7 Feb 2011

Kindergarten to be relocated under Waterview plan

8:00 pm on 7 February 2011

The Transport Agency says it will permanently relocate a kindergarten next to a proposed $2 billion Waterview Connection motorway in Auckland.

A hearing has started in the Environment Court in Auckland on Monday as part of a fast-tracked consent process.

A Board of Inquiry is considering whether to allow the Transport Agency to build a motorway link connecting State Highway 20 to State Highway 16. Most of the 5km motorway would run through tunnels.

The Transport Agency wants to complete the motorway project by 2015.

The proposed Waterview Connection tunnel will run close to the present kindergarten site, with vehicles exiting the underground road just a stone's throw away.

The Transport Agency told the board on Monday it will move Waterview Kindergarten from its site on Herdman Street to a new location on Oakley Avenue and upgrade acoustic insulation in classrooms and buildings belonging to Waterview Primary School nearby.

Until now, the Transport Agency has been talking about leaving the kindergarten where it is, except for a short relocation during motorway construction.

Waterview Primary School principal Brett Skeen says he is happy about the plan, which will see the kindergarten moved about 200 metres to the other side of his school.

Mr Skeen says the school has reached an agreement with the Transport Agency about how it will lessen the effects of the road and is waiting for Ministry of Education approval.

The agency says it will also reduce the size of ventilation shafts from 25 metres to 15 metres if environmental experts agree the change will not affect ground level air quality at the exit points.

The Board of Inquiry will sit for six weeks to consider more than 60 applications for resource consent and notice of requirements. It will also hear evidence from some of the 251 submitters.

The Transport Agency says the ring route is crucial for New Zealand's economic development and it will work hard to mitigate community concerns.