It seems like my worst fears about the Waterview Connection are going to come true, particularly with regard to bulldozing the project through the weakened Resource Management Act.

This from an observor of an Eden/Albert Community Board meeting earlier in the week:

As we already know, the public consultation period is set to end 31 July. A report from that will then go to the NZTA Board in August and they will (naturally) confirm the option. NZTA will then prepare a NOR by Christmas to be lodged with a board of inquiry (under either the call in or the EPA). There is then a 9 month timeframe from the date it is lodged that cannot go beyond that period. By my reckoning they could start construction by October 2010 – although it is more likely to start in early 2011. Scary indeed. Gives opposition groups very little time to prepare – 4 months to submit against the NOR and perhaps a further 5 months to find funding and line up experts for the board of inquiry process. An extremely difficult task. Clive also mentioned (and I have never heard this proposed before) that they are looking to commence work much earlier to carry the motorway on from the current Maioro interchange through to Richardson Road as this area falls within the current designation they already have. If this happens, then I believe they will have made it very clear that nothing will stop this motorway going through.

Clearly the new provisions of the RMA are planned to be used. People will have a very limited say in what happens and in questioning the justification for the project and asking for good environmental mitigation.

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