A strange thing happened yesterday. Fairway Bay chief executive officer Sean Pan told me that he is very encouraged by recent meetings regarding the Penlink project.
This is new and different.
Normally when I raise the topic of Penlink with Whangaparaoa Peninsula residents there is an involuntary response involving the rolling of eyes –with occasional gnashing of teeth.
In my role in the development of the land at Top Harbour, I’ve sat with Pan in a number of meetings on the subject over the last two weeks.
I’m inclined to feel encouraged about this – it has taken over a year to get some of those meetings, and all of a sudden there seems to be a willingness to discuss the matter.
As has been the case for many years with this project, rumours abound about progress or lack of it.
Fairway Bay has been in the fortunate position to receive some quality updates from a number of people who we think know what the story is.
At a meeting of the Auckland Transport Board in June I made a presentation that suggested the timing for a step forward is now.
We can clearly show that there is an explosion of growth on the peninsula – which is occurring now.
What this growth needs to move forward is the infrastructure to support it. The key part of this infrastructure is the alternative access offered by Penlink. This is well supported by traffic modelling data and by that all important field of public opinion.
Rodney MP Mark Mitchell has suggested the same thing. Rodney is absorbing a huge percentage of Auckland’s residential growth and needs the infrastructure.
That’s a really good start – and I’ve been assured from a number of fronts that central government is supportive. We need that support to translate into action.
What we learned at Fairway Bay in the ferry services campaign is that if we create a positive conversation about how things could happen, it opens pathways that can lead to great outcomes.
Penlink deserves your attention now.
Michael Webb-Speight is the project consultant for Fairway Bay, a Gulf Harbour residential subdivision.