Local politicians are hailing the $5.5 million redevelopment of Devonport Wharf as the start of a transformative era for the seaside suburb.
North Shore Ward councillor Chris Darby and Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chair Mike Cohen say adding a new boardwalk and upgrading the wharf entrance and Marine Square will turn Devonport into a "destination".
"This project adds fantastically to the vibrancy of Devonport," says Mr Darby.
The pair joined officials, local Iwi and the public at a beachside ceremony on the spot where the boardwalk will run.
Mr Cohen says the present form of the wharf, with its enclosed shops and dull entrance is unappealing to visitors.
"Why would you build a mall with some of the best views of Auckland and dump ferry passengers into a carpark?"
The wharf's new design concept, which has "evolved" , will "completely align" with Devonport's main street, Victoria Road, he says.
Mr Darby, who used to chair the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, says he, "never thought in a million years we'd be able to sell the boardwalk", to Auckland City.
But since the super-city merger, council has got behind Devonport, he says.
"Council is bringing a tremendous focus to spending on Devonport and Auckland Transport should really be congratulated on having wider vision than just creating a transport thoroughfare."
Mr Darby's ambition is to have bus and ferry services running from the Devonport terminal, every quarter hour on weekdays.
A joint project between Auckland Council and its subsidiary Auckland Transport, the build is being funded through the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
Peter Beckerleg, team leader for City Transformation Projects, says there were a few hurdles to overcome getting the design consented - Auckland City objected to its own plans. But the process was a good "test of the robustness of decision-making" for the city.
Architects Isthmus Group designed the 807 square metre boardwalk, construction company Downer is scheduled to complete the project in early 2015.
A planned second stage for the wharf has yet to be funded.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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