Compromise reached on Auckland port extension
By Pattrick Smellie
April 30 (BusinessDesk) - Ports of Auckland has offered to only extend one of the two wharves it wants to push further out into Auckland harbour in a backdown that it hopes will take the heat out of local opposition to its plans.
After weeks of heated political argument, Auckland Council's governing body supported a compromise put up by the port company to proceed with one of two 100 metre wharf extensions and put the other on hold.
The port company has resource consents allowing it to sink piles into the sea-floor to extend two wharves to a length that would allow them to accommodate cruise ships and has long-term plans to infill the area between the two pile extensions. However, it has no resource consents for the infill work and faces growing public backlash over such plans through the efforts of groups such as 'Stop Stealing Our Harbour', which mobilised to have the pile extension consents overturned.
“The proposal is a compromise,” said Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson. "It’s not our preferred outcome because of the impact on the cruise industry, however it is a pragmatic, workable solution to the current problem. It allows the port to continue to handle Auckland’s growing freight needs in the short term, while the long-term future of the port is debated.”
Under the proposal, Ports of Auckland will continue building the eastern extension but put on hold construction of the western extension until after the Port Future Study is completed.
"This proposal addresses a number of community concerns, especially around sight lines from Queens Wharf, while providing sufficient berth space for current freight needs and growth in the immediate future," said Gibson.