Sunday, March 25, 2018

Submission: Panuku's AC36 Syndicate Hosting Application

The following is my submission to the Panuku resource consent applications BUN60313877 and BUN60313923 for America’s Cup 36 Base Infrastructure and Event, and Fishing Fleet & Ferry Relocation

Executive Summary

1. These submissions address the need to protect and maintain the internationally recognised
waterfront legacy that has been planned for and implemented over the past ten years at the
redeveloped part of Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, and the need to plan for and provide appropriate
land and coastal resources so that Auckland can reliably host and accommodate marine events in
future such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the America’s Cup.

2. Many different uses – including marine and fishing activities, residential developments,
commercial and retail developments, restaurants and entertainment, events, public open spaces -
compete for space and amenity on city centre waterfronts. The competing, changeable and
sometimes conflicting demands for these uses can lead to reverse sensitivity issues and other
environmental effects, all of which need to be carefully balanced and managed through robust and
reliable land use planning and regulation frameworks built up over time through stakeholder and
public participation.

3. While the current application to host America’s Cup syndicate bases on Halsey Wharf has the
potential to provide an expanded area on Halsey Wharf to host marine events in future, the proposal
should be declined because:

- Its consideration of alternatives failed to properly assess alternative location options on the
tankfarm/Wynyard Point headland/Wynyard wharf area, and failed to consider management
options for accommodating the America’s Cup event which distinguish between the boat
development phases of the event and the actual regattas.
- It seeks a ten-year consent duration for structures and facilities on Halsey Wharf that will have adverse effects which might be permitted for a temporary event (such as have been built to accommodate the Volvo Ocean Race event whose duration is one month) but are not acceptable in that location for ten years.
- It seeks an in-perpetuity consent for an extension to Hobson Wharf and a building structure for Team New Zealand.
- It requires the fishing fleet and Sealink ferry to be removed for up to ten years from their present locations on Halsey and North Wharves, adversely affecting the authenticity and working waterfront character of that part of Wynyard Quarter.
- It will incur un-necessary costs and additional environmental effects associated with
constructing buildings and infrastructure on land and in the coastal marine area on the
Western side of Wynyard Point to accommodate the relocated fishing fleet and Sealink Ferry service.

4. These submissions focus on the need for the Wynyard Quarter planning framework and resulting
natural resource allocations and infrastructure, to provide for the fishing industry, recreational boat
berthing, and the ability to host events such as America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, with minimal
compromise and conflict.

Introduction and Discussion

5. I am an expert in the planning of Auckland’s regenerating waterfront particularly Queens Wharf,
Princes Wharf and Wynyard Quarter. I hold the degree of Masters in Planning Practice (University of
Auckland), and have practised as a planner advising Waterfront Auckland on waterfront planning
matters. I was an elected member of Auckland Regional Council (ARC) between 2004 and 2010 and
took a particular interest in the planning of Queens Wharf and Wynyard Quarter (then known as
Western Reclamation), after those waterfront assets were transferred to Auckland Regional Holdings
(ARH – an ARC entity), and when Sea + City was established and prepared the Urban Design
Framework for Wynyard Quarter. Between 2011 and 2015 I completed four years part-time
supervised doctoral research comparing the planning and implementation of urban waterfront
redevelopment projects and processes – particularly relating to public amenity and infrastructure - at
Auckland and Wellington.

6. I participated in two annual conferences in the USA (2013 and 2015) of the International
Waterfront Centre (See Appendix 1) which has recognised Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter planning and
implementation on two occasions, granting it top honour in 2012 where jury comments noted:
“Retention and celebration of the working waterfront has been a cardinal tenet of the Center from its
beginning. The harbor is the site of container shipping, ferry services and commercial fishing. In the
past these activities were conducted away from the public, despite their inherent attraction, but they
are now part of the public realm in Auckland and are integrated as attractions.”

7. In general, the Auckland Unitary Plan provisions for Wynyard Quarter have been carried over
from the Auckland District Plan and the ARC’s Regional Plan Coastal, whose provisions in turn were
established by Auckland City Council’s Wynyard Quarter Plan Change (Plan Change 4), and ARC’s Plan Change 2
to the Regional Plan Coastal. These plan changes attracted enormous interest and
participation, and were designed to give effect to the principles set out in the visioning documents
which at the time mainly consisted of the City Center Waterfront Masterplan 2009 and the Wynyard
Quarter Urban Design Framework 2007.

8. Many of the opportunities identified in these visioning documents competed against each other
which necessitated a very high degree of balancing in designing appropriate planning responses
through the plan change process which are now incorporated in the current planning provisions for
Wynyard Quarter. Subsequent proposals or refreshes to the future design or vision for Wynyard
Quarter have yet to be subject to an equivalent plan change process. A useful account of the history
of planning for Wynyard Quarter from the time it came into public ownership (non-Port), and March
2011 is contained in a paper by planners Nick Roberts and John Duguid (see Appendix 2) presented to the
New Zealand Planning Institute conference in March 2011.

9. For the purposes of this submission I focus on Principle 4 of the Wynyard Quarter Urban Design
Framework 2007 (UDF 2007), which is: “Promoting an Active and Working Waterfront”, and
explained: “The redevelopment of the Wynyard Quarter seeks to reinforce and support the regionally
important marine industries and fishing business on the waterfront”. The UDF 2007 breaks this
principle down into three responses:
3.4.1 Retain Existing and Create New Marine Uses
3.4.2 Accommodate Water Based Recreational Activity
3.4.3 Preserve Maritime Archaeology

10. The UDF 2007 describes the “fishing village” with the fishing fleet moored at Jellicoe and Viaduct Harbours.
It suggests that events/recreation/fishing fleet will all use Viaduct and Jellicoe Harbours (without distinguishing
between these users). And states that, “access to marine infrastructure and structures promotes an authentic
waterfront experience that will support the identity and character of the waterfront”, noting the specific “elements
of maritime archaeology retained include…existing buildings within Fish Market and on North Wharf”.

11. Appendix 3 charts in pictures the development of part of Wynyard Quarter. In particular it
depicts the relationship between the retained Net-Shed character building, North Wharf and the
fishing boats, which has been enabled and is protected by the relevant planning provisions. This
integration – where fishing boat berthage, character buildings, fish processing, fish restaurants, all
connected by the old concrete, wood and iron of North Wharf - is very much part of the “authentic
waterfront experience” at Wynyard Quarter that has attracted such international acclaim. Quoting
again from the 2012 International Waterfront Centre jury member comments in support of the top
honor award granted to the Wynyard Quarter project, “people are inherently attracted to gritty
industrial waterfronts and yet, ‘contemporary waterfront redevelopments are often defined by the
removal of these characteristics’. One Center member has called this the ‘perfuming’ of our
waterfronts.”

12. Panuku’s proposal to relocate the fishing fleet onto the Western edge of Wynyard Point, for ten
years or more, will – in my opinion – adversely affect the authentic waterfront experience which is
one of the key waterfront legacies of the visioning documents and planning processes that
underpinned the redevelopment of this portion of Wynyard Quarter. While the planning documents
and planning provisions explicitly recognise events, it is not the intention of those provisions for
events to be provided for at the expense of the fishing fleet and the amenity it provides and the
contribution it makes to the authenticity of Auckland’s working waterfront.

