The key issue that I see is that there is no coordination between Auckland Council and Ports of Auckland Limited regarding a plan to provide both sufficient port capacity for anticipated shipping volumes and public access to the waterfront, or if there is, it hasnâ€™t been disclosed to the public.
In the absence of any disclosure of the partiesâ€™ motivations, it appears that PoAL has no appreciation of the bigger picture and that AC does not have the will or the nous to exercise its authority as the owner of PoAL.
I can see no reason why we shouldnâ€™t have a rational discussion about whether downtown Auckland is the appropriate location for the working port that serves Auckland.
There are international precedents for a working port to be relocated from the downtown area of a city â€“ San Francisco and Sydney are but two examples which come readily to mind. The reality is that many sites chosen for ports pre-1900, when the volume of freight and the method by which it was shipped were both far different from those today, are no longer appropriate.
Auckland failed dismally on where our principal sporting stadium should be located back at the time when the old north stand at Eden Park was replaced and again when the south stand was replaced, but those mistakes have cost us much less than stuffing up regarding the port could do.
While the cost of building a new working port elsewhere might be substantial, itâ€™s a discussion we should have before further capital expenditure is committed to the current location. I wonder whether AC considered the bigger picture before it and PoAL recently consented to Holcim building a 28m high cement silo on a site adjacent to Quay Street (in a zone previously subject to an 18m maximum height).
The major objection to the current location is its effect on city traffic. When I moved to Auckland in 1977 Auckland Port was a â€˜railwayâ€™ port. Wagons were marshalled on the land between The Strand and Quay Street that is now occupied by Vector Arena, apartment buildings, train tracks leading to Britomart and a holding yard for some of the new train set which donâ€™t yet seem to be in service. Â Read more »