The Dom Post reports:
Wellington City Council is again looking to slow the resource consent process for the Basin Reserve flyover.
The council has appealed to Environment Minister Amy Adams to have the consent application for the $90 million flyover heard by the Environment Court, rather than by an independent board of inquiry.
The minister has the power to appoint a board, which is required make a consent decision within nine months of public notification.
The Environment Court process can vary in terms of time, but history suggests it takes longer.
The law that is applied and the outcomes should be the same. But a board of inquiry is dedicated to one hearing, so you don’t suffer a backlog.
Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett said she had little faith the board process would allow for a proper debate.
All boards of inquiry established since 2009 had granted approval, suggesting they were little more than a government rubber stamp, she said.
Boards of inquiry and environment courts are not binary decision making bodies. They do more than say yes or no. They attach dozens, sometimes hundreds, of conditions to a resource consent.
“People opposed to the flyover should be very concerned, therefore, if the project goes to a board of inquiry. The risk is real that the project will be given the green light.”
That is not what most people call a risk.
Note that the Council has accepted there is actually not practical or affordable alternative to the flyover. Despite that some Crs are still trying to kill it off.
City councillor and mayoral aspirant John Morrison said the flyover needed to be fast-tracked through a board of inquiry. He was disappointed that certain members of council wanted to use the Environment Court as a “smokescreen” for stopping the flyover.
“It’s this endless Green Party attitude of ‘stop everything, do nothing’ and that’s simply what this is. I’m sick to death of it, and I believe the city is too.”
Mr Morrison, who also sits on the Basin Reserve Trust, said the ground desperately needed the $12m stand that would be built by the Government to soften the visual impact of the flyover.
The cricket ground was in real danger of losing its test match status soon if its facilities were not drastically improved, he said.
The Environmental Protection Authority, NZTA and Greater Wellington Regional Council have made submissions to Ms Adams, all saying the flyover should be considered by a board of inquiry.
I hope the Govt will listen to them, not the WCC.