harbour Bridge SkyPath cycling and walkway crossing gets resource consent

By Brittany Keogh

Computer generated image of the proposed Skypath cycleway and pedestrian footbridge to be built on the Auckland Harbour Bridge Southern side of bridge. Photo / Auckland Council
Computer generated image of the proposed Skypath cycleway and pedestrian footbridge to be built on the Auckland Harbour Bridge Southern side of bridge. Photo / Auckland Council

Resource consent has been issued for Auckland's SkyPath harbour crossing.

Chief Environment Judge Laurie Newhook approved SkyPath's consent in the Environment Court today.

Auckland Council said in a statement this afternoon it "welcomed" the result.

In July the council voted unanimously in favour of the project being built by HRL Morrison and Co's Public Infrastructure Partnership Fund - a private organisation.

If constructed as planned the SkyPath would be 1km long and 4m wide and would run from Westhaven Marina on the CBD side of the bridge to Northcote Point on the North Shore.

It would have five viewing platforms, where the bridge would expand to 6m wide.

The structure was projected to cost $33.5 million, to be partly underwritten by Auckland Council.

Users would be charged a small fee for each one way trip.

SkyPath project director Bevan Woodward said getting resource consent was a "most significant step forward".

Along with NZTA's proposed Sea Path, the Sky Path would provide a "seamless" transport link between Auckland city and the North Shore, he said.

Resource consent was initially granted for the cycling and walkway in July 2015, but was challenged by at least three community groups.

Only one appeal, from Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society, made it to court.

Northcote Residents' Association, which withdrew its appeal in August, cited financial, functional, safety and environmental concerns as reasons it opposed the construction.

Spokesman Kevin Clarke said the group made its decision to withdraw under "severe duress" when the developer threatened to charge court costs if it won "to the maximum extent possible", which could be millions.

The association set up at Givealittle page to fundraise the court costs for an appeal. It raised $15,635.

Herne Bay Residents' Association Incorporated also lodged an appeal, but withdrew its application in July because it did not think the project would come to fruition. Therefore, co-chair Christine Cavanagh said at the time, an appeal would have been an unnecessary waste of residents' money.

Generation Zero was vocal about its support for the project. In July a spokesman for the youth-led organisation, Niko Elsen, told the Herald the SkyPath would be "life-changing" for Aucklanders.

- NZ Herald

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