Just get on with it, says Tizard
A last minute objection over land classification for the redevelopment of the Auckland Art Gallery has drawn criticism from Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard.
Earlier this month Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee and Sandra Coney, who chairs the council’s parks and heritage committee, wrote to Land Information Minister David Parker expressing concern over a bill to reclassify 1117 square metres of Albert Park land for the $113 million project.
But Ms Tizard says the last minute objection is too little, too late.
Ms Tizard says Mr Lee and Mrs Coney have had “ample opportunity” to make their concerns known at the Environment Court consent hearings on the renovation of the gallery’s interior and extensions to the northern end.
“This very important project has been a long time in the making and frankly we just need to get on with it,” she says.
The gallery has been closed since February, at which time the Auckland City Council said it expected the Reserves and Other Land Disposal Bill, which would free up part of Albert Park for the extensions, would be passed.
But Mr Lee and Ms Coney’s letter to Mr Parker says issues over the land were too controversial to be included in the legislation.
A spokesperson for Mr Parker says just because there is some unhappiness, it doesn’t mean the bill is controversial. The minister is seeking support from other parliamentary parties for its introduction into the House.
Art gallery director Chris Saines says he has had legal advice saying work can start before the bill is passed.
He says of the 1117 square metres of land to be reclassified, only 100 square metres are designated parkland, with the rest having long been set aside for art gallery use.
“Once we have the resource consent in hand, we have permission to go ahead,” says Mr Saines.
The Environment Court is finalising the conditions of resource consent for the redevelopment, which Mr Saines hopes will be finalised in the next couple of months.
Going ahead: Art gallery director Chris Saines says redevelopment work can start before land is reclassified.