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Public access top of waterfront wish-list

29 April 2005

Public access top of waterfront wish-list

Most of the 850 people who provided feedback last month on the future of the CBD waterfront said that public access and looking after the environment were their top priorities.

The consultation was a partnership between the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council and Ports of Auckland Ltd.

Just seven per cent of respondents said they did not support the draft vision, with 58 per cent saying they did. Chair of the joint Waterfront Political Liaison Group and Chair of the ARC’s Regional Strategy and Planning Committee, Councillor Paul Walbran says he is delighted with the level of response to the consultation and the quality of feedback.

“In general the consultation has reinforced that we’re on the right track with our thinking about how the waterfront should be in the future,” Councillor Walbran says. “We have received detailed and valuable feedback about key areas for improvement, and have also received some excellent feedback from stakeholders who were eager for us to get down to a greater level of detail.

“We’ve taken all of this on board and will be recommending to our respective councils that we immediately start work on concept plans and priorities for key precincts in the waterfront area.”

Mayor of Auckland City Dick Hubbard says the waterfront is one of the city’s most precious assets.

"I'm delighted the people of Auckland share my enthusiasm for its future," says Mr Hubbard. "I have received the message loud and clear that Aucklanders want to see changes – the creation of a stunning waterfront that truly links people, city and sea."

Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker chairs the city council’s Urban Strategy and Governance Committee and leads its involvement in the joint Waterfront Political Liaison Group.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the power of all the key players working together on this. All parties will be working hard to get a final joint vision agreed in the next three months so that we can all get to work on turning it into reality.”

The key feedback from the consultation was: a strong desire for more and better public access an interest in the quality of open space and type of landscape support for a range of activities throughout the wider waterfront area an implicit interest in clear criteria for the urban design and development support for the marine industry and a working waterfront.

More than half of all respondents visited the waterfront area daily or weekly. When asked what they liked about the waterfront as it is now, strong support was expressed for facilities and public access. Specific facilities mentioned as being most important were cafes/bars/restaurants, the viaduct area and Westhaven Marina.

When asked what they would change about the waterfront, strong support was expressed for landscapes, public access and transport. The most common landscape issue raised was a desire to see more public open spaces, trees and parks. Under public access, people wanted improved access to the waterfront, including walkways. The dominant themes mentioned under transport were better public transport, pedestrian and cycling facilities, improved parking and redevelopment of local roads to improve access to the waterfront area.

A specific question was asked about the future of the former America’s Cup bases. Two thirds of respondents said public open space was either important or very important. More than half thought a marine events centre was important or very important.

The feedback was based on a set of high-level, shared objectives for the wider waterfront area, developed by the two councils and Ports of Auckland. These were released to the public as a ‘draft vision’ in mid-February. The consultation was targeted to several groups of interest, meetings with directly affect parties to the public via open days and direct mail. The results of the consultation were analysed by independent research company Gravitas.

A report on the consultation will be received by both councils over the next month and officers will begin work on the final vision document which will be available in July. It will include maps and graphics, clear principles for future development, evaluation criteria, explanations of the key issues and options, including those regarding the Western Reclamation, transport, and the bulk liquid, marine and fishing industries.

The vision will also include an action plan outlining future timings, governance issues and opportunities for further public input.

ENDS

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