Auckland City has failed to win more time for bewildered neighbours of the $1.4 billion Waterview motorway project to prepare submissions under a new fast-track consents process.

The Environment Protection Agency has rejected a council request to extend a deadline of October 15 by 10 working days for submissions on the country's largest-ever roading project.

Consenting manager Sarah Gardner said extending an allocated 20 working days would reduce time available to prepare evidence for a hearing in February by a Government-appointed board of inquiry.

The board is required to make a decision within nine months of the authority's notification on September 17 of applications by the Transport Agency for 54 resource consents and seven land designations.

City Vision councillors Glenda Fryer and Cathy Casey accused the authority yesterday of attaching more importance to the Government's tight timeframe than to requests from local elected officials for "fairness of process".

"This is not just a minor extension to a residential house by a private landowner who receives the same 20-day period," said Dr Casey.

But city council transport committee chairman Ken Baguley, a Citizens and Ratepayers councillor not seeking re-election, was confident in the ability of staff to produce a submission incorporating community concerns.

He expected the submission, which a working group of himself and three other councillors would approve early next week, would include opposition to some late changes to the Transport Agency's plans.

These include a decision not to bury a ventilation building at the end of 2.4-kilometre twin tunnels - as originally planned - but to have it rising 8m above what will remain of Alan Wood Park in Owairaka.

The council would also insist that a shared pedestrian and cycle path which the agency proposes to build only beside the surface section of motorway be extended over the tunnels to reach the Northwestern Cycleway.

North West Community Association chairman Bill McKay said he and other Waterview residents did not share Mr Baguley's confidence that the council would champion their concerns. It had not accepted a community proposal for the agency to bury the tunnels' main control building behind a BP service station in Great North Road, instead of constructing it 6m above the ground - next to Waterview Primary School.

The agency also intends building 25-metre ventilation stacks at each end of the tunnels, saying that will be high enough to disperse vehicle fumes without the need to filter them.

Mr McKay said his community would prepare evidence to show that on a still and foggy day, emissions pollution would fall down on the school.

Transport Agency principal project director Clive Fuhr said traffic fumes falling on the school would be a rare occurrence which would not justify spending up to $70 million on filtration equipment.

OPPOSITION
* A council request to extend the deadline for submissions on the $1.4 billion waterview motorway project has been rejected.
* Submissions will include opposition to a ventilation building being built 8m above the ground.
* It has been determined that the southern ventilation building should not be buried at an extra cost of $5 million.