Wellington has got a very good thing in the form of the Basin Reserve. But sometimes, as New Zealanders, we have a tendency to undervalue what we have.
Award-winning Australian architect and urban design expert Jan McCredie is is no doubt what a good thing we have, and how much the proposed Basin Reserve flyover would put that at risk. As reported by the Dominion Post, she told the Basin Reserve flyover Board of Inquiry, now nearing the end of its third month of hearings, in no uncertain terms just what an asset the Basin is for Wellington:
McCredie told the four-member board the Basin Reserve was currently one of the most stunning entrances to a city you will find anywhere in the world.
Putting a flyover beside it would devastate Wellington’s reputation as a walkable city because it would instantly put tourists off moving through the Basin heritage area, she said.
It would also destroy one of Wellington’s major architectural points of difference on the world stage.
“In Sydney, you would do everything you can to retain and enhance the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. They are major points of difference.”
Jan McCredie had a lot more to say about the negative effects of the proposed flyover on pedestrians and visitors to Wellington, and she threw her weight behind the alternative Basin Reserve Roundabout Enhancement Option (BRREO), which involves only at-grade (ground level) changes.
Jan McCredie illustrated how badly building a flyover in an iconic location would reflect on Wellington and New Zealand:
The transport agency was kidding itself if it thought the flyover as an “elegant” bridge, she added.
“It’s not a light, fine structure. It’s carrying cars and it’s quite meaty … no one is going to come to Wellington and rave about seeing the flyover.”
Let’s value what we have. Let’s not destroy it with an unnecessary, ugly and expensive one-way flyover.