There have been two appeals against the consent for Skypath. They are from the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) and the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society (NPHPS) – a group set up in December last year just to oppose Skypath. Both parties want the entire decision overturned with the NRA also seeking costs.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

The reasons for the appeal by the NRA are:

  • The Appellant is not opposed in principle to the concept of Skypath.
  • The Appellant’s principal concern with the Application relates to the effects on the environment and policy conflicts caused by the location of the northern landing structure at Northcote Point and its reasons for appeal are related principally to these issues.
  • The Respondent had no jurisdiction to approve the Application because it was for a wholly non-complying activity and failed to pass either of the threshold tests in s 104D(1)(a) and (b) to be considered for approval under ss 104 and 104B of the Act In particular, in relation to the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath:
    • will have adverse effects on the environment, namely traffic, transportation and parking effects, privacy, safety and security effects, visual effects and amenity effects, arising both from the built form and location of the landing structure and from the movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians that would utilise it, that will be significantly more than minor;
    • is, as a consequence of those effects and the intensive, non-residential nature of the activity at this residentially zoned location that neither intends nor permits large scale commercial operations like Skypath, contrary to the objectives and policies of the relevant plan and proposed plan which explicitly protect the character, heritage and amenity values of this area.
  • Even if the Respondent had jurisdiction to consider the Application under ss 104 and 104B of the Act (which is denied), the decision fails to promote the sustainable management purpose of the Act. In particular:
    • At the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath will have significant adverse effects on the environment (as noted above) that are unable to be avoided, remedied or mitigated (even if undertaken in accordance with the conditions of consent imposed by the Respondent);
    • These adverse effects cannot lawfully be ignored or diminished by offsetting or balancing them against the alleged positive effects of the Application; that is to disregard the environmental bottom-line enshrined in s 5(2)(c) of the Act;
    • The claimed positive benefit of Skypath — the enabling of pedestrian and cycle access (commuter and tourist) from Auckland City to the North Shore (and vice versa) — is technically unsubstantiated: the design of the Skypath corridor is inadequate in respect of width, gradient, height and access ramp curvature to permit dual (non-separated) usage;
    • The effects of Skypath at the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), in particular, render it contrary to (as above), or, at least, wholly inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the plan and proposed plan applying at that location.
  • Accordingly, the Respondent, having wrongly concluded that it had jurisdiction to consider approving the Application under s 104D of the Act, failed lawfully and properly to exercise the discretion in s 104B so as to achieve the purpose of the Act.

And for the NPHPS they say

The reasons for the appeal are that the Commissioners were wrong in their decision. The resource consent should have been declined because:

  • it is likely to result in significant adverse effects on the environment, including:
    • adverse noise effects from the construction and ongoing use of the pathway and the Northcote Point area;
    • adverse traffic effects caused by an increase in traffic using the Northcote Point area;
    • adverse safety and security effects due to the large number of expected patrons using the pathway and accessing Northcote point;
    • adverse privacy effects on nearby residential properties from the large number of patrons expected to use the pathway and access Northcote Point;
    • adverse visual effects from the design and location of the pathway, including the northern landing and its associated facilities; and  adverse amenity and heritage effects due to a significant change to the character and amenity of the Northcote Point area and increased use and commercialisation of the area.
  • it does not adequately avoid, remedy or mitigate the potential adverse effects of the proposed activities on the environment;
  • the effects of the application on Northcote Point were not adequately assessed, including heritage effects;
  • it is contrary to and inconsistent with the objectives, policies and other provisions of the relevant planning instruments, including but not limited to the Auckland Council District Plan (North Shore City Section) and the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan;
  • it is inconsistent with the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • it does not represent good resource management practice;  it is for a proposal, the nature and scale of which is inappropriate in the Northcote Point area; and
  • it is for a proposal that will create a precedent for commercial activities in the residential zones of the Northcote Point area near the northern landing

At this stage there is no word from the Skypath team about these appeals, as they were only received late on Friday I imagine it will take them a few days to go through the details and work out just how they will respond.

Lastly also as it was the council who approved the project, this appeal will end up costing ratepayers to defend – so much for being concerned about how much it costs ratepayers.

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185 comments

  1. We are embarrassed and apologise for the spurious and unecessary delay and cost the appeals will incur on behalf of the majority of Northcote Point residents who support the Skypath

    1. Good onya Brendan. Good to see you involved. Go the Barry-Walsh’s! Trust you and the family are well. Give my regards to Sean, Justin and Diedre. Rob(ert) Mayo.

      1. Hi Robert, will do and good to hear from you especially in support for such a great transport project. Hopefully you will be able to drop by home for a waterbottle fill after crossing the Bridge on foot or bike before we both retire.

    2. The majority of Northcote point residents are against Skypath. This is statistical fact as based on the resource consent submissions.

      1. I feel very sorry for the majority of Northcote residents. It’s really unsatisfactory that a local residents’ body has been taken over by a self-serving, devious and deluded clique.

        Though I can imagine why normal people might want to run a mile from people spouting the obnoxious views we have seen and heard in the media that claim to represent Northcote.

        Presumably the NRA receives ratepayers money from the Local Board, like most residents’ bodies? Does the NRA use that money to support its misrepresentation of Northcote residents?

        In this particular case, causing substantial sums of general ratepayers funds to be spent on pointless legal fees, and achieving nothing but delaying SkyPath.

        It would be need very thick skin but it would be great if lots of Northcote Residents either join the NRA in numbers and vote down the charlatans and pariahs who pretend to represent them, or else start up an alternative and put out a more balanced, more representative collective voice at every opportunity.

        1. You first idea has merit, after all, if the NRA committee and/or chair is changed, then presumably the appeal can be stopped by the new committee?

          Hmm, a simple door knock campaign in Northcote might work wonders for the NRA membership methinks.

          1. That’s a little unfair to the National Rifle Association. They fight hard against NIMBYism in the US. Lots of cities try to zone gun shops and shooting ranges out of existence, and the NRA works hard to make sure there are still places for both to set up.

      2. “Majority” Really?

        I recall a diagram AC published as part of the hearings evidence showing all those in Northcote point properties who had residents who submitted against Skypath, With an X in each property showing on a map for where an submitting opponent lived.
        It certainly had some X’s where the opponents were, some had 2 or 3 X’s. Wouldn’t say it was even more than 1/4 at best of all properties though, hardly a majority.

        Or do you reckon more people than that are opposed, than those who actually submitted?
        Could be, but then their concern is obviously not so great that they did, you know, submit (or they, heaven forbid, submitted FOR Skypath) – so I’d call those missings ‘X’s the silent camp at best.

        Still not a majority.

      3. I’m a casual reader who grew up in Christchurch and lives in Sydney, so I don’t have any vested interests beyond thinking it was absurd that it was impossible to walk or cycle across the bridge ever since I first visited Auckland as a teenager many years ago.

        I recalled the submission results that were posted on this blog a while ago and had the feeling the majority of residents of Northcote Point did not submit.

        A quick count of premises yielded:
        * 25 premises submitted against
        * 7 premises submitted in favour
        * 56 premises did not submit (I added the property that had one submission each way to this group)

        That is, the number of premises who did not submit outnumbered the number of premises submitted against by two to one. These are the people who don’t have a strong opinion–they are not motivated to advocate for it but, on the other hand, it won’t affect them significantly if it goes ahead. Given the publicity—no doubt they have also been canvassed by the NRA—they have had plenty of opportunity to submit an objection, so it is clear that don’t have any major problems with the proposal.

        Therefore to suggest the majority of Northcote Point residents are against the Skypath is misleading.

        I would love to know what the people who did not submit think about the costs of the legal action though.

        1. Not to mention that Northcote point has hundreds of households that weren’t on that map, as the suburb extends all of the way back to Onewa Road. Taking the entire suburb, the majority of submitters were in favour!

      4. I don’t see how how you can claim “The majority of Northcote point residents are against Skypath. This is statistical fact as based on the resource consent submissions.”

        According to Statistics NZ, there were 2403 people in Northcote Point in 2013.

        I found 109 submissions in favour of Skypath (4.54% of residents) and 106 submissions opposed to Skypath (4.41% of residents), which means that majority of residents (91.05%) did not submit.

        Of those that did submit, 50.7% were in favour (this would be a majority), 49.3% were opposed (this would be a minority).

  2. If only the MOT was aboard and compulsory purchased the most effected properties like they would if it were a project for motor vehicles. Might even get a more direct roure through those properties for the landing to use.