13. Appendix 4 contains a photomontage of the village and hosting environment created on
Auckland’s waterfront for the recent Volvo Ocean Race stop-over. There were 6 boats or syndicates in 
this one-month event and a major presence by Volvo. Various popup buildings were constructed on Halsey Wharf
(on the extension that was built in 2003 as part of Auckland’s hosting of the America’s Cup event that year),
on Te Whero Island, and within Karanga Plaza, and the entire Maritime Event Centre was used to accommodate
workshops and equipment storage and maintenance facilities for each syndicate. This is clearly the kind of yachting
event that Auckland can host without fuss, on public space, with considerable public support, and because it is
temporary and does not require significant changes to, or additions to, underlying infrastructure, there is general
stakeholder acceptance and considerable public enjoyment.

14. Halsey Wharf was developed, expanded and used to host the 2003 America’s Cup defence.
Syndicate bases occupied the wharf space at the site that is now being used to build the Fu Wah
luxury hotel, several other syndicate buildings occupied the wharf space now occupied by what was
originally named The Marine Event Centre – and is now known as The Viaduct Event Centre, and
others occupied space at the end of Halsey Wharf which is currently open space used by the fishing
fleet. The current application proposes another extension of Halsey Wharf to host syndicate bases for
the 2021 America’s Cup event and through constructing more durable and long-lasting structure to
potentially host the America’s Cup in 2025 should Team New Zealand retain the Cup.

15. All of the Wynyard Quarter planning – prior to New Zealand winning the America’s Cup in June
2017 – has explicitly recognised the need to provide for recreational, event and fishing related boats
and boating activities. However the current planning framework has not effectively planned and
provided for resources that can or will meet those reasonably foreseeable needs in ways which
recognise that those different activities can be in conflict with each other (eg the current proposal for
which consent is sought considers that ferry and fishing fleet activities cannot operate as they
currently do, because they will conflict with the proposal’s America’s Cup event operational
requirements for ten years), except perhaps for temporary activities. Effective event hosting
resources have existed in the past, but the planning framework has enabled that event infrastructure
to be taken and developed for other uses, forcing today’s stakeholders to consider options that will
require further reclamation of seabed and taking of water space. The current requirement is an
opportunity to address that planning shortfall and deliver on the original Principle 4 (set out above)
by ensuring the reasonable protection and expansion of fishing industry requirements which are part
of the working waterfront vision, by establishing reasonable resources for hosting future events on
the Wynyard Quarter, and by providing reasonable berthage for recreational vessels, and minimise
the environmental and financial costs associated with further reclamation or the construction of
additional or new structures over the inner harbour seabed.

16. That opportunity has not been taken up by Panuku in the current application which has not
considered in its options assessment resources potentially available for the purpose of hosting events
that exist on Wynyard Point, some of which are encumbered with issues including leases and the risk
of contaminated land. This is unfortunate. Even while I was an ARC councillor, the dream of a
headland park on Wynyard Point was compelling, and anything that could be done to make that a
reality was highly attractive. However it appears to me from consideration of documents released to
me under LGOIMA, that Panuku’s consideration of this matter shifted from when it was the
responsibility of Waterfront Auckland (which has since been absorbed into Panuku), so that greater
emphasis has been placed on the need to derive revenues from Wynyard Point rather than to deliver
public amenity outcomes. For example Panuku has considered the option of extending current leases
on storage tank facilities, rather than shortening them which would enable the more rapid delivery of
public open space, and it has focussed on optimising revenues from potential developments there. It
may be that Panuku’s economic drivers prevented it from considering the option of locating
America’s Cup syndicate bases on Wynyard Point or on Wynyard Wharf because of the risk that might pose
to its revenue streams.

17. These considerations are all part of the weighing and balancing across all principles which
include commercial development design considerations. However, now that the Minister the Hon
David Parker has intervened, and has – if the media is to be believed – commenced negotiations with
a significant leaseholder to shorten storage tank and related land leases and so vacate Wynyard Point
sites and reduce demands for Wynyard Wharf in time to develop resources which can be used to host
America’s Cup syndicate bases, then that option must now be on the table.

18. In order for that option to deliver a legacy for Auckland, so that resources can be established
which in the long term can be used to host marine events – including events which have a longer
timeframe than (for example) the Volvo Ocean Race presence in Auckland – then careful
consideration must be given to potential adjacent activities (such as medium density housing or other
building development), so that reverse sensitivity and other conflicts cannot in future restrict its
reasonable use for marine events.

19. Various public statements from objectors to the current proposal have criticised its industrial
character, asserting that it would re-industrialise Halsey Wharf. Descriptions of what is proposed, and
what activities can be expected during the ten years sought for the America’s Cup syndicate base
occupation, appear to be on a different scale to what is occurring there in connection with the
hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race. The pre-race boat development, prototyping of technical systems,
and fine-tuning after sea-trials with this new America’s Cup boat design, will take time, and require
secrecy – and in all likelihood syndicates will proceed at their own pace, preferably out of the public
spot-light. This kind of activity is completely different to what happens during a regatta when there
are races everyday, when the public eye is firmly directed at the event, and when the village
atmosphere is at its most intense. Locating this development activity within or adjacent to a more
industrial part of Wynyard Quarter might be appropriate. The present marine industry is mainly
centered and located on the western edge and southern end of Wynyard Point. A yachting event
marine cluster – with temporary buildings along the lines of those built to house syndicates in 2003 -
could locate across the south end of Wynyard Wharf, across Brigham Street, taking up tank farm land
to Hamer Street. It could form the event space for buildings housing an International Yachting Centre
(providing space for Team NZ), forming an urban sleeve between the event space and proposed
residential development, and mitigating reverse sensitivity concerns.

20. Panuku and Auckland Council have been “refreshing” various planning and vision documents.
Plans relating to Wynyard Point were refreshed as part of this process prior to New Zealand winning
the America’s Cup, and this has resulted in a proposed realignment of headland park land and the
establishment of a broad linear park running from Jellicoe Street, parallel and adjacent to Wynyard
Wharf and apparently replacing Brigham Street, and adjoining the Headland Park space proposed for
northern end of Wynyard Point. Proposed development sites line the western edge of this linear park.
Panuku documents indicate that consideration is being given to some sort of public or community
facility (not an iconic building) being part of this development – though any detail has been withheld
from documents released to me under LGOIMA.

21. The planning framework refresh for Wynyard Point needs more refreshing so that the part of
Auckland’s waterfront that is centered around the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter continues to protect
and develop the fishing industry, provides for recreational mooring and berthage, and is able to
reliably and sustainably host marine events ranging from the Volvo Ocean Race to the America’s Cup.

ENDS

PS: If you want my whole submission - with the four appendicees in a pdf file - just send me an email and I'll send it:  joel.cayford@gmail.com

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Volvo Event in Auckland's Waterfront without Fuss

This montage of pictures was taken at lunchtime on 1st March 2018. It shows the way the round-the-world Volvo yacht race is being hosted in Auckland's waterfront over period of about 4 weeks using pop-up buildings and facilities - all of which contribute to this being a very visual, exciting and attractive event.



Here is what you see on the way from Quay Street. Lots of hospitality, including an elegant two-storied structure - The Peroni restaurant...



