The days of views to the Waitemata Harbour being spoiled by rows of cars on the downtown wharves could be over under a new masterplan from Ports of Auckland.
The port company has today unwrapped a draft 30-year masterplan for the 77ha of land it owns on the city's doorstep, which includes a five-storey parking building topped with a 1ha waterfront park accessible to the public.
The carpark and park could be connected to a five-storey hotel on Quay St at the city end of the port.
We are listening. That's the new us
The draft masterplan also includes plans for a 13m piled concrete extension at the end of Bledisloe Wharf, which the company says is essential for a new berth and the success of the other wharf projects.
It says the extension of 1.25ha is less than 1.275ha of space it will lose by removing Marsden Wharf and cutting back a wharf on the eastern side of Bledisloe.
The extension is bound to draw attention from critics of further expansion into the harbour for port use, but is in line with the recommendations of Auckland Council's Port Future Study last year and smaller than previous expansion plans.
Since the Herald started campaigning against a 250m expansion into the harbour in 2012, the port company has gradually shrunk back its plans. Two months ago, Ports of Auckland chairwoman Liz Coutts said it was no longer acceptable to reclaim more land.
"We are listening. That's the new us. We are serious about the way we behave and the way we change," ports chief executive Tony Gibson told the Herald.
Last night, Mayor Phil Goff said he did not support further extension of the port into the harbour.
"This is a proposal only and needs to be subject to public discussion. Ultimately it will go through a consent process where public can make submissions," Goff said.
Gibson said the company accepted its owner, Auckland Council, was undertaking a project to relocate the port but finding the best location, getting consent, securing funding and building would take decades.
"In the meantime, we need to ensure that we can continue to deliver freight for our import and export customers, and to Aucklanders.
"In response we've developed a draft 30-year masterplan that we think balances Auckland's economic, social and environmental needs...it creates space for freight and gives Auckland Council the time it needs to make a sound decision on where, when and how to move the port," Gibson said.
The masterplan addresses the day-to-day port business, including automation of the Fergusson container terminal at the Tamaki Drive end of the port, to provide additional capacity to serve a population of five million people.
A 10ha reclamation of Fergusson Wharf, approved in 1998, will be completed by 2020.
An architecturally designed new head office building and engineering workshop will be built facing the intersection of The Strand and Quay St/Tamaki Drive to improve aesthetics and provide a legacy if the port is moved.
To address significant capacity issues on the general cargo wharves at the city end of the port, the company plans to build a five-storey carpark to hide away the 30,000 cars a month that come across the wharves. It could be built within five years.
The carpark will free up space on nearby Captain Cook Wharf, which the council has been eyeing as the city's main cruise ship terminal. It will require an extension at a cost of $50m to $100m.
Gibson said by removing Marsden Wharf, one of several finger wharves at the city end, and part of Bledisloe Wharf, known as B1, will create nearly 1km of new general cargo berth space.
He said the company wanted Aucklanders to be proud of their port and the projects outlined in the draft masterplan, which could be built over the next five to 10 years.
"We've tried to develop a plan that fairly reflects the feedback we've received and also balances sometimes divergent wants and needs," Gibson said.
Details of the draft masterplan can be found at: www.masterplan.poal.co.nz
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