Alf has watched with profound fascination while Aucklanders have been raging against some wharf extensions.
Today he learns Auckland Council has responded by formally asking Ports of Auckland to halt construction of the extensions.
Mayor Len Brown told a council meeting the council chief executive, Stephen Town, has written a letter to Auckland Council Investments Ltd, the council body overseeing the port company.
The letter requests that this body encourage the port company to hold off the wharf extensions until a port study had been completed.
The study is expected to take about 12 months.
But this hasn’t mollifed some councillors.
According to this NZ Herald report:
Councillor John Watson said the letter did not cut it and key parts to do with the wharf extensions could be easily rebutted by the ports company.
The study – promised by Mr Brown in 2013 – comes amid a public outcry into plans by the port company to build two massive wharf extensions into Waitemata Harbour at the end of Bledisloe Wharf.
In August 2013, Mr Brown told the Herald: “Before we make any decisions about whether the port expands or otherwise, we need an informed discussion with Aucklanders, underpinned by a robust study that includes consideration of economic, social and environmental factors.
“We need to closely look at every alternative for the delivery of port services and work out what is best for Auckland.”
The port company planned to begin construction this month, but has not been ruling out a pause.
Exactly why Aucklanders should welcome a pause, let alone abandonment of the extensions, is something of a mystery.
As Alf understands the development, the extended wharves will narrow the gap between one side of the harbour and the other.
But Aucklanders want this gap bridged.
In response to the push for this, we were told a few years ago:
The Government has announced funding for an infrastructure upgrade including a rail loop, a tunnel under the Waitemata Harbour and a series of state highway improvements.
The alignment of the second harbour crossing had yet to be determined at that time, but the New Zealand Transport Agency was working to a December deadline for its recommendation.
The Boss was quoted on the matter:
”A new harbour crossing is likely to be needed between 2025 and 2030,” Key said.
Key said the Auckland Harbour Bridge was one of the most critical transport links in the country, but growth forecasts showed that demand would soon exceed capacity.
”Despite recent strengthening, limits on the weight loading capacity of the clip-ons means heavy truck access may need to be increasingly managed from around 2021,” he said.
So – Alf suggests the wharf be encouraged to keep pushing out the wharves.
It should be encouraged to push them out so far they reach the other side of the harbour.
It will then remain only to ensure traffic driving on to the wharf from one side can drive off on the other side.
No need for a tunnel.
They would finish up with a harbour on one side of the wharves and a bloody big fish pond on the other side.