Kevin Clarke of the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) had this to say
Northcote Residents have withdrawn their Environment Court appeal against SkyPath, which they consider to be a financial, functional and environmental failure. They also consider that SkyPath is unlikely to ever be implemented and that its blatantly obvious safety hazards alone, should have prevented it from seeing the light of day in the first place. Although Council tells itself that SkyPath is merely a $33M project, its real costs are set to deliver yet another Council blowout, this time set to amount to hundreds of millions.
Alex Swney created the Heart of the City Trust, was its Chief Executive, got Auckland Council to fund it through a targeted rate and ripped off the ratepayer to the tune of $4 million. It took an intervention by the IRD and SFO to finally bring the crook to justice.
Swney was a founding Trustee of the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust (the Trust). The Trust has been established to promote a cycleway over Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour called Skypath. The Trust claimed that Skypath would be financially self-supporting and the Trust would be responsible for getting all the necessary funding. After 20 years the Trust would gift the facility to the City.
There is a solution that would not destroyed the heritage Northcote Point, as Skypath will, and still provide walkers and cyclists with a crossing point over the Waitemata. All they have to do is be patient and wait a little longer. This has been pointed out by NRA.
Another issue that calls SkyPath’s viability into doubt, arises from recent discussions with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
Information provided by NZTA states the Auckland Harbour Bridge “will allow for ….walking and cycling facilities” and, “four lanes on the existing Bridge, will become redundant” when the next Harbour crossing is installed and that, “the Bridge’s box girders need strengthening to accommodate SkyPath” and that “further strengthening of the Bridge’s box girders is not physically possible, except at connection points”. The SkyPath function could occupy less than two of the four redundant lanes freed up when the next Harbour crossing is implemented, without adding additional stresses to the Bridge and without decreasing its usable life, as SkyPath will. That could be achieved at virtually no cost and far better than SkyPath, since cyclists and pedestrians would be safely separated and would access the facility without causing any neighbourhood any detriment.
SkyPath’s genuinely huge costs, amenity detriment and safety hazards are wholly unnecessary, since the Next Harbour Crossing solves all the problems
SkyPath does not, never could and never will.