Flyover plan almost scuppered

The need to shift an historic creche nearly derailed the Basin Flyover project.

The flyover's lead developer, Wayne Stewart, today conceded to the board of inquiry deciding whether the bridge can be built that the impact on the former Home of Compassion creche, which has a category 1 listing with the Historic Places Trust nearly made him shelve option A - the decision now being put forward by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The eight-week long hearing looking at the flyover is into its fourth week, and is looking at whether a $90 million two-lane highway flyover, 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve, linking the Mt Victoria Tunnel to Buckle St should go ahead.

Dr Stewart is into his fifth day on the witness stand, and this morning answered questions about what the key heritage considerations were when assessing the different options.

"The creche, the creche and the creche... [it] was very much foremost in our minds," he said.

The impact on that building meant that at one stage "I was almost personally of a mind that option A might not survive," he said.

The flyover requires the relocation of the Buckle St building.

However, he had been assured by heritage experts that the building could be relocated, which had satisfied his concerns, he said.

"Their views and positions were supported by the [Historic Places Trust] as it turned out."

Lawyer Philip Milne, representing the Architecture Centre and Newtown Residents Association, also questions Dr Stewart about the objectivity of expert assesments, given many of then were employed directly by interested parties, such as the transport agency.

Dr Stewart said that regardless of opinions or employers, he was confident in the outcomes of the assessments.

"As an expert you put those views aside and you assess the options professionally."

The Dominion Post