Light Rail needs to take heed from Sydney which is tipped to face $500M settlement
Today’s light rail announcement is significant for Auckland and, if done well, could bring major benefits for the city in the future. However, the devil is in the detail of this project, including the cost and management, including how business disruption will be managed and funded. The Government and Auckland Council should take heed of Sydney’s light rail project, which is tipped to settle its Class Action lawsuit for $500 million.
After long term lobbying to see major infrastructure projects include business disruption planning and budget from the outset, Heart of the City acknowledges the commitment to put in place a programme that would address the impact on people’s livelihoods. However, no detail has been provided today and the same project sponsors are still dragging the chain on fixing up serious grievances for businesses impacted by City Rail Link construction.
“We are astounded that the Government and Auckland Council have stood up today to announce the light rail project while knowing that a few streets away people are talking about suicide from the major distress construction has caused them and their families. This is cold and heartless and we had expected better,” says Heart of the City Chief Executive Viv Beck. “They cannot say hand on heart they have done everything possible to settle those issues before announcing another major project. We were promised a reply to our request for an independent review of the Hardship Fund criteria by mid this week and they haven’t met that promise.”
“Impacted businesses need to be treated with the respect they deserve and it is a fail that a programme intended to support small businesses, whose lives and livelihoods are ruined by the disruption, doesn’t do what it’s intended to do. We need to see tangible evidence that the lessons from City Rail Link have been learned before the city embarks on another major project.”