New Zealand: Council Rejects Waitemata Harbour Expansion
Auckland Council has rejected plans by Ports of Auckland to expand its operations further into the Waitemata harbour.
Speaking at the end of a three-day council meeting to discuss the Unitary Plan for Auckland, an effective blueprint for future development of the city, Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the port’s expansion plans were “the most contentious issue of his first term”.
The council strengthened the planning status of the area around the port and declared that any expansion would be a “non-compliant activity.”
Mayor Brown also called for a definitive study on the port’s operations and their implications for Auckland beyond the immediate waterfront location.
Ports of Auckland, owned entirely by Auckland Council, had asked for a 6.6ha expansion to its current operational footprint which included a 179m extension of Bledisloe wharf.
It had been seeking to have expansion plans included in the Unitary Plan for Auckland.
Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney says the decision is a “red letter day” for Aucklanders.
“The council and mayor Len Brown have heard Aucklanders’ desire for something better on our waterfront and have responded emphatically today. It is quite possibly one of the defining decisions of Len Brown’s mayoralty so far.
“This decision is not just about preventing expansion of an industrial operation further out into the harbour but also recognition that we need to have a closer look at how we handle the projected growth in containers moving through our city,” Swney says.
Heart of the City is one of many groups that have been actively campaigning on the issue alongside Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua, the NZ institute of Architects, Committee for Auckland, the Urban Issues Group, Westhaven Users Assoc and the Auckland Architecture Assoc.
Press Release, September 3, 2013