  3. Well hopefully these appeals will be decided in short order, on points of law, by mediation and without need for a court case or relitigating the whole hearing again

    If NRA (or NPHPS) lose the case then presumably AC will ask for costs to be awarded, and no doubt this would bankrupt these societies if so awarded, hence why the appeals come from these societies not individuals to effectively firewall off that possibility from affecting the rich folks bankrolling the appeals [they’d likely have Limited Liability companies doing the actual funding of the society as well to even further isolate them from the possibility].

    Whether costs are awarded to any party depends I guess on how relevant the points of law evidence is and how they present it to justify their appeals. And how they go about the mediation process before trial.
    [if they don’t play ball during mediation, then AC can rightly say that their costs were increased by the other parties, so can seek those costs as a result].

    However, courts often don’t award costs even when parties seek it.And its usually a separate “case” after the initial appeal so gets less press when its heard.

    And of course, if these societies don’t like the result they could appeal up the chain. As could AC.
    More likely in that case would be cheaper to re-apply for another consent, with modified design to lock that off.

    All up no chance of a Skypath for at least 2 years. And these guys are just delaying the inevitable.

    If they win it doesn’t bode well for the UP and intensification as that means that small groups of NIMBYs can hold the rest of Auckland to ransom.

    1. Does anyone know how many members the NRA and NPHPS have? From my experience of a residence association, there are only a small number of members and an even smaller number who are active, and decide everything. Yet their name implies that they represent the whole area.

          1. Good point – so only 2, 3, 5a, 7, 7a, 16 and 25 Princes St.

            Interesting that Local Resident thinks that majority of Northcote point residents oppose Skypath, when NPHPS couldn’t even get a majority of houses on Princes St south of Alma to join up initially.

          2. And Local Resident actually resides in the UK. Oxfordshire is his local residence. An absentee property owner who just won’t be able to sleep at night because of the thought of someone walking or cycling past the long driveway to his holiday house, poor sausage.

    2. Is this accurate. No build beginning for 2 years due to this challenge? Is that a realistic or a worst-case scenario? I say start the build on the assumption the appeal will be thrown out. Time wasters.

      1. Council can’t issue permits without the consent being valid – the “clock stops” while the appeals are underway.
        Doing otherwise would be seen as contempt of the court process by AC and would be subject of a court injunction by NRA/NPHPS as well..

        Given how much vested interest and money these guys have behind them (and how desperate they are for *their* rights to prevail over all others rights), they will take it to the highest courts possible while they keep losing.

        Each trip to the court will take many months, due to each side filing its statements etc, then pre-trial mediation, then a court case, then the judge makes a ruling some months later with post trial mediation on some points possible as well before a final ruling.
        Then the appeal window opens, and so it goes, until the last appeal is heard and final judgement made.

        Sound like a quick process to you?

        Took the Volcanic Cones society and Stonefields developers well over 2 years to get a ruling [100% in the volcanic Cones society’s favour] after the original rulings by the Environment court were appealed by the Stonefields developer.

        Note even once the consent is issued, a lot of downstream work remains before the Skypath can be built and open. it has for instance to get a license to occupy the bridge from NZTA, a right to construct, needs to complete construction management plans and get council ok for the funding/business case.

        1. Clearly some of this work can be done in parallel with the proceeding appeals. Anything to inject some pace to conteract these interminable delays. Perhaps we should have a sweepstake on when the first pedestrian / cycle will cross the bridge. Under or over 5 years from now?

          1. If anything the NRA and/or HPHPS will be the slow coaches here, because they will probably be less lawyered up than AC will be and have no real interest in a quick outcome.

            I don’t know if both the appeals will be heard together or separately, probably AC [as defendant] will ask for both to progress contemporaneously even if they’re not heard together.

            However, even when all parties to the appeals are ready to proceed, the judge may not be – its a common situation is that a judge allocated to the case gets held up from other cases and can’t hear this one, or once he has started on it, they can have situations where the judge or one or other parties QC’s is not available.

            These things are like herding cats, and to be honest NRA/NPHPS have no real interest in speeding things up do they because if they lose they’d stand a good chance of (another) consent application following along.
            So leaving this one in limbo for longer and longer suits them to a T.

            However, AC may ask the court for surety of costs (meaning NRA/NPHPS need to stump up a portion of AC costs to a lawyers trust fund in case they lose), which may knock them out at the first hurdle.
            AC won’t be asked for that as they can’t “simply go broke” like NRA or NPHPS can to avoid paying costs should they lose. Which is what other societies like these guys are have done before.

        2. How was it that the port wharf extensions were actually being built then? They didnt stop building till they lost the court case.

          1. Because the POAL consent had been legally granted, but the opponents (belatedly) asked for a Judicial Review of the consenting process – which meant POAL was able to continue up to the time of the ruling being handed down that it was unlawfully granted consent.

            While these twocases both seem at odds with each other, in both cases the “status quo” has/will prevail until the courts rule otherwise.

            For POALs case, they had a consent so could continue to use it, for Skypath, they don’t (yet) have a consent and so can’t proceed.

            While the commissioners ruled in favour of Skypath, the consent for Skypath could not actually be issued until after the appeals period had ended with no appeals being filed.
            As noted above, that situation didn’t come to pass. Appeals were lodged – no Skypath anytime soon.

  4. Matt you crack me up. It’s called due process and one you have often used to get your points across too. Cost to ratepayers? Serious? Every suggested change with pro and anti camps usually has a ‘cost to ratepayers’. The ‘cost’ of a democratic society. What process would you prefer that included fairness? How about the ‘costs’ and waste incurred in the anti-port charade?

    1. Except Ricardo,

      One of the main issues that NRA and co have with Skypath deep down, is that council is “bankrolling” the Skypath to the tune of $2m. This really sticks in their collective craws.
      Ignoring that this only can occur as a last resort in some special circumstances, and only if they occur on a Frosty Friday, on an odd numbered month, with a blue moon occurring and where the year is evenly divisible by 37 and 73.

      Yet these guys are keen to see council spend nearly as much defending its processes for granting a fully notified, non-complying resource consent.

      Yes it is democracy, but can’t help seeing the irony on them wasting the councils/rate payers money all the while proclaiming at the same time how wasteful the council is with ratepayers money.

      As for the POAL farago, considering that both AC and POAL got their asses legally kicked by the courts over that particular (non notified) consent process, it was fair enough spending.

      If council had been wiser in hindsight they might have got POAL the same result or similar result, in the same timeframe via a more legal process of notified consents.

    2. Yes, as Greg points out, it’s not about opposing due process, after all I fully expected them to appeal. It’s that this group made a point of trying to say it was going to be costly for ratepayers so we shouldn’t do it and now here they are imposing costs on the ratepayer. Also the POAL decision was something completely different. For starters the consent they got was through a process that had no public input when it should have had. This is quite different from Skypath which was public from the beginning – in hindsight the Skypath team were wise to push for it to be public

      1. I don’t know that that is strictly hypocrisy though. Ostensibly they think that they will be saving the ratepayer money if they manage to prevent SkyPath.

        1. Its total BS, they don’t care about “ratepayers” all they care about is *their* rights have to trump everyone elses rights. they simply use the “cost to ratepayers” angle as a convenient hook for their meritless arguments.
          Its a totally cynical exercise.

      2. The cost to rate payers is likely to be significant if the patronage figures are not achieved. As Barbara Cuthbertson of Cycle Action Auckland said the patronage would NEVER happen (and that is only year 1 figures), opposing Skypath is possibly much cheaper for rate payers than if it is built

        1. Where is the evidence of the statement “The cost to rate payers is likely to be significant if the patronage figures are not achieved”.

          Council has publicly stated as being on the hook for at most $2m should Skypath completely fail.
          Thats not significant money, its the rounding error in AC’s annual IT budget.

          And the annual rates take on you and your Northcote point residents places right?

        2. If you can’t even get the name of the person you’re quoting right, why should we listen to you – Barbara Cuthbert’s comment was that she did not believe the claims from people like YOU that thousands of people would DRIVE to Northcote Point to get onto SkyPath. Some hearsay and “hearing what you like to hear” later, and you now have this rumour spread by you that she said she doesn’t believe the patronage.

          1. Sorry Darenius but facts are facts and if you listen to this radio NZ clip http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201757556 you can clearly hear Barbera Cuthbert say “I don’t ever invisage a situation where 8000 people will be decending upon Northcote point – NEVER”. The patronage report, the figures the rate payers are underwriting, states over 8000 people per day every saturday and sunday in summer in year one. If Barbera Cuthbert says it will ‘NEVER’ happen then she clearly does not believe the patronage figures.

