Owen McShane’s lobby group the Centre for Resource Management Studies has a set of questions up about the Waterview Tunnel option of SH20. Essentially they argue for ramming an above ground motorway through the Waterview houses and green belt for the benefit of the motorists, and that the pesky locals should be ignored.
One of the basis of their argument is:-
However, this consultation has not revealed the preferences of the much larger number of people who will actually use the Waterview Ring Road when complete. The modeling indicates a two-way flow of 90,000 vehicles a day by 2026, which would be carrying at least 100,000 people a day. Surely their preferences count as much as a few score households on nearby land?
This is a gross misrepresentation. An above-ground motorway will affect thousands of households within earshot. Just ask any resident within earshot of the north-western motorway in Kingsland, Grey Lynn, Newton, and other suburbs. After that was put in close to our house at the time, it went from being an extremely quiet area to having a background hellish noise. They’d put in a rough surface and no noise protection. These days the RMA gives some protection against that sort of arrogant engineering, but it appears to me that CRMS wishes to revert back to that style of thinking.
Most importantly the Waterview project will be paid for almost entirely by the motoring public of the Auckland region and we would have thought that the motoring community that ‘pays the piper’ should surely ‘call much of the tune’.
Huh? Surely this is a case for user-pays. If they want it so much, then they should pay for what is required for the locals to let it through their community. Most people near the path of proposed SH20 would prefer that it wasn’t built at all.
We wonder why the interests of the neighboring residents of Mt Albert are regarded so highly, while the interests of the motoring public, who pay for the project, are totally ignored.
Furthermore, this motorway network will exist and be in use for hundreds of years. Surely the specifications of such a major piece of infrastructure should not be determined by the wishes of households whose average stay is measured in years.
If necessary, adversely affected residents should be bought out with generous compensation.
Now we understand why they wish to think that there are only a few score households. Buying out the hundreds or thousands of adversely affected households would massively increase the costs of an above-ground motorway. It would be cheaper to put in a tunnel. What the CRMS are proposing is how to provide a cynical fig-leaf token gesture to local concerns for politicians.
In any case, if the CRMS is proposing that the payback for the project can be measured in hundreds of years, then presumably so the costs of doing the project correctly for that timespan can be amortized over that period as well.
The CRMS also rails against number of lanes saying that it is too few for expansion. The solution is obvious – pay for more lanes. Putting in a bus lane in both directions seems like a good idea as well. After all the motoring public is looking at an investment that can be paid back over hundreds of years – the CRMS has said so.
There seems to be an implicit view that motorways generate adverse effects and no benefits to amenity and landscape. In reality a well designed highway in a park like setting can provide a major open space amenity to scores of thousands of road users every day. The northern motorway beyond Albany is an excellent example.
Unlike the Albany motorway, this area has residents already. People in Mt Albert are quite aware of the adverse effects from previous motorway projects. No amount of landscaping for motorists will help with the noise and disruption problems. Whoever the fool who wrote this report is, I surprised that they haven’t suggested that children would like to play alongside the motorway in the nice landscaped area. It is hard to see what kind of amenity it is for motorists either. You aren’t actually allowed to get out and use it.
After all, if this conclusion is correct for this link, which is being built through a mix of low-density residential development and open parkland, then this outcome must also hold true for all future motorway construction in the Auckland Metropolitan Area, and through many of the urbanized areas within the Auckland Region.
Exactly, here is the crux of the CRMS’s argument. If you are driving a motorway through an area of built up housing and established communities, it is different to shunting a motorway through countryside. There are unlikely to be many benefits to the locals from the motorway, it will largely benefit the motorists.
Most communities would prefer not to have a motorway shunted through their parklands and houses. Residents everywhere need to understand that if an above-ground motorway is driven through in Waterview over the local residents, then the same will be done using exactly the same arguments anywhere.
I’m not even going to go into the other spurious arguments. They are simply pathetic – have a laugh, read them. “Princess Diana” syndrome – people getting drunk and running into a wall?
Motorists, if they want motorways, should expect to pay for the cost of having the least impact on the local community and environment. Perhaps John Key and other NACT MP’s should be asked for their views on these questions when they visit Mt Albert during the by-election. Just make sure you get a recording of the answers. NACT politicians are a bit slippery about promises after elections