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Aotea quarter: arts, culture and entertainment

1 September 2004

Aotea quarter - civic, arts, culture and entertainment

Aucklanders are being asked for their views on a draft plan to transform the Aotea Quarter into the CBD’s civic core and arts, culture and entertainment hub.

The council’s draft vision for this area of the central business district (CBD) is: ‘the Aotea Quarter, the civic core of the CBD and home and heart of arts, culture and entertainment: a vibrant, 24/7 centre for people, creative expression, activity and democratic expression.’

The Aotea Quarter covers the area around Aotea Square bounded by Mayoral Drive, Wellesley Street, Lorne Street and Khartoum Place. It includes The Edge facilities of the Auckland Town Hall, Aotea Centre and Civic Theatre as well as the Central City Library, Aotea Square and the Auckland City Art Gallery.

The chairperson of the Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, says the plan builds on the history of the area and its current uses. The civic and heritage nature of the area will be enhanced along with its arts, culture and entertainment components.

“The area already has world class venues. What’s needed, however, is an environment where arts, culture and entertainment spill out into the streets and squares so that it buzzes with people and activity day and night,” he says.

The proposed plan for the Aotea Quarter, released today for comment, sets out how Auckland City sees the area developing over the next 10 years. It also proposes principles to guide development, whether in the public or private domain.

Mr Milne says, the vision will be achieved by: working with others like the universities, and entertainment and arts organisations to bring their activities into the area encouraging performing arts companies to locate, rehearse and perform in the quarter improving perceptions of safety encouraging and celebrating civic and convention activities protecting and promoting heritage buildings enhancing Aotea Square providing good open spaces and pedestrian routes between the various venues encouraging late night activity and encouraging residential activity on the east rather than the west of the quarter.

Auckland City has already committed funding to a number of projects that will help realise the vision. These include upgrading Lorne and Queen streets, upgrading Aotea Square, the development of a CBD retail strategy, development and implementation of a public activity plan and the art gallery upgrade.

It is also investigating establishing a cluster of arts activities including the proposed flexiform theatre in the area south of the town hall. The idea of a bus terminal located on Mayoral Drive is also being explored.

“However, there is only so much the council can do. For this plan to succeed we need the support and enthusiasm of all Aucklanders. I urge people to take a look at the draft vision and tell us what they want for this important part of the CBD and how they think it can be achieved,” says Mr Milne.

A public information workshop will be held at 5.30pm on Monday, 13 September at the Auckland Town Hall, reception lounge, level 2, Queen Street. At this workshop the council will present its thinking on the future of the Aotea Quarter and invite discussion and feedback.

People can also have their say by filling in the feedback form on www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/cbd or emailing their ideas to cbd@aucklandcity.govt.nz.

Copies of the plans, feedback forms and free post envelopes are available from the: the foyer of the Aotea Centre Central City Library, 44 - 46 Lorne Street, Auckland central ground floor of the civic administration building, 1 Greys Avenue.

The plan for the Aotea Quarter has been developed as part of Auckland’s CBD Into the future strategy which aims to grow and consolidate the CBD’s international reputation as one of the world's most vibrant and dynamic business and cultural centres.

Public consultation closes on 15 October 2004.

ENDS

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