          2. Hi local resident. I think that what Barbara is referring to in that clip is people driving to Northcote Point. Not users.

          3. Correct, Barb is refuting the idea that 8,000 people would ever go to Northcote point to use the path in one day. She’s not saying that there won’t be 8,000 skypath users a day, just that they aren’t going to descend on Northcote Point to do so. Hence her discussion of the fact the path is to be part of a network.

  5. ” But the great unwashed will be tromping past OUR backyards! We’ll have to SEE them – and they might see US! Please, won’t someone think of the children!” etc predictable etc

  6. So, a bike path is a “large scale, commercial operation” ? Perhaps you should have put in an application for an abattoir or a fish-finger processing plant – which might well be described as both large, and commercial. And here am I think ing that actually, what you are mostly going to get, is people, and bicycles.

    1. They conveniently ignore the fact by arguing against “commercial operations” that the existing bridge is chock full of commercial operations – power, water & gas transportation, and telecommunications links, as well as bungy jumping, and that the bridge started life as a fully commercial operation with tolls until 1984.

      And also they overlook that if the council (or the Government) fully funded Skypath as it would say a road crossing, it would be non-commercial and free – but would then add to their rates or tax bill something they also argue about.

  7. The NRA must be concerned that the sound of cyclists whooshing by and pedalling and pedestrians chatting will drown out the droning and banging of cars whizzing past on the bridge.

    Don’t they realise it will probably increase the amenity and connectivity of the area, and add to their property value. It will be walking distance to town.

    1. Except those backing and running the NRA et al *know* that their property prices will be even higher if they *don’t* have that connectivity in place – it makes Stokes Point more exclusive you see.

  8. It is in a way heartening our system allows even such absurd objections to be entertained, however they should be swiftly and firmly dismissed for the dizzying levels of unreality they attempt to appeal to.

    Especially as both organisations are just fraudulent proxies for a handful of crazies to try to legitimise their narcissistic and crackpot worldview.

    1. “both organisations are just fraudulent proxies for a handful of crazies to try to legitimise their narcissistic and crackpot worldview”

      Preach it brother.

  9. Run the Skypath route all the way to Takapuna if Northcote Pt doesn’t want it. This is a more progressive area just primed for more development.
    And where should it end? A battle is raging in Takapuna about the fate of the current camping ground. Here the local residents are strongly in support of an alternative use being a Yachting HQ with public space. How bizarre you might think – the neighbours allowing the great unwashed to congregate on their doorstep. But all is not as it seems! The camping ground represents some of the most expensive land in Takapuna and the best economic use would be to put high rise apartments on it just like the adjacent Mon Desir site. But the impact on the local residents would be huge with maybe 1 or 2 mill wiped from their property value along with the view. So unfortunately the best alternative for them is to have more public space where the maximum building height is likely to be a bbq.
    I imagine at this point many of you are shedding a tear for the impingement by the unwashed on the neighbourhood. However the masterstroke of this plain is that this public space that the locals say is so desperately needed as public space is likely to have very limited appeal. While the target market might be unwashed they may not necessarily be stupid and the appeal of sitting near a beach that actually isn’t a beach because it is a rock outcrop is likely to be limited.
    So stick 5 or 600 bike parks here. It will be a great location. You can bike from the city to the beach. Alternatively you are near the vibrant town centre. Or on to Devonport and the ferry home.
    Did anyone suggest returning home on a light metro system?
    Yes, forget Northcote Pt and run it straight to Takapuna.

    1. “Run the Skypath route all the way to Takapuna if Northcote Pt doesn’t want it. This is a more progressive area just primed for more development”

      Its not that Northcote / Northcote Point doesnt want it. It is a handful of households that dont want it. Running it to Takapuna without access to the western NS would cut off a massive catchment. So running it to Takapuna is a great idea, but not without access at Northcote.

        1. Luke, I was born at 5 Queen Street Northcote Point and I oppose the project. How native are the 10’000 Gen Zero supporters?

          1. No Greg, it is an entirely reasonable rebuttal to the claim that opposition comes from people that are not native to Northcote point. I am sure you understand that by reading the thread.

          2. I was one of those 10,000 supporters and I spent the first 27 years of my life living in Northcote point and Northcote. I spent my university years wishing there was pedestrian access across the bridge. The only thing this debacle of opposition has taught me is that no matter how good a proposal is, old people will fight for the status quo. I only hope that when i’m in my 40s+ I wont be so out of touch. Perhaps a 2km walk is beyond your abilities at this stage in life, but why oppose the rights of those who can still make the journey?

            When you were in your 20s would you have opposed this pedestrian link? Maybe back then there was nothing in town worth travelling to. Would you have opposed the bridge entirely had you been living on the point in the 1950s?

            If there are specific objections you have with the proposal, why not focus on those instead of making yourself sound like a lunatic by trying to stop the whole thing?

          3. I would love to have this right next to my house. I would be out campaigning for it.

            I tell you what, calculate how much you think the SkyPath will reduce the value of your home by and I will buy it off you with half that discount.

            I will make a killing because after the SkyPath is built it will only increase house prices in that area. Real estate agents are already marketing houses based on their proximity to SkyPath.

  10. Selfish is the only word for it – they want to live within a couple of kilometres of Auckland city yet have it ‘preserved’ as some small township like its in the middle of nowhere. Get over yourselves, get a life or move somewhere else.

    1. People who grew up in Northcote can’t wait for this link, the NRA was in support of it back in the 70s, its been proposed again and again and supported by Northcoters since the early days of Auckland. These NIMBY’s are new additions to the neighbourhood who somehow thought the area would be a culdesac forever.

      1. Luke, without wishing to flame this conversation, I was born at 5 Queen Street Northcote Point. You could not argue I am a new addition to the neighbourhood! The council published a demographic showing support and opposition to the Skypath resource consent (you could find it if you look) and it was abundantly clear that the majority of residents living on Northcote point (Onewa Road South) opposed the project. Skypath and the RC commision also have a letter from the residents of Stokes Point (Alma street south), a group of more than a handful that 100% opposed Skypath.
        Whilst I respect your opinion supporting the project you will not have to live with the negative consequences and there will be many for the local residents. You can call me a NIMBY but from my perspective you are just like everyone that wants an airport, just not next to them. I firmly believe that the supporters and the objectors should allow the system to decide the outcome and leave the publicity stunts (Gen Zero) out of this.
        Personally I think Skypath should have engaged with the residents in a more sympathetic way. Yes they won the media war but alienating the residents was arrogant and stupid. The solution should be to have Skypaths northern landing point away from residential housing, either at the wharf or bottom of Onewa.

        1. Yes, lets let the system decide the outcome.

          And, guess what, the system has already ruled, the independent commissioners looked and listened, then unreservedly said “yes” to Skypath after looking at all the evidence from both sides, including yours.

          So you and your fellow NRA supporters are now appealing the process. As is your right, but yet you continue to insist that your rights as locals must always prevail over the rights of the rest of Auckland no matter what?

          You say that no one else but a handful of Aucklanders (i.e. your neighbours) will have to bear the brunt of the effects, yet an awful lot of the people here on this blog (and in Auckland) would give their right eyes to have the very problem you say you will have.
          Proximity to a major cycling and walking facility, which is simultaneously, going to be: a dismal failure from too little patronage and also a massive runaway success from hoardes of people using it.

          Your rights to be able to object to the Northcote point of today, practically ended once the bridge route was approved back in the ’50s.
          Trying to relitigate that decision now via the appeal courts is not really going to do much except piss the rest of the city off.

        2. I think it should have multiple exits. It should have an exit right at 1 Queen St to service Northcote Pt, Northcote, Birkenhead, Glenfield, etc. It should also continue and have exits to reach Oneopoto, central northcote and all the way to Takapuna. It also should be open 24/7. On the south side it should have direct links up to St Mary’s Bay, Ponsonby as well is around the waterfront to town. I am not a fan of the switch backs and lack of direct desire lines at the exits, but when people are trying to fight against the entire project and its only volunteers and a tight budget getting it to happen you take what you can get

          The opposition is never going to succeed in stopping this. It is actually insane that you think you can. All you are doing is losing your chance to be taken seriously if you have genuine specific concerns over aspects of the design. This project should be fully funded by the taxpayer and it should have a budget a hell of a lot higher than the bullshit 20million they’ve been throwing around. And before you accuse of me of being a crazy lefty free with other peoples money – I am pretty right wing and think my rates are awefully low. I would happily pay a few hundred more per year if it went to the skypath.

