Three's a crowd on our waterfront cloud

By Bernard Orsman

The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront could be superfluous to the Super City's needs after the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Natalie Slade
The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront could be superfluous to the Super City's needs after the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Natalie Slade

Super City bosses are unclear about the ownership and management of Queens Wharf after the Rugby World Cup.

The Government and three arms of the Super City share an interest in the wharf and its facilities, including the $9.8 million Cloud and the refurbished century-old Shed 10.

A joint report by two Auckland Council subsidiaries - Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) - highlights the different roles of public bodies with an interest in Queens Wharf.

"Post RWC 2011, it is unclear what the ownership and management arrangements are for the wharf and its facilities," said the report, to go to the boards of the two subsidiaries today.

The Super City promised one voice for Auckland, but when it comes to Queens Wharf, the Government owns half the wharf and the Cloud, Waterfront Auckland is responsible for managing it, Ateed for hosting events and Regional Facilities Auckland for providing venues.

Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell has warned of having too many waterfront venues and not enough events after the cup.

It would be no use having the 178m prefabricated Cloud if the $32 million Viaduct Events Centre at Wynyard Quarter could not be filled, he said.

Regional Facilities Auckland chief executive John Brockies was more upbeat about the three waterfront venues after the first event at the Viaduct Events Centre last week - a dinner for several hundred teachers.

This will be followed by the Auckland Arts Fair and Auckland Fashion Week next month - and more than 120 events booked over the next year.

Mr Brockies said the aim was to make Auckland more of a tourist destination and that required adequate infrastructure, including venues.

"Quite where Shed 10 and the Cloud might fit into that is yet to be defined so the opportunity for Auckland is to create these special places that add to visitor attractiveness," he said.

The Viaduct Events Centre, at the end of Halsey St, is a "premier" venue, says Mohamed Mansour, who oversees it.

The multi-venue events centre has 6000sq m of exhibition, meeting and hospitality space over three floors with views of the Waitemata Harbour, Viaduct Harbour and new public spaces at Wynyard Quarter, which will be open to the public on August 6.

The Viaduct Events Centre has been added to Regional Facilities' portfolio, which includes the Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall, Civic Theatre, Auckland Art Gallery, Mt Smart Stadium and Auckland Zoo.

The joint report highlights early difficulties on pricing for the Viaduct Events Centre, with revelations that Fashion Week and the Volvo Ocean Race stopover have been promised free or discounted venue hire.

This has created difficulties for Regional Facilities, which is meant to operate on commercial lines.

- NZ Herald

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