I spent a very interesting couple of hours at the weekend reading the evidence of the cricket witnesses called by the Basin Reserve Trust for the forthcoming Board of Inquiry on the proposed Basin Reserve flyover.* You can find these statements online at http://www.epa.govt.nz/search-databases/Pages/nsp-proposals-details.aspx?ProposalNumber=NSP000026#
I expected this evidence to be full of reassurances about how the NZTA had cricket’s best interests at heart, but that is strikingly not the case. Here are some of the statements made by these cricket experts in their evidence:
Sir John Anderson, former Chair of NZ Cricket: “I consider that a failure to adequately mitigate the effects of the Proposal on the Basin Reserve could potentially affect the test match status of the ground.”
Peter Clinton, CEO of Cricket Wellington: “The proposed Basin Bridge will have a significant impact on the Basin Reserve. The Basin Bridge will impact the Basin Reserve in the following ways:
(a) Visual distraction for sportspersons;
(b) Loss of spectator enjoyment;
(c) Potential loss of ICC accreditation as an international cricket ground; and
(d) Impact on the Basin Reserve’s unique character and ambience.”
Martin Snedden, former New Zealand cricketer, sports administrator: “The Application [by NZTA] and the Evidence in Chief used inappropriately narrow criteria to determine how the view of traffic on the Basin Bridge might adversely impact the Basin Reserve.”
With the future of the Basin at stake, such statements should concern all cricket players, administrators and fans.
It’s also clear that the proposed Northern Gateway Building is far from a panacea for these problems, and that there are issues with its design and use – something that also became very clear when, at a meeting between submitters and the NZTA, Greg Lee of the NZTA was asked to explain and justify the design and cost of the Northern Gateway Building, and was unable to do either convincingly.
* Some witness statements may not be provided until later this week.