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Albert Park tunnels

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL MEDIA RELEASE

24 March 2006


Albert Park tunnels

Late last year Auckland City signed a Heads of Agreement with Mr Bill Reid of the Subterranean City Partnership outlining the process for the possible development of the tunnels under Albert Park.

A series of historical tunnels totalling nearly 3,500 metres in length run under Albert Park and the Alten Road reserve. They were constructed in 1942 as air raid shelters but were never used and were sealed off on 28 February 1946.

"We recognise Mr Reid's enthusiasm for his ideas. The signing of the Heads of Agreement will enable Mr Reid to undertake further investigations into possible developments of the tunnels," says Jaine Lovell-Gadd, property group manager, Auckland City.

Mr Reid says he is looking forward to presenting the fruits of his 20-year quest to Auckland City Council soon.

"The concepts for the site I will present to the council will help enhance the CBD for Aucklanders and visitors alike," he says.

"It is important that any concept plan presented for the development of the tunnels is sustainable and meets with council and public approval," says Ms Lovell-Gadd.

Auckland City is not in discussions with anyone else about the future of the tunnels, however, it has recently undertaken remediation work to stabilise the ventilation shafts that feed the tunnel system after two incidents of subsidence at the reserve.

The council now has an on-going monitoring system in place so that it can check these shafts to ensure no further subsidence occurs in future.

The agreement between Auckland City and Mr Reid sets out timeframes within which Mr Reid must investigate and provide a proposal to council for the future use of the tunnels.

ENDS


History of the tunnels:

- The council began digging the tunnels in February 1942 as air raid shelters in anticipation of Japanese invasion. The tunnels took eight months to build and while capable of holding about 20,000 people, were never used.

- The tunnels were sealed off in February 1946.

- The Auckland Improvement Trust Amendment Act 2001 gave the council the power to lease the subsoil underneath for a limited period as set out in the Act.

The Act enables excavation of the tunnels for commercial work but does not allow more entrances to be built.

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