Business Support For Rail, Port Concerns
Auckland City Centre’s business association today threw its full support behind Mayor Brown’s campaign for a City Rail Link.
But at the same time, it has begun a campaign warning about plans for four-storey buildings on what is the playground and public areas, right next to the “Six Pack” of historic grain silos on the re-vitalised Wynyard Quarter and a massive reclamation planned by Ports of Auckland.
In a campaign called “We only get one chance,” Heart of the City says the problems with Auckland’s rail system “became all too clear” at the opening of the Rugby World Cup in September.
It calls the planned City Rail Link an exciting proposal and says the business group believes it’s a worthwhile investment in Auckland’s future.
“This would turn the central Auckland rail system into a loop. Britomart would become a through terminal rather than a dead end, connected directly to new stations in the city centre. Add the city’s new electric trains, and you have a modern, efficient rail system.”
But the group issues a dire warning about plans for Wynyard Quarter which would wipe out the playground and public park near the old oil silos – a stunning feature of the development.
Wynyard Quarter playground a popular new public space
“To the north of this there are yet more shops, offices and apartments planned, while the very end of the headland becomes a park.
“There is simply too much development planned for the area. The park needs to be much bigger and it needs to be better connected with North Wharf. As planned, its entrance will be dominated by multi-storey buildings.
“We believe that intense development like this privatises public space and creates dead areas. Rather than treat this as a property development, we need to build generous open spaces that future generations will thank us for.
Wynyard Quarter's public space will get bowled?
“We believe there should be no significant development north of North Wharf, except for public buildings and parks. We’ve only just got these public spaces, let’s not lose them.”
Heart of the City also warns about a massive reclamation planned by Ports of Auckland.
The port is predicting that by 2040, it will process more than four million containers a year, up from 800,000 now.
To do that, it will have to reclaim large areas of the harbour – Bledisloe Wharf, for instance, will be 50 per cent as long again as it is now, jutting into the harbour and obstructing views of the Hauraki Gulf.
“Those extra containers have to moved off the port somehow and that means more trucks and more trains. The plan envisages $1.7 billion worth of roading and rail improvements to support that expansion, including the possibility of a large concrete bridge or underground tunnel right on our waterfront to connect the port directly with Grafton Gully. In the mean time there will be more and more trucks on The Strand.
“The plan assumes that every one of those containers has to pass through Auckland’s waterfront. There are other options and these need to be explored.
Ports of Auckland reclamation plan
“The scale and cost of the proposed expansion is such that Aucklanders have to ask themselves whether they want the port to grow to this size with this impact on their waterfront.”
How typical Auckland.
Just when we think we have sensible thinking going on in opening up the waterfront to the public and making use of the connection between sea and land, it’s planned to make the same mistakes all over again.
See what the Ports reclamation will look like here
Good on Heart of the City for raising awareness of this. Let’s hope the final plans for the port and Wynyard don’t make the final Waterfront Plan . Raise your voice now.