          1. $3.10 annual rates? Crikey! I don’t even live in Auckland – and I’d be happy to pay 10 times that – maybe 100 times that if that would help the Skypath go ahead. It sounds fantastic – and I’m delighted to hear it is going ahead. As soon as it is built I will cycle there – and then hopefully get off and go to the Northcote Tavern. I presume they want the extra business? Or will they turn away anyone with spoked wheels, or on foot. Or do they want me not to go there? I’m so confused. Perhaps I will stop in to see the nice local resident at 5 Queen Street Northcote Point and say hello. He sounds like a nice chap who will throw out the welcome mat. Cheerio!

    2. Jimbo, please remember they paid a lot of money to live where they are, it was not given to them. Accusing the majority of Northcote Point residents of being selfish is disingenuous.

        1. No but in some cases, perhaps like this one, it gives you ways to get access to more *legal* rights than others.

      1. Im sorry but the effort put into stopping this project is just ridiculous. How many residents of northcote point drive across the harbour bridge at some point? Why can’t these people accept that other people want to cycle or walk across the bridge? The lack of empathy shown by some of the residents of northcote point towards other residents of the city is just astounding. You dont have to want to use skypath to agree that its a reasonable project which should be allowed to proceed. Its not a goddam airport. Its a friggin glorified footpath. And it wil add to your property values, even if you dont like it or use it. My level of sympathy for your cause is zero. P.s. responsibility fot constructive engagement runs both ways. This project has been in the works for years, why have you not been out there proposing alternatives earlier in the process? Transportblog welcomes guest posts, for example.

      2. You’re just selfish, or at best dim witted. I paid plenty of money to live where I live, but did me and my neighbours band together to fight the Grafton gully cycleway when it’s southern landing was built 20m from my living room? Of course not, we welcomed it with open arms. Why? Because it is a neighbourhood asset we can now use whenever we like, and because *it has increased the value and appeal of my neighbourhood*.

        1. Yep. That’s what I meant by living in a community. Nimbyism is seriously impacting on the development of this city.

      3. They paid far less money than they would if they’d bought a house in other comparable areas, mainly because THERE’S A FLIPPING MASSIVE GREAT NOISY MOTORWAY BRIDGE THERE. Whenever I’ve driven visitors around these streets under the bridge, they laugh. It seems crazy that anyone would want to live there. This is like people that live next to a sewage works and abattoir protesting someone who wants to set up a hot dog stand, because of the smell.

      4. Yes they probably paid a lot of money for their house, but they never bought the street or the footpaths or the harbour bridge, they belong to all of us.
        You are making out as if they are putting a nuclear power plant next door – this is just a cycle path for goodness sakes.

      5. If you were born at 5 Queen Street Northcote Point it doesn’t sound like you paid very much at all to live there. Or did your parents charge you rent from birth?

  11. I can hear the sound of those noisy cyclists breathing, creating a nuisance, noisier than the thousands of vehicles a day going over the bridge. And it might cost ratepayers 5% of the total project cost if it fails and no-one uses it!
    My street carparks will go in this suburb built before the car, and the character villas we bought because they didn’t have ugly suburban garages. But we need that public street to park our private cars, it’s really our property!

  12. costs should be claimed against the NRA etc as well as seeking discovery (that they have the funds to cover costs of their challenge fails and costs are awarded.)

  13. NRA starts off by saying they are not opposed to the sky path concept- just the landing arrangements- so saying the residents aren’t thinking about other Aucklanders wanting to walk and bike across the bridge isn’t really fair. I also think there is a lot of cyber bullying of the residents of this area going on which isn’t really necessary. Having the path carry on all the way to takapuna is actually quite a good idea and would likely settle many of their concerns as well as being great for the rest of the shore and fitting the infrastructure. Saying that it wouldn’t serve the western North Shore is forgetting that there is a preexisting underpass that could be used to link from the seaward (Takapuna) side to Northcote Point- where the tolls used to be. By joining Northcote point at this point it would bypass the problematic ‘skinny’ part of the area.

    1. The skypath should continue to takapuna. Why dont the opposition residents fight against the landing location instead of the whole project. If they had unified opposition to a specific aspect and presented an alternative they might get somewhere.

      I think the skypath should continue to Takapuna, but it is worth noting that using the motorway underpass at Tennyson St is not better for most people than getting off at 1 Queen St. Cycling is a lot like sailing or snowboarding. It is easy to go down hill and hard to go up hill. Height is free energy, and maintaining your height until you need it is a good strategy. Dont give away height for no reason. The slog up Onewa from the bottom is not as desirable as the route along Queen St, down Clarence, up Church St, and then joining Queen St 20m higher than at the base. For those going to central northcote, travelling all the way along Queen and crossing Onewa into Lake is still better than starting at the bottom of Onewa. Even saving 10m of vertical rise might make one route worthwhile.

      1. This would be why there is a completely separate project called SeaPath that aims to connect SkyPath with Takapuna. But it will be of only limited value until SkyPath is actually built first.

    2. “Saying that it wouldn’t serve the western North Shore is forgetting that there is a preexisting underpass that could be used to link from the seaward (Takapuna) side to Northcote Point- where the tolls used to be. By joining Northcote point at this point it would bypass the problematic ‘skinny’ part of the area.”

      Not necessarily bad idea but didn’t the NRA not want a bus stop here by the motorway? With similar reasons as for skypath (parking)? I somehow doubt it would appease the locals, but if it did, let’s knock up the busway station while we are at it.

      1. Pure NIMBY. Oh, it’s not ok to have the bridge footpath come out near my house, but its perfectly ok to take it further to it comes out by the houses at the end of the underpass.

      2. If they thought the proposed busway station was an eyesore (which was the main opposition) what would they think of the air ventilation stacks required by any motor vehicle oriented under harbour tunnel?

        1. Even if you’re a complete misanthrope, how would anyone think a busway station is uglier than a barren ex-toll plaza? It’s not exactly the Cinque Terre as it is – it’s a mysteriously large shoulder on a motorway. I’d always assumed the locals had opposed it because they thought people would park-and-ride.

    3. Oh Victoria, if only we could show you some of the dialogue that has come from these people on SM. It makes anything mentioned here look like light hearted banter amongst mates.

    4. Victoria, yes connect to Seapath too but what about if someone wants to visit family/friends in Northcote point, or give business to the tavern by taking a trip there. Anyway I doubt that underpass is hardly suitable for lots of people

      1. the underpath is almost as wide as the skypath is proposed to be and with a bit of a grafiti clean up it would work just fine. I dont think its the answer, but it would work no worries as part of a cycle link to town from northcote.

        1. That underpass is about 2.5m wide and barely 2m high. It is also a tight tunnel, with concrete sides both sides and no view through. Hardly a comparison to a 4m wide, 2.3-2.5m high SkyPath with fresh air and views on one side…

  14. That’s a good point Victoria. Moderators, are we all playing the ball and not the man? I wouldn’t like us to appear like the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance with their absolute abuse of Len Brown.

  15. I have a simple solution, based on the fact that North Harbour is a giant sore on the face of Auckland – it has NEVER won a single National Provincial Championship and yet it contaminates our Blues…

    1. We stop Skypath
    2. We destroy the Harbour Bridge and the Greenhithe Bridge
    3. We let shore people live shore lives in their shore homes. No filthy Aucklanders cycling past their perfect Northcote homes.

  16. Can see where some of the residents are coming from, the Skypath is better for Aucklanders in general but probably worse for a lot of locals, it will become pretty busy on the weekends with people coming to walk over the bridge.

    1. And yes, the commissioners took all that into account when they heard the evidence and ruled for Skypath because they said the overall benefits are huge and the disbenefits/effects are all either mitigated “or less than minor.”

      Meaning, under the RMA, it has passed the “tests”.

    2. It is hardly convincing to claim that SkyPath will be ‘probably worse for locals’. A few sociopaths are quivering in dread at seeing other humans doesn’t count as evidence of a negative outcome. If nothing else their property values will rise as the suburb is functionally moved to a proximity to city comparable to St Mary’s Bay, and local amenity will almost certainly improve with the increase in high value pedestrian and big traffic.

  17. Now I don’t wish to offend possible recipients but would it would smooth the waters if some compensation was paid to the effected parties as occurs when a new motorway demolishes houses. There is some negative to the locals.

    1. A new motorway next door would decrease the value of a house. Adding a facility to easily walk or bike into the city will increase the value of a house. No compensation is required.