Then from the bridge you can see all of the Volvo boats lifted out of the water and stored along the side of the Marine Event Centre...



But it's what's happening on the Halsey Wharf extension (which - remember - was built to host some of the syndicates for the 2003 America's Cup event) that's most interesting. First of all is this grand Volvo Exhibition Centre. This is about 3 stories high. Substantial. This contains a number of rooms with all sorts of interactive displays and significant promotion of Volvo innovation and manufacturing...



And each syndicate has a building and exhibition space along the North edge of Halsey Wharf. These are about two stories high. One of the images shows the construction methodology for these. They are compositions of containers and similar inter-locking shapes.



Back along the edge of the Marine Event Centre, we can see the Event Centre (Boatyard) itself is part of the event. Lots to see, lots to do, and all only there for about a month - about equal to the duration of the America's Cup regatta itself (excluding the Louis Vuitton regatta - and not including all of the practice and buildup activities.)



The Volvo event is a great showcase for Auckland's waterfront, and a case study of the kind of structures that can be put up temporarily for a yachting event of scale and significance. 



It did make me wonder about the wisdom of having more of a workshop setting for the syndicates in the buildup and testing stages of the event prior to the actual finale (America's Cup regatta period), with a popup stage closer to city centre - like Volvo has done - which would only be in place for a short time. Too much duplication maybe?

But the learning point is a demonstration of what can be built for a single event, using temporarily the legacy event space that already exists at the end of Halsey Wharf, without permanently changing the existing legacy of the whole Auckland waterfront.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Team NZ Threaten America's Cup Success


Yesterday was a good day for Auckland's waterfront.

The perspective image above was available from MBIE's website. Part of a joint release from Minister David Parker and Auckland's Mayor Goff after they had reached an agreement in the course of this very Auckland tussle over the next development of Auckland's waterfront.

The key changes from the option which Auckland Council and Panuku and Team New Zealand have wanted (which mainly required a large extension of Halsey and Hobson Wharves and the relocation of the fishing industry and the Sealink ferry), include that a smaller extension of Halsey is required housing two syndicate bases (instead of 4), and that Stolthaven have agreed to exit a section of Wynyard Point so that four syndicate bases can be located there (includes one on the soujthern end of Wynyard Wharf). So that's real progress for those stakeholders advocating for protection of views and for this event to be an opportunity to release and develop some of the public space potential on Wynyard Point.

It still leaves the fishing fleet and Sealink Ferry - and the working waterfront character of Wynyard Quarter - in limbo and in jeopardy. Though none of the plans available from MBIE nor the media release from Minister Parker speak about those economic and environmental matters. The Minister's release begins like this:


I include here a section of MBIE's advice on the merits of the economic benefit assessment prepared for the event by Market Economics:
The economic evaluation does not capture any of the broader benefits associated with hosting an event of this scale, including showcasing New Zealand to international audiences (and associated reputation impacts), high performance sport outcomes, and participation and engagement of New Zealanders that may have “feel good” effects (increasing national identity and pride). 
The study does not account for environmental impacts and is confined to the economic benefit only. It makes no assumptions around location or whether there are any incursions into the harbour or not. It does not, therefore, take account of any loss of value from reducing the available harbour space. Any investment decisions will take into account a broader range of considerations than just the economic, including environmental, social and cultural values. 
The study is consistent with Treasury guidelines for studies of this kind. This is one input into the discussions between government, Auckland Council and ETNZ. Any decision needs to stack up for ETNZ, and the New Zealand ratepayers and taxpayers.
MBIE and the Minister appreciate the big picture here - that it is not just about economic outcomes.

The NZ Herald and Stuff carry stories about the "deep upset" of Team New Zealand about the joint move of Minister Parker and Mayor Goff. Meanwhile the clock ticks on the resource consent application lodged by Panuku (with Auckland Council's agreement), which is in two parts: one for the big wharf extension favoured by Team New Zealand, and the other for the relocation of the fishing industry and the Sealink Ferry - both of which assume a plan change allowing the relocation to occur on land that is presently designated public open space and which forms part of the proposed Headland Park.

Many people - including me, including everyone I know who is advocating for the waterfront - love the America's Cup event and all the excitement and innovation and drama that goes with it. What is required here is broad planning perspective on the future of Auckland's waterfront assets and space. How to accommodate everything. What is at risk here is an unbalanced approach.

Team New Zealand (TNZ) has been robust and rigorous in getting what it wants. But as I understand it there's a lot of concern behind the scenes with Team NZ's decisions. For example, I understand that because TNZ has adopted a highly complex and technically difficult yacht design for the regatta - which is proving very expensive to enter now - only three syndicates have put their hats in the ring. This is causing ripples throughout the yachting industry because it means fewer boats to build, and fewer syndicate customers buying the services available from our marine industry. It will also limit the drama of the regatta itself and of the challenge regatta.

This factor will be very evident to TNZ which will be under the pump to get other costs of entry minimised - such as syndicate bases. The more public money that is pumped into syndicate base construction and the provision of sponsor super-yacht berthage, the less it will cost syndicates to participate. Thus, the public subsidy that TNZ has been banking on, is becoming more and more important to TNZ, as potential syndicates start to crunch the numbers, figure out how much it will cost them to mount a credible challenge, and wobble on the starting line.

Auckland and NZ need to support TNZ, but not at any cost.

If, due to circumstances completely outside Government and Council control, there are only 3 or 4 syndicates involved in the AC36 event, then these can all be hosted on the Wynyard Point land that is now available because of the deal with Stolthaven. Advocates for this regatta all want an integrated village. The 4 bases on Wynyard Point will deliver that outcome - without taking over the entire Auckland waterfront. (There is no justification for giving Team New Zealand its own piece of wharf and waterfront in perpetuity - like Auckland did for Ports of Auckland Ltd back in the day).

The fishing fleet would not need to be relocated. The original vision of a working waterfront celebrating Auckland's maritime heritage would remain. And a great AC36 event would be accommodated and hosted on land set aside in perpetuity for the hosting of future such events.

That would be a win win win win outcome.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Some Waterfront Ovations

Walking along Queens Wharf on Thursday...

Ovation of the Seas taxis loading up as Kea heads to Deveonport

Taxis unload at Viaduct. Busy scene with fishing boats. Views beyond. (All threatened by Panuku America's Cup plans.)

Away from it all at the end of Tankfarm, Western Reclamation

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Panuku Steals Waterfront Park Land

Auckland's public waterfront heritage and legacy is being sliced and diced for development by the very organisations set up to protect it. Councillors appear to have been misled by selective information, and by a sequence of decisions that have hidden the big picture....

Major shifts are proposed and planned by Panuku at Auckland's waterfront to accommodate America's Cup syndicate bases in expensive buildings at a highly prized location as near as possible to downtown Auckland, and as close as possible to Auckland's very fine bars and restaurants. While this might be great for the syndicates it comes at enormous public cost.

Much has already been made public of the loss from the Wynyard Quarter of harbour views and  fishing industry that will result from locating syndicate sheds on extended Halsey and Hobson Wharf structures. But the public is much less aware of the consequences of locating the fishing industry and Great Barrier ferry service to the western side of tankfarm land facing Westhaven Marina.

