16 Jul 2016

Council to decide SkyPath's fate

7:52 am on 16 July 2016
A graphic showing the entrance to the proposed walkway.

A graphic showing the entrance to the proposed walkway. Photo: Copyright © 2011 - 2014 Generation Zero Incorporated.

Aucklanders shouldn't have to pay to use the SkyPath, but the project should go ahead either way, an environmental lobby group says.

The proposed clip-on pedestrian and cycle-way for the Harbour Bridge will go before the council's Finance and Performance Committee next week, who will make a final decision on the project.

If greenlit, a public private partnership will be used to fund the SkyPath, with construction, operation and maintenance costs fronted by HRL Morrison and Co's Public Infrastructure Partnership Fund, with the council underwriting some of the revenue.

In return, an admission charge of around $2 to $3 would be in place for users crossing each way.

At peak times the walkway is expected to see 10,000 to 12,000 people crossing each day.

Environmental group Generation Zero campaigned for the project for years, but cycling spokesperson Emma Mcinnes said the SkyPath should be free.

"The model I would really like is for it to be free for everyone to use, and not have to pay for something that should have been built when the Harbour bridge was built."

But she said Aucklanders had been waiting a long time for the bridge to be built, so it should still go ahead.

"This is the model we have, let's move forward with it because it's really going to be great for our city."

Skypath Trust project director Bevan Woodworth said while ideally it would be free for use, the charge was minimal.

"We think it would not be a barrier, it would still be the cheapest way to get across Auckland's Waitemata Harbour."

He said the public private model was the best one to come out of the consultation process.

"Given the fact that we've looked at all the different options for funding, this is the model that's come to fruition."

He said he hoped the SkyPath would be open to the public by summer next year.

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