        1. Why on earth not? Increased foot traffic is great for security and community. Eyes on the street. Only paranoid misanthropes could be against that. My neighbourhood has experienced considerable increase in foot and bike traffic over the past decade and it is nothing but great; with it has come a more lively community, and more retail and hospo options in easy walking distance. A dead neighbourhood is just that: dead, everyone always in cars, isolated from each other. The very definition of what causes social ills such as suburban neurosis

          1. maybe i should rephrase: Due to the isolating nature of modern suburbs, many people are suspicious misanthropes who would not welcome an increase in foot traffic past their homes.

      1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “I can imagine an alternate world where the rest of Auckland are crying foul over their rates being spent on a cycle path for the North Shore!”

        Its an incredibly back to front world these NRA members live in.

    2. The value of their properties will go up. It is in no way comparable to a motorway.

      The houses there are already being marketed on the basis of proximity to SkyPath.

      The objections are a joke and one day people will look back and laugh at these sad grey people trying to stop this.

      1. Now that the political environment is different, are there any plans to build the station after all? With or without a busway extension from Akoranga to Onewa or further south?

  18. I doubt that the legal process will run as long as some fear. The initial phase will be initiated by the Environment Court itself seeking a mediated agreement – if all parties are agreeable. All parties includes not only the applicant and the Council (both defending the decision) and the two appellants but also any other submitters who register as section 274 parties within a month of the appeal being lodged. If agreement can be reached it will be signed off by an Environment Court judge. However, given the nature of this appeal mediation is very unlikely to succeed so the case is likely to fetch up in the Environment Court late this year or early in 2016 with a “de novo” hearing – i.e. evidence will need to be presented afresh by both the applicant and those submitters who choose to be parties to the appeal. Although this all takes time it should result in a final decision within a year. I cannot see how that decision could be subject to further appeal.

  19. Since the appellants are so concerned about costs to ratepayers, I think they would be thrilled to agree that acceptance of their appeals by the court should be contingent on the two organisations committing to make good on any cost awards following their probable defeat.

  20. Maybe we could save some money by scrapping the Northcote Pt ferry terminal that is no doubt delivering unwanted traffic to the area? This would decrease ongoing capital costs and subsidies. It would be a double benefit as we could then apply these savings to the SeaPath.

  21. In reading through this thread there are many postings with vitriol against Northcote Point residents who have dared raise concerns regarding probable negative impacts on the heritage zoned residential area where they live. While the Sky Path conceptually is a good idea, there clearly are going to be impacts in Northcote Point which is effectively a cul de sac residential area with limited access due to it being a peninsula. There is limited facility and capacity to cope with even a fraction of the anticipated patronage and related cars, buses etc.
    It is disingenuous to criticise these people who are going to be impacted just because it may be counter to your views. They have rights and their concerns are valid. It doesn’t do the Sky Path proponents any good to have such an antagonistic position. Just think for a moment what your reaction would be if thousands of people and their cars etc were unloaded outside your residential property.

    1. Well, since thousands of people are unloaded outside my house on a fairly regular basis, I would think: “oh, must be a game on at Eden Park”.

      Just because your house is residential, doesn’t mean that your entire suburb is somehow restricted to those few people who live there. There are other people walking and driving around, doing whatever they’re doing. Except for Northcote Point, people in Auckland seem to accept that.

      Everyone’s got a right to submit on notified RMA decisions, and to challenge them in court, but the council made the right decision first time. The objections that the NRA have are ridiculous, and while I wouldn’t deny anyone their day in court, if your views are ridiculous, they invite ridicule.

    2. Hugo you twice say the predicted problem is cars. Do you not get the irony then in opposing a car-free addition to the city because ‘cars are bad’? Are you lobbying for the closure of the ferry terminal because people drive there? Or, more rationally, the closure of the carpark there, that generates car movements? Not to mention the vast elephant in all this loaded and tendentious talk of ‘heritage suburb’: the bridge and attendant motorways?

      Aside from Stephen’s well made point that no one in any suburb in New Zealand can reasonably expect to have their streets closed to all but local residents, if there is a parking and driving problem anywhere it is best addressed with parking and driving measures; not the shutdown of alternatives to driving.

      These objections are not reasonable; but wrongheaded; founded on a mean-spirited and grasping misconception of the extension of private dominion over the public realm.

    3. Historically Northcote Point was not a cul de sac residential area. According to the NRA (see http://www.nra.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2013-heritage-festival-handout.pdf), Northcote Point was previously a major transport hub. Queen St was known as the Main Road North. Northcote Tavern served as a pivotal stopping point for travellers journeying north, providing food, accommodation and stabling. Before the bridge was build, thousands of commercial vehicles a day crossed the harbour by ferry.

      SkyPath will play a small part in helping transform Northcote Point from a “back water” (NRA’s words, not mine) back to its traditional levels of hustle and bustle.

      If NPHPS are really interested in Heritage Preservation, they should support the Sky Path to help restore this heritage suburb. Perhaps they should contact Erica Hannam for more information.

  22. Presumably the NRA will need to pay the bond to cover everyones costs if they lose before it actually proceeds to Environment Court?

    1. That should certainly be asked for. Otherwise the members will waste taxpayer money and then dissolve the society when they can’t pay costs.

      They should have to put some skin in the game and then maybe they wouldn’t be so blasé with public money.

  23. Patrick – I think you are trying to read things that I didn’t say. I noted that the issue was “patronage” and “thousands of people” but maybe it suits your position better if you twist this to be cars?
    The ferry terminals (presumably you mean at Northcote and Birkenhead) are not in the same category as the Sky Path for a number of reasons :
    – they are long established existing facilities and amenity impacts are accordingly established. – they do not have even a fraction of the anticipated patronage of the Sky Path. – there are established and allocated parking capacity at the ferry terminals unlike Sky Path
    As far as I’m aware, there has never been intent by Northcote Point residents to close streets to non-local residents – this appears to be another example of you creating a position that was never stated. As you are probably well aware, roads have different statuses and a local road does not have the same status as an arterial route. If there is over capacity and over use of a particular road, often speed calming measures are introduced – often to dissuade use. All I am saying is that a similar situation probably exists with Northcote Point where the capacity and facilities are incompatible with the anticipated volume of activity generated by Sky Path.
    In fact I agree with you that if there are parking and driving problems then it is best to address them with parking and driving measures – unfortunately this does not appear to have been done with the Northcote Point / Sky Path matter. Saying these issues can be mitigated is one thing – actually coming up with practical and feasible mitigation measures is an entirely different matter and one that (as far as I’m aware) hasn’t been addressed. You may well be wrong to consider that I am anti public transport. However, I do believe in a balanced view and if issues exist it is best to deal with them rather than just attack those who raise the issues.

    1. In my experience most cyclists, whether commuters, recreational or lycra-clad types, will probably NOT drive right up to the bridge on the Northcote side solely to ride over it. They are more likely to cycle from elsewhere. If they do drive to it and there is no parking then they simply park further away, 500m, a km, 5 km or leave the car at home. It’s no big deal because they have their bike! People bike because they like being out in the fresh air and exercising. It’s not like people going to the mall who have to park right near the entrance so they can walk as short a distance as possible.

      There will possibly be more demand from the city side, with tourists, and curious locals who might not even go right across, but rather just up to the highest point.

    2. The proposed mitigation for parking and driving issues is residents access restrictions and residents parking schemes, always has been the recommended fix by Skypath and council, and the Skypath hearing commissioners agreed with that proposal.

      These are not some new fangled untried technology either – other parts of Auckland have these like St Marys Bay across the harbour for instance and they do work, and are proven to work.

      So why do you say the parking and driving mitigation measures are infeasible and impractical?
      No one else says they are, especially residents in other parts of Auckland with them.

      Or are you saying that Northcote point is so special its needs a totally unique solution that parking schemes simply can’t deliver on?

      As for thousands or people being a problem, not really a problem if they cycle or walk to/from Northcote point, how is that a problem when they are doing so legally and using public roads to do so?

      If they all drive yes it could be – but then the residents access/parking schemes will stop them from doing so won’t it?

    3. You said above “if thousands of people and their cars etc”. So pretty clearly you were referring to cars.

      If cars are a problem, mitigate that problem with parking restrictions. That is nothing to do with a cycling project.

      Lots of concessions and changes were made to placate these organisations.