This image is a representation of a possible outcome for the headland park based on plans prepared prior to the amalgamation of local government in Auckland in 2010. The planning maps currently provide for this outcome once the storage tanks have been removed. The green axis up Daldy Street is clearly visible, leading to the proposed park space, which was intended to be North and West facing, with residential buildings on the eastern side onto Brigham Street.
 
This image provides a comparison. It is an image dated 2010 - before much of the regeneration that was happening then in the Wynyard Quarter part of this waterfront regeneration project.
This image is copied from Teara Encyclopedia where it is captioned: "this is the 2007 plan for the redevelopment of the Tank Farm. It will be linked to the Viaduct Basin and Victoria Park by pedestrian promenades...."

You can see that the artist's image above is based on the allocation of land that is captured in this image which was prepared by Sea + City, set up by Auckland Regional Council to lead the planning and development of the regenerated Western Reclamation. Those plans are all now incorporated into Auckland City's Unitary Plan maps and documents. Until now, no attempt has been made to change the direction or outcomes envisaged in that work to plan this part of Auckland's waterfront.

Winning the America's Cup has changed all that - it appears.

While the reports this year (after winning the America's Cup in June 2017) to Auckland Council are less than clear on Panuku's motivation to suddenly change the plans for Headland Park, their purpose is clearly to provide space to relocate the fishing industry and the ferry - thus making room for America's Cup syndicate bases on Halsey Wharf. (I note here that the Auckland CBD Advisory Group did not support Panuku's proposed changes to Tank farm planning, and asked instead for an explanation of their rationale...).

In September 2017, Auckland Council's planning committee was persuaded to adopt a plan to change Headland Park alignment. The map councillors were shown is this:

Here's how the image is captioned on Council's website: "The Planning Committee voted on 5 September 2017 to progress to the next stage of the development to enhance Auckland’s city centre and waterfront. A package of proposed projects that will also help cater for the increasing number of people arriving into Auckland includes plans for a new ferry terminal and new public space along the water’s edge. The plan builds on several years of successful planning along Auckland’s waterfront and integrates a public transport programme that will accommodate Auckland’s significant growth..."
The critical part of this "refresh" map is what happened to Headland Park. As far as I am aware, reading the documents that accompany the decision, no mention is made in that report of the need to accommodate the fishing fleet and ferry on Headland Park. It talks about the need to align the green space with Daldy Linear Park - even though - as the images above clearly show - the old designs achieve that objective.

This map, though, shows the real purpose. That is the location of the fishing fleet and ferry terminal just south of the headland portion of park, facing west, with new wharf structures...


Maps and diagrams that accompany the Panuku resource consent application for the relocation of the fishing feel and Sealink ferry, contain further detail...

Diagram accompanying Panuku resource consent application. One of the proposed building development sites occupying what is shown as Headland Park Open Space on the planning maps, is proposed instead as fishing and Sealink ferry base. Two wharves are proposed. Dredging is necessary etc etc
Councillors were advised in September, when they voted in support of "Headland Park Re-alignment", (which I don't believe was explained as being needed as part of the big Panuku plan to locate the America's Cup syndicates where the fishing fleet had been...), that a "future plan change would be needed".

You bet your bottom dollar it will be needed. What Panuku is proposing, at a stroke, is to take public land for a fishing and ferry base. What it is proposing is to put the left over, re-aligned public space, into the shade of residential tower blocks.

I don't think so.

Wynyard Quarter - RIP ?


Do Auckland Councillors really want to destroy Wynyard Quarter to make way for America's Cup syndicates and their super yacht followers when a sensible alternative exists?

Many of us sweated political blood so that Auckland could have a slice of waterfront it could be proud of and enjoy.

Along the way I have taken photos to record what was there and to fight for its retention and incorporation into our regenerated waterfront. So we would retain our maritime heritage and working waterfront feel.

This sequence of images tells some of that story...

North Wharf and Net Shed in 29 June 2006. This was around the time Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Holdings took what was known as the Western Reclamation from Ports of Auckland and into public ownership. I didn't know much about this area of Auckland then. But mates told me how they loved this area, the Sanfords fish market and a few eating places. They also expressed their concern over how much damage might the ARC do to a precious place like this. 

29 June 2006: A few hundred metres along North Wharf you come to Wynyard Wharf - fenced off at this time for security reasons. A fishing boat and the Sealink ferry servicing Great Barrier Island. 

29 June 2006: Slices of fishing life on Halsey Wharf 
24 May 2008: One of the Sanfords buildings with its fish market and one or two eateries. 
2 May 2008: And here's the northern end of the Western Reclamation. The tankfarm edge that faces north. I'd never been there before. A few others had discovered it though....

2 May 2008: Auckland's Asian tourist visitors love it. Bus load after bus load came while I was there. Great views of the Waitemata Harbour. 

2 May 2008: Far more visitors down here than locals.

2 May 2008:  Here's the photo they came for.

10 June 2008: I came down a few days later, as the sun set, managed to sneak down the western edge of Western Reclamation (if you check out the fisherman above, you can see the way...), I walked about as far as Panuku is proposing to relocate the current fishing industry and Sealink Ferry, and these were the kinds of views you get....

2 May 2008: Back to the chronology of regeneration. The Net Shed begins to get a cleanup. The nets get moved. Sea + City - Auckland's regeneration agency at the time - is allocated a large budget for the project. Key staff explained to councillors that priority would be given to "every old piece of wood, every rusty rail, every bit of rust would be carefully retained"....

2 May 2008: It was an uncomfortable time for heritage advocates. No question about that! What would be left behind.... 

2 May 2008: For a short while the nets found a home on Wynyard Wharf.
2011: Wynyard Quarter opens. Old bollards retained, timbers, tyres...

2011: People come down to the dawn unveiling and official opening.

2011: The Viaduct Event Centre is a glowing backdrop. Offering viewpoints.

2011: At the opening Auckland's classic boat fleet shows off its sleek lines. Super yachts take a back seat. In the background you can see the fishing fleet. beyond that Devonport's Mount Victoria and beyond that Rangitoto. (How special is that view...?)

2011: Take the public walkway up the side of Viaduct Events Centre, look over the fishing fleet, Halsey Wharf... 

2011: Such a view from there (see below artist impressions if proposed America's Cup sheds built here). Love the light.

21 August 2011: The Net Shed in all its glory. Not many nets anymore. And it's undergone a few transformations.
21 August 2011: ...but just across North Wharf from the net shed there is the fishing industry. Event Centre backdrop. Fishing boats. POAL HQ building in background. Ferry terminal beyond. Pretty special.
Now - Future - Really?:  These images are part of Panuku's draft resource consent application to build America's Cup bases on an extended Halsey Wharf and to remove the fishing fleet and Sealink ferry from the area. The top set are from the corner of the Viaduct Event Centre viewing area looking north-east. The middle set are from the middle of North Wharf looking north. The bottom set might be from the lifting bridge or Te Whero.
The sequence of images above does not portray the lost opportunities that are inherent in Panuku's proposals for the fishing fleet and ferry relocation. Those proposals put at risk the kind of public spaces and experiences that can be had when the Wynyard Quarter Headland Park is established in accordance with the original vision. See this blog posting for more on that.

