Earlier today I said that it would be a few months before we hear anything about what the outcome of the City Rail Link Notice of Requirement was. While that is true for the final outcome, the hearings panel have just sent out an update which includes information on what the outstanding issues are.

The hearing on the Notices of Requirement lodged by Auckland Transport for the City Rail Link was held on 7-20 August 2013.

By the end of 20 August, the hearing panel had heard the requiring authority’s case, evidence and submissions on behalf of submitters and the interim closing submissions from the requiring authority.

The hearing panel indicated that it considered further information or clarification was required in relation to some specific matters. They also concluded that some further amendments to the draft conditions would be necessary. Accordingly, the hearing was not closed and the panel indicated that it would be issuing a Direction relating to the process for completion of the hearing, specifying any further information which the panel requires from the requiring authority and from Auckland Council reporting officers. A copy of that Direction has been attached for the submitters who attended the hearing (as per paragraph 7A). A copy is also available upon request.

In accordance with paragraph 7B of the Direction, the hearing will be reconvening on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 October 2013 at 9.30am in the Limelights Room, Aotea Centre, Mayoral Drive, Auckland CBD.

In reality this is actually a bit of a delay as the date the hearings will recommence is about when Auckland Transport had originally been hoping to hear back from the commissioners hearing the notice of requirement. At the last board meeting it was mentioned by AT staff that a delay of a few months shouldn’t really cause any issues but any longer than that and it could start to impact on timelines if construction is to start in 2015/16. This is because there are bound to be some submitters who complain to the Environment court and that will take some time to work through.

In addition to the letter above, the the hearings panel have also released this document. Perhaps the key part is below

Directions Document

While it’s not really expected that the NoR would have been declined, there wass always the chance so this is fairly positive result and suggests things are going in the right direction.

In addition they highlight some of the specific issues of which the biggest appears to be that of TV3 which is concerned about the impact of noise and vibration on their studios. The further information the hearings panel have requested is:

The Requiring Authority has usefully responded to our queries during the hearing to date. There are however a number of areas where we consider it would be useful for the Requiring Authority to provide further information. These are as follows:

a) A summary of the relative financial and time delay costs, and the relative environmental benefits (noise, vibration, dust and traffic) of extending the proposed top-down construction method from upper Albert Street and the Aotea Station, to lower Albert Street as compared to the current cut and cover proposal.
b) Evidence as to the consideration given by AT to this option (and any other options to reduce construction impacts along Albert Street) and why such options were rejected.
c) Evidence as to whether there are any changes to the currently proposed construction methods and staging along lower Albert Street which could be adopted to reduce disruption.
d) Evidence as to what consideration was given to planning alternatives to NOR 3 and at what stage of the process.
e) If possible, provide as part of the information requested, a reduction in the volume of NOR 3 so that it is limited to the extent that is reasonably necessary for the protection of the completed project.
f) Alternatively, outline a proposal to modify NOR3 prior to confirmation, so as to limit it to what is reasonably necessary to protect the constructed works.
g) A comparison of the project completion and cost, impacts of adopting 25, 30, or 35 dba regenerated noise limits in relation to the Media Works site.
h) The results of the testing in relation to Media Works, particularly relating to what limit of regenerated noise it is able to work with and the impacts of the three different sound levels referred to above in relation to broadcast quality.
i) An outline/structure and provisional table of contents for the CEMP and all of the other proposed plans apart from site specific plans.
j) Where not already provided, a clear statement within the draft conditions as to the mitigation objective(s) for each of the proposed plans.
k) A timeline for provision of the draft CEMP and all associated plans to stakeholders for comment.
l) A response (both legal and evidential) as to the merits and legality of the condition proposed by Life Church. An indication of whether AT is prepared to make a commitment to assist the Life Church to relocate to a suitable site and equivalent building and to meet any difference between the costs of the new building and any PWA payment for the current property. Alternatively, an explanation as to why that is not considered to be an appropriate way of mitigating the effect of the NOR/designation on Life Church.
m) Legal submission (and advice from counsel for the reporting team) as to whether we are required to ensure that adverse effects on individuals/businesses are adequately avoided remedied or mitigated. (In contrast to just weight residual effects as part of the overall balancing).
n) An indication/clarification of any proposals to mitigate the specific effects of construction or operational effects on the following businesses/activities (including any specific requirements in the draft conditions dated 20 August 2013) and any particular objectives for management plans which may be relevant) :

  • Media Works (largely addressed above)
  • Foodstuffs
  • Tram Lease (access issues and potential loss of tenants)
  • Stamford Plaza (minimising construction impacts on guest amenity and compensating for any loss of business)…specific amendments proposed.
  • Five Flowers and Radiation Limited (requested condition or commitment relating to acquisition of tenancies)
  • Dilworth Trust Board (specific amendments to conditions proposed)
  • Chapman Tripp (specific amendments proposed)
  • Precinct Properties (specific amendments proposed)
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral and Presbytery
  • Bear Park (specific noise and traffic issues raised)
  • Body Corporate 184960 and Tenham Investments
  • Other directly affected submitters who not indicated acceptance of the current proposals.

o) A specific response to any proposals advanced by those parties at the hearing.
p) An outline of a Business Disruption Management Plan, including measures to assess temporary business disruption and resulting economic loss. An outline of measures which will or may, be adopted to minimise business disruption and any specific standards or objectives relating to that.
q) An outline of the process for input from affected businesses and for dispute resolution (whether by AC officers or otherwise).
r) An outline of measures (if any) to provide for compensation for any significant loss of business which cannot be addressed under the Public Works Act provisions.
s) If such measures are not to be provided, legal submissions to support that approach.

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  1. Annoying Foodstuffs are causing trouble. Access to their metro supermarket is off Swanson St and clearly preserved.
    They really should be desperately reserving space for supermarket next to station entrance.
    Best place would be in the basement or 1st floor of the proposed Elliott Tower, which will be the major Queen St entrance if it goes ahead.

  2. A lot of this is a case of short term pain=long term gain. Although businesses may lose some customers while construction is being carried out, when CRL is complete it will fill the areas surrounding the station with people, almost definitely increasing the number of customers using nearby businesses.

    1. People rarely submit in favour. A lot of the surrounding property owners will love this, but few will have supported it – even fewer of these will have actually gone to the hearings simply to state “Yes, we want it, get on with it”. Such hearings always centre around opposition, even when a project is much-desired. So we’ll just have to remember that.

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