  24. The reports that I have read indicate that up to 39% of patronage of the Sky Path will arrive by driving. When you extrapolate this on anticipated patronage it is a lot of vehicles. If you further use the projections for the number that will access at the northern (Northcote) point then the volume of vehicles significantly exceeds the on-street capacity for the whole of Northcote Point (effectively from Onewa Road south). There was a report done that estimated that the on-street parking demand generated by Sky Path exceeded capacity by hundreds of cars. There is also no or little capacity for buses.

    St Marys Bay is significantly different to Northcote Point from a physical characteristic perspective. Northcote Point has only one main entry and exit point due to it being a peninsula. St Marys Bay has multiple points of access and exit. So yes – from what I can see Northcote Point is different and does have characteristics that probably mean that the traditional solutions may not be feasible.
    If it is found that the projections mentioned above are correct and there is a problem with inherent capacity, then it will detract from the attractiveness of the Sky Path. Such detraction will impact on patronage which will in turn detrimentally impact on the financial viability.
    Unfortunately it appears that a failure to properly consult with Northcote Point residents and comprehensively deal with the issues has led to the situation where the Environment Court appeal was initiated. Just ignoring a problem is often not the smartest solution.
    From a public transport perspective I would have thought it would have been smarter to work through solutions with effected parties rather than to half-heartedly deal with them and then chastise anyone who dares point out that there is a potential problem.

    1. A lot of consultation was done and changes were made to try and placate them.

      It wouldn’t matter what was done, they were determined to appeal even before the resource consent was put in.

      This isn’t a public transport project. It is a cycling project.

      If car parking is an issue then address the car parking issue. That is nothing to do with cycling.

      1. That is not true Goosoid. As a resident (which you are not) I know exactly what the engagement with Bevan and Skypath was and I know exactly what Skyapth and Bevans attitude towards the changes the residents wanted was – zero interest 🙁

        1. Comments noted and I do apologise to ‘Local Resident’, are you of Maori descent? but still fee that this should go ahead, – I also am a resident of Northcote Point.

        2. Zero?

          “significant changes in the landing and access design for both the Northern (Northcote Point) and Southern (Westhaven) access areas have been informed by the feedback and comments from key affected parties, including waterfront Auckland, Westhaven Marina Users’ Association, Northcote Residents’ Association, and other submitters.”
          http://www.skypath.org.nz/project-status/consultation/

          1. What he means is that the SkyPath team didn’t do exactly what the NRA told them to do. As wealthy members of high caste society they should not only be consulted but obeyed.

        3. “No final decision will be made until new designs for landings on both Northcote Pt and St Mary’s Bay sides are shown to residents.

          Designs for one of six, six-metre wide viewing bays – one for each pier along the Auckland Harbour Bridge – have also been released to the North Shore Times.

          Concerns from some residents on either side of the bridge about insufficient detail on the entry and exits saw SkyPath designers head back to the drawing board and designs for the landings will be released on December 19.”

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/9509321/Path-to-the-future

          1. Which landing was then redesigned again – cause the locals wanted it to point northwards, to discourage lingering (after it was first designed to point southwards to direct people to the reserve away from houses). So to say it was not changed in regards to resident’s complaints is a bit unfair – similar with the toilets (some people asking for there to be no toilets, others saying it has to have toilets), for some aspects you can never please everyone (especially if they really don’t want it to happen anyway).

    2. Hugo, again this ‘one way in and one way out’ idea only relates to vehicles, in as much as it is true at all. In fact, for the active modes SkyPath will clearly mitigate this problem. There just is absolutely no reasonable objection to SkyPath except the possibility that people might drive there in numbers. This is completely controllable with driving and parking controls; limit parking availability.

      And this is just special pleading; ‘We’re so special’. Everywhere is special, everywhere has unique characteristics, but nowhere is so special that people must be prevented from walking or cycling through that place on public streets. Don’t you agree?

      1. “one way in and one way out” – don’t you mean five ways in and three ways out?

        In: Stafford Rd, Church St, Queen St, Bruce St, Maritime Tce
        Out: Queen St, Bruce St, Maritime Tce

        1. Thats a bit disengenuous:

          While you could argue there are five roads in, there is really only three (Queen, Stafford, Maritime Tce). Maritime Tce has been a long running source of contention with numerous attempts over the years to stop people using it to access Northcote Pt.

          There are only two ways out (Queen and Maritime) and in this case it is only Queen St that takes the majority to the places they want to go and it is the one that gets congested everyday.

          Its hillarious that the skypath which could be the single most important thing to reduce this peak congestion on Queen St heading to Onewa every day is being opposed by those who think it will make traffic worse!! Truly the world is incredible that there are such people in it.

    3. It’s funny how so many people think it’s their right to park on the road outside their house, but not anyone else be it in a car or on foot/bike, and then drive into the central city without a thought, however, shout with anger when attempts are made to mitigate (or make people reconsider) the negative effects of their actions by e.g. increasing central city parking prices. Everywhere is unique to a degree and someone’s neighbourhood. If cars are the problem, and I think everyone agrees they are, then enabling choice through enabling cycling and walking is essential.

  25. Patrick – maybe you need to read the June 2014 Auckland Council report “Patronage Research for the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Project” (it is accessible on-line).

    For example, it projects a patronage of 781,000 in the first year – 606,000 of this will be recreational use and 175,000 will be commuter use. Of the recreational users 39% intend to arrive at a Sky Path entry point by car – that is 236,000 patrons arriving by car. Even with commuters, 23% intend to arrive by car.

    goosold – according to Auckland Council projections there is a significant public transport element and a significant pedestrian usage. Accordingly I do not understand why you consider it is not a public transport project and only a cycling project. In fact, the reality is that it may evolve into much more of a pedestrian use than cycle use. The carriageway is relatively narrow (a shared space of 4m) and this must accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists moving in two directions plus sightseers. It is likely with anticipated patronage growing to over 2,000,000 per year that congestion will mean that cyclists are unable to cycle without colliding with pedestrians and sightseers and will have to dismount and walk their bicycles over the Sky Path.

    1. More than a grain of salt required with those Hugo, surveys and modelling are almost always largely inaccurate. The only rational thing to do is to wait and see if there are any issues and respond accordingly. I have no idea how or in which direction those projections will be wrong but wrong they will be. This, like every other project in the city, simply requires some flexibility, open-mindedness, and the will to adjust in the light of how it is used. Panic, fearfulness and irrationality aren’t going to work.

      And this is not Public but Active Transport. There are no powered public vehicles on this route; only human powered movement- cycling and walking. And that of course is one of the things that is so great about it. This is quite directly not about cars, or buses, trains, and ferries.

      I have a friend in Narrowneck who rides his bike everyday to his office in Parnell, via the ferry. He is so looking forward to riding all the way via SeaPath and SkyPath. I fail to understand how a handful of residents on Princess St should have any view about his ability to do that. Or what that has to do with heritage. Northcote is no more heritage than Devonport and Parnell where he currently rides, even if riding a bike was somehow injurious to old villas.

      1. Patronange will be a fraction of this numbers. 10 -20 cyclists per day will ride to work. Only the odd nutter like your mate will do it, most people prefer the convenience of driving, no need to shower, no weather to contend with etc. Its going to be a great big fat white elephant.

        1. Ok, you’ve just described your habits and your silly belief that everyone is exactly like you. Well they ain’t, happily. You’ll have to try a little harder and bring some evidence if you are going to make definite claims about the future.

          Anyway the panic apparently is all about too many people using it; please try to make up your mind. Is bad because no one will use it or because everyone will?

          Or is it just change, and that’s scary?

        2. I cycle to work everyday even though traffic isn’t so bad for me. It takes 5 mins longer than driving. I don’t know about you, but I shower everyday anyway so how is that an inconvenience? The big issue for me is that if I drove I would save 10 mins per day but I would then have to go out and get 50 mins of cardio exercise 5 times a week. This means, on balance, I’m saving 40 mins per day and a gym membership.

          It’s often overlooked but I also have an extremely consistent trip by bike. I could commute in the worst traffic jam in history and it would be within 1 or 2 minutes standard deviation from the average. I find with other modes you can get snarled up in terrible traffic which makes it fairly unreliable.

          Your characterisation of people who choose to commute by bicycle is insulting.

        3. You mean like the Northern Busway and Britomart were going to be white elephants?

          Come down and look at the stacks of bikes on the Bayswater and Devonport ferries one morning – plus all the parked bikes. Even the 6.30am ferry is full of bikes.

          If even half of those people decided to use SkyPath it would be a success. Many of those cyclists come from further north and it will be faster and cheaper to take SkyPath.

          You have no idea what you are talking about. Many more people will start cycling when there are good cycling facilities, as countless cities all over the world have discovered.