Do we want to see Wynyard Quarter destroyed in the interests of hosting and accommodating America's Cup syndicate bases? I don't think so. Thank you Brian Rudman for your piece in NZ Herald today.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Submission: Panuku's AC36 Syndicate Hosting Application

The following is my submission to the Panuku resource consent applications BUN60313877 and BUN60313923 for America’s Cup 36 Base Infrastructure and Event, and Fishing Fleet & Ferry Relocation

Executive Summary

1. These submissions address the need to protect and maintain the internationally recognised
waterfront legacy that has been planned for and implemented over the past ten years at the
redeveloped part of Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, and the need to plan for and provide appropriate
land and coastal resources so that Auckland can reliably host and accommodate marine events in
future such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the America’s Cup.

2. Many different uses – including marine and fishing activities, residential developments,
commercial and retail developments, restaurants and entertainment, events, public open spaces -
compete for space and amenity on city centre waterfronts. The competing, changeable and
sometimes conflicting demands for these uses can lead to reverse sensitivity issues and other
environmental effects, all of which need to be carefully balanced and managed through robust and
reliable land use planning and regulation frameworks built up over time through stakeholder and
public participation.

3. While the current application to host America’s Cup syndicate bases on Halsey Wharf has the
potential to provide an expanded area on Halsey Wharf to host marine events in future, the proposal
should be declined because:

- Its consideration of alternatives failed to properly assess alternative location options on the
tankfarm/Wynyard Point headland/Wynyard wharf area, and failed to consider management
options for accommodating the America’s Cup event which distinguish between the boat
development phases of the event and the actual regattas.
- It seeks a ten-year consent duration for structures and facilities on Halsey Wharf that will have adverse effects which might be permitted for a temporary event (such as have been built to accommodate the Volvo Ocean Race event whose duration is one month) but are not acceptable in that location for ten years.
- It seeks an in-perpetuity consent for an extension to Hobson Wharf and a building structure for Team New Zealand.
- It requires the fishing fleet and Sealink ferry to be removed for up to ten years from their present locations on Halsey and North Wharves, adversely affecting the authenticity and working waterfront character of that part of Wynyard Quarter.
- It will incur un-necessary costs and additional environmental effects associated with
constructing buildings and infrastructure on land and in the coastal marine area on the
Western side of Wynyard Point to accommodate the relocated fishing fleet and Sealink Ferry service.

4. These submissions focus on the need for the Wynyard Quarter planning framework and resulting
natural resource allocations and infrastructure, to provide for the fishing industry, recreational boat
berthing, and the ability to host events such as America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, with minimal
compromise and conflict.

Introduction and Discussion

5. I am an expert in the planning of Auckland’s regenerating waterfront particularly Queens Wharf,
Princes Wharf and Wynyard Quarter. I hold the degree of Masters in Planning Practice (University of
Auckland), and have practised as a planner advising Waterfront Auckland on waterfront planning
matters. I was an elected member of Auckland Regional Council (ARC) between 2004 and 2010 and
took a particular interest in the planning of Queens Wharf and Wynyard Quarter (then known as
Western Reclamation), after those waterfront assets were transferred to Auckland Regional Holdings
(ARH – an ARC entity), and when Sea + City was established and prepared the Urban Design
Framework for Wynyard Quarter. Between 2011 and 2015 I completed four years part-time
supervised doctoral research comparing the planning and implementation of urban waterfront
redevelopment projects and processes – particularly relating to public amenity and infrastructure - at
Auckland and Wellington.

6. I participated in two annual conferences in the USA (2013 and 2015) of the International
Waterfront Centre (See Appendix 1) which has recognised Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter planning and
implementation on two occasions, granting it top honour in 2012 where jury comments noted:
“Retention and celebration of the working waterfront has been a cardinal tenet of the Center from its
beginning. The harbor is the site of container shipping, ferry services and commercial fishing. In the
past these activities were conducted away from the public, despite their inherent attraction, but they
are now part of the public realm in Auckland and are integrated as attractions.”

7. In general, the Auckland Unitary Plan provisions for Wynyard Quarter have been carried over
from the Auckland District Plan and the ARC’s Regional Plan Coastal, whose provisions in turn were
established by Auckland City Council’s Wynyard Quarter Plan Change (Plan Change 4), and ARC’s Plan Change 2
to the Regional Plan Coastal. These plan changes attracted enormous interest and
participation, and were designed to give effect to the principles set out in the visioning documents
which at the time mainly consisted of the City Center Waterfront Masterplan 2009 and the Wynyard
Quarter Urban Design Framework 2007.

8. Many of the opportunities identified in these visioning documents competed against each other
which necessitated a very high degree of balancing in designing appropriate planning responses
through the plan change process which are now incorporated in the current planning provisions for
Wynyard Quarter. Subsequent proposals or refreshes to the future design or vision for Wynyard
Quarter have yet to be subject to an equivalent plan change process. A useful account of the history
of planning for Wynyard Quarter from the time it came into public ownership (non-Port), and March
2011 is contained in a paper by planners Nick Roberts and John Duguid (see Appendix 2) presented to the
New Zealand Planning Institute conference in March 2011.

9. For the purposes of this submission I focus on Principle 4 of the Wynyard Quarter Urban Design
Framework 2007 (UDF 2007), which is: “Promoting an Active and Working Waterfront”, and
explained: “The redevelopment of the Wynyard Quarter seeks to reinforce and support the regionally
important marine industries and fishing business on the waterfront”. The UDF 2007 breaks this
principle down into three responses:
3.4.1 Retain Existing and Create New Marine Uses
3.4.2 Accommodate Water Based Recreational Activity
3.4.3 Preserve Maritime Archaeology

10. The UDF 2007 describes the “fishing village” with the fishing fleet moored at Jellicoe and Viaduct Harbours.
It suggests that events/recreation/fishing fleet will all use Viaduct and Jellicoe Harbours (without distinguishing
between these users). And states that, “access to marine infrastructure and structures promotes an authentic
waterfront experience that will support the identity and character of the waterfront”, noting the specific “elements
of maritime archaeology retained include…existing buildings within Fish Market and on North Wharf”.

11. Appendix 3 charts in pictures the development of part of Wynyard Quarter. In particular it
depicts the relationship between the retained Net-Shed character building, North Wharf and the
fishing boats, which has been enabled and is protected by the relevant planning provisions. This
integration – where fishing boat berthage, character buildings, fish processing, fish restaurants, all
connected by the old concrete, wood and iron of North Wharf - is very much part of the “authentic
waterfront experience” at Wynyard Quarter that has attracted such international acclaim. Quoting
again from the 2012 International Waterfront Centre jury member comments in support of the top
honor award granted to the Wynyard Quarter project, “people are inherently attracted to gritty
industrial waterfronts and yet, ‘contemporary waterfront redevelopments are often defined by the
removal of these characteristics’. One Center member has called this the ‘perfuming’ of our
waterfronts.”

12. Panuku’s proposal to relocate the fishing fleet onto the Western edge of Wynyard Point, for ten
years or more, will – in my opinion – adversely affect the authentic waterfront experience which is
one of the key waterfront legacies of the visioning documents and planning processes that
underpinned the redevelopment of this portion of Wynyard Quarter. While the planning documents
and planning provisions explicitly recognise events, it is not the intention of those provisions for
events to be provided for at the expense of the fishing fleet and the amenity it provides and the
contribution it makes to the authenticity of Auckland’s working waterfront.

