Three residents groups are opposing the plans on the grounds of safety, lack of technical data, and risk to the ratepayer should the scheme go ahead but fail to meet ambitious revenue targets. Meanwhile the cost to the ratepayer has already escalated to a whopping $322,000 for what is supposed to be a private enterprise.
The private developer has managed to pass on the expensive cost of ‘wind load testing’ to Council and therefore the ratepayer after Council granted resource consents for the project to go ahead without satisfying itself on the fundamental question of whether or not the bridge could sustain the anticipated load. If it cannot the project becomes unfeasible.
The community groups challenging the SkyPath plan in the Environment Court have reached their deadline to finalise their issues with the proposal.
Auckland Council has spent $321,296 investigating the plan to add bike and walking access to the Harbour Bridge even though the New Zealand Transport Agency has yet to decide whether the idea is technically sound.
Three community groups are taking the council and Woodward Infrastructure - the private company behind the $33 million SkyPath proposal - to the Environment Court to appeal against the resource consent granted eight months ago.
The appellants say there's a lack of technical research in the plans and object to the council's decision to grant consent without a verdict from the NZTA on whether it will approve a "licence to occupy" to let the concept go ahead.
By May 27, the council must also file a "comprehensive report", a document which must include the results of "wind load testing", after the court deemed the testing was needed to establish the feasibility of the proposal.
Herne Bay Residents Association co-chair Christine Cavanagh says her group is not opposed to the SkyPath but fears plans are being undermined by poor process and inadequate research.
"What concerns us is that the applicant [Woodward Infrastructure] and Auckland Council have not done their homework on a range of fundamental issues.
"For example, there's no adequate evidence yet available to establish that SkyPath can be attached to the Auckland Harbour Bridge without compromising the bridge's safety and function."
NZTA classifies SkyPath's status as an "investigation", and confirmed it is still some way off making a decision on whether to allow it to go ahead.
Despite the expensive price tag there is no economic justification for cycleways. They are draining rates away from essential services and road maintenance in the rural areas of Auckland to pay for Green status symbols for the rich few Generation Zero activists who run Auckland Transport’s planning department.
The “Paint it Back’ Campaign to rid Wellington of the hazardous Island Bay Cycleway is growing into a nationwide movement against the imposition of the demands of the few over the needs of the many, driven by a discredited political philosophy.
All the glossy pictures of Skypath show pedestrians not cyclists. Yet is unlikely any pedestrians will use the path given that cyclists can reach speeds in excess of 70kph on the steep downhill slopes, and the space will be enclosed offering no escape.
Skypath is a rort. It deserves to be thrown out along with the Terrible Ten who voted for the Transport Levy and 10% rates rises.