    2. Hugo, delightful to see your comments here. Regarding your last point that cyclists are likely to have to “dismount and walk their bicycles over the Sky Path” – you’re not serious, are you? When was the last time you ever saw a cyclist get off their bike and push it?

      But from the figures you give – I just did a quick calc, on the 175,000 commuter cyclists alone, ignoring the 606,000 recreational users for now. If we assume that the 175,000 is halved (half in morning, half in evening) and only cycle during work days (ie 5 out of 7), and that the morning bike rush hour is 2 hours long, then my calcs are that there will be 1.42 bikes past every minute, ie 171 cyclists silently whizzing past between 7.30 and 9.30am. Probably, but not entirely, mostly going south in the morning and north in the afternoon – or is that an unreasonable assumption to make? But one and a half bikers per minute – that doesn’t seem too bad to me? Unlikely to cause traffic jams, I would have thought? The 606,000 recreational users will get spread out through the day – over the next few hours, at a similar rate. So…. i’m not anticipating any problems really. But good of you to raise your concerns.

    3. OK, I don’t know about the veracity of these figures offhand but let’s work with them. I would assume that many people driving will be coming in groups (e.g. families for a wander across the bridge), but I will conservatively assume only an occupancy of 1.5 people per car. Over 365 days the 236,000 works out to ~430 cars a day therefore. Let’s assume that they average a two-hour visit to use the bridge; maybe wander around the surrounding districts (some will be more, some less). Over a conservative 10-hour day-time period (bearing in mind it’s planned to be open 16 hrs) that means about a fifth of those cars are typically present at any given time. So that’s about… 90 cars who need to find a carpark somewhere either around Northcote or Westhaven or St Mary’s Bay or somewhere else reasonably convenient to bike from (and based on populations, you would expect most of that demand to be on the city side of the bridge). Granted, that’s an average and there will be peaks but, based on the available parking I see in the vicinity, it doesn’t strike me as Armageddon.

    4. All these people are not going to converge at the same time. Commuters will start from 6:30am to 8:30 and then go home 4:30pm to 6:30 pm. Recreational and pedestrians spread out during the day. The bulk of sightseers who come from the city side are only going to go as far as the middle high point then turn around to return, so won’t even bother the residents of Northcote at all. Quoting the total gross figures just gives the completely wrong picture of the likely reality.

  26. Rather than speculating, how about referring to some of the figures in the official reports. The reports state that the total on-street parking capacity in Northcote Point (the area south of Onewa Road) is 781 spaces. The weekend capacity requirement in the initial period generated by Sky Path users at the Northcote Point entrance peaks at 633 car park spaces (this will grow as patronage is projected to grow). Due to the heritage nature of the area there is often limited off-street parking and Council by-laws make retrospective on site garaging difficult. Accordingly, many local residents have no alternative but to park on-street (such as happens in areas like St Marys Bay, Freemans Bay, Ponsonby etc). I recollect that local residents on-street parking requirements was around 300 spaces. Added to this is the on-street capacity required by local businesses like the Bridgeway theatre, cafes etc. It doesn’t take an Einstein to work out that the Sky Path on-street parking requirements will cause significant capacity issues.

    1. Again; the only possible problem is a parking one. We agree, so lets prevent that by limiting parking for visitors. Bingo; no reason at all to try to stop this otherwise profoundly beneficial asset being brought to the people of Auckland by hardworking volunteers, and funded by its users. Remember what is at stake here, making our city a better place is endless ways and for everyone:

      “Walking is the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an old person wants to give up. Walking is the exercise that does not need a gym. It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, and the cosmetic that can’t be found in a chemist. It is the tranquilliser without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, and the holiday that does not cost a penny.

      What’s more, it does not pollute, consumes few natural resources and is highly efficient. Walking is convenient, it needs no special equipment, is self-regulating and inherently safe. Walking is as natural as breathing.”

      John Butcher, Founder Walk21, 1999

  27. I think you may have hit on one of the problems Patrick. There is clearly an issue under the current proposal with an anticipated five year weekend patronage of over 27,000 and 39% of recreational users anticipating arriving by car (interestingly 23% of weekday commuters intend to arrive by car). It appears with this extent of car users and the necessity to prove a viable business model, there is a reluctance to restrict Sky Path car arrival users. Unfortunately this reluctance exacerbates the Northcote Point car park issues and as far as I’m aware there has been no feasible mitigation measures put forward to address the situation.
    The other matter is the volume of people entering or exiting in a cul de sac on Northcote Point with physical constraints on the ability to provide adequate facilities to cater for them. Imagine what the entry and exit points would look like if they were designed in a green fields environment and then compare this to what exists at the Princess Street cul de sac. Trying to retrospectively shoehorn something into an environment it was never designed for is always going cause problems and I don’t believe the Sky Path proponents have properly dealt with this situation and accordingly the Environment Court appeals were inevitable.

    1. Oh, my. So much for well-informed comment. SkyPath has, from the start (i.e. in their reports BEFORE the hearing) said that during some days of summer, there will be more car parking demand than the local areas can handle. Thus, the *applicant* has asked for car parking controls around Westhaven Drive and Northcote, which are now part of the consent. But feel free to spread your interpretations of a hearing you obviously didn’t attend. Free country and all that.

    2. Hugo. Nonsense. Your panic and fret is needless exaggerated. Take a walk to calm down.

      For the 500th time; driving and parking issues can be dealt with with driving and parking measures. No need to sweat over projections. Wait and see and respond.

      Change is inevitable, driving and parking habits change constantly everywhere, and areas under pressure then respond with new control measures.

      Again the irony of opposing a walking and cycling route because of the negative externalities of our 60 history of total investment in driving amenity is surely not lost on you:

      This is a good thing; this is a step along the way to fixing the endless bad outcomes from auto-dependency.

        1. Hell no, like a residents parking scheme. Driving to walk or ride is silly and is not what this is for. It’s not a velodrome or a mountain biking course, it’s a piece of city infrastructure.

        2. Because parking generates driving; if the desire is to reduce the negatives caused by driving the key is to reduce parking. People will soon learn that there’s no point in driving to Northcote Point to gawk at a ramp then drive away again, even if some do when it’s new.

          1. From the applicantion’s traffic report:

            Possible mitigation measure: Build car parking / car park building – Provide significant number of new car parks (at either or both sides)

            Advantages
            Provides car parking for people wanting to
            drive to SkyPath
            Disadvantages
            Creates demand for even more car parking
            (unless very high numbers are provided) – by
            encouraging driving among SkyPath users,
            rather than encouraging use of other modes
            Creates significant extra driving in local
            streets, impacting on resident’s amenity and
            traffic delays
            Creates additional “car park searching”
            traffic and additional parking pressure on
            surrounding areas once full – rather than
            encourage use of other modes
            Significant extra (construction) cost –
            undermining the business case and
            subsidising car driving (yet if parking
            charges are set high enough to cover
            construction and operation costs, may not
            be taken up enough by users)
            Extra car parking / building likely to be
            unsightly and inappropriate for
            surroundings, opposed by residents

    3. So what if 27,000 drivers try to drive to Northcote point in year 5 – they will all each and every one soon learn there ain’t no parking for them there and never do it again (if they’re smart), if they’re really dumb they might try it on more than once but they’ll eventually feel the not welcome vibrations and go elsewhere to park.

      As for cul-de-sac, again big deal. Council can fix that easily by making that a residents only zone south of Alma St, that means if you’re not a resident you have no right to be there, you can’t park there, stop there, drive there.

      I think that will stop all but the few try hards who might want to disobey the rules – there will always be some clown willing to have a go, but a large fine and/or a tow away will soon fix that attitude I’m sure. And once word gets round you’d be surprised that people don’t bother even trying to drive or park on Northcote point.

      Mind you, that deal cuts both ways too – when *your* visitors come to town, you’d better make sure they park off road or they display a residents parking permit when they do park on the road – or they just might get treated as an interloper too. and get a big fine or a tow.

      So its not a free lunch – if you want protected parking – you have to play ball too.

    4. You know there is a chance that the Skypath appellants could find, if they pursue a “de novo” appeal, that the courts not only throw out their appeal but decide that the conditions imposed on the Skypath are unnecessarily onerous, and relax them. Leaving the NRA/NPHPS breathless, legless and penniless.

      Any appeal is not a guaranteed success, nor will things just go back at the current starting point as per the consent approved by the commissioners.

      When you sup with the devil, its best to have a long spoon, and an exit strategy.

