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“An inconvenient truth” Bledisloe is feasible

“An inconvenient truth” Bledisloe is feasible

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November 22, 2006

“An inconvenient truth” Bledisloe is feasible

An independent report released today by Heart of the City makes a clear case for moving the national stadium east towards Bledisloe wharf, contradicting previous claims that this was not feasible.

The report, co-authored by independent freight specialist Peter Carr, is very timely according to Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney. “The debate about the location of the national stadium is moving to one of where on the waterfront it should be located. This report makes a case for Aucklanders to be able to have the best waterfront option, providing vastly improved public access to the waterfront.”

“It is better to have the stadium on Bledisloe, between a supermarket and the cranes and containers of the port, than between the Britomart heritage precinct and the water,” say Swney.

“There are principally three legs to the argument to move the waterfront stadium further to the east,” says Heart of the City spokesperson Greg McKeown. “The first is the urban design benefits, the second is the reduction in piling and platform costs and stadium project risks, and the third is establishing the feasibility in terms of port operations.”

“Previous advice provided to councillors is that a reclamation at the northern end of Bledisloe terminal would have to proceed at the same time as the stadium construction to maintain port capacity, and that the cumulative disruption of the two projects was just too difficult to manage,” says McKeown. “Our analysis confirms that the reclamation is not required during the stadium construction period,”says McKeown. “This has a huge bearing on the decision the councillors are being asked to make.”

The paper recommends moving some Bledisloe terminal container movements to the Fergusson terminal where three new cranes and five hectares of reclamation are coming on stream by March 2007. “Fergusson can cope with the Bledisloe containers, and can cope with further container growth with two further steps – improving portside dwell times for containers and converting from straddle carriers to rubber-tyred gantries, which increases container stacking densities,” says McKeown. “We understand that the company is already contemplating some of these changes.”

“This work should not be construed as an attempt to advise how to operate and further develop the port in the long term,” says McKeown. “It is, however, intended to clarify that building the stadium further east and continuing to operate and develop the port are not mutually exclusive.”

“We are encouraged by the comment from Ports of Auckland Limited that the overriding concern of Directors is to maintain the efficient operation of the port and quality of services to its customers. That can be well satisfied, as can growth in the future,” says Swney. “Hopefully the matter of compensation, which is a different issue, can be agreed by central Government, the ARC, ARH and Ports of Auckland so that we can get on with building the stadium in a better location.”

Peter Carr is one of the co-authors of the paper and has provided much of the technical input. Carr has had an extensive career in the shipping and cargo owning industries and now operates an independent freight specialist consultancy with a majority of clients being local and national governments. He chairs the Freight Forum in Auckland.


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