Dozens protest Basin flyover plan

BRONWYN TORRIE
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2011

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An underpass rather than a flyover in central Wellington would save the Basin Reserve from turning into an unused wasteland choked with vehicle fumes, protesters say.

Dozens of people stood in the rain holding hands along the fenceline of the historic cricket ground yesterday in support of an underpass proposal.

The flyover is part of the Levin to Wellington Road of National Significance. The NZ Transport Agency is consulting on two options for the flyover – the preferred $75m option, 20 metres to the north of the ground, and a $90m option about 65 metres north.

Save The Basin Reserve Campaign convener Kent Duston said people would not want to play cricket or go to a concert next to a major roadway.

"It's visually polluting, it's noisy, vehicle fumes will waft across in the prevailing northerly."

He told the crowd that holding hands could create change and described how Hutt Hospital was saved from the chopping block in the 1990s by people standing around the building in protest.

"This is very important to send the message to Steven Joyce and the rest of the Government that we want a different plan to the one they've proposed."

Protesters cheered when Wellington central MP Grant Robertson said the underpass, known as option X, was the best way forward.

The Architecture Centre's proposal, which could cost up to $165m, involves building an underpass for Buckle St.

Green Party candidate for Wellington Central James Shaw said money should be spent on light rail rather than roads.

"This will cost less than the entire experiment of a second tunnel through Mt Victoria."

Mt Victoria resident Averil Taylor and her four-year-old son linked hands with strangers in the hope of stopping the flyover.

"I think all of Wellington will be affected because it's going to destroy a landmark. If anything, it's going to be ugly."

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- The Dominion Post

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