Council plans to make locals 'proud'
STEVE HOPKINS AND MICHELLE ROBINSON
A beautiful waterfront competitive with Australia and Asia and city linkages from Parnell to Victoria Park are among plans for a more "loveable" Auckland.
The council hopes to make Aucklanders "fall in love" with the city again by transforming the central city and waterfront which they hope will kick-start the transformation of the whole region.
Auckland Council has committed $130 million over 10 years to the project.
When people ask why so much is being spent on central Auckland, the answer is simple, deputy mayor Penny Hulse said: ''If the heart isn't in good health than the limbs certainly won't function either.''
But Aucklanders haven't fallen out of love with their city completely, they have just become apathetic, Auckland Council design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid said.
Plans to bring back residents' pride include a 20km promenade and cycleway along the waterfront, a new cruise ship terminal at Queen's Wharf, an innovation precinct in the Wynyard Quarter along with a light rail system from there to St Heliers and a 4.5 hectare park on Wynyard Point.
Links through public transport and wider footpaths between the Waterfront and the city centre as far as Vector Arena and Parnell are also planned, along with improved linkages between the city centre and Victoria Park.
Links between Victoria and Albert Parks and the Domain are also scheduled.
The initiatives are outlined in two major guiding documents released this afternoon, The Waterfront Plan and The City Centre Plan. Mayor Len Brown said the development of the central city had already begun with new shared spaces, the opening of Queens Wharf to the public and the development of new public spaces and commercial developments in Wynyard Quarter.
"A thriving city centre is the beating heart of Auckland and when it performs well it sends the lifeblood pumping to every part of this great region," he said.
"We want Aucklanders to fall in love with their city again. With these transformations we are building a centre that we hope all Aucklanders will be proud of and feel excited about visiting."
Brown said the city centre plan would show Auckland to be a "world leader in urban and sea-edge design" and promote it as the best location for national and South Pacific head offices and drive more business investment. Waterfront plans were a mix of long and short term initiatives.
He said the city masterplan included projects that would "continue the momentum" of shared and green spaces, such as developing Quay St as a family-friendly waterfront boulevard and creating a new east-west green link connecting Albert Park with Victoria Park and Wynyard Quarter.
"As Aucklanders we face trying times - budgets are tight and jobs are hard to come by - but it's times like these that people also need some vision. These plans are about creating the most liveable city by doing more with less," Brown said.
Auckland Council's Design Champion, Ludo Campbell-Reid hoped the projects would help attract more "globally significant" business and internationally competitive jobs and opportunities for the whole region.
"The city centre is our window to the world," she said.
"We're working towards creating the world's most liveable city and to do that we need to make it more family-friendly, more pedestrian friendly and more environmentally friendly."
Waterfront Auckland Chief Executive John Dalzell said it had been proved worldwide that "uniting people, business, history, culture and trade all into one prime city space holds real potential".
He said that potential was already shown through the public's response to the redeveloped Queen's Wharf and Wynyard Quarter.
The two planning documents will be available from all Auckland Council service and libraries from Monday and online.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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