By BERNARD ORSMAN
The North Shore City Council is hitting back at claims it opposes the proposed V8 supercar race by hiring a traffic expert to independently assess claims the event can be held without causing mayhem on the roads.
Mayor George Wood said he was not anti the V8 race but he wanted more assurances that traffic could effectively be managed for the three-day event, planned for seven years from April 2006.
Traffic management expert John Gottler, who worked on traffic management in Auckland for the 1999 Apec summit, has been hired by the council to assess traffic reports prepared by Auckland City Council and race event manager IMG.
"I'd like to see the race go ahead, but at present we are just not convinced that all the traffic effects have been thoroughly thought and planned for," said Mr Wood.
"We need a level of detail and comfort around how and what level of public transport will be provided and at whose cost.
"If we are going to transport more people by public transport, we need to see how that will be done."
The council and Transit, two of the biggest opponents of the event, have said Auckland City and IMG should include a detailed trafficmanagement plan as part of the resource consent application instead of drawing up plans over the next 18 months.
The plan needs to halve peak-hour traffic on the Northern Motorway on the Friday of the race and manage traffic into the city on the Southern and Northwestern Motorways.
Mr Wood said it would be irresponsible of North Shore not to raise the traffic management plan at the resource consent hearing.
"We do not want to see unnecessary chaos and our city and region picking up the cost of that," he said.
Rob Lynch, a member of the Auckland Street Race Supporters Club, said he welcomed the North Shore initiative to hire Mr Gottler and was confident he would find that the traffic could be managed.
The club has launched a petition to show North Shore City Council and Transit the overwhelming support for the event.