Auckland Council has today voted to locate the America's Cup bases at Wynyard Basin on the Auckland waterfront.
The decision, by 12 votes to three and three abstentions, will form the basis of negotiations with the Government and Team New Zealand.
The decision is not binding on the Government, which is still investigating an alternative land-based option to base the syndicates at Wynyard Pt, the old Tank Farm site to the west of Wynyard Basin.
The Government is not convinced about the environmental downsides of the Wynyard Basin option, which involves wharf extensions of 2.5ha into the Waitemata Harbour.
What about those who cannot afford red socks
The council followed the advice of officers to support the Wynyard Basin location that involves a 75m extension to Halsey Wharf, a 75m extension to Hobson Wharf and a small extension on Wynyard Wharf.
The Wynyard Basin decision carries a price tag of $124 million plus $18m to relocate tenants and landowners.
The council is also looking to spend a further $260 million on a range of waterfront and CBD projects for the 36th America's Cup and Apec events in 2021. Of this, $80m is budgeted and $180m has to be found in the new 10-year budget.
Mayor Phil Goff said he was not interested in making any contribution toward a hosting fee being sought by Team New Zealand,saying the council was making a big contribution to infrastructure.
Panuku Development design and place director Rod Marler told councillors today that "timing really is the critical issue", saying he could not stress how critical it is to getting a clear decision to lodge resource consent in January for a decision and construction to start in August.
The bases needed to be built by the time teams arrive in Auckland at the back end of 2019, Marler said.
He said the Wynyard Pt option being looked at by the Government posed a number of risks, including time delays due to complex lease negotiations, high costs due to the need to cease or move hazardous goods operators and not enough land and water space for eight team bases.
The Wynyard Pt option only provided for seven bases, not the eight required by Team New Zealand, Marler said.
Last month, Marler told a media briefing the costs for the options were "very indicative".
David Parker, the Minister in Charge of the America's Cup, is currently at a World Trade Organisation meeting at Buenos Aires, Argentina, in his capacity as Trade Minister.
He is returning at the weekend and the Government will not reach a final view until it has completed due diligence on the Wynyard Pt option.
Not all councillors supported the Wynyard Basin option.
Waitemata and Gulf Island councillor Mike Lee said the Government's option was sensible and sustainable and the council should not be deliberately dismissing it.
Manukau councillor Efeso Collins said he did not feel the same sense of urgency for the cup when the council was trying to address homelessness, which stood at 24,000 people with a budget of $500,000.
He voted against the America's Cup being hosted in Auckland, saying feedback from constituents questioned if the cup was just a rich man's sport.
Previous discussions on the cup stirred up a lot of nostalgia, Collins said, with people remembering going up Queen St in red socks.
"What about those who cannot afford red socks? What about those who are homeless and all we have committed to them is half a million dollars a year?"
Said deputy mayor Bill Cashmore: "Who would not support the defence of the cup here in Auckland, the City of Sails. Who would not support the most viable option we have before us."
Last month, Auckland Council narrowed down the base location for the 36th America's Cup to a land-based option on Wynyard Pt and Wynyard Wharf known as the Wynyard Pt option, or an extension to Halsey Wharf and Hobson Wharf along with bases on Wynyard Wharf known as the Wynyard Basin option.
Both Team New Zealand and Auckland Council have previously signalled support for the Wynyard Basin option.
The Wynyard Pt option would still involve a 74m extension to Hobson Wharf to accommodate one double base, but only a 15m extension of Halsey Wharf for two single bases, compared a 75m extension to four double bases under the Wynyard Basin option.