  28. I live at Northcote Point and think that this would be a great thing – all over the world, and even in out little district this change – the house that all of you live in was once a farm, strawberry in fact, do you mind that you took this land for your house, and lots of others – no you just bought it and live in it – it is the world over, look at even Long Bay they are taking good farming land for housing, what is the difference to the bridge walk / cycle track, at least is over your heads, just like the bridge itself, and it hasnt fallen over – get in the feel of the present century, not the old ones, things do change for the best of the times, i.e. trains, buses, bridges, and motorways, all take up good space.
    Faye, Church Street. Northcote Point resident, living on pre existing farm land

  29. Actually Faye, I live on the site of a Maori settlement, there was life in NZ pre European invasion. It is hard to reconcile your referencing a time when Northcote was farmland while you are telling us to ‘get in the feel of the present century’

  30. As a recreational cyclist I personally wouldn’t drive right to the bridge just to ride over it. I would ride from Tamaki Drive, or perhaps come along the NW cycleway and ride across and turn around. A nice 5 or 10km ride. No parking hassles full stop.

    People in a neighbourhood make it vibrant. It’s what that gloomy area under the bridge needs, some life!

  31. At the resource consent hearings I gave presentations against the Skypath application but it doesn’t mean I am against cycling and walking. I would really welcome the opportunity to walk or cycle from my house to town but not based on the current Skypath design.

    Given that the problems of the Northcote Landing were identified years ago (not forgetting that St Mary’s Bay have similar unmitigated concerns), it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the main protagonists are heading for the environment court. With the lack of progress on the “issues register” I don’t see mediation as likely to lead to a successful outcome although all parties have to be seen to be engaged with such a process.

    Bevan Woodward could be surprised at the position he is now in, having hit the jackpot at the hearings outcome. But there lies the source of the problem. He hasn’t put enough real response into the redesigns. He doesn’t have the resources. And he hasn’t managed to persuade transport authorities to make it a regional or national asset. If a heavyweight infrastructure player had picked up the project a couple of years ago and shaped it into something that we could all mostly support and deserve as well as need, this forum would have little further to say about the rights and wrongs of Skypath. But I expect you’ll tell me otherwise.

    1. ” If a heavyweight infrastructure player had picked up the project a couple of years ago and shaped it into something that we could all mostly support and deserve as well as need”

      I suspected this was the aim of the game. If NZTA with its deep pockets was building this, the NRA would be hopeful of extracting far greater concessions. My guess is the primary desired concession would actually be doing something about road noise from the bridge, e.g by putting up noise barriers. Well I agree with NRA that is a legitimate request but I dont think it is warranted to use skypath as a pawn in that game.

      I have actually been musing about this however. Why does NZTA get perpetual consents to operate motorways (I assume it does)? A lot of other operations that get resource consents have time limits on them after which they must reapply (e.g. industrial and mining facilities). I was thinking about this in terms of the Western Springs speedway. It was an existing activity that was been forced to reduce its environmental impact I assume because it needed to renew its resource consent – i.e. it never had perpetual rights to operate a speedway in the way it had been. The issues were also around neighbours and noise. So I wonder why NZTA doesnt have to reapply for a resource consent to keep operating a motorway next to Northcote Point? In this process it may have to, for example, install noise walls to reduce its impact. Does anyone understand the RMA around this?

      1. The Bridge’s consent runs out in 2043, Skypath’s consent was shortened – at the request of SkyPath trust – to match the Bridges remaining consent life time.

        At that time NZTA (and SkyPath trust or whomever owns Skypath then) will have to seek a renewal of consents.

        I’d guess that at that time additional conditions like noise barriers could be imposed, but for sure the traffic patterns of the bridge may be totally different, so who knows what will be the outcome. And of course, the AWHC tunnel may have finally been built.

    2. St Mary’s Bay didn’t even submit on the consent from memory. The opposition there came from one or two people who were controlling the residents association but once a number of locals realised what was being done in their name they stood up and opposition faded away – and rightly so in my opinion as Skypath links into the new Westhaven which is separated by a motorway from the residents.

      As for Northcote Point, I understand something similar happened but the residents in opposition refused to follow the associations rules as they were required to hold a vote of all residents which didn’t happen. By rights the submission they originally sent in should be ruled invalid.

      Skypath is now considered the single most important cycling project in Auckland by the NZTA and AT based on a multi criteria analysis. Problem is they came to that realisation too late and so would now have to buy out the work Bevan and others have put in which I doubt they want to do.

      1. Well if NRA are ignoring their own incorporated societies constitution and not consulting correctly then I am sure any competent lawyer at the appeal hearing will be able to have a field day with the NRA’s implied “position of authority to represent the community” and once that invisible cloak is removed they won’t have a legal leg to stand on.

        Its probably why NPHPS was formed – the few holdouts from the NRA formed their own society and voted themselves in to appeal the Skypath consent no matter what.

        1. I understand that SkyPath’s lawyers considered that, but decided that they’d rather convince the commissioners on the merits, than win on legal technicalities (if it was even feasible to have the NRA submission thrown out, which it probably wasnt). Understand that some of the “other side” within the NRA did give presentations at the hearing however to explain the split.

  32. You know what? I am quite excited about catching the train to Britomart, riding across to Takapuna for a swim then back to Devonport. Ferry then a meal on the waterfront at Wynyard before catching the train home. It sounds like a perfect day.

  33. The 2013 census tell us that the population of Northcote is 2430, it would be interesting to know what % are members of the NRA since they are doing the talking for the people of Northcote .

  34. A letter I’ve just sent off to the North Shore Times (also put this on the other Skypath thread currently).
    The Northcote Residents Association has lodged an Environment Court appeal against the Skypath resource consent. As a current financial member, I find it concerning that I have learned of this action through media reports. As this risks the entire accumulated funds of the organisation, via award of costs for an unsuccessful appeal, I would have thought it appropriate some form of prior consultation with members was appropriate. However, I do not find this surprising, given that the Association made their original objection to the resource consent without notifying members before or after the fact – and indeed after their Chairperson specifically told members that a submission would not be made. Any pretense the Association had of actually representing the Northcote community has long disappeared. (end)

    Most of the comments about the NRA on this discussion are correct – they don’t aim to represent Northcote residents, despite their name and the Association’s objects. They claim they represent members, but given they have never, ever, ever asked their members for their opinions (or listened to contrary opinions that were volunteered) it’s hard to see how they could. In fact, the current Executive (10 members) are only representing themselves, and other NRA members who happen to share their views that the Skypath is the worst thing that could ever happen to Northcote Point. At least three of the current Executive live within 100m of the proposed landing, so they are hardly objective. Before I resigned from the Executive earlier this year I suggested that they had every right to object to Skypath, as long as they didn’t do it in the name of Northcote residents. I was told I was ‘sermonising’.

    The Association currently has just over 100 members, which is around 1% of Northcote residents at my best guess. Based on the dismal attendance at the AGM, I’d say this number will be dropping quickly. Faced with the same old self-serving blather, most members under 50 walked out before the end of the meeting.

    1. (ran out of page so making a second post)

      As for joining up and trying to change the Association – been there, done that. There’s only so long you can beat your head against a brick wall. To give you a sense of how the Association runs:
      – 23 financial members requested a general meeting to discuss Skypath issue before a resource consent objection was lodged
      – the Executive decided to hold this general meeting, which was required by their rules, one month after the closing date of the resource consent
      – in the meantime, the Chairperson advised these 23 members that no submission would be made. Just two days later, the objection was lodged! This was ‘voted on’ 24 hours before the closing time, supported by 5 members of a 9 member executive, and therefore lodged in behalf of the NRA. Members were never sent the submission before it was made, and most of them didn’t even realise an objection had been lodged until a month later.

      And as for the General Meeting, when it finally happened…

      The Chairperson refused to allow motions from the floor, despite this being in breach of the NRA objects. (If I were cynical, I would say this was done after he realised the numbers in the meeting were against him). As a result, members could not vote on ANY motions to govern the future behaviour of the Executive. In other words, the Executive refused to be accountable to members. This is the behaviour of an local society at its absolute worst, and most of the newer members left the meeting vowing never to return…

      And that ladies and gentleman, is how the NRA rolls.

      1. Best thing is to vote for a wind up of the association. On your comments you’d have the numbers (or could get them). All it needs is two adjacent “yes” votes from the floor, as a simple majority held 30 days apart.

        Furthermore I’d have the 2 special general meetings recorded and documented. If the NRA didn’t then disband, a visit to the District Court will fix that.

        Once the association is disbanded, then the appeal won’t proceed.

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