Promenades and plazas on waterfront to be proud of

By Bernard Orsman

Waterfront walkers will be able to stroll all the way from St Heliers to the harbour bridge, via the redeveloped Tank Farm.

Whether the red fence blocking access to the finger wharfs - Queens, Captain Cook and Marsden - will be down is questionable. Right now, the focus is on the 35ha Tank Farm to the west of downtown Auckland, with 2.4km of waterfront promenades and nearly 5ha of parkland, plazas and wharf space on the headland.

Following public uproar last year over plans for apartments to dominate the headland jutting out into the Waitemata Harbour, the "point park" has more than trebled in size from 1.3ha to 4.25ha. The park includes a number of overflow areas, such as a 0.1ha pick-up and drop-off area and a 0.44ha strip of land down the length of Wynyard Wharf.

Conceptual ideas for the point park, with sea views on three sides, include lawns sloping towards the sea on the western side and a series of small landscaped parks on the eastern side. The park area is large enough for a memorable public building, such as an art gallery or museum.

But don't expect to be wandering round the point park any time soon. Leases for the storage tanks and bulk liquid industry have years to run and work is not expected to begin until 2014 and take three years to complete.

The 2.4km of public promenades start on the eastern side of the Viaduct Harbour and weave round the marine events centre on the Halsey St extension wharf before going round the headland. The only waterfront out of bounds will be working slipways used by the marine industry.

The 200ha Melbourne Docklands around three waterways has 7km of 30m-wide waterfront promenades planned.

Herne Bay resident Elizabeth Corbett said the western suburbs were desperate for more open space to escape the fumes. The 9ha Victoria Park had been ruined by the concrete jungle of new buildings along Fanshawe St.

She was "disgusted" by plans for five 52m towers and blocks of five- to eight-storey buildings through the Tank Farm.

"Why we can't have a decent-sized park, I don't know," she said.

All up, the Tank Farm will have about 10ha of public space, although some of this includes landscaped roads. The largest of these is the 1.13ha Daldy St park that stretches 800m from Victoria Park to the point park. It is envisaged the 40m-wide park will feature an internal garden with retail and commercial activity. While motor vehicles will be able to use Daldy St, it will have a strong pedestrian focus.

Viaduct Harbour Holdings, the private company that owns about 8ha at the Victoria Park end of the Tank Farm, has expressed concerns about increasing the width of Daldy St from 20m to 40m and lack of provision for a pedestrian link from Victoria Park over Fanshawe St.

The company, whose landholdings border Daldy St, told the Auckland City Council last month that the rationale for taking a 20m strip of land along Daldy St under the Public Works Act was unreasonable.

When the council releases a plan change this month to rezone the Tank Farm for open space, residential and commercial use, there will also be plans for a 0.5ha central park on the corner of Pakenham and Daldy Sts. The park, about the size of a rugby field on Viaduct Harbour Holdings land, is planned to provide outdoor space in the central precinct of the Tank Farm.

The intersection of Daldy St and the entertainment strip along Jellicoe St is earmarked for a 0.4ha plaza for events, featuring a fountain. A short distance at the eastern end of Jellicoe St is a stormwater treatment pond designed to form part of the open space network designed to convey an environmental message.

Other public space includes the proposed 1.7ha marine events centres, a gateway plaza at the end of a new bridge linking the Viaduct Harbour to the Tank Farm at Jellicoe St and a small plaza at Madden St alongside the water's edge at Viaduct Harbour.

City Parks

Planned Point Park 4.25ha
Victoria Park 9ha
Eden Park 10ha
Auckland Domain 75ha
Albert Park 7.45ha

* Tomorrow: Who pays the huge bill for developing the Tank Farm.

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