Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Port expansion, version 2

New reclamation options would extend wharf either 135m or 179m into the harbour.

If Aucklanders decide there is no rush to get Captain Cook Wharf, the port company would reclaim land only when it was needed. Photo / Supplied
If Aucklanders decide there is no rush to get Captain Cook Wharf, the port company would reclaim land only when it was needed. Photo / Supplied

A little expansion or a step too far is the choice facing Aucklanders with the release of the latest plans to reclaim more of the Waitemata Harbour for port operations.

Ports of Auckland has put forward two proposals for feedback after the Auckland Council rejected a bid by senior officers to fast-track the changes into the Unitary Plan for the Super City.

Business leaders, boaties and politicians have been at loggerheads and last year the Herald campaigned against further reclamation of the harbour.

Now it is the turn of Aucklanders to judge the port company's two options, which chief executive Tony Gibson said balanced the need to cater for growth and a community desire to keep natural assets.

Mr Gibson said the company and experts had come up with a more efficient and compact development plan labelled a "little expansion" in the public material.

Instead of extending Bledisloe Wharf 283m into the harbour for a 22ha reclamation, the options involve extending Bledisloe Wharf 135m or 179m into the harbour for a 5.5ha or 6.6ha reclamation.

The company's preference is for the 179m expansion, which frees up Captain Cook Wharf for public use.

If Aucklanders decide there is no rush to get Captain Cook Wharf, the port company would reclaim land only when it was needed. That could be years away, particularly if the port becomes more efficient through work practices or technology.

If Aucklanders do want access to Captain Cook Wharf, the port company said it would need to get resource consent and complete reclamation for a new berth on Bledisloe Wharf within five years.

Mr Gibson has encouraged Aucklanders to have their say on the latest redevelopment proposals, saying the port was a strategic asset that facilitated $12.5 billion of trade and 187,000 jobs.

Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney, who has spearheaded opposition to expansion plans, was hugely disappointed that the port was hellbent on expansion into the harbour.

"They had massive expansion plans in 2008 that became a little less in 2011 and less in 2013. This is a moving feast. These guys don't know what they want. It is shoddy." He said Heart of the City was preparing a counter position for Aucklanders to consider.

The Westhaven Marina Users Association opposes any narrowing of the harbour, the Committee for Auckland lobby group said any further reclamation is premature and The Warehouse founder, Sir Stephen Tindall, banker Sir Ralph Norris and Mainfreight boss Don Braid want an independent review done to see if there is a better solution.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Employers and Manufacturers Association and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development have come out in support of the port.

Port options

Option 1
Expand Bledisloe Wharf 135m into the harbour for a 5.5ha expansion and keep Captain Cook Wharf for cargo.

Demolish some of the old structures on the east of Bledisloe Wharf, creating one long berth to make it more efficient.

Remove the piled structure at the end of Marsden Wharf and deepen the berth. This, combined with the 135m extension, gives two berths on the west of Bledisloe Wharf.

What the port company says: This is a good, efficient layout, but assumes we keep the use of Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves.

Option 2
Expand Bledisloe Wharf 179m into the harbour for a 6.6ha expansion to free up Captain Cook Wharf for public use.

Demolish old structures on the east to create two berths each on Bledisloe east and west.

What the port company says: This layout is very efficient and the extra 1.1ha of reclamation over option 1 allows the release of 3.1ha for public use. Total port area is smaller than option 1. This is our recommended option.

Have your say
Go to www.poal.co.nz for details of the plans and a feedback form. Submissions close on June 9.

- NZ Herald

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