By BERNARD ORSMAN
Five parks, Auckland's largest waterfall, the Unitec tertiary institution and the Pollen Island marine reserve are in the path of options for extending the State Highway 20 motorway through Avondale.
Hendon Park, one of the bases of the Mt Albert Rugby League Club, whose patron is Prime Minister Helen Clark, and the Phyllis St Reserve, headquarters of the Metro soccer club, could also be bulldozed.
These community facilities and others are the latest victims put up by Transit NZ and the Auckland City Council to complete the city's motorway network.
More than 5000 Aucklanders have signed a petition to save the Parnell Baths, which are under threat from the eastern motorway project being fast-tracked by Auckland Mayor John Banks and the Citizens & Ratepayers Now-controlled council.
Transit has shortlisted three routes through Mt Albert and Avondale to complete the State Highway 20 link to the Northwestern Motorway.
Two options run down either side of the Oakley Stream at Great North Rd.
The third option runs across Great North Rd through Herons Park and parallel with Rosebank Rd to State Highway 16.
A newsletter sent to residents starting a new round of consultation contains little other detail about the three shortlisted routes and no detail about possible tunnel options, or costs.
This has appalled the Greenbelt Community Organisation opposed to the motorway, which believes all three options represent "legalised vandalism" of longstanding community facilities.
Greenbelt co-chairman Phil Chase said the motorway would degrade up to five parks, including the 7.3ha Harbutt Reserve, which had been a park only since 1995 after a long fight to stop the land being used as a site for factories.
"Oakley Stream, a unique waterway and ecosystem with Auckland's largest urban waterfall and the landing place of the Mataatua canoe, would also be severely degraded, if not totally destroyed," Mr Chase said.
"Despite years of consistent opposition to this destructive motorway proposal, Transit seems determined to bulldoze the democratic views of citizens of Mt Albert, Avondale, Waterview and Owairaka and push this unwanted motorway through."
The Auckland regional manager for Transit, Wayne McDonald, is overseas and could not be contacted yesterday, but in a press release he said Transit was committed to working with the community on the $70 million project.
Mr McDonald said wherever "practical and cost-effective, Transit proposes to underground any new roads for the State Highway 20 Avondale extension but the additional cost of undergrounding will not be able to be met from the national road fund".
Transit gave the same message last month when it released options to widen the approach from Victoria Park and through St Marys Bay to the harbour bridge.
It could finance the cheapest, above-ground option, costing $70 million to $110 million, but not the more expensive trench and tunnelling options costing up to $430 million.