Kiosk plan in question
MT EDEN’S old tea kiosk is being revived, but there are fears a focus on cost rather than quality will leave a bad taste in visitor’s mouths.
Expressions of interest are being sought by the Auckland City Council to redevelop the kiosk, formerly known as Langton’s, near the base of Maungawhau Mt Eden.
Responses are due next Thursday and will help the council gauge market interest for the building.
Eden Albert Community Board chairman Chris Dempsey says the process is unsuitable for the reserve, which attracts more than one million visitors every year, because it’s a “focus on dollars situation” used for assets like footpaths and swimming pools.
“Maungawhau is a special site, but if the expressions of interest and subsequent tendering process focuses on lowest cost, what people may only remember is the lukewarm flat white and the stodgy muffin.”
Mr Dempsey is inviting council officers to come to this month’s board meeting to review the process, which he thinks has the potential to drive off interested small cafe owners.
“With all the paperwork involved, the only people left are the big companies. It’s a classic monopoly up there on the mountain, you’re captive.
“We want the council to get the community board and iwi to open it together, think about it together, discuss it together and sort it out together or else we could wind up with an inappropriate vendor who could downgrade the visit to a really awful food experience,” Mr Dempsey says.
Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board spokesman Ngarimu Blair says the board was consulted before the council asked for expressions of interest.
Although it strongly objected to the process, the council continued with it, he says.
“We hold a desire to better express manaakitanga (care of guests) on all the mountains and find it incredible that the council might unilaterally grant a commercial lease to a private company to tell our stories with their lattes.
“The process makes no sense here.”
The tribe’s trust board will send a letter to mayor John Banks outlining their concerns and reminding the council of their obligations to co-manage the mountain with local iwi.
Council arts, culture and recreation committee chairman Greg Moyle says he instigated the process after Ngati Whatua chose not to participate and says officers need a basis for discussion to move forward.
“It’s about coming up with a proposal to preserve this building and make sure it’s properly used.”
Mr Moyle says the council is open to the right proposal and if Ngati Whatua wants to run a venture on the mountain he’d be delighted.
“It’s not about making money, what we’re trying to do is not lose money. We don’t want to operate it but doing nothing is not an option. It’s not a quick fix but hopefully something will come out of this that all can participate in.”
Cafe Maungawhau: The council’s push to redevelop the tea kiosk on Mt Eden has left interest groups and local Maori unimpressed.