It’s funny, after several years of writing these articles for this two bit magazine, I’ve only been taken to task by one organisation who questioned my figures when mentioning the cost of something being done. This was the Devonport RSA, when some years ago I queried the extravagant cost of building the stone walls on Memorial Drive. On that occasion, I was called by a member of the Devonport RSA and I subsequently apologised for the misinformation I was given by my men at the coalface. Not too bad after so many years of enquiries and gaining information for projects of interest around the North Shore.
In last month’s article, I mentioned the new container cranes on the waterfront and the Localist bus services on the Devonport peninsula. Nobody has come forth to either confirm or deny my reporting.
About three years ago, I told you to cut out my column and hang it on the fridge for future reference. That was the budget for Len Brown’s inner city train loop, I told you to hang it on your fridge because the stated budget was for $3 billion, and now recently they have come out and stated that the budget has blown out by 30% to $4.4 billion. They are also saying that the costs are still unknown when it comes to installing the final mechanical workings. I’m saying right now that it will be over $6 billion by the time it finishes, and that does not include the ongoing costs and losses when it comes to running it and the trains start running through the tunnels.
When it comes to infrastructure projects, I think as a country we should understand the full costings of any major projects that are happening. A lot of people won’t care, but those of us that do, should be able to access this information. One of the projects in question I would like to know about would be the Waikato Expressway from Taupiri north through Huntly up to Hampton Downs, this project has been going on forever. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Another one is the Puhoi to Warkworth highway, and another is the Northern Busway between Constellation Drive and going North. These large infrastructure projects seem to have a limitless cheque book, with little or no accountability as to finishing dates and costings.
I remember seeing that Mayor Goff has promised to review all the Council entities such as Ports of Auckland, Auckland Transport and Panuku etc. in his next term if re-elected as Mayor. All I can see is that these three in particular have developed a law unto themselves mentality. I cannot understand why Parking Wardens from Auckland Transport go to Devonport with the supposed task of ticketing people around the business area, yet are seen wandering around the residential streets checking for Warrants of Fitness or registrations. Recently a friend of mine got a ticket for parking over his own driveway.
When the SuperCity was foisted upon us several years ago, I thought that it was meant to save the ratepayers money, instead we have these separate Council entities, each occupying their own expensive offices and their tiers of management and staff all costing us plenty. It certainly is time for a review.
A couple of years ago I mentioned the parking at New World supermarket and the Devonport Carpark. I have it on very good authority that a consortium is doing a feasibility study on building a two level carpark on top of the existing carpark. This would enable the all day parking in Marine Square by the ferry building to be moved and that area to be turned into a park and garden area, therefore freeing up the waterfront from the 500 vehicles parked there each day. This would also alleviate the problem of the 40 odd ugly signs indicating Taxi parks, No Parking, time restrictions etc. that are currently dotted around the area. This construction would be as follows, bottom level parking would stay the same for supermarket shoppers and local shopping with a time limit of 120 minutes. Then Level 1 and Level 2 would be for all day parking, with a subsequent daily fee payable. This would be a completely private consortium and the structure would be owned by the consortium with 50% of the parking fees going to them and the remaining 50% allocated to the Devonport Community Trust to go towards local community projects in perpetuity.
The project would be at no cost to the ratepayer and would be completely built to a modern design with landscaping features with a German architectural and environmental company involved.
I personally believe this would be a brilliant answer to the parking problems in Devonport, the Community would have a win win situation, freeing up the waterfront, gaining revenue from the parking fees and the forest of damned signs between the Ferry buildings in Marine Square would be gone.
Anyway, watch this space.