The Quay Street Cycleway Extension project in Auckland CBD should start at the beginning of January 2018.
It will link with the future Tamaki Drive cycleway, Glen Innes and Tamaki Drive. However, the extension project has attracted a host of tree protesters. This is because the cycleway development on Quay St will greatly affect existing trees, especially old and mature ones growing along the construction way.
14 pohutukawa trees which have been planted for 24 years will be removed as the median will become significantly more narrow. The construction will not affect those trees on the seaward side of the Street. An extra tree is required to move from the berm to a new location in order to accommodate the bus stop upgrade on the east of Plumer St.
Soala Wilson, one of the tree protesters, arrived at the construction site early in the morning in attempt to stop Auckland Transport from removing one of the trees for relocation.
“Saving our trees is saving the planet. Auckland Transport, your plan is madness. We can share the road and save the trees.” Wilson said on his video posted on social media.
Urban Tree Alliance founding member Wendy Gray is against the removal of trees. Gray stressed that the 24-year-old trees are beneficial to the ecosystem. If Auckland Transport relocates them, it would lower their life span. Furthermore, young plants and saplings could not substitute mature trees.
“They [Auckland Transport] don’t value our trees. The don’t look at the cost of what we’re losing”.
To make sure the trees have the best chance to survive, Gray explained that they should be transplanted in autumn or winter, but definitely not in the middle of summer.
According to arborists, most trees will be moved to Teal Park in Parnell, the remaining one will stay within the city.
The cycleway development is projected to be finished within half a year.
Independent commissioners provided consent to have Auckland Transport move the trees to a new location.
It has been decided that the removal of these trees will cause a change to the environment; however the median strip will remain.
Quay Street is the main connection to Auckland CBD which is shared by everyone and all vehicles. The extension of the cycleway will enhance the flow of Quay Street and improve the safety for bike users.