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Submission on America's Cup 36 Resource Consent Application

Monday 28 May 2018

To: Auckland Council

Application number: BUN60318372

  1. This is a submission on an application from Panuku Development Auckland on 13 April 2018 for resource consent to develop and facilitate the infrastructure in the Wynyard Basin/Hobson Wharf area to host the America’s Cup.
  2. The proposal intends to establish the syndicate base infrastructure, event infrastructure, and associated activities required to host the 36th America’s Cup regatta in the Wynyard Basin/Hobson Wharf area of Auckland’s waterfront.
  3. HOTC is not a trade competitor for the purposes of section 308B of the Resource Management Act 1991.
  4. HOTC supports the application to enable hosting the America’s Cup event (AC36) in the locations proposed, but we seek that consideration be given to consent conditions as part of any approval, to address specific issues identified in our submission.

HOTC - background

  1. Heart of the City is the business association for the city centre, which includes more than 4000 commercially rated properties and 12,000+ businesses. We are committed to the growth and success of the city centre as a thriving place to do business, and as an accessible, safe and welcoming urban community. 

  2. Our official boundary is shown in the map here.

  3. The City Centre is the centre of the region’s economy. It is growing at pace, with more than 120,000 people working, 45,000 residents and 60,000 students studying in the city centre, as well as buoyant growth in national and international visitors. 

  4. HOTC frequently engages and collaborates with public agencies with operational or regulatory roles in the city centre, including central government organisations and council departments and council-controlled organisations (e.g. Auckland Council’s Development Project Office and the city centre Activation team, Auckland Transport, ATEED, Panuku Development Auckland and Regional Facilities Auckland).

  5. Our association and many business members have constructively supported and contributed to previous America’s Cup events in Auckland and we expect to play a similar role in respect to AC36.  HOTC appreciates that the AC36 will generate significant potential long-term benefits (positive effects) for businesses, residents and visitors and in the city centre.

  6. Whilst we support the event in principle, our submission suggests that there is potential for more than minor adverse environmental effects (particularly in regard to transport and access, access to public open space and views, and community and business disruption) which should be addressed in any approval of consent for AC36. We seek that a number of consent conditions are applied, concerning consent duration and requirements for several additional Management Plans to support co-ordinated management of effects during the period of facilities construction and event delivery.

  7. HOTC is a key stakeholder with an interest in a successful AC36 event as well as ensuring that the impacts of the event to the environment and businesses are mitigated. Hence we seek to have on-going engagement and visibility as construction and event delivery occur.


Reasons for submission

  1. HOTC seeks that any approval of consent be with conditions that require Panuku and other parties involved in managing the delivery of event facilities and activities, to act in a co-ordinated way to both avoid, minimise or mitigate adverse effects, and achieve positive effects, relating to the following: 
  • Visual and environmental impact
  • Public space and amenity
  • Legacy
  • Access and traffic
  • Business & community disruption
  1. Visual & environmental impact
  2. HOTC acknowledges  that the proposed 74m Hobson Wharf extension and associated breakwaters on Hobson Wharf, Halsey Street Extension Wharf and Wynyard Wharf will be permanent, while all base buildings as well as the pontoons and other water-based infrastructure (with the exception of the four breakwaters) will be temporary, and are proposed to be consented to remain for up to a 10 year period, following which they will be removed.
  3. HOTC is interested in avoiding visual effects on the highly used and valued public access to the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard/Halsey Street Extension Wharf area including the visual connections between the city, harbour and the North Shore. As the Boffa Miskell report[1] states:

“The public access emanates from a main east-west access which connects the Central City and Wynyard Precinct from Quay Street to Halsey Street and beyond to Silo Park. This connection enables people to promenade along what is a highly trafficked linkage to utilise the adjacent and nearby plazas, parks and wharf areas for recreation and viewing of the immediate maritime scene and the wider harbour context”.

  1. We accept that once the buildings on Bases B-G are removed the open views to the north will be re-established from the main east west promenade; and whilst the large permanent additional wharf areas and breakwaters will intrude on and encumber views of the harbour from the east-west promenade, there will eventually be benefits for the public when the wharf spaces are able to be used for other events and public access (after the consent period).  That relies on legacy outcomes being provided so that the permanent wharf space offers public access to views of the harbour and the city-centre, as well as to the west and North Shore.
  2. HOTC seeks that the consent duration for base buildings and operation of syndicate bases be limited to 5 years (from 2018) to allow provision for public access sooner if the post 2021 America’s Cup event does not return to Auckland.
  3. Public space & amenity
  4. HOTC acknowledges that the area immediately to the north and east of the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre on the Halsey Street Extension Wharf and the south-eastern end of Brigham Street will not be available to the public during construction and event periods.
  5. HOTC supports that the application proposes to add to the existing dedicated public space areas of Karanga Plaza and Waitematā Plaza (connected by the Wynyard Crossing lifting bridge) by providing for additional areas of public open space along the northern edge of the wharf extensions and on associated breakwaters:
    1. Approximately 3,300m2 of public open space on the Hobson Wharf extension (around Base B), comprising a 10m wide walkway to the north and a 5m wide walkway to the west, and a larger triangular shaped area (up to 30m wide) on the eastern side of the wharf beyond the Maritime Museum. This area will also include a 35m long 10m wide breakwater to the east and a 10m wide breakwater as a return to the south of Hobson Wharf which will also be available for public access. These areas will provide opportunities to view boats coming to and going from the Viaduct Harbour and to interact and view the Base B syndicate.
    2. Approximately 1,500m2 of additional public open space at the northern end of the Halsey Street Extension Wharf which includes a 10m wide,72m long breakwater.
    3. A 10m wide, 81m long breakwater on Wynyard Wharf, which can be accessed by the public at times when ships are not berthed at the northern end of Wynyard Wharf.
    4. At certain times, when the Wynyard bases are not in use, the seaward yards along Wynyard Wharf may also be opened for public pedestrian access.

