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Current as of 19/09/14 07:40PM NZST

Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

SkyCity kickstarts debate over location of InterCity bus terminal

The bus terminal is clashing with SkyCity's plans for a convention centre.
The bus terminal is clashing with SkyCity's plans for a convention centre.

SkyCity Entertainment Group wants Auckland's InterCity Coachlines station out of its casino headquarters.

Nigel Morrison, chief executive of the $2.6 billion Australasian business, said the busy transport hub, which has operated on the ground floor of the casino giant's premises since 1996, is not in the best place for either his business or for passengers.

SkyCity is in the final design phase of its $402 million convention centre, to be built opposite the bus station, spanning the Hobson St/Nelson St block. It will have a pedestrian footbridge connection planned over Hobson St and demolition of buildings is due to begin soon.

Mr Morrison said he wanted authorities to examine better locations and suggested Britomart because InterCity would then link with other public transport modes, including trains, suburban buses and ferries. He called for action from Auckland Council.

"We want to do something with the busway. It's inappropriate and it's up to the council. It should be down at Britomart or some transport hub, not here," Mr Morrison said.

But Matthew Cockram, chief executive of Britomart developer Cooper and Company, bristled at the suggestion.

"It is nice of Nigel to be so concerned about bus passengers and the city's arrangements to accommodate them," he said. Britomart was already overloaded with buses.

"Capacity has been reached and there is a pressing need for rethinking and a comprehensive solution for buses in the lower part of the CBD. To drop InterCity in without sorting that out first would be unwise and really only moving deckchairs about," Mr Cockram said.

A council spokesman said SkyCity had not yet applied for convention centre consent.

"The bus terminal is an Auckland Transport issue. I would think, however, it is probably far too early for any response as no resource consent for the centre has yet been lodged and so such talks about convention issues would be at a preliminary stage," he said.

Sam Peate, InterCity general manager, said the terminal was in the way of convention centre plans.

"SkyCity is working through options for the convention centre and one of them is potentially making use of the space where the InterCity terminal is currently," he said, wondering where in Britomart there would be room for such a facility.

Auckland Transport communications manager Sharon Hunter said: "The bus terminal was a condition of the resource consent for the existing SkyCity and its removal would require a change of condition under the Resource Management Act."

Alex Swney, Heart of the City chief executive, said the bus depot was in the wrong location "dominated by the SkyCity complex. It's always been shoe-horned in there."

He wants it moved to the edge of the CBD.

Passengers ... what they think

Commuters at Auckland's InterCity terminal are divided about the SkyCity location.

Tammy Wana, 26, on her way to Piopio, got to the depot via a bus from the North Shore and likes the terminal where it is. "It's centrally located because if you're coming from the north, south or east, you can get buses here. Wherever they move it, they'll have to find enough space."

Nathalie Thomas, 46, on her way to Katikati, was a bit less enthusiastic and expressed surprise it was at SkyCity. "I thought it was at Britomart," she said, referring to that as a more obvious location.

Snowden Hovind, 26, heading for Hamilton, was driven to the Hobson St depot by his uncle. "It would make no difference where it was compared to other public transport."

SkyCity coach terminal
• InterCity and GreatSights main
• Auckland bus depot
• Ticket office and bus parking area at 102 Hobson St
• Room for eight coaches to park simultaneously
• Established 1996, leased to InterCity
• 46 scheduled arrivals and departures daily
Source: InterCity Coachlines.

Your view
What do you think of SkyCity's plan? Email: newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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