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Heart of the City launches We only get one chance campaign - Auckland - AKT

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.




  1. Matt L says:

    It sounds like the Heart of the City are being a bit alarmist to me and wanting to turn almost all of Wynyard into a park. Four story buildings are hardly high rise and without development like that to create a permanent resident and worker population the whole area will likely fail as people start getting attracted elsewhere.

    I also don’t see how buildings on either side of the current development privatise the space, a prime example of this is the small park outside of St Patrick’s church, it is a great little park since its upgrade and despite being surrounded by tall buildings is used by lots of people, especially in summer.

    The port comments might have a little more merrit to them but I can understand there having to be at least some development there.

  2. joust says:

    The reclamation has started, with piles going in north of the ferguson container terminal.

  3. Patrick R says:

    Four stories? Too short and squat, taller and thinner would be better; more intensity, the buildings are part of the view. It is time to stop thinking that the cityscape is a problem and instead focus on making it high quality, effective and attractive. Does anyone claim that the Manhattan skyline is in the way of the view? no, it is the view.

    Also we should focus more on how the buildings are at street level. Open and engaged structures give life to places, grilled carparking makes for dead zones. Height is not the problem, design and use are.

  4. Mark says:

    The real issue, is the rushed consultation, during the RWC. People can’t engage with 4 plans, hundreds of pages, while RWC is on.

    Then they just want 4 weeks of hearings - and finalise in Dec - doesn’t sound like they intend making any changes to me!

  5. Ingolfson says:

    “The real issue, is the rushed consultation, during the RWC. People can’t engage with 4 plans, hundreds of pages, while RWC is on.”

    So why also hold an election at the same time? Cynic? Me?

    Mark - what you may not be aware of is that the Auckland Plan, thanks to Mr Hide and Mr Key, has VERY tight statutory deadlines to meet. Holding the consultation any earlier would have damaged the quality fo the work. Holding it later (i.e. after RWC and election) would have made meeting the deadline much harder.

  6. Ingolfson says:

    On the port expansion - grow up, Heart of the City. I see absolutely no problem with this. It is pretty contained within their area. In fact, if you want to get more public waterfront, you need to provide the ports with more alternative space anyway. The only alternative is saying “goodbye” to the ports, and the money and the economic power it brings us, and give it to Tauranga!

    So I am also thinking Jon is also being a bit alarmist in taking Heart of the City’s position on this - have a close look at the Ports plans - what you will see is that the expansion of the ports in the final stages actually allows some of the key Waterfront projects to go ahead - such as using Captain Cook’s Wharf, and in the long run realigning Quay Street along the red fence. And all this with less “frontage” to the city than before. I am not worried about this at all.

  7. Ian M says:

    Haha, a great attempt to eliminate any future possibility of a waterfront stadium (not that I think we should ever want one)

  8. Pat Hooper says:

    We do not need any more development in the area of the childrens playground, we were there on Sunday with lots of people of all ages having a good time, the city belongs to all ages and it was good to see it being used….please let it stay like it is

  9. Ben says:

    It does sound alarmist from Jon and Heart of the City.

    As a former planning student, I (or rather the class) was asked to do a major assignment on developing a section of the waterfront.

    I chose the entire Wynyard Quarter and called for what some said would be significant development but also ample green/public spaces as well.

    I have the document both in PDF and paper copy if anyone wants to see. It is also the same document I am using to support my submission for the Draft Auckland Plan. Which with its tight deadlines I am struggling to compile a meaningful submission.

    The question is am I wasting my time doing so?

  10. Jon C says:

    Alarmist? Come on guys.
    I love Wynyard and want to live in the area. I’m perfectly happy seeing it develop as a business centre and have places to live.
    But if it’s true the green part is going, then that’s not good and I don’t consider it alarmist to urge that we keep it green. If anything it needs more colour and vegetaion.
    I have no view on the reclamation.

  11. Ingolfson says:

    Ah, my apologies, Jon. I do understand some of the Heart of the City concerns re Wynyard Quarter - I just thought you supported their ports concerns as well.

  12. Jon C says:

    @Ingolfson No concerns there.
    I like Ports of Auckland.

  13. Matt L says:

    Jon - I don’t think your alarmist but I think the Heart of the City are being so. I haven’t seen one thing to suggest that the parts that have just opened are to be built over again, especially just after just spending over $100m on the area upgrading it.

