We chatted yesterday with Bevan Woodward, SkyPath’s project director, and our conversation also drifted into the various groups that still resist the project. We can’t discuss all we talked about (especially as some of the opponents aren’t as public about it as others), but it’s good to hear that they are also collecting new supporters – particularly important when the project is still being required to provide study after study on top of all the work (and voluminous reports) that has been done already.
So it was good to hear that Russell McVeagh – one of the most prestigious NZ law firms – has agreed to provide pro-bono legal assistance to review & advise the project (they are Resource Management Act specialists, so highly useful to have them on board). Also, the Ministry of the Environment has just agreed to provide $193,000 to fund some further studies – and access design – that had been requested. Read SkyPath’s press release here:
Today’s announcement by Ministry for the Environment of $193,000 funding for SkyPath is a real boost says project director, Bevan Woodward.
“We greatly appreciate the Government’s support for the SkyPath project. For a long time our goal has been regarded as unachievable by some, but now SkyPath is increasingly seen as the smart transport solution that makes perfect sense.
“SkyPath is an exemplar project that demonstrates how we can tick all the boxes; environmentally, socially and economically. Aucklanders want safe and convenient alternatives to the private motor car. Sustainable transport in its various forms is clearly the way of the future. It’s more affordable than motorway building, less harmful to our environment and makes our city a more enjoyable place to be.
Mr Woodward says “The Ministry of the Environment’s funding of $193,000 means we can get on with design work of SkyPath’s access ramps in consultation with key stakeholders, research the consent requirements, advance the engineering details and prepare funding arrangements for construction and operation.
“This grant gives us extra confidence in the SkyPath project and will enable us to take an agreement for the next stage of work to Auckland Council’s Strategy & Finance Committee in August 2013.”
“Hence we are very grateful for the pro bono assistance SkyPath is receiving from KPMG and Russell McVeagh via Hikurangi Foundation’s Compass Network. Their expert guidance is enabling us to prepare the funding and delivery arrangements for SkyPath that will need to be considered by Auckland Council.”
“Our aim is to the obtain resource consent in 2014 and start construction of SkyPath late next year.”
Sounds great. We should applaud Bevan and his team, because the work they are doing to get us all a walk & cycleway is like combining an ironman long-distance race with a hurdling competition.