"Short term rushed political thinking is destroying our 'once in a lifetime' chance to get the redevelopment of Queens Wharf right ." North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.
"Aucklanders have been waiting for generations to have the waterfront behind the red fences returned to them for public use, but short term political agendas from both central and local, and the vested business interests, are hijacking their dream," according to Mayor Williams .
"The cold hard truth is that the redevelopment is struggling to be all things to all interests. Those in control of the project want a 'party central' venue built in 18 months to showcase New Zealand hospitality to the world, they want a cruise ship terminal to attract millions of wealthy visitors, and they want an icon building that embodies the spirit of Auckland and its people. With all these expectations to carry, the wharf will likely sink under the waves," Mayor Williams said.
"And, they want the redevelopment to deliver on all these expectations for a miserable $47 million, which is like expecting a Sydney Opera House for the price of a temporary prefab."
"It is very clear that this is all being rushed through by Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully and those involved with Rugby World Cup 2011, and what we'll end up with is yet another half-baked scheme that Auckland will always regret. We should be doing it properly, at a sensible pace, in order to achieve the best outcome for generations to come." "However, to achieve "party central" meantime, why don't we just put up the big rugby ball pavilion that is currently in Tokyo, and which was previously in Paris under the Eiffel Tower? Most New Zealanders have not seen this taxpayer funded event venue and it could be a great central tourist icon for the period leading up to the World Cup. There could be large marquees adjacent for additional hospitality which could be lit up in a spectacular way on the edge of the harbour." says Mayor Williams. "The image of the rugby ball on Queens Wharf, on the edge of our stunning harbour, beaming out to the world from the foot of Queen Street would be a fabulous showcase for rugby and for New Zealand. The whole wharf area could then have attractive 'Silver Fern' theming during this period to give it the strong New Zealand feel." "This would then allow longer term plans for a proper development of Queens Wharf to take place, without it all being rushed and hustled through in an ad-hoc manner just to meet the Rugby World Cup deadline."
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