13. Appendix 4 contains a photomontage of the village and hosting environment created on
Auckland’s waterfront for the recent Volvo Ocean Race stop-over. There were 6 boats or syndicates in 
this one-month event and a major presence by Volvo. Various popup buildings were constructed on Halsey Wharf
(on the extension that was built in 2003 as part of Auckland’s hosting of the America’s Cup event that year),
on Te Whero Island, and within Karanga Plaza, and the entire Maritime Event Centre was used to accommodate
workshops and equipment storage and maintenance facilities for each syndicate. This is clearly the kind of yachting
event that Auckland can host without fuss, on public space, with considerable public support, and because it is
temporary and does not require significant changes to, or additions to, underlying infrastructure, there is general
stakeholder acceptance and considerable public enjoyment.

14. Halsey Wharf was developed, expanded and used to host the 2003 America’s Cup defence.
Syndicate bases occupied the wharf space at the site that is now being used to build the Fu Wah
luxury hotel, several other syndicate buildings occupied the wharf space now occupied by what was
originally named The Marine Event Centre – and is now known as The Viaduct Event Centre, and
others occupied space at the end of Halsey Wharf which is currently open space used by the fishing
fleet. The current application proposes another extension of Halsey Wharf to host syndicate bases for
the 2021 America’s Cup event and through constructing more durable and long-lasting structure to
potentially host the America’s Cup in 2025 should Team New Zealand retain the Cup.

15. All of the Wynyard Quarter planning – prior to New Zealand winning the America’s Cup in June
2017 – has explicitly recognised the need to provide for recreational, event and fishing related boats
and boating activities. However the current planning framework has not effectively planned and
provided for resources that can or will meet those reasonably foreseeable needs in ways which
recognise that those different activities can be in conflict with each other (eg the current proposal for
which consent is sought considers that ferry and fishing fleet activities cannot operate as they
currently do, because they will conflict with the proposal’s America’s Cup event operational
requirements for ten years), except perhaps for temporary activities. Effective event hosting
resources have existed in the past, but the planning framework has enabled that event infrastructure
to be taken and developed for other uses, forcing today’s stakeholders to consider options that will
require further reclamation of seabed and taking of water space. The current requirement is an
opportunity to address that planning shortfall and deliver on the original Principle 4 (set out above)
by ensuring the reasonable protection and expansion of fishing industry requirements which are part
of the working waterfront vision, by establishing reasonable resources for hosting future events on
the Wynyard Quarter, and by providing reasonable berthage for recreational vessels, and minimise
the environmental and financial costs associated with further reclamation or the construction of
additional or new structures over the inner harbour seabed.

16. That opportunity has not been taken up by Panuku in the current application which has not
considered in its options assessment resources potentially available for the purpose of hosting events
that exist on Wynyard Point, some of which are encumbered with issues including leases and the risk
of contaminated land. This is unfortunate. Even while I was an ARC councillor, the dream of a
headland park on Wynyard Point was compelling, and anything that could be done to make that a
reality was highly attractive. However it appears to me from consideration of documents released to
me under LGOIMA, that Panuku’s consideration of this matter shifted from when it was the
responsibility of Waterfront Auckland (which has since been absorbed into Panuku), so that greater
emphasis has been placed on the need to derive revenues from Wynyard Point rather than to deliver
public amenity outcomes. For example Panuku has considered the option of extending current leases
on storage tank facilities, rather than shortening them which would enable the more rapid delivery of
public open space, and it has focussed on optimising revenues from potential developments there. It
may be that Panuku’s economic drivers prevented it from considering the option of locating
America’s Cup syndicate bases on Wynyard Point or on Wynyard Wharf because of the risk that might pose
to its revenue streams.

17. These considerations are all part of the weighing and balancing across all principles which
include commercial development design considerations. However, now that the Minister the Hon
David Parker has intervened, and has – if the media is to be believed – commenced negotiations with
a significant leaseholder to shorten storage tank and related land leases and so vacate Wynyard Point
sites and reduce demands for Wynyard Wharf in time to develop resources which can be used to host
America’s Cup syndicate bases, then that option must now be on the table.

18. In order for that option to deliver a legacy for Auckland, so that resources can be established
which in the long term can be used to host marine events – including events which have a longer
timeframe than (for example) the Volvo Ocean Race presence in Auckland – then careful
consideration must be given to potential adjacent activities (such as medium density housing or other
building development), so that reverse sensitivity and other conflicts cannot in future restrict its
reasonable use for marine events.

19. Various public statements from objectors to the current proposal have criticised its industrial
character, asserting that it would re-industrialise Halsey Wharf. Descriptions of what is proposed, and
what activities can be expected during the ten years sought for the America’s Cup syndicate base
occupation, appear to be on a different scale to what is occurring there in connection with the
hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race. The pre-race boat development, prototyping of technical systems,
and fine-tuning after sea-trials with this new America’s Cup boat design, will take time, and require
secrecy – and in all likelihood syndicates will proceed at their own pace, preferably out of the public
spot-light. This kind of activity is completely different to what happens during a regatta when there
are races everyday, when the public eye is firmly directed at the event, and when the village
atmosphere is at its most intense. Locating this development activity within or adjacent to a more
industrial part of Wynyard Quarter might be appropriate. The present marine industry is mainly
centered and located on the western edge and southern end of Wynyard Point. A yachting event
marine cluster – with temporary buildings along the lines of those built to house syndicates in 2003 -
could locate across the south end of Wynyard Wharf, across Brigham Street, taking up tank farm land
to Hamer Street. It could form the event space for buildings housing an International Yachting Centre
(providing space for Team NZ), forming an urban sleeve between the event space and proposed
residential development, and mitigating reverse sensitivity concerns.

20. Panuku and Auckland Council have been “refreshing” various planning and vision documents.
Plans relating to Wynyard Point were refreshed as part of this process prior to New Zealand winning
the America’s Cup, and this has resulted in a proposed realignment of headland park land and the
establishment of a broad linear park running from Jellicoe Street, parallel and adjacent to Wynyard
Wharf and apparently replacing Brigham Street, and adjoining the Headland Park space proposed for
northern end of Wynyard Point. Proposed development sites line the western edge of this linear park.
Panuku documents indicate that consideration is being given to some sort of public or community
facility (not an iconic building) being part of this development – though any detail has been withheld
from documents released to me under LGOIMA.

21. The planning framework refresh for Wynyard Point needs more refreshing so that the part of
Auckland’s waterfront that is centered around the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter continues to protect
and develop the fishing industry, provides for recreational mooring and berthage, and is able to
reliably and sustainably host marine events ranging from the Volvo Ocean Race to the America’s Cup.

ENDS

PS: If you want my whole submission - with the four appendicees in a pdf file - just send me an email and I'll send it:  joel.cayford@gmail.com

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Volvo Event in Auckland's Waterfront without Fuss

This montage of pictures was taken at lunchtime on 1st March 2018. It shows the way the round-the-world Volvo yacht race is being hosted in Auckland's waterfront over period of about 4 weeks using pop-up buildings and facilities - all of which contribute to this being a very visual, exciting and attractive event.



Here is what you see on the way from Quay Street. Lots of hospitality, including an elegant two-storied structure - The Peroni restaurant...



