Only this morning we posted a summary of the issues covered in the first two days of the SkyPath appeal hearing in the Environment Court. Who knew day three would be done and dusted within an hour??

The session began at 10am with the Reply Submission on behalf of the applicant (the SkyPath team), delivered by Daniel Minhinnick. The submission reiterated that the project is a worthy one, deserving of consent, and contains adequate provision for mitigating any adverse effects.

The applicant accepted that, as a fallback, conditions could indeed be added to allow for monitoring and review of unexpected adverse effects at the Northcote end. (On that note, they maintained that the conditions suggested by the Northcote Point Heritage Protection Society – early closing, a cap on numbers – were unreasonable and unjustified.)

Then the Judge and Commissioners excused themselves for a brief discussion… and returned to inform the courtroom that a consent will be issued, subject to refining the conditions over the coming weeks (the “conditions” being those proposed by the SkyPath team and supported by Auckland Council).

[A pause in the sober reporting for a quick editorial happy dance on behalf of everyone who’s worked so hard and looked forward to this for so long! In particular, bravo to Bevan Woodward for his vision and persistence, and to Morrison & Co’s PIP Fund for supporting the vision, and to the legal team for their stellar work.]

We understand it’s quite rare for the court to issue a verbal decision like this. In the judge’s words, he considered it “fair to tell the parties: don’t go out of the room with the expectation that consent will be refused. There’s going to be a consent.”

Judge Newhook took particular care to note that the parties had drawn closer together across the course of the hearing, and indeed before it. He assured the residents that the court had “well and truly heard [their] concerns and scrutinised their evidence”, and added that he had read their submissions multiple times in order to understand their perspective. “There will be change, there can be no doubt about that, but it’s a question of how that change will be controlled and mitigated.”

It was all over in an hour or less. There is much more detail to come in due course – detail on the conditions, and legal analysis – which will likely take some weeks. Perhaps we can look forward to the final judgement before Christmas? Or even in time for Lightpath’s first birthday on 3 December?

In any case, for now, the result is clear: the consent stands. SkyPath can be built. This is great news.

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14 responses to “Well, that was fast! Day 3 = another yes for SkyPath!

  1. This is great news, specially after my ranty comment on the other thread!!! Yay and well done to all. Roll on the detailed design and build!

  2. Phenomenal result, well done to everyone involved and who’s persevered with this project. For one, I cannot wait to bike from Mangere Bridge all the way over the Waitemata and to the shore. Great result.

  3. I too had a happy dance in the middle of reading all the reports. Thanks to all concerned.

  4. “Another Yes”
    How many bloody yeses do we need?
    Unbeleivably convoluted process that seems to have way too much attention compared to unpopular projects that just happen.

    Can you get on and build it now??
    pivot those ‘conditions’ as you go.

    What a great effort by all of you involved 🙂 It’s exhausting just supporting it through updates so I can’t imagine how hard a job it must be. Great motivation to keep on going.

  5. Very good news indeed. Ingenuity with iterating design solutions and persistence to get the project to this stage. Everyone involved should justifiably be proud. Very deep irony is that new cycling and walking facilities should be about community building and this has been extremely acrimonious and has divided Northcote Point. Hopefully everyone can go back to living a good life and the few residents worst fears don’t eventualise.

    1. agree totally. hopefully in a few years it will be a jewel in the crown for northcote point and people will love it over there.

      wonder if skypath will have a counter like on Quay St. perhaps it can incorporate a $ counter, that reduces every time someone tags on, so we can see how much is still to be paid off……

    2. I wasn’t at the end of the hearing at the Environment Court, I was working, but a general comment on the reaction of the advocacy community being muted certainly shouldn’t be interpreted as embarrassment. Unfortunately with an adversarial Court Environment there has to be a winner and a loser, compared to a mediation situation where the parties try and hammer out a mutually agreeable solution or both parties leave equally dissatisfied. A compromise with Skypath was never acceptable to the Northcote Point protagonists which is why your strategy was to try and stop it right up to the end.
      There is joy in seeing the project pass another hurdle but we can take no enjoyment in seeing other Citizens lose a fight that was fought so bitterly and which caused so much acrimony. Skypath has passed another hurdle and as you point out there is a huge amount of work to do on many aspects. As advocates we lose more than our fair share of challenges, we don’t take any enjoyment from seeing others in the same position.

      1. “Because of my professional crowd management experience with large events I am concerned with the safety aspects of SkyPath which are serious, many and have to be addressed.”

        Then appeal the building consent. This is not at all relevant to the current discussion and is blatant concern trolling.

  6. As an observer at the hearing, one interesting thing that emerged in the course of the evidence was the deep contrast in perceptions of a given space.

    Visitors to the bridge’s undercroft perceive a bleak and fairly dismal environment (notwithstanding some cool artwork under the bridge), with the roar and thump of traffic on the bridge overhead as the predominant feature. Whereas those who have lived there for a while have come to tune out those aspects, and genuinely love the location as it is.

    Goes to show, one can get used to anything; hopefully, even the presence of a steady trickle of pedestrians and people on bikes, as part of a reconnected Auckland at the human scale.

    1. Janette,

      The fight from you and others opposed to Skypath has resulted in it being reviewed and scrutanised far beyond what would normally be expected for a project of this complexity. You’ve fought long and hard to stop Skypath, perhaps through genuine public concern, perhaps through self interest, but a decision has been made to approve it.

      Perhaps we will see you using the Skypath one day, admiring the view as you enjoy being able to walk or ride to the city. Perhaps one day you’ll appreciate the life it injects into the area, bringing more people, activity and life to the nearby streets. Or perhaps you won’t use the Skypath, through fear of enclosure or distain for those using it, instead choosing to shun what you could not stop. Either way it’s time to let it go, you’ve proven you have passion and determination in spades, find a worthy case to pour that energy into.

      1. Janette, I don’t think that I have ever encountered such a grossly disingenuous person as yourself. There is a deliberate factual error in almost every sentence that you have typed above.

        1. “Why did you think it was right to out my nom de plume?” Because you are using anonymity to troll.

          “I had no fear of it being outed in NZ but because I have the courage to criticise the safety aspects of SkyPath I receive so much personal abuse” You receive valid criticism of the nonsense arguments that you make against cycling infrastructure.

          “from fundamentalist cyclists who are determined to have SkyPath at any cost” Those costs being $0 to ratepayers and a minor increase in people using a street.

          “that I chose to use a nom de plume.” Perhaps you shouldn’t post on the same forum as both Janette Miller and your psuedonym if you care so much about anonymity. Or perhaps you just didn’t want people to realise that you are the same person spinning the same tired, and thoroughly debunked arguments.

          “I have informed Bike Auckland who will know who you are and asked them to ask you to cease and desist. I have flagged this comment and I shall ask that as you cannot respect personal privacy that all comment from you in future be blocked.” Cool, perhaps Bike Auckland would rather ban trolls who come and use multiple accounts on the same page to create a false impression of validity rather than the people who call you out on it.

          “You may not agree with me but I have a moral duty to [incorrectly] point out that SkyPath is [in my view which is heavily distorted by my irrational hatred of people who are riding a bike] unsafe.” Perhaps if you consider it your moral duty you would use avenues that could affect the safety. Such as reading the conditions of consent which actually manage your concerns.

          1. [Editors’ note for readers encountering gaps in the conversations: we’ve removed the other poster’s comments at their direct request.]

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