Auckland Mayor Len Brown may have missed the boat but that could not stop the opening of two new ferry terminals.
Lucky for Brown, the 360 Discovery vessel, carrying Prime Minister John Key, Auckland Council members and other dignitaries, turned back to the new Beach Haven Ferry Terminal when the mayor was marooned.
After a 10 minute delay, Brown and other VIPs were all onboard and bound for the new Hobsonville Point Ferry Terminal opening ceremony.
Around 1000 people turned up at Hobsonville Pt where local iwi welcomed the special guests to the $3.2 million terminal.
Beach Haven's terminal cost $1.2m and was the first project completed using Auckland Transport's discretionary transport funding budget.
Kaipatiki Local Board lobbied Auckland Transport last year for the project as Beach Haven had been without a ferry service since the 1970s.
The sites are the first new Auckland public transport terminals to be opened in 50 years.
In his speech, Key paid tribute to the three men who died in last year's tornado in Hobsonville, which tore through the community and left many homeless.
He said the Government is spending $1 billion a year on Auckland and he congratulated the council on completing the terminals at a low cost.
The prime minister cleared the podium for "the singing mayor" Len Brown who said Auckland has been renowned as a city which has made "bad decisions" and completed projects "only half-baked".
Brown cited the Auckland Harbour Bridge as one of these decisions as only 10 years later clip-on lanes had to be added to cope with increasing traffic and light rail was not included.
"We lost, in affect, our ferries," he said of the bridge.
Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh said: "This terminal will give our community direct access to the public transport hub at Britomart and, before too long, the city rail link."
From tomorrow there will be two morning and three afternoon sailings each weekday. The service will take 30 minutes from Hobsonville Point to downtown Auckland and 40 minutes from Beach Haven.
The new terminals marked the beginning of an integrated transport system, Brown said, which Auckland Council has laid out in the ''Auckland Plan''
(http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/theaucklandplan/Pages/theaucklandplan.aspx) - its vision for the city over the next 30 years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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