Then from the bridge you can see all of the Volvo boats lifted out of the water and stored along the side of the Marine Event Centre...



But it's what's happening on the Halsey Wharf extension (which - remember - was built to host some of the syndicates for the 2003 America's Cup event) that's most interesting. First of all is this grand Volvo Exhibition Centre. This is about 3 stories high. Substantial. This contains a number of rooms with all sorts of interactive displays and significant promotion of Volvo innovation and manufacturing...



And each syndicate has a building and exhibition space along the North edge of Halsey Wharf. These are about two stories high. One of the images shows the construction methodology for these. They are compositions of containers and similar inter-locking shapes.



Back along the edge of the Marine Event Centre, we can see the Event Centre (Boatyard) itself is part of the event. Lots to see, lots to do, and all only there for about a month - about equal to the duration of the America's Cup regatta itself (excluding the Louis Vuitton regatta - and not including all of the practice and buildup activities.)



The Volvo event is a great showcase for Auckland's waterfront, and a case study of the kind of structures that can be put up temporarily for a yachting event of scale and significance. 



It did make me wonder about the wisdom of having more of a workshop setting for the syndicates in the buildup and testing stages of the event prior to the actual finale (America's Cup regatta period), with a popup stage closer to city centre - like Volvo has done - which would only be in place for a short time. Too much duplication maybe?

But the learning point is a demonstration of what can be built for a single event, using temporarily the legacy event space that already exists at the end of Halsey Wharf, without permanently changing the existing legacy of the whole Auckland waterfront.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Team NZ Threaten America's Cup Success


Yesterday was a good day for Auckland's waterfront.

The perspective image above was available from MBIE's website. Part of a joint release from Minister David Parker and Auckland's Mayor Goff after they had reached an agreement in the course of this very Auckland tussle over the next development of Auckland's waterfront.

The key changes from the option which Auckland Council and Panuku and Team New Zealand have wanted (which mainly required a large extension of Halsey and Hobson Wharves and the relocation of the fishing industry and the Sealink ferry), include that a smaller extension of Halsey is required housing two syndicate bases (instead of 4), and that Stolthaven have agreed to exit a section of Wynyard Point so that four syndicate bases can be located there (includes one on the soujthern end of Wynyard Wharf). So that's real progress for those stakeholders advocating for protection of views and for this event to be an opportunity to release and develop some of the public space potential on Wynyard Point.

It still leaves the fishing fleet and Sealink Ferry - and the working waterfront character of Wynyard Quarter - in limbo and in jeopardy. Though none of the plans available from MBIE nor the media release from Minister Parker speak about those economic and environmental matters. The Minister's release begins like this:


I include here a section of MBIE's advice on the merits of the economic benefit assessment prepared for the event by Market Economics:
The economic evaluation does not capture any of the broader benefits associated with hosting an event of this scale, including showcasing New Zealand to international audiences (and associated reputation impacts), high performance sport outcomes, and participation and engagement of New Zealanders that may have “feel good” effects (increasing national identity and pride). 
The study does not account for environmental impacts and is confined to the economic benefit only. It makes no assumptions around location or whether there are any incursions into the harbour or not. It does not, therefore, take account of any loss of value from reducing the available harbour space. Any investment decisions will take into account a broader range of considerations than just the economic, including environmental, social and cultural values. 
The study is consistent with Treasury guidelines for studies of this kind. This is one input into the discussions between government, Auckland Council and ETNZ. Any decision needs to stack up for ETNZ, and the New Zealand ratepayers and taxpayers.
MBIE and the Minister appreciate the big picture here - that it is not just about economic outcomes.

The NZ Herald and Stuff carry stories about the "deep upset" of Team New Zealand about the joint move of Minister Parker and Mayor Goff. Meanwhile the clock ticks on the resource consent application lodged by Panuku (with Auckland Council's agreement), which is in two parts: one for the big wharf extension favoured by Team New Zealand, and the other for the relocation of the fishing industry and the Sealink Ferry - both of which assume a plan change allowing the relocation to occur on land that is presently designated public open space and which forms part of the proposed Headland Park.

Many people - including me, including everyone I know who is advocating for the waterfront - love the America's Cup event and all the excitement and innovation and drama that goes with it. What is required here is broad planning perspective on the future of Auckland's waterfront assets and space. How to accommodate everything. What is at risk here is an unbalanced approach.

Team New Zealand (TNZ) has been robust and rigorous in getting what it wants. But as I understand it there's a lot of concern behind the scenes with Team NZ's decisions. For example, I understand that because TNZ has adopted a highly complex and technically difficult yacht design for the regatta - which is proving very expensive to enter now - only three syndicates have put their hats in the ring. This is causing ripples throughout the yachting industry because it means fewer boats to build, and fewer syndicate customers buying the services available from our marine industry. It will also limit the drama of the regatta itself and of the challenge regatta.

This factor will be very evident to TNZ which will be under the pump to get other costs of entry minimised - such as syndicate bases. The more public money that is pumped into syndicate base construction and the provision of sponsor super-yacht berthage, the less it will cost syndicates to participate. Thus, the public subsidy that TNZ has been banking on, is becoming more and more important to TNZ, as potential syndicates start to crunch the numbers, figure out how much it will cost them to mount a credible challenge, and wobble on the starting line.

Auckland and NZ need to support TNZ, but not at any cost.

If, due to circumstances completely outside Government and Council control, there are only 3 or 4 syndicates involved in the AC36 event, then these can all be hosted on the Wynyard Point land that is now available because of the deal with Stolthaven. Advocates for this regatta all want an integrated village. The 4 bases on Wynyard Point will deliver that outcome - without taking over the entire Auckland waterfront. (There is no justification for giving Team New Zealand its own piece of wharf and waterfront in perpetuity - like Auckland did for Ports of Auckland Ltd back in the day).

The fishing fleet would not need to be relocated. The original vision of a working waterfront celebrating Auckland's maritime heritage would remain. And a great AC36 event would be accommodated and hosted on land set aside in perpetuity for the hosting of future such events.

That would be a win win win win outcome.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Some Waterfront Ovations

Walking along Queens Wharf on Thursday...

Ovation of the Seas taxis loading up as Kea heads to Deveonport

Taxis unload at Viaduct. Busy scene with fishing boats. Views beyond. (All threatened by Panuku America's Cup plans.)

Away from it all at the end of Tankfarm, Western Reclamation

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Panuku Steals Waterfront Park Land

Auckland's public waterfront heritage and legacy is being sliced and diced for development by the very organisations set up to protect it. Councillors appear to have been misled by selective information, and by a sequence of decisions that have hidden the big picture....

Major shifts are proposed and planned by Panuku at Auckland's waterfront to accommodate America's Cup syndicate bases in expensive buildings at a highly prized location as near as possible to downtown Auckland, and as close as possible to Auckland's very fine bars and restaurants. While this might be great for the syndicates it comes at enormous public cost.

Much has already been made public of the loss from the Wynyard Quarter of harbour views and  fishing industry that will result from locating syndicate sheds on extended Halsey and Hobson Wharf structures. But the public is much less aware of the consequences of locating the fishing industry and Great Barrier ferry service to the western side of tankfarm land facing Westhaven Marina.

