Some grand plans to advance Auckland Council’s 5-year-old waterfront & city centre plans will go to the council’s planning committee on Tuesday.
Image above: A Wynyard Quarter “regional destination park” is proposed at the outer point where the idea of an iconic structure was early tossed around.
2 words are central to the planning review: “Whose money?”
Take these 4 statements sprinkled through the report to the committee:
- “The proposed funding & delivery scenarios are to be interrogated & tested during the long-term plan process. Priority projects will be supported by business cases, including a total value analysis. Once decisions have been made, they will be incorporated into the long-term plan public consultation.”
- “For Wynyard Quarter, key drivers for the refresh include the need to create more feasible development packages, in order that returns from private development can contribute to the costs of public infrastructure & open space.”
- “A realignment of the Wynyard Point park… delivering more rational development sites for private investment.”
- “Funding is in place for the Auckland Transport bus projects but a realignment of or addition to budgets for other projects will be required.”
Those financial points are crucial to how streets around the central city and the waterfront itself are to offer better use, and how public transport will fit, but they aren’t the priority.
What is priority is to unleash a feast of ideas. What ought to be priority is a co-ordinated view of how these ideas can be brought forward practically, and funded.
Weighing on the offer are these:
- The future of the port’s 2 functions, cruise & cargo
- Hosting of the America’s Cup and hosting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) meeting, both in 2021.
Devising a programme and working out the requirements for the yachting event make sense because it’s a mega-dollar occasion from which Auckland stands to profit enormously. The visit of the foreign politicians is one the city ought to be able to take in its stride.
The next round of publicly discussing the council’s future port study is scheduled for the planning committee’s October meeting. Again, money is the key feature – firstly, what Auckland stands to lose by sending the freight business out of town; secondly, what it might gain by having a new port conveniently nearby; thirdly, how a cruise sector perhaps treble the size it is now can be accommodated.
Down at ground level, the planning report touches on bus routes, pedestrian & cycle-friendly access between the city waterfront & Wynyard Quarter, and pedestrian boulevarding the city-centre few blocks of Quay St (though it’s not spelled out quite so plainly).
But for all the focus on improving public transport access, the report suggestions emanating from Auckland Transport would have isthmus bus commuters at the bottom of town walking about 3 blocks further than they do now to reach their stop. Without too much cover from the elements.
The whole committee series of workshops has been conducted behind closed doors, and there is no apparent reason for that, other than the belief that participants in a discussion should be free to speak their minds without the rest of the world hearing, without statements being taken out of context, and – most importantly, but usually knocked back to least important – without the public being taken on the discussion journey until something concrete is laid out.
What is mapped out is the use of the public realm – affecting many private interests – and if discussion is public there’s a good chance somebody outside the forum will add an idea that hadn’t been thought of.
Despite the freedom of all that private discussion, the answer to the crucial financial questions is not in the agenda. If the council runs to form, it will skirt the question and the uncertainty will remain.
The report’s authors were Senior Panuku project planning leader Joanna Smith, Panuku & Ateed cruise project manager John Smith and Auckland Transport city centre & rapid transport network initiatives manager Daniel Newcombe.
Plan changes on the way
Also on the agenda for the planning committee’s meeting on Tuesday are a number of plan changes for the Auranga development at Drury, from Fletcher Residential Ltd at 3 Kings, for Whenuapai and to correct technical errors & anomalies in the unitary plan, which is now largely operative.
Planning committee agenda, Tuesday 5 September (9.30am, Town Hall)
9, City centre & waterfront planning refresh
11, Auckland unitary plan (operative in part) – private plan change request from Karaka & Drury Ltd – Auranga B1
12, Auckland unitary plan (operative in part) – private plan change request by Fletcher Residential Ltd – Three Kings
13, Auckland unitary plan (operative in part) – proposed plan change – Whenuapai
14, Auckland unitary plan (operative in part) – proposed plan change – administrative plan change – to correct technical errors & anomalies
Attribution: Council committee agenda, mayoral release.