    My understanding is that there would be buildings in the range of 4 stories on the vacant sites to the south of Jellicoe St and eventually on the northern side behind where the metal framework is but that still leaves the existing works and park as they are.

    I also think that what the Heart of the city are suggesting is that by having buildings nearby it will prevent the space being used by people who don’t currently live there.

  14. AKT says:

    @Matt L Fair enough Matt. I must say i have found the Auckland Waterfront people excellent and am surprised if they do have some secret agenda!

  15. Matt says:

    I think people are overlooking something here: Heart of the City are arguing against a “Pave it all” mentality. Isn’t that something worth celebrating? I certainly think it’s a wonderful turn of events.

  16. Jon C says:

    Heart of the city support for the rail link was the main reason for reporting this.
    It’s a significant endorsement.

  17. Ben says:

    My apologies as well for any misunderstanding.

    So long as there is a balance between sensible development and public space on Wynyard Quarter then that is all fine with me too.

    As for the port - nice to see works in the pipeline for expansion, but heck we need to think about transit links in and out of the enlarged port as well. And by thinking we need to have a serious HARD think.

    I supposed I could be “alarmed” then about the port expansion if the transit links are botched well entirely…

  18. GARDINER says:

    Quay St,on the city side, from the overbridge going towards Parnell to Albert Street is an eyesore. Developers have had their way at great cost to space and beauty and population friendly areas. Most is visual polution.
    Wynyard is a delight, my only critisism is I want it WIDER,LONGER.
    Can we not have one part of the harbour beautiful and clear of developers personal bank balance fantasies.
    Wynyard and the Auckland Art Gallery have contributed enormously to getting people into the city again.
    Please permit citizens to have breathing spaces, spaces that keep us sane.
    It is not necessary to put buildings on the harbour…the businesses will operate the same 10 blocks…or thirty blocks back. We don’t need more restaurants and bars…we need more areas to just go with the whanau or friends, or on ones own to just breath out.

  19. Ingolfson says:

    “As for the port – nice to see works in the pipeline for expansion, but heck we need to think about transit links in and out of the enlarged port as well. And by thinking we need to have a serious HARD think.”

    There are plans for that in the City Centre Master Plan - primarily a new link from the bottom of SH16 at Grafton Gully, grade separated straight north into the port. That is supposed to allow Quay Street and the Strand to become more people friendly, as freight traffic on Quay Street (for example to and from Fanshawe Street) reduces. However, the grade separated plan is still just an idea, and would be quite expensive - but I think we need it.

    And of course, there are plans for a third rail track along the eastern line out of the port, but with the lack of rail funding from our current government, for the time being, stuff like future-proofing the Orakei development for the added freight line is about all they can do.

  20. Ben says:

    @ingolfson. I am aware of the SH16 grade separation project and the possible 3rd rail line for the port transit links. But to me and in my opinion those measures are half baked and only form 1/4 of the actual solution needed for the port and wider Auckland.

    To finish the system for Auckland and benefit the city and port more widely you need these two options to be built as well, they are:

    The Eastern Highway

    2nd Harbour Crossing from what would start from a SH16/Eastern Highway/Quay Street/Port super interchange and finish at Esdmone Road Interchange on the other side. The tunnel would be multi-modal and include rail that could be extended up the Northern Bus way in due time.

    These links mentioned above would form as the final piece of the puzzle for Auckland in getting her moving.

    I can already hear the knives being sharpened, pitchforks being purchased and the torches being lit for the Eastern Highway - but hear me out.

    Sending 54tonne trucks up Grafton Gully and over the Newmarket Viaduct or the Victoria Tunnel and Harbour Bridge is a pain for the trucks themselves as they crawl up those gradients, as well as fouling (or more likely being fouled on) a heavily used section of critical motorway.

    The Eastern Highway would form as a bypass for trucks (not all freight can be moved by rail that is a fact) to parts of the Southern and Northern motorway in which if tolled, would allow the freight by road to be moved more efficiently. Further more the Eastern Highway would allow more efficient traffic movement in the Eastern Suburbs (again not everyone can go by passenger rail) then current. The Eastern Highway can also be fitted with HVOC lanes and be greenbelted to minimise visual and noise impacts.

    The second crossing where I stated speaks for itself. Such a crossing in such a place forms an Eastern Bypass (away from the Central Motorway Junction and CBD), an alternative crossing, and get a rail link across to help relieve pressure on the bus way (to the point you could do Albany to the Airport via Glenn Innes train run).

