Transmission Gully proposal referred to Board of Inquiry

  • Nick Smith

Environment Minister Nick Smith today referred an application for the Transmission Gully roading proposal to an independent Board of Inquiry under the Government’s new national consenting process with the Environmental Protection Authority.

The New Zealand Transport Agency, Porirua City Council and Transpower New Zealand Ltd are seeking approval under the Resource Management Act for a 27-kilometre inland alternative to State Highway 1 from Linden to MacKays Crossing.

“Transmission Gully is a nationally significant roading project that impacts the greater Wellington region, as well as wider New Zealand. I am referring this application, consistent with the Authority’s recommendation, to an independent Board of Inquiry for its consideration and ultimate decision,” Dr Smith said.

The nearly $1 billion project consists of four components: the main alignment from Linden to MacKays Crossing, the Kenepuru link road; the Porirua link roads and the relocation of existing transmission lines and towers along the route.

This proposal follows an earlier request for changes to the Greater Wellington Regional Freshwater Plan. That application was referred to a Board of Inquiry in September 2010, with a final decision expected later this year. 

“The application for the Transmission Gully roading proposal is nationally significant because of the wide public interest in the project, the significant use of physical and natural resources, and the fact it affects more than one region or district,” Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith named Environment Court Judge Brian Dwyer as chair of the Board of Inquiry. Board members include Environment Commissioner Russell Howie, resource management consultant David McMahon, traffic engineering consultant David Mitchell and Resource Management Act and tikanga Maori expert Glenice Paine.

“Wellington has previously experienced long delays in decisions over transport infrastructure with the Inner City Bypass taking 17 years to consent. This process will enable affected people to have their say but will deliver a decision within nine months.”

Attached: Board of Inquiry biographies

Judge Brian Dwyer (Chairperson)
Judge Brian Dwyer was appointed to the Environment Court on 1 September 2006. Prior to his appointment, he was the Marlborough District Law Society's President from 1990 to 1991. He also served on the Marlborough Health Trust, St Mary's School Board of Trustees and on the Marlborough Rugby Football Union Executive. As counsel to the Marlborough District Council since 1992, his work involved him in all aspects of resource management practice. He has also been an independent hearings commissioner for local authorities in Kaikoura, Nelson and Marlborough.

Russell Howie
Russell Howie was appointed an Environment Commissioner in July 2001. He holds the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Canterbury University, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers. He has been an Independent RMA Commissioner on many occasions for the Wellington Regional Council and for the Wellington, Porirua, Hutt and Upper Hutt City Councils. He was the Environmental Manager for the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand and before that he was the Deputy Director of Water and Soil Conservation for the National Water and Soil Conservation Authority.

David McMahon
David McMahon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Regional and Resource Planning from Otago University. He is an Accredited Independent Hearing Commissioner and resource management consultant with particular expertise in statutory planning and process. He has been a commissioner on a large number of plan change and resource consent hearings throughout New Zealand including the West Wind and Mill Creek windfarms in Wellington.

Glenice Paine
Glenice Paine is of Te Atiawa and Ngai Tahu descent. She has Resource Management Act experience as Te Atiawa Resource Manager and is an accredited decision maker.  She strong understanding of Tikanga Maori, community and conservation values. Ms Paine was a member of the special tribunal considering the application by Fish and Game for an amendment to the Buller Water Conservation Order. She was a member of the Board of Inquiry appointed to the Tauhara II geothermal development proposal and the Te Mihi geothermal power station. She is Chair of the Maori Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Authority.

David Mitchell
David Mitchell is a Director of Traffic and Transportation Engineers Ltd in Auckland and has formerly held senior positions in traffic and roading engineering in a variety of consultancies in New Zealand. Mr Mitchell has significant project management and design experience and has worked in key positions on engineering projects that have included motorway, expressway, state highway and arterial road development. His RMA experience includes providing transportation commentary for more than 800 resource consent applications on behalf of local authorities in Auckland.