Chamber blames tiny minority for flyover 'tragedy'

Wellington businesses say the Government might be better off accepting the Basin Reserve flyover's demise - so it can get cracking on an alternative plan instead.

The Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce has also taken a swipe at the "not in my backyard" brigade who "stopped" the flyover this week, potentially costing the city at least 120 jobs and millions in investment.

"It's a tragedy that the actions of a tiny minority of people have succeeded in holding back Wellington for years to come," chamber president John Milford said yesterday.

"Is the no-go on the Basin [flyover] the city's fault? No. That's the fault of opponents of progress who need to stop holding the city back."

Tuesday's decision by a board of inquiry to decline resource consent for the New Zealand Transport Agency's proposed $90 million flyover north of the Basin beggared belief, Milford said.

If the draft decision is confirmed on August 30 it can still be appealed to the High Court but only on points of law. The Government will not reveal its hand until it has received advice from the Transport Agency. A spokesman for the agency said it was still running the rule over the board's decision yesterday.

Milford said the chamber was not completely opposed to the idea of appealing. But given the limited scope that came with a board of inquiry process, doing so could just drag out the inaction.

"The overall decision isn't going to change . . . waiting for the final report is only playing out the clock," he said. "Wellington can't stand still in traffic congestion. The Government has to keep moving on solutions."

The agency confirmed the 30-month flyover construction project, which was pencilled in to begin later this year, was expected to create 120 jobs.

But Milford, also Kirkcaldie & Stains' managing director, said many more potential jobs would be lost if a solution was not found, as people and businesses would choose not to set up shop in Wellington because of its substandard infrastructure.

Save the Basin campaign spokesman Tim Jones said the flyover decision was made by Government-appointed commissioners with years of experience, not a small group of Wellingtonians.

The group had a lot of support, both in Wellington and overseas, from people who did not believe "outdated transport solutions from the 1960s" was the way forward for the capital, he said.

The Dominion Post