Wharf opening mooted
TWO major wharves on the waterfront could be used as public space under a proposal being explored by the Auckland Council.
The council is investigating the idea in relation to the Queens and Bledisloe wharves.
It is also looking at the possible extension of Captain Cook Wharf to accommodate larger cruiseliners expected to visit in the future.
Other options under consideration include the removal and redevelopment of the ferry terminal to accommodate the growing numbers of boats in the area.
The project is being led by Rick Walden of the City Centre Integration group, a council team focused on downtown Auckland’s development.
Walden says it is hoped Queens Wharf will be opened up to the public and used to host more major events.
Further reclamation of land, extending Bledisloe Wharf where the Ports of Auckland operates, is also under investigation. Walden cites inefficiencies as a reason for redeveloping the wharves.
‘‘Ferries, cruise ships,
traffic, public events and freight all jostle for room.’’
The wharves concept was first unveiled last September when the integration group released the Downtown Framework, a set of development guidelines.
The City Rail Link and down- town shopping centre redevelopment are two of the bigger items that fall within the framework.
The framework also proposes opening up public space in front of Britomart, relocating the downtown bus hub to Lower Albert St and beautifying the harbour’s edge to bring people closer to the water.
Meanwhile, the City Centre Integration group says negotiations for the sale or lease of Queen Elizabeth Square are nearly complete.
A senior registered valuer has assessed and valued the square opposite Britomart.
Council’s Auckland Development Committee received the central wharves redevelopment proposal yesterday but the public was excluded from the debate.
The way councillors voted could eventually clear the way for Ports of Auckland to reclaim up to another 5.3 hectares from the Waitemata Harbour and expand its commercial activities.
The City Centre Integration group will report back to the committee monthly.
Jam-packed: The central wharves proposal may address congestion issues at downtown Auckland’s ferry terminal.