KiwiRail No Show Over Parnell


The Hobson community board tonight unanimously tossed out NZ Bus’ plans to create a bus depot where the Mainline Steam building is in Parnell’s Cheshire Rd - the area where a train stop and heritage development is proposed.
But the board chair Desley Simpson said she was very sorry that KiwiRail, which was supposed to be at tonight’s meeting, had said just before the meeting they would not be attending.
It was left up to two representatives from Infratil Property and its subsidiary NZ Bus to put forward their argument for leasing the KiwiRail land there to establish a bus depot for 50 Link buses.
It was standing room only at the board meeting as Parnell residents and business representatives crammed into the Jubilee building to show strong united opposition to the plans.
The Parnell business group, Parnell Inc, in a presentation, said that their hopes for a niche station for visitors to the heritage Parnell precinct and the Auckland War Memorial Museum would be destroyed if KiwiRail lease the land as planned to Infratil as a bus depot and it would have serious implications for residents and the community.
General Manager Development for Infratil Infrastucture Property, Andrew Lamb, fronted to the board and said there would be potentially 100 bus movements a day in and out of the site from 5.30am with a maximum of 20 an hour.
Mr Lamb said Infratil had been searching for a site for 18 months to replace its present inner city depot at Halsey St.

While its lease there was to run out in 2014, there was another issue. Because of the Wynyard development, the leased land is being rezoned and will no longer be able to be used for buses.
He said Infratil wanted the Parnell site  for a long term lease, longer than the seven years talked about by KiwiRail but added that as yet no commercial agreement had been signed with KiwiRail.

The company had found it hard to find suitable leasable inner city land for the Link buses including investigating at options such as railway land near the Strand (too expensive to be adapted) , Soho Square, under the Newmarket Viaduct, Stanley St and the Nelson St offramp.

Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar suggested the company could pursue other land options such as possibly the ASB Showgrounds or neighbouring Alexandra Park.

He then proposed a motion that the board note serious concerns about the proposal.
That motion was carried unanimously to applause from the public, some of whom were among the over 900 who have so far signed a local petition against the plan.
Mr Bhatnagar said the motion sent a strong message that the proposal was inappropriate for the area and he was especially “horrified” at the idea of 100 buses moving about the narrow residential streets of Parnell, which is New Zealand’s oldest suburbs.
Ms Simpson said the board needed to reflect its local community and it seemed almost 100% of that community was against the plan.
“I’m very sorry KiwiRail is not here tonight.”

Under the plan, this would house Link buses

In a statement issued after the meeting, the C&R Waitemata ward team said it was strongly opposed to the stabling park proposed.
Members and local residents Hinu te Hau, Simon Johnston and Stephen Goodman said the site had the potential to be a wonderful asset for the future of Auckland and for Parnell and it would be short-sighted of KiwiRail to disregard the wishes of the community.

There's plenty of room inside the Mainline building for buses

The ARC transport and urban development community also recently condemned the plan.

ARC Chair Mike Lee labelled the KiwiRail plan “bizarre” and said the roads around the area were narrow and steep and buses rolling through them to go to the depot would degrade life for neighbourhood residents.
The ARC committee also reaffirmed its support for the site to be used as a train stop.
Infratil’s representative said KiwiRail had indicated to them that there was no plan for development on the site for 5 to 10 years and that if the bus depot went ahead, Infratil  -much as it would like to use the whole site- it would not remove buildings or “change very much.”
Tonight’s Hobson committee did not discuss the actual rail station concept.
* During the discussion Infratil revealed it was looking at extending the Link bus service, both in terms of frequency and area, to take in Wynyard Quarter and an additional area around the Victoria Park area.




  1. Hi there,

    Just a couple of clarifying points:

    1. We support a Cheshire St rail station, and have previously had presentations from Parnell Inc about their proposals, hence why we didn’t need to discuss that last night.
    2. “Bhatnagar” :-)
    3. I am happy to instruct my council officers to provide assistance to NZ Bus on alternative location sites.

  2. karl says:

    “Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar suggested the company could pursue other land options such as possibly the ASB Showgrounds or neighbouring Alexandra Park.”

    Uhmmm - Alexandra Park? Aaron, since when is that “inner city”???

    Stabling all the buses somewhere outside of the area where they are needed is just a recipe for further congestion, extra costs and trips, and more delays as the buses themselves get stuck in traffic jams trying to get to their start points in the morning.

    Oh for the time when Councils operated the buses themselves. A city can’t be all boutique shops - is Parnell different, or why do these things seem to always skirt certain parts of town?

    The only part of this whole thing I can understand is the objection to the length of the proposed lease.

  3. Paul says:

    @Karl – It seems like the local community wants the site developed sooner than later; station and other items to add to the suburb.

  4. karl says:

    As I said - I can understand they’d rather not have this be the use for ever, and would be alarmed at somebody saying that even 7 years feels a bit low… And they are peeved because they’d like the Mainline Shed to be used for a train station (even though it’s not the ideal stop).

    But apart from those valid criticisms, it seems to me the old “not here, go do your public transport somewhere else” reaction.

  5. DanC says:

    The gravel area between Grafton Road / Stanley Street and Alten Road suitable or too small?

  6. karl says:

    I think that is university land (except for a strip at the bottom that is probably motorway designation), and the university is intending to expand “downhill” there in the coming decade. The bus company is searching for something they can use for at least a 5-10 year range, as I understand it.


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