Auckland Transport says they are unable to defend against intensification based on a lack of transport infrastructure.
The call for defense is prompted by governments National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) which will allow greater intensification across Auckland.
At Auckland Council’s Planning Committee on June 30 the lack on assurance from Auckland Transport (AT) prompted committee members to say the consequences for not making transport infrastructure a qualifying matter under the NPS-UD would be disastrous.
AT principal transport planner Rory Power presented to committee and said AT was not currently able to justify a lack of transport infrastructure as a qualifying matter.
“We have information available but with the way the legislation is drafted it is difficult to justify,” Power said.
“The way our high level strategic model works; they are not a site by site analysis. They do not relate specifically to a geographical area.”
Power said transport infrastructure as a qualifying matter needed to be defensible through the hearings process.
“In practice, as consents come forward are we going to be able to hold the line?”
Mayor Phil Goff said if transport was not made a qualifying matter it would be disastrous.
“If you can not have transport as a qualifying matter; how do we deal with the consequences of building large numbers of three story houses,” Goff said.
Goff said three houses to a section under the MDRS, a lack of parking requirements for new builds, no walking or cycling facilities and no access to public transportation would have horrendous consequences.
“I know there are all kinds of complications in making it a qualifying matter but if you do not, that is what we are ending up with. We are ending up with it right now and it will only get worse.”
Cr Wayne Walker said AT had a detailed transport model that could be used to make the argument that transport should be a qualifying matter.
“My understanding from transport planners I have spoken to; they say it is very do-able and can be done quickly,” Walker said.
“There are communities that I represent where the transport effects are going to be nothing short of horrific.”
Cr Shane Henderson challenged the idea that the consequences would be horrendous.
“We have been building in places with poor transport for 12 years,” Henderson said. Henderson said when there was more demand for transport options and bus routes, more could be put in.
Henderson questioned the use of rate payer money in attempting to make transport infrastructure a qualifying matter when he believed it would be “tossed out”.
Auckland Council must publicly notify city plan changes under the NPS-UD and MDRS by August 20.