We hear that two appeals have been lodged today against the Skypath resource consent. The Northcote Residents’ Association is appealing on environmental and policy grounds, specifically ‘traffic, transportation and parking effects, privacy, safety and security effects, visual effects and amenity effects’ around the northern landing.
And the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society Incorporated is appealing the decision ‘in its entirety’, citing a similar list of concerns, with the addition of construction noise and ongoing noise effects in the neighbourhood.
Both appellants seek to wholly overturn the consent; and the NRA also seeks costs against the Respondent (which is to say, Auckland Council).
Cycle Action’s chair, Barb Cuthbert, who has extensive experience as a planning consultant, says:
“RMA appeals represent a serious and potentially costly step. A small group of residents has exercised their right to appeal, but we hope the parties will work together to settle it by mediation, as commonly occurs with appeals. This is vital to ensure work can begin on this crucial regional transport link.
At this point, we’re expecting the best, as we consider the issues under appeal were thoroughly addressed in the hearings. We have full confidence in the process, the robustness of the proposal, and the huge extent of goodwill to work things out for the greater benefit of the city.”
What was clear during the hearing (and the process leading up to it) was that Skypath is backed by sound research, will be managed so as to have minor local impact, has huge popular support, and is of crucial value in opening wide access to the city for all Aucklanders no matter what their age or mode of transit. It will allow Auckland to join the world’s other great harbour cities, in welcoming visitors as well as locals to cross our spectacular Waitemata under their own power. All of this was acknowledged by the commissioners in granting the resource consent.
It’s also useful to recall that Skypath is not a radical notion, but simply completes the multimodal harbour crossing that the city was promised half a century ago. A foot and cycle path was always in the plan, and Aucklanders have campaigned for its completion over many decades (including previous incarnations of the Northcote Residents’ Association). The missing link will – we trust – at last be forged.