Project moved to keep events in city

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

Construction of a new events cen­tre in the city’s re­vamped Wyn­yard Quar­ter has been brought for­ward to keep sev­eral ma­jor events in the city.

The Auck­land City Coun­cil city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee voted last month to bring fund­ing for the Marine Events Cen­tre in Halsey St for­ward six years to be in­cluded in the 2010/11 bud­get.

But construction of the Te Wero bridge, which will con­nect the viaduct with Wyn­yard Quar­ter, has been de­layed un­til 2016.

A re­port to the com­mit­tee said de­fer­ring the cen­tre would mean Auck­land could no longer host events like Air NZ Fash­ion Week, the Auck­land Marathon, the Boat Show and Auck­land Art Fair.

Those events bring about $86 mil­lion a year to the city’s econ­omy, it said.

Sea+City, the or­gan­i­sa­tion in charge of im­ple­ment­ing the Auck­land city and re­gional coun­cils’ vi­sion for Wyn­yard Quar­ter, says bring­ing the cen­tre for­ward is “good news”.

“The Marine Events Cen­tre will be an in­te­gral part and one of the key at­trac­tors for the whole quar­ter,” says chief ex­ec­u­tive and project di­rec­tor John Dalzell.

The coun­cil will spend $1m on an in­terim bridge be­fore Te Wero is built.

Mr Dalzell says the tem­po­rary bridge will pro­vide pedes­trian ac­cess and cy­clists will be able to walk their bikes across it.

At the meet­ing, coun­cil­lor Leila Boyle moved that the coun­cil could cut the cen­tre’s bud­get by $1.5m with a sim­pler roof de­sign, but the amend­ment was lost.

“I be­lieve if we are se­ri­ous about keep­ing rates in­creases as low as pos­si­ble, we should look at ways of sav­ing money,” she said.

Chair­man Aaron Bhat­na­gar said he didn’t want to put a “samu­rai sword through the bud­get” be­cause the cen­tre and the de­vel­op­ment needed to be some­thing the city was proud of.

“The build­ings look fan­tas­tic, they look in­ter­est­ing, they have ar­chi­tec­tural in­tegrity,” he said.

The cen­tre’s de­sign was en­dorsed by the coun­cil ur­ban de­sign panel.

A $29.3m bud­get was ap­proved by the coun­cil last Au­gust for the cen­tre’s de­vel­op­ment, with an ex­tra $2.6m pre­vi­ously ap­proved for de­vel­op­ing the sur­round­ing streetscapes.

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