26 Nov 2008

Campaigners to fight Basin Reserve road

6:35 am on 26 November 2008

A campaign to fight a planned fly-over near Wellington's Basin Reserve cricket ground is being launched on Tuesday.

The proposed road is part of the Wellington regional transport strategy, that has been estimated to cost $33 million.

The Basin Reserve dates back to 1866, making it New Zealand's oldest cricket ground and the world's fourth-oldest.

Campaigner Kent Duston, who lives near the Reserve, believes the sanctity of international cricket ground could be under threat, and said the flyover makes poor economic sense.

He said cricket fans would be faced with what he describes as an immense concrete monstrosity, up to 10 metres high.

He said his campaign has steady support from residents, cricket players and fans, and there are plans to set up a Trust to oppose the project.

Wellington City Councillor and Basin Reserve trustee, John Morrison, said the campaign group is using the cricket ground as a political football.

The former test cricketer said opponents are simply against any new roads, and the flyover will not put the Basin Reserve in any danger.

Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett who opposes the project says the $33 million cost will increase once construction starts.

She is upset that alternatives were not looked at to deal with Wellington's congestion problems.

The Basin Reserve flyover will be funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency and has the support of both the Wellington regional and city councils.

Opponents question whether the authorities have any democratic mandate to build it.

Wellington City Council transport and urban development leader, Andy Foster, says they are planning to consult on the project in due course.