HOTC expects that guidelines will be applied to achieve quality spaces, and integration with the existing plaza and promenade areas.


  1. Consent is being sought to hold the AC36 and subsequent events until 2028 (i.e. to establish and operate up to 7 syndicates within a 10 year period, and build base buildings for a term of 10 years).  All other consents seek a term of 35 years. 
  2. HOTC is keen to ensure the AC36 facilities provide a legacy that is of lasting benefit to the public of Auckland.  The application suggests it will leave a positive legacy in environmental, social, cultural, and economic terms (e.g. by supporting sustainability, education, technology, and events).  
  3. The legacy value of the AC36 facilities can be regarded as a form of compensation for the negative impacts on public amenity values from the reduction in water space due to wharf extensions, occupation of land on Wynyard Wharf east for bases that could otherwise be redeveloped for open space as part of the Headland Park (within 10 years), restricted availability of the Viaduct Events Centre, and disruption to residents and businesses.
  4. The application material states that the future planned use of the extended wharf space (i.e. Halsey Wharf and Hobson Wharf) is for marine and port related activities and associated berthage, public uses and events; and a new public space on Viaduct East and improved Wynyard Crossing Bridge is proposed to enhance the journey from downtown to Wynyard Quarter.  
  5. The application also indicates that legacy matters are yet to be finalised: “Auckland Council is working with its partners and stakeholders to define what success looks like, in terms of legacy outcomes”[2]. Given the Viaduct and Wynyard Wharf area are already subject to multiple competing demands for use of land and water space, further explanation of how provision will be made for public uses and events is required. 
  6. Another issue of high public interest is that the syndicate bases B-G will occupy land on the eastern side of Wynyard Wharf that the council plans to form part of the Wynyard Pt. Headland Park with associated lanes and viewshafts (in accordance with the Waterfront Plan Refresh 2017).  Whilst the headland park is not itself a legacy of the AC36 facilities, the need to wait at least 10 years to develop the park may be (implying the Council could be constrained from programming work for this part of the park in its next long-term plan in 2021). 
  7. In the interim the western side of Wynyard Wharf (land that was originally to be used for the Headland Park) may have been developed for buildings. That is why the bases on the eastern side can only be accepted as an interim use.
  8. HOTC seeks that consideration be given to limiting the consents for the base buildings and operation of syndicate bases to 2023 (i.e. to 5 years).  We recognise that the consent term cannot be extended in future via a s127 variation, and the applicant would therefore need to seek a fresh consent for a further 5 years, once there is certainty that the America’s Cup event will return to Auckland post 2021. A 5 year duration should not in itself be a constraint on the ability of the applicant to enter into leases of base facilities and the potential for a further consent of 5 years could be explicitly addressed in such leases.
  9. A 5 year consent duration would also imply that if the post 2021 event does not return to Auckland other actions could be taken to realise the legacy benefits of the AC36 event sooner than might otherwise occur.  Whereas, a 10 year consent duration could fetter reversion of the sites to the public realm and the return of the Viaduct Events Centre to ‘business as usual’ use. 
  10. HOTC therefore seeks that the consent duration for base buildings and operation of syndicate bases be limited to 5 years (from 2018).
  11. HOTC also seeks that an Event Legacy Plan also be required as a condition of consent which outlines details of the proposed range of legacy facilities and activities of a public nature, and how their availability for public access/activities will be phased in relation to the timing of the AC36 event and any future such events.
  12. Access & traffic
  13. HOTC is concerned with the transportation and traffic impacts of the proposed development of the America’s Cup bases in the Wynyard Quarter area. The traffic effects will be felt by businesses, employees, visitors and residents. The impacts will be felt during the demolition phase, the construction phase, and during the events, as syndicates, workers and spectators seek to attend activities associated with the America’s Cup challenge series.
  14. On top of the construction period, the use and operation of land and water space associated with AC36 will occur over a six month period from December 2020 to May 2021 (including pack in and pack out of land based and water based activities/structures).  There are particular constraints on access to Wynyard Quarter, which has led to a heavy reliance on trip generation management, and restrictions on office activity under the Auckland Unitary Plan[3] to ensure that traffic entering and exiting the Wynyard Quarter is maintained or reduced.
  15. The draft consent conditions specify that an Event Transport Plan must be submitted prior to events occurring (as part of the overall Event Management Plan), however there is little detail on what must be provided within this plan. 
  16. In addition, syndicate Bases C to G are located on Wynyard Point with hardstand area extending over Brigham Street and Wynyard Wharf, including the waterspace in-between. The closure of Brigham St. is proposed to be mitigated by changes in roading in this location (i.e. a new private road ‘Northern Connector Road’ to the north of Base C between Brigham Street and Hamer Street). The road stopping will be undertaken in a process separate from this consent process, so is not addressed within the Assessment of Environmental Effects. 
  17. The proposed conditions and supporting application materials do not provide enough detail to be clear about the expected increase in traffic volumes and impacts on the city-centre transport network during operation of the facilities. The applicant suggests that they will mitigate and/or manage transportation and traffic effects by way of management plans.
  18. We appreciate that the Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association (TMA) will play a lead role in overseeing traffic management measures, and seeking to ensure that access to and from businesses will be able to be maintained on the surrounding road network.  HOTC supports the points in the TMA’s submission in this regard.
  19. HOTC also supports the recommendation that through a consent condition “heavy truck and other delivery movements be prevented from occurring to or from construction sites in Wynyard Quarter between hours of 7am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm weekdays”.
  20. HOTC seeks as an additional condition of consent that Panuku be required to engage with HOTC (along with other parties such as the Wynyard Quarter TMA) in the process of developing the proposal for the Northern Connector Road’, and the Traffic Management Plan and Event Transport Plan required as part of any consent approval.
  21. Business & community disruption.
  22. Mitigation measures associated with construction and during event activities proposed by the applicant may be limited to ‘transport fixes’, including partial road closures, relocating parking, taxi stands and loading zones, bus lanes and bus stops. In our experience, additional measures should be considered and addressed in a dedicated Business and Community Disruption Plan.  
  23. Adverse effects that could be expected from AC36 include:
  • Limited communication of the construction programme (e.g. times during which heavy machinery noise will occur, roads closed etc.) to occupants of sites around the construction zones
  • Poor visual amenity around construction sites (which is separate from public health and safety issues which may be addressed in a Construction Traffic Management Plan)
  • Restrictions to customer and staff access, and passing trade (due to narrow footpaths, detours, obstacles)
  • Impacts on retail business turnover / viability over a prolonged period​
  1. In 2016 HOTC presented evidence in a CRL consent hearing on actual effects of these types, which had resulted from Central Rail Link (CRL) construction activities over a significant period of time.  HOTC successfully advocated for new consent conditions and improved mitigation actions to be undertaken by the CRL organisation in response.
  2. This reflected that the initial consent conditions on the CRL did not go far enough to avoid or mitigate disruption to businesses and residents and other users of the city centre.  We are keen to avoid a repeat experience with AC36.  We seek that the business disruption issues are not allowed to lie outside the suite of plans recommended to be included as consent conditions, and leave it to chance that Panuku may or may not accept responsibility for engaging with stakeholders, including HOTC, over such impacts.
  3. HOTC seeks as a condition of consent that Panuku be required to develop an Event Communications Plan and a Business and Community Disruption Plan which provides for engagement with HOTC during the construction of AC36 facilities and operation of the event, for the purpose of discussing and resolving issues of a community impact and business disruption nature.