This image is a representation of a possible outcome for the headland park based on plans prepared prior to the amalgamation of local government in Auckland in 2010. The planning maps currently provide for this outcome once the storage tanks have been removed. The green axis up Daldy Street is clearly visible, leading to the proposed park space, which was intended to be North and West facing, with residential buildings on the eastern side onto Brigham Street.
 
This image provides a comparison. It is an image dated 2010 - before much of the regeneration that was happening then in the Wynyard Quarter part of this waterfront regeneration project.
This image is copied from Teara Encyclopedia where it is captioned: "this is the 2007 plan for the redevelopment of the Tank Farm. It will be linked to the Viaduct Basin and Victoria Park by pedestrian promenades...."

You can see that the artist's image above is based on the allocation of land that is captured in this image which was prepared by Sea + City, set up by Auckland Regional Council to lead the planning and development of the regenerated Western Reclamation. Those plans are all now incorporated into Auckland City's Unitary Plan maps and documents. Until now, no attempt has been made to change the direction or outcomes envisaged in that work to plan this part of Auckland's waterfront.

Winning the America's Cup has changed all that - it appears.

While the reports this year (after winning the America's Cup in June 2017) to Auckland Council are less than clear on Panuku's motivation to suddenly change the plans for Headland Park, their purpose is clearly to provide space to relocate the fishing industry and the ferry - thus making room for America's Cup syndicate bases on Halsey Wharf. (I note here that the Auckland CBD Advisory Group did not support Panuku's proposed changes to Tank farm planning, and asked instead for an explanation of their rationale...).

In September 2017, Auckland Council's planning committee was persuaded to adopt a plan to change Headland Park alignment. The map councillors were shown is this:

Here's how the image is captioned on Council's website: "The Planning Committee voted on 5 September 2017 to progress to the next stage of the development to enhance Auckland’s city centre and waterfront. A package of proposed projects that will also help cater for the increasing number of people arriving into Auckland includes plans for a new ferry terminal and new public space along the water’s edge. The plan builds on several years of successful planning along Auckland’s waterfront and integrates a public transport programme that will accommodate Auckland’s significant growth..."
The critical part of this "refresh" map is what happened to Headland Park. As far as I am aware, reading the documents that accompany the decision, no mention is made in that report of the need to accommodate the fishing fleet and ferry on Headland Park. It talks about the need to align the green space with Daldy Linear Park - even though - as the images above clearly show - the old designs achieve that objective.

This map, though, shows the real purpose. That is the location of the fishing fleet and ferry terminal just south of the headland portion of park, facing west, with new wharf structures...


Maps and diagrams that accompany the Panuku resource consent application for the relocation of the fishing feel and Sealink ferry, contain further detail...

Diagram accompanying Panuku resource consent application. One of the proposed building development sites occupying what is shown as Headland Park Open Space on the planning maps, is proposed instead as fishing and Sealink ferry base. Two wharves are proposed. Dredging is necessary etc etc
Councillors were advised in September, when they voted in support of "Headland Park Re-alignment", (which I don't believe was explained as being needed as part of the big Panuku plan to locate the America's Cup syndicates where the fishing fleet had been...), that a "future plan change would be needed".

You bet your bottom dollar it will be needed. What Panuku is proposing, at a stroke, is to take public land for a fishing and ferry base. What it is proposing is to put the left over, re-aligned public space, into the shade of residential tower blocks.

I don't think so.

Wynyard Quarter - RIP ?


Do Auckland Councillors really want to destroy Wynyard Quarter to make way for America's Cup syndicates and their super yacht followers when a sensible alternative exists?

Many of us sweated political blood so that Auckland could have a slice of waterfront it could be proud of and enjoy.

Along the way I have taken photos to record what was there and to fight for its retention and incorporation into our regenerated waterfront. So we would retain our maritime heritage and working waterfront feel.

This sequence of images tells some of that story...

North Wharf and Net Shed in 29 June 2006. This was around the time Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Holdings took what was known as the Western Reclamation from Ports of Auckland and into public ownership. I didn't know much about this area of Auckland then. But mates told me how they loved this area, the Sanfords fish market and a few eating places. They also expressed their concern over how much damage might the ARC do to a precious place like this. 

29 June 2006: A few hundred metres along North Wharf you come to Wynyard Wharf - fenced off at this time for security reasons. A fishing boat and the Sealink ferry servicing Great Barrier Island. 

29 June 2006: Slices of fishing life on Halsey Wharf 
24 May 2008: One of the Sanfords buildings with its fish market and one or two eateries. 
2 May 2008: And here's the northern end of the Western Reclamation. The tankfarm edge that faces north. I'd never been there before. A few others had discovered it though....

2 May 2008: Auckland's Asian tourist visitors love it. Bus load after bus load came while I was there. Great views of the Waitemata Harbour. 

2 May 2008: Far more visitors down here than locals.

2 May 2008:  Here's the photo they came for.

10 June 2008: I came down a few days later, as the sun set, managed to sneak down the western edge of Western Reclamation (if you check out the fisherman above, you can see the way...), I walked about as far as Panuku is proposing to relocate the current fishing industry and Sealink Ferry, and these were the kinds of views you get....

2 May 2008: Back to the chronology of regeneration. The Net Shed begins to get a cleanup. The nets get moved. Sea + City - Auckland's regeneration agency at the time - is allocated a large budget for the project. Key staff explained to councillors that priority would be given to "every old piece of wood, every rusty rail, every bit of rust would be carefully retained"....

2 May 2008: It was an uncomfortable time for heritage advocates. No question about that! What would be left behind.... 

2 May 2008: For a short while the nets found a home on Wynyard Wharf.
2011: Wynyard Quarter opens. Old bollards retained, timbers, tyres...

2011: People come down to the dawn unveiling and official opening.

2011: The Viaduct Event Centre is a glowing backdrop. Offering viewpoints.

2011: At the opening Auckland's classic boat fleet shows off its sleek lines. Super yachts take a back seat. In the background you can see the fishing fleet. beyond that Devonport's Mount Victoria and beyond that Rangitoto. (How special is that view...?)

2011: Take the public walkway up the side of Viaduct Events Centre, look over the fishing fleet, Halsey Wharf... 

2011: Such a view from there (see below artist impressions if proposed America's Cup sheds built here). Love the light.

21 August 2011: The Net Shed in all its glory. Not many nets anymore. And it's undergone a few transformations.
21 August 2011: ...but just across North Wharf from the net shed there is the fishing industry. Event Centre backdrop. Fishing boats. POAL HQ building in background. Ferry terminal beyond. Pretty special.
Now - Future - Really?:  These images are part of Panuku's draft resource consent application to build America's Cup bases on an extended Halsey Wharf and to remove the fishing fleet and Sealink ferry from the area. The top set are from the corner of the Viaduct Event Centre viewing area looking north-east. The middle set are from the middle of North Wharf looking north. The bottom set might be from the lifting bridge or Te Whero.
The sequence of images above does not portray the lost opportunities that are inherent in Panuku's proposals for the fishing fleet and ferry relocation. Those proposals put at risk the kind of public spaces and experiences that can be had when the Wynyard Quarter Headland Park is established in accordance with the original vision. See this blog posting for more on that.

Do we want to see Wynyard Quarter destroyed in the interests of hosting and accommodating America's Cup syndicate bases? I don't think so. Thank you Brian Rudman for your piece in NZ Herald today.