The Sylvia Park mega-mall faces another traffic test this weekend, and the developers have been warned of their obligation to pay for expensive roadworks if problems continue.

The Auckland City Council has ordered the developer, the Kiwi Income Property Trust, to begin a stringent monitoring programme.

Following the opening-day traffic mayhem and shoppers being told to stay away last Sunday when traffic jams struck again, the council met with the developers this week and decided to adopt a carrot and stick approach.

Transport general manager Dr Stephen Rainbow praised the efforts of the developers to address parking, traffic and public transport issues but said the council was equipped with the "most detailed and rigorous set of transport conditions ever imposed on a development in Auckland" and would enforce them, if necessary.

The council asked Kiwi Income to immediately start a traffic monitoring programme that was not due to kick in until six weeks after the mall's opening. If the programme breached various trigger points, the council could order the developer to upgrade more key roads and intersections leading to Sylvia Park.

The council was also working with the developer on a railway station at Sylvia Park, which must be built within 12 months of 30,000sq m of gross floor space opening (the end of August) and confirmation by the relevant transport authorities that a rail service would be provided and approval for work to begin.

Government rail agency Ontrack is also working on accelerating the railway station, for which Kiwi Income has set aside $5 million.

Kiwi Income Property Trust chief executive Angus McNaughton said yesterday that his organisation had moved swiftly to alleviate traffic issues and he did not envisage having to spend more money resolving problems.

Initial opening-day hype had died down and traffic around the park was flowing freely, he said. Shoppers were being urged to use a second Mt Wellington Highway entrance and a third entrance on Carbine Rd. A third entrance was planned for Mt Wellington Highway. Mr McNaughton said Kiwi was spending $2.2 million creating a double-lane exit off the Southern Motorway to the Mt Wellington Highway and lights were operating there.

"Consumers are beginning to understand how to get into the site."

Traffic on two other large Auckland development sites has also given developers headaches.

The future of Dominion Fund and Josephine Grierson's Fox Outlet Centre at Northcote was questioned when rival mall owner Westfield NZ and lobby group Northcote Mainstreet cited traffic effects as one reason it should never have been given non-notified planning approval. They lost and Fox remains open.

Litigation was brought against Foodstuffs (Auckland) Pak'n Save at Wairau Park by Progressive Enterprises which had the completed mall ruled illegal and unable to open, partly because planning approval did not allow full account of traffic effects.

Foodstuffs said this month it would lodge fresh planning approval and ditch its Court of Appeal challenge, due to be heard this month.


August: stage two with a further 50 shops and a Pak'N Save.
Early next year: stage three brings 10 Hoyts cinemas and entertainment zone.
Mid next year: northern zone opens, bringing stage four and 180 shops trading in total.