Decision sought

  1. HOTC seeks the following decision from the consent authority:
    1. That the resource consents be modified and/or conditions imposed on the resource consents to ensure that any adverse impacts on the affected parties in the HOTC area are avoided or remedied, in particular that:​
      1. HOTC is identified as a key stakeholder within the conditions;
      2. The consent duration for the base buildings and operation of syndicate bases be 5 years
      3. there be a condition requiring a Business and Community Disruption Plan;
      4. there be a condition requiring an Event Communications Plan;
      5. there be a condition requiring an Event Legacy Plan;
      6. HOTC is consulted on, and has the opportunity to provide comment on, the development of the abovementioned plans and the following plans prior to their lodgement:
        1. Construction Environmental Management Plan;
        2. Servicing, Delivery and Guest Transport Plans;
        3. Event Management Plan and associated plans (i.e. Transport Plans; Pedestrian Management Plan; Traffic Management Plan)
      7. such further and/or consequential relief to address the matters raised in this submission.  
  2. HOTC wishes to attend any hearing to speak in relation to the above submission.

[1] Boffa Miskell April 2018 America’s Cup Wynyard Hobson Landscape and Visual Effects Assessment Prepared for Panuku Development Auckland and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

[2] Refer America’s Cup Wynyard Hobson: Legacy benefits for Auckland (undated report).

[3] Auckland Unitary Plan, 1214.8.2(2)(a)(ii) requires that restricted discretionary office activities in the Wynyard Quarter have to demonstrate that the activity, along with any other existing, permitted or consented activities do not exceed the following trip generation targets: 3650 vehicles per hour two way; 2500 vehicles per hour one way inbound or outbound during the weekday morning peak (7am to 9am); and 2500 vehicles per hour one way outbound or inbound during the weekday afternoon peak (4pm to 6pm).