Our Waterfront's Future

The future of our waterfront has continues to be under the spotlight.  Heart of the City’s position has been that no decision around further reclamation into the Waitemata Harbour should occur until a wider longer term Port study has been completed that considers the economic, environmental and social impacts of that activity, and we actively represented that view through the media and to Auckland Council last week, with a number of other prominent stakeholders. In 2013, we were promised by Mayor Len Brown that a report of this nature would be commissioned. The recent NZIER study has concluded that reclamation is required if POAL is to be permitted "unconstrained growth” to meet all potential demand, but it has not addressed the wider and longer term view that we were promised.

It is with great frustration, that the limited scope NZIER study, influenced Council’s decision last week to change reclamation from a non-complying to discretionary status, meaning that reclamation sought through a publically notified resource consent would likely lead to approval.  Furthermore, we learn that late last year, Council approved two extensions to Bledisloe Wharf – with no public notification– with works planned for April this year, and a surprise announcement from the Ports this week that they intend to dismantle parts of Marsden Wharf shortly.  We welcome Council’s decision to ensure public involvement in the future of the central wharves, which looks to address how best Auckland accommodates the cruise industry in Auckland, however the conversation around that area can’t just stop short of the port.

We acknowledge the critical role that the Port plays, but we are concerned that incremental and short term planning and decision making will have a negative impact on the future of our harbour.  Where is the opportunity for Auckland to have their say based on a well considered and holistic view, leading to informed decision making about the future of our waterfront?

We will continue to be active in this area – advocating for a public process that takes into consideration a wider view. Our waterfront is too important to not get right.

Tell us what you think here.