Coun­cil­lors at odds over wharf re­vamp

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

Ten­sions are brew­ing be­tween Auck­land city coun­cil­lors over the rede­vel­op­ment of Queens Wharf in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Sev­eral City Vi­sion coun­cil­lors feel the process around the wharf’s rede­vel­op­ment is rushed and flawed.

Af­ter a city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee meet­ing last Thurs­day, coun­cil­lors say they “have grave con­cerns over the haste and lack of good plan­ning”.

“The main ob­jec­tive is to max­imise pub­lic ac­cess and en­joy­ment of Queens Wharf by Auck­lan­ders and visi­tors,” says coun­cil­lor Richard Northey.

“We should plan care­fully to best achieve this and not be rushed or com­pro­mised in bring­ing this about.”

Coun­cil­lor Leila Boyle says she is wor­ried that the prime min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion for Queens Wharf to be the Rugby World Cup “party cen­tral” is forc­ing Auck­land to fast-track de­vel­op­ment.

She says Auck­land has a per­fectly good party cen­tral at Aotea Square.

The com­mit­tee noted the eco­nomic im­por­tance of the cruise ship in­dus­try to New Zealand, be­cause part of the de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to be a new cruise ship ter­mi­nal.

One of the com­mit­tee’s res­o­lu­tions notes that the com­bined com­mit­tee has al­lo­cated two-thirds of the fund­ing for the rede­vel­op­ment, up to $56 mil­lion.

Ms Boyle says: “Cit­i­zens and Ratepay­ers’ de­ci­sion to fund $56m of the $80m project cost means 70 per­cent of the fi­nan­cial bur­den is be­ing car­ried by Auck- land city ratepay­ers while the re­main­ing $24m is, as yet, un­funded.”

Coun­cil­lor Glenda Fryer agreed, say­ing ratepay­ers are al­ready stretched.

But com­mit­tee chairman and Cit­i­zens and Ratepay­ers coun­cil­lor Aaron Bhat­na­gar says it is hyp­o­crit­i­cal for his op­po­nents to com­plain.

“In 2006 in their longterm coun­cil com­mu­nity plan, when the rates revolt oc­curred, they pro­posed spend­ing $150m on Queens Wharf and the wa­ter­front.

“We are propos­ing $56m max­i­mum.”

He says it may be less if the project re­duces in scope be­cause the coun­cil con­tri­bu­tion is capped at twothirds of the cost.

“With re­gards to cost, it is a dou­ble stan­dard on the part of City Vi­sion to com­plain.”

The com­mit­tee has en­dorsed a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion where any­one can en­ter their de­signs for the project and there will be a two-week judg­ing process where five de­signs and three teams are se­lected to pro­ceed.

“This open process could re­ceive de­signs and ideas from school­child­ren, grad­u­ates, small New Zealand firms to larger de­sign firms with in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Mr Bhat­na­gar.

The com­pe­ti­tion is ex­pected to run for about 10 weeks from the start of Au­gust, with the win­ner an­nounced mid-Oc­to­ber.

Mr Bhat­na­gar says this pe­riod will in­clude a three­week pub­lic in­put process and about five weeks for the de­sign com­pe­ti­tion be­fore the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

An open day is be­ing planned at Queens Wharf for the pub­lic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.