Family caught in busway’s path

Kim Paterson, front centre, with her children Lucas and Amy Baskett and her parents Wendy and Alex Paterson. Times photo Wayne Martin

Just one month after moving into their new east Auckland home, a family is facing the prospect of having to move again because the property is in the proposed path of a major public transport project.

Auckland Transport has written to dozens of Burswood residents to inform them the organisation is planning and designing the next stage of the Eastern Busway, from Pakuranga to Botany.

Among those to receive the letter is Kim Paterson who lives in Dulwich Place with her two teenage children and her parents.

An AT design she’s seen shows a potential route of the busway running down Ti Rakau Drive, moving left over a new bridge around the back of the Chinatown complex and onto Burswood Drive.

It then runs along the back of businesses in Torrens Road, in a straight line past Bunnings, onto Burswood Drive, and back out onto Ti Rakau Drive.

The Burswood station sits near the ends of Dulwich Place and Heathridge Place.

The letter Paterson’s family received says if the preferred design is confirmed, it would have a direct impact on their property.

“The preferred design may be refined as we undertake more investigations and consultation with affected and potentially affected landowners as well as the wider community,” it states.

“After this work is completed, AT will finalise the route for the project, publish the information on our website and seek the appropriate resource consents and approvals in 2022.”

Paterson’s family had an online meeting with AT officials on November 1.

They subsequently received another letter as well as a landowner guide to property acquisition and a guide to compensation for fees or costs.

The new letter says the next steps are to complete a “kerbside valuation” of their property and then send the family an offer for its acquisition.

It also states they’re able to access support from Pakuranga Counselling Services and provides a phone number and email address to make contact with the service if wanted.

Paterson says she and her family do not want to move and they’re upset at the prospect of having to do so.

“We moved here on September 28 and then we got that [the first letter] one month later.

“In the meeting it was like, ‘this is going ahead’ and we have no say in it.

“The residents who are talking about it on Facebook can’t believe it.”

Paterson says her parents lived in their previous Bucklands Beach home for almost 50 years.

They moved because it’s two-storeys and they wanted somewhere they could live out their retirement.

“On moving day my father collapsed because it was quite stressful,” she says.

“So once we got here we thought ‘good, no more stress’, and then we get this letter and it’s like, ‘oh no’.”

Paterson says in the meeting the AT staff said her family can be reimbursed for expenses when they move.

“When it goes ahead I’m going to demand they pay for packers and movers so we don’t have to stress my parents.”

She says the family has told the real estate agent they bought the home through that they’ll have to move again.

“He just about had a heart attack on the phone. He said there’s not much around at the moment.

“We need one level and probably five bedrooms.”

Paterson says she’s spoken to Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown about the situation and Brown told her he would contact Botany MP Christopher Luxon, who is her local MP.

She says residents unhappy with the AT plan are organising a petition to fight it.

“We knew there was a busway [being constructed] but believed it was on Ti Rakau Drive and we still can’t understand why they can’t do that.

“I want people to know it’s happening and it’s not fair.”

AT spokeswoman Natalie Polley says in 2018 Aucklanders shared their thoughts on the draft design of this “regionally significant project” and that feedback has contributed to development of the preferred design.

“Providing certainty to property owners and progressing conversations with them is important and is currently underway.

“Ordinarily we would consult with property owners in person with face-to-face meetings.

“As that is not an option within the current Auckland [Covid-19] restrictions, we are consulting virtually.

“Community engagement will be widely advertised and will begin in mid-November.

“Our online consultation room will contain information about the project including the proposed route, and visitors will be able to provide their feedback.”

Polley says responses from the engagement will help the project team to understand the needs of the east Auckland population and the impact of the proposed changes.

“We are focused on ensuring community needs are addressed and that momentum is maintained so the project is delivered on time.”