Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Ratepayers to get voice on Shed 11's fate

Sculpture controversy puts council plans for Queens Wharf in spotlight once again.

Shed 10 provided a waterfront venue for America's Cup screenings. Photo / Greg Bowker
Shed 10 provided a waterfront venue for America's Cup screenings. Photo / Greg Bowker

Returning Shed 11 to Queens Wharf is part of a draft masterplan for the central city wharf due out for public consultation in the next few weeks.

Shed 11 was removed from Queens Wharf to make way for the $9.8 million Cloud, built by the Government as part of party central for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The cargo shed was dismantled from the northwest end of the wharf and put into storage. Its bigger brother, Shed 10, was turned into a cruise ship terminal and events space at a cost of $18.6 million.

Rod Marler, Waterfront Auckland development general manager, said Shed 11 was a great old structure with a lot of history that would complement Shed 10 nicely.

The thinking is for the single-storey Shed 11 to be reinstated south of Shed 10 for a market and other public uses.

The waterfront agency is also proposing to build a new shed, respecting the traditional shed form, for the servicing components of the cruise ship terminal at Shed 10.

It would be located north of Shed 10 at the end of Queens Wharf and include a mezzanine level for functions, along the lines of the mezzanine floor at the end of the Cloud.

The draft masterplan will envisage removing the Cloud at some stage to free up the western side of the wharf for public space.

Mr Marler said the Cloud could remain for five to 10 years. Queens Wharf may become the hub for the World Masters Games in 2017, which would require use of the Cloud for the large event.

Plans for a large salt-water swimming pool at the wharf's end in the 2012 Waterfront Plan have been quietly dropped, although Mr Marler said there would still be plans in the draft Queens Wharf masterplan for some kind of water feature.

Waterfront Auckland is working closely with council arts managers and artist Michael Parekowhai to place a large, $1 million-plus "lighthouse" sculpture at the end of the central walkway to draw people down the wharf.

City in dark over lighthouse

Aucklanders are being kept in the dark about what a $1 million-plus sculpture of a lighthouse - or is it a state house? - will look like on Queens Wharf.

Councillors received their first briefing on the sculpture last week, but missing from a description of the "powerful self portrait of Auckland" were any images.

Councillors praised the real estate company Barfoot & Thompson for gifting $1 million for a sculpture and were delighted at the choice of contemporary artist Michael Parekowhai to produce a major piece of public art for the city.

But they were critical of the process to date, which arts managers said followed the public art policy.

Councillors wanted to know how ratepayers got roped into the project, whether the sculpture fitted into a masterplan for Queens Wharf and if it was a lighthouse or state house.

Since Barfoot's gift last year as part of 90 years in business, the cost of the project has risen and former council chief executive Doug McKay agreed to a ratepayer underwrite of up to $500,000 from a public arts budget.

Councillors on the arts, culture and events committee said it would have been useful to see images of the sculpture. Art managers, who hold detailed concept plans, indicated it would be the next meeting before they shared any images, probably in confidence to councillors.

Community development, arts and culture manager Louise Mason said the public might get to see some images in the next couple of months.

Michael Parekowhai, who sat in the public gallery during the debate, declined to comment.

- NZ Herald

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