Bob Harvey: What's next for Auckland waterfront?


Full work schedule over the next few years and there's still room for great ideas.

People enjoy the ease of access and cafe lifestyle of Wynyard Quarter.  Photo / APN
People enjoy the ease of access and cafe lifestyle of Wynyard Quarter. Photo / APN

We are delighted that the Herald is putting a spotlight on the progress on Auckland's waterfront. Globally, cities' waterfronts are a big deal, at Waterfront Auckland we think so, the council thinks so and yet again we have been shown that Aucklanders think so, too.

The pride that the revitalisation of parts of the waterfront has generated has exceeded expectations. As we've been saying for some time, we have a beautiful waterfront but there is so much more that can be done to make it truly world-class.

Waterfront Auckland and the Waterfront Plan it has produced as recently as 2012 has already proven itself successful and it stands Auckland in good stead for the future.

Waterfront Auckland has also started to deliver on that plan, as the widely acclaimed North Wharf Development on Wynyard Quarter is testimony to.

People wanted more access behind the barrier of the red fence running along the waterfront and they are celebrating that every weekend at Wynyard Quarter and on Queens Wharf in their thousands.

There is real excitement about the waterfront and Aucklanders are asking us: "What's next?"

Waterfront Auckland has a full work schedule over the next few years to provide the things Auckland said they wanted to see happen on the waterfront:

•The revitalisation of Quay St to be a more pedestrian-friendly space that will let people get to the water's edge more easily while balancing the necessary use by cars, service vehicles and public transport.

•A pedestrian-friendly green street, a "linear park" through the Wynyard Quarter on Daldy St that will link Victoria Park to the future headland park on Wynyard Point.

•The refurbishment of Shed 10 on Queens Wharf that will welcome some 200,000 visitors to our city each year as the region's primary cruise ship terminal and provide a unique events space.

•The extension of the current tram loop to cross the Wynyard Quarter bridge to the entrance of the Viaduct. The aim is to extend the tram line further, to Britomart and then to St Heliers.

•An innovation precinct in the Wynyard Quarter that will attract global ITC, marine and other technology-focused organisations to do business here in Auckland.

•A 20km promenade and cycleway along the foot of the waterfront from the Harbour Bridge to Tamaki Drive.

•The protection of our maritime history by giving classic boats and retired working vessels like the Kestrel and William C. Daldy an easy retirement berth on the waterfront where everyone can enjoy and learn about them.

•A 4.5ha park for Aucklanders - the size of a lifestyle farm - yet to come on Wynyard Point.

These are some of the things we have planned that have captured the imagination of Aucklanders. There is still room for more great ideas and we encourage the kind of discussion the Herald has opened up. There is always room for more good ideas.

We agree that having more space on the waterfront would be fantastic as our city grows. We need to make sure that any future release of land from port to public, opening up more development opportunities, happens in a considered way.

Waterfront Auckland supports the continuing operation of Ports of Auckland in its present location. Its contribution is vital to the economy and it is desirable to have an interesting working port within a busy, beautiful harbour which has always drawn Aucklanders to it.

Decisions made about the future size and location of the port should be as consistent as possible with the principles that Aucklanders supported through the Waterfront Plan: to develop a working waterfront that supports the region's economy and meets the needs of all harbour users and the public of Auckland.

We believe that further eastward consolidation of port activities towards Tamaki Drive over time, and new operations and technology such as automated stacking, could achieve both growth capacity for the port and significant positive public outcomes.

It is a critical time in the development of the waterfront. We welcome public discussion and ideas and we encourage people to continue the discussion.

Bob Harvey is the chairman of Waterfront Auckland.

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