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'Party Central' compromise found

Published: 11:30AM Friday July 16, 2010 Source: ONE News

The Rugby World Cup party at Auckland's Queens Wharf is back on, with the government and the city's regional council reaching a compromise on the venue.

The deal comes after RWC Minister Murray McCully described Auckland's local government as "a train wreck" and Prime Minister John Key threatened to take party central to another site.

One of the century-old cargo sheds at the heart of the controversy will now stay.

The government will spend $9.6 million building a temporary "fan zone" on the site of the second shed, which will be dismantled.

The council and government originally agreed both the sheds on the wharf would be demolished. But the ARC changed its mind, citing heritage concerns.

And the compromise is a far cry from the promise in January of great things for Queen's Wharf.

"It is important that if we build something on Queens Wharf we've got to build something great," said Auckland City mayor John Banks at the time.

Key said today the compromise is a "pragmatic solution" and he is disappointed there will be no cruise ship terminal on the wharf.

"The government will proceed with building the temporary 'Cloud' structure at the harbour end of the wharf for fan zone activities, festival events, industry showcasing, and international media and VIP hosting," McCully said.

"Shed 11 will be dismantled and removed, while the ARC will repair Shed 10 to a sufficient standard to ensure it is safe and does not visually impair the site."

ARC's share of Queens Wharf transfers to the new Waterfront Development Agency on November 1, and it will then be up to the WDA to determine the shed's long-term future, he said.

The government purchased its half share of Queens Wharf because it recognised the site's enormous potential for the Rugby World Cup, and as a legacy asset for Auckland, McCully said.

"At times in the last few weeks our ambitions for Queens Wharf appeared under threat, but we remained determined to make the most of the opportunities presented by the tournament.

"The solution announced today ensures that we can deliver an outstanding facility for Rugby World Cup celebrations, while leaving decisions relating to the wharf's long-term development, as well as the future of Shed 10, in the appropriate hands of the Waterfront Development Agency.

"I now look forward to working with the ARC and, very shortly, the Waterfront Development Agency to complete this important project," McCully said.

ARC chairman Mike Lee said the solution was "pragmatic and creative" and would ensure the wharf's heritage was protected while preserving the broad options for future use.

Lee also said the debate had been difficult and said Aucklanders were passionate about development of the city which could sometimes be bewildering and exasperating; "especially for the rest of the country".

He said the ARC purchased Queens Wharf to provide a permanent cruise ship terminal and public open space in the heart of Auckland's waterfront.

"This agreement means that after the Rugby World Cup the new Auckland Council and its Waterfront Development Agency will be able to make considered decisions on how to achieve these long term objectives within a vision for Auckland and the whole of the waterfront."

Work on the wharf will commence shortly.

What do you think of the ongoing Queens Wharf saga and the latest news? Share your thoughts on the messageboard below.

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  • mwadsworth said on 2010-10-26 @ 09:04 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Wellington by far is the best event hoster we actually get people along to our events. Auckland is overated it is not worthy of the party central.

  • beach05 said on 2010-10-26 @ 00:12 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Auckland you have done it again&.first Eden park&..and now the SHED& I am afraid to say it but you are the laughing stock of the entire country at the moment. Fancy wanting to keep a shabby old shed&heritage&.you have got to be joking&.and on prime land. I have to say it but you guys up there need to pull your head out of the sand and get with the times!! You are acting like a bunch of losers Oh thats right&you prefer to look over container terminals&..old tank farms and now a shed???

  • dmaclure said on 2010-10-25 @ 23:08 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I am not supporting the existing shed use for 2011 RWC as it not feasible really as I am here it let go as government already backdown as really disappointed. PVC tent is fine with me but not the shed.

  • sachin_23 said on 2010-10-25 @ 22:33 NZDT: Report abusive post

    ur joking rite? talkin bout a one off opportunity to showcase NZ to the world and u wanna ruin it by basing it in wellyz.

  • southernvoice said on 2010-10-25 @ 19:15 NZDT: Report abusive post

    shed ten ..... cloud nine