    These projects would be costly, but done properly would help move people and cargo efficiently across Auckland and assist the port growth for decades to come.

    You do not have to agree with me, but that is me stating my 2 cents and I am placing the above in my Auckland Plan submission for consideration and debate.

  21. Ingolfson says:

    Ben - of course I don’t have to agree with you for you to be able to say what you want. I just have, like, twenty arguments against your opinion.

    First off, calling grade-separation for the end of SH16 and a 3rd rail line “half-baked” and “1/4th of what is needed” strikes me almost dumb (well, almost ;-) - those two projects would massively improve the port’s accessibility (and also cost massively, admitedly).

    But those massive costs are of course just a small candle to what you propose.

    Eastern Transport Corridor? Apart from the political impossibilities of resurrecting this project (the eco-movement AND the well-heeled suburbanites or Orakei and Remuera joined are a powerful force to stop anything indeed!) it makes very little sense to me to emphasise trucks on this route. Rail is much more useful. Not all freight can be carried on rail? Surprise, that is why we have SH16, and also, inland ports for rail / truck transshipment.

    I live close to Grafton Gully, so I know it well, and in some ways, would be negatively affected by more truck traffic there - while a Eastern Transport Corridor Route would not affect by daily life by one inch. I still oppose it. Why would we create ANOTHER motorway in 2011, ON TOP of all the other stuff we get from our current government bankrupting our transport budgets for the trucking industry already?

    Fouling SH16/the CMJ? Good lord, your alternatives would try to “solve” that problem by building not one, but TWO multi-billion dollar projects (Eastern Transport Corridor and a Second Harbour Crossing) - leaving more space for private vehicles to choke us there and clog up the central city (in addition to then also then choking eastern Auckland).

    Also, your proposed tunnel is double or triple the length that the current tunnel proposal is. Who would pay for that? Oh, yes, my taxes. No thanks, I have had enough of BCR projects that try their hardest to be not only low, but negative!

    “The tunnel would be multi-modal and include rail”

    The tunnel would be so blimming expensive, the rail option would be dropped off the plans shortly after the pretty renders get shown to the public. This would even apply in a less rail-phobic national-level government.

    Also, a rail crossing east of Britomart would either bypass the CBD (yeah, spend billions on a tunnel and then ignore the main desire lines for North Shore Rail passengers!) or create another one of those stupid “side stub” links our Auckland Rail system is so stupidly fond off (Britomart, Newmarket Western Line, Manukau…).

    As you suspected, I don’t agree with you.

  22. Ben says:

    @ingolfson, you had to make go doodle on the back of my running sheets didn’t you. :P

    You have stated your arguement well (and to which I respect) and we will agree to disagree on the issue? :) ;)

    In the mean time I am working on my reply to your points of arugment
    (Hey least I got some kind of discussion going too :) )

  23. Ben says:

    @akt, Jon and ingolfson: In saying that and maybe to save swamping the thread about Wynyard Quarter and the Port, a separate thread or post should be opened on the merits or demerits of The Eastern Highway and 2nd Crossing from Grafton Gully/Stanley Street to Esmonde Road Interchange?

  24. Jon C says:

    @Ben It’s way off post but as the debate has been started it might as well continue!

  25. Ben says:

    Sorry, my fault entirely. Got a bit too wound up on a passionate subject of mine :P :(

  26. Geoff says:

    If the port reclamation just went a bit further out, it would reach Devonport. No new bridge or tunnel required, just build surface roads and a railway, and Bob’s your uncle.

  27. Ingolfson says:

    Geoff, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s maybe 5-10% further out than it is right now, and not even close to halfway across. And Bob’s no relative of mine ;-0

  28. John says:

    Rail/Rail/Rail Yes Yes Yes
    We want a proper rail system in Auckland.All sucessful cities have good rail/rapid rail systems.
    Also lets extend the trams around Tamaki Drive
    As a National voter I am not happy with the governments ongoing indifference/opposition to our rail needs

  29. Matt L says:

    Last week they had a large ad in the Herald about the playground being a building site, today they have one with a picture of the new trains saying that without the CRL we won’t get the most out of them.

  30. Jeff H says:

    Third rail line for freight to the Port one day, but no Eastern Motorway. Protect Purewa valley as a green space for recreation.


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