Wharf plans protested

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

AUCK­LAN­DERS came out in protest at the Ports of Auck­land’s plans to ex­tend its wharves into the Waitem­ata Har­bour on Sun­day.

But it could be the tip of the ice­berg as the ports com­pany has in­di­cated it will seek a fur­ther three hectares of recla­ma­tion once the Uni­tary Plan is in place.

The port is due to begin work next month to ex­tend two fin­gers of the Bledis­loe Wharf nearly 100 me­tres into the Waitem­ata Har­bour af­ter ob­tain­ing con­sent with­out public con­sul­ta­tion.

‘‘We would like con­sent to re­claim the area be­tween the wharf ex­ten­sions, just un­der 3ha, which is a 90 per cent re­duc­tion to what we were seek­ing in 2011,’’ port spokesman Matt Ball says of pos­si­ble fur­ther recla­ma­tion.

‘‘We do not have con­sent for recla­ma­tion and we will not ap­ply for con­sent for recla­ma­tion un­til af­ter the Uni­tary Plan be­comes op­er­a­tive.’’

Any con­sent will be fully no­ti­fied and sub­ject to con­sul­ta­tion, Ball says.

Hun­dreds of Auck­lan­ders took aim at the port com­pany and mayor Len Brown on Sun­day.

A flotilla of more than 100 boats sup­ported a crowd of more than 500 pro­test­ers on Queens Wharf, car­ry­ing signs say­ing ‘‘ Make love, not wharf’’ and ‘‘If it’s Len Brown, flush it down’’.

Public fig­ures such as Neil Finn, Sir Gra­ham Henry, Lady Pippa Blake, Sir Stephen Tin­dall, Chris Dick­son and Bar­bara Ken­dall have spo­ken up against the recla­ma­tion.

Waitem­ata coun­cil­lor Mike Lee says the port’s plans are danger­ous and grandiose.

Lee is con­cerned about the im­pact on the har­bour en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing wild life and ti­dal flows.

‘‘It benefits no-one, or no thing, for them to be spend­ing vast amounts of public money fill­ing in the har­bour,’’ he says.

‘‘Not only is this en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing to marine ecosys­tems, and ru­in­ing views over the har­bour and gulf, but the dis­torted ti­dal flow will make the area in­creas­ingly danger­ous for recre­ational boat­ing.

‘‘I think the di­rec­tors and man­agers of Ports of Auck­land have the mis­taken im­pres­sion that the port and the har­bour is theirs to do with what they like.’’

Ball says ex­pan­sion is a nor­mal part of port busi­ness.

‘‘Recla­ma­tion is a slow way to ex­pand, so you have to plan many years in ad­vance, but only im­ple­ment what you need just in time,’’ the port spokesman says.

He says the planned wharf ex­ten­sion is needed ur­gently due to grow­ing freight and ship size.

‘‘Th­ese are struc­tures,’’ Ball says.

‘‘They have very lit­tle en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and will of­fer al­most no re­sis­tance to ti­dal flow.’’

They could be re­moved need be, Ball says.

Coun­cil­lor Chris Darby says the plans are ‘‘en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dal­ism’’ which would af­fect 30,000 square me­tres of seabed and ‘‘oblit­er­ate’’ the view north-east from Queens Wharf – an area Auck­lan­ders had paid $40 mil­lion for.

piled

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Coun­cil­lor Mike Lee

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a time­lapse video which shows how Auck­land’s shore­line has changed since 1861.

Photo: JOEL CAY­FORD

Anger grows: Hun­dreds gath­ered at Queens Wharf on Sun­day to protest the Ports of Auck­land’s wharf ex­ten­sion plans.

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