Since Queens Wharf was bought from Ports of Auckland for $40 million six years ago, it has generally been referred to as the "people's wharf". This tag reflected the belief that it would become an innovative public space where Aucklanders could stroll at their leisure. Frustratingly, that concept has yet to materialise despite the endorsement of Mayor Len Brown. Now, to add insult to injury, people are to be given no say in a project central to the development of the "people's wharf".
This is the $1.5 million "lighthouse" sculpture planned for the end of the wharf. The structure, based on a modest state house, is a gift from real estate company Barfoot & Thompson, supplemented by private donations. It is quite a cute concept, but has never appeared an inspiring structure, particularly given the splendour of the proposed site, and will be even less so now that a proposed Venetian chandelier has gone. Aucklanders, however, have never been given the chance to voice their opinion. Nor did that occur when Waterfront Auckland applied to the council this week for resource consent to build the sculpture.
According to the council, the application was made on the basis that there were no adverse effects, any effects were less than minor, and no special circumstances warranted public notification. Try telling that to people concerned the sculpture will impede sea views and those who see it as a jarring intrusion and want it placed elsewhere. The council is doubtless wary of the likelihood of a deluge of opposition if public input is invited. That, however, is the worst possible reason to exclude it.