Latest vision includes reclamation of ferry basin but Goff warns proposal must compete for scarce cash
Auckland officials have finalised the latest plan for the city's waterfront that includes reclaiming part of the Ferry Basin for more public space and making the downtown area more pedestrian friendly.
However, much of the plan is uncosted and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says it will have to compete with transport, housing and town centre upgrades for scarce funds in the new 10-year budget.
The plan bears similarities to a central wharves strategy in 2015 that came to a halt when Aucklanders went to war with council and Ports of Auckland over further reclamation of Waitemata Harbour for port use.
The latest plan could be affected by a proposal by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who today is calling for Ports of Auckland to be moved to Northport at Marsden Pt.
This will start with vehicles being moved from Captain Cook Wharf ahead of the America's Cup, followed by containers, to give Aucklanders back their waterfront, Peters said.
Council officials want to remove imported cars off the port-owned Captain Cook Wharf and extend it at a cost of $50 million to $100m as the main cruise-ship terminal, which is easier said than done.
Planning committee chairman Chris Darby says the council is at the pointy end of delivering an ambitious plan for the rejuvenation of the waterfront and midtown that includes turning most of Victoria St into a park between Albert and Victoria Parks and a new bus terminal on Wellesley St near the two universities.
"The rejuvenation of these areas is highly anticipated and expected by Aucklanders," said Darby.
Goff called it an ambitious plan whose implementations must be balanced against spending priorities in the budget.
A key objective is to make the downtown area more pedestrian friendly in time for the America's Cup and Apec conference of world leaders in 2021. This largely revolves around Quay St.
Buses will be removed from the Britomart precinct and bus stops used at the eastern end of Quay St as far as a turning bay near Commerce St. Quay St will be reduced to two lanes for general traffic and drivers will be encouraged to use Customs St.
There are controversial plans for a 20m reclamation at the Ferry Basin to create more open space as part of a compensation package for the sale of QEII Square to Precinct Properties for its $850m Commercial Bay tower and shopping mall on the site of the old Downtown Shopping Centre.
Darby believes the benefits of public open space outweigh filling in more of the harbour, which will be tested during public consultation on the 10-year budget next year.
The eight ferry berths will be moved and expanded to 12-15 berths along the western side of Queens Wharf.
The seawall along the waterfront also needs $40m in repairs.
Heading towards Wynyard Quarter, the plan is to remove about 40 car parks on the eastern viaduct by early next year and replace the pedestrian lifting bridge from the Viaduct Harbour with a new $20m to $30m unfunded bridge.
Less urgent is a plan to reconfigure the 4.5ha park at the end of Wynyard Wharf to include parkland down the eastern side and free up land near the point on the western side for apartments.
An unknown at this stage is a 60m to 80m extension to Halsey Wharf to accommodate super yachts.
Halsey Wharf is one of the options being explored to house syndicates for the America's Cup and, if selected, would be brought forward.