Port needs may be included in Auckland Plan

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

Bold plans to extend Auckland's port 250m into the Waitemata Harbour could be included in the city's 30-year blueprint today.

Deputy Mayor and Auckland Plan committee chairwoman Penny Hulse will be urging councillors to adopt the position of Ports of Auckland to "lock in place" a coastal zone allowing it to expand its waterfront operations from 77ha to 95ha by 2055.

But in order to address widespread public concerns about the port plan, Ms Hulse last night said she wanted to improve the wording in the Auckland Plan for environmental and other effects to be given equal weighting when any resource consent applications were made to fill in more of the Waitemata Harbour.

She has allowed Greg McKeown, representing Heart of the City, and Margot McRae, of Devonport Heritage, to speak at today's committee meeting.

Ports of Auckland's long-term plans involve extending Bledisloe Wharf 250m into the Waitemata Harbour and Fergusson Wharf, which is already further north, about 50m.

Boaties, architects, urban designers, Mainfreight boss Don Braid - the Herald Business Leader of the Year for 2011 - and National's MP for Auckland Central, Nikki Kaye, are lining up behind a campaign by the Heart of the City business group to oppose the plans to "shrink our harbour".

Both Ms Hulse and Mayor Len Brown believe the expansion of the port is not a matter for the Auckland Plan and any development would be subject to a resource consent process.

In a letter to Ms Kaye last month, Mr Brown said the council was not authorising the expansion of the port, but simply restating the status quo coastal zone for port operations, which had been in place since 1987.

The mayor and deputy mayor's position has been challenged by former Auckland regional councillor and University of Auckland planning lecturer Dr Joel Cayford and Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney.

Writing in yesterday's Herald, Dr Cayford said Mr Brown was dreaming if he thought that a resource consent process was the right way to resolve public interest considerations over future port expansion.

He said the buck clearly rested with the Auckland Council and the Auckland Plan, which must set a strategic direction for Auckland and determine the location and timing of critical infrastructure.

"If 20ha of new reclamation is not critical infrastructure, I don't know what is."

Mr Swney said that under the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act the Auckland Plan was powerful in guiding any resource consent applications.

He wants the council to have a breather and lead a review into the role of the port in the wider Auckland context.

EXPANSION
Ports of Auckland wants to expand its waterfront operations from 77ha to 95ha by 2055.

Extend Bledisloe Wharf 250m into the Waitemata Harbour.

Extend Fergusson Wharf, which is already further north, about 50m.

- NZ Herald

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