Wharf open­ing mooted

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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 pub- lic 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 down­town 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 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.

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