Auckland Harbour Bridge cycling and walking route, at $3 each way, has support of council officers.

Council officers are backing a cycling and walking SkyPath attached to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, subject to conditions such as parking management and matching its colour with the ruling battleship grey.

They have prepared a report which will recommend the $33.5 million tolled crossing proposal to independent planning commissioners preparing for a public hearing next month.

Recommended conditions include changing the proposed colour of the pathway - to be slung under the "coat-hanger" bridge's citybound clip-on lanes - from white to grey and limiting users on it at any one time to a number yet to be prescribed by the Transport Agency.

A resource consent application from the SkyPath Trust, which has arranged private finance for the link while offering to transfer it to council ownership after 25 years in return for a partial underwriting of toll revenue, has attracted more than 11,500 submissions.


All but 173 support the project, and about 300 people or organisations have asked to be heard by the commissioners.

Although most submissions supporting the link were received through the youth organisation Generation Zero's website, SkyPath project director Bevan Woodward said yesterday the application process was "not a numbers game".

"It's all about showing how we have addressed the potential adverse effects so they are 'less than minor' - this has been our focus."

His own organisation had therefore refrained from emailing its 12,000 registered supporters to solicit submissions.

Although a range of Northcote Pt residents and businesses are hotly opposed to the proposal, fearing negative impacts on their neighbourhood's heritage values and parking availability, the council report indicates these can be mitigated.

Senior planner Suzanne Murray, who has collated information from nine council specialists for the report, says in it she expects potential adverse impacts on above-ground heritage values to be balanced by a positive contribution by SkyPath to the locality.

She expects it to introduce "a structure that is of a human scale and activity to the Point, as it was originally used, rather than one dominated by the motorcar."

Three Maori iwi have indicated support subject to conditions such as devising a protocol for managing archaeological discoveries around the former Te Onewa Pa at Stokes Pt.

Ms Murray has acknowledged a likely squeeze on parking at each end of the SkyPath at peak periods such as busy summer weekends, but does not foresee problems at other times.

Mr Woodward said his trust would encourage patrons to use public transport, cycle or walk to the crossing, for which there would be a toll of about $3 each way.

SkyPath proposal

• What it is - a tolled walking and cycling path under Auckland Harbour Bridge's citybound clip-on lanes.

• Cost - $33.5 million, from a private loan to be repaid over 25 years by a toll of about $3 each way, and partly underwritten by Auckland Council.

What happens next:

• Independent planning commissioners to hear public submissions from June 2 to 8. Their decision will generally take 15 working days after the hearing, and may be referred to a committee of councillors for ratification.

• Once a decision is ratified, submitters wanting to contest it have 15 working days to lodge appeals with the Environment Court, which will give parties an opportunity to reach a mediated settlement before deciding whether it needs hold a hearing and make rulings.