Sunday, April 21, 2024

Auckland Council considers return of Port land to public

Auckland Mayor, Wayne Brown and Council’s Governing Body have met to consider credible options for the release of parts of the city’s Port footprint back to Council for community development.

Council says the move would also provide better access to the harbour.

At a series of confidential workshops, council staff, independent advisors Flagstaff Partners, GHD Engineering and Eke Panuku discussed the draft findings of land release options for waterfront land.

The independent advisors and Eke Panuku presented a high-level preliminary feasibility study which identified the possible first stage of land release, redevelopment options and commercialisation opportunities.

“I want us to deliver to Auckland the most beautiful and loved publicly owned waterfront of any harbour city in the world, and this is a first step,” Mayor Brown said.

Stage one of the release would focus on the redevelopment of the central wharves – Queens Wharf, Captain Cook Wharf, Marsden Wharf, and the Hobson Wharf extension – for a mix of uses, activities and development with Bledisloe Wharf to follow in the not too distant future, the Mayor said.

“I have strong public support for getting more public access to the harbour. By freeing up and developing these valuable waterfront spaces, we have an opportunity to create a world-class arts, culture and entertainment destination that celebrates our identity and evokes pride in Aucklanders.”

“We can create an open space that interacts with the harbour with the potential for an urban beach or tidal pool where people can actually touch the water, while housing a water-based amphitheatre for maritime events and activities that will attract thousands of local and international visitors. It also has the potential for an international event and exhibition venue and a Te Ao Māori showcase centre, to celebrate our rich cultural heritage.

“I’m pleased with the progress made on this work so far, which is indicating that there is a pathway to return a portion of land back to public use within the next 2 to 5 years without undermining the Port operation, while delivering significant wellbeing benefits for Aucklanders.

“As far as the port operation goes, we are just following on from the work commenced by the previous Mayor and council and I think it is worthy of consideration.

“I am still opened minded about the best solution and am genuinely interested in hearing what councillors, the Maritime Union and users of the Port and Aucklanders think about it,” Mayor Brown said.

To help inform master planning for the Ports of Auckland and infrastructure for the wider region, council has canvassed the views of port operators and investors on potential approaches to deliver on its ownership objectives for the POAL.

This process and the outputs will remain confidential and there will be a significant public consultation process before any further progress is made, Council said in a statement.

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