Auckland’s ‘Tank Farm’ put on hold again

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 3:12 pm in

Surprise, surprise; the best site for an iconic super stadium, the Wynyard tank farm – thought to be the piece de resistance in the transformation of the city’s waterfront — has become a scramble almost in the same league as the ill-fatted Trevor Mallard ‘memorial’ Auckland waterfront stadium.

First, the Auckland City Council was claiming that it would notify its ‘tank farm’ district plan change either in December – perfect for a quick and meaningless public consultation, while everyone has the beach ball and bucket and spade out – or early in the New Year.

Next came the Auckland Regional Holdings at year-end claiming that the tank farm redevelopment was right on track for implementation in February 2007.

The chairman of Auckland Regional Holdings, the investment management vehicle charged with governing/managing the project, regional councillor Judith Bassett, forcibly rejected a comment by Auckland mayor, Dick Hubbard that the project was ‘going nowhere and on the verge of collapse’. On the contrary, she claimed, the planning phase of the project was complete and implementation could start once Auckland City Council ‘got on with its job and notified the plan change’.

According to various sources it’s taken about three years thus far to reach a relative ‘nowhere land’, with nary a mention of one of its major stumbling blocks, the reclamation of the polluted pits which are its main feature. Other waterfronts which have dealt with the same change-of-use issues have taken up to four years(in the case of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which created a marina) to unravel their oily past.

Cllr Bassett did concede that because the work on the project for the past year had been largely centred around the development of the concept framework, the statutory planning and analysis, she could appreciate why it might appear that there hadn’t been any tangible progress. Other than two or three outstanding issues with the ACC, the project should be ready to proceed early in 2007.

The specialist Bob Dey Report notes that even now there are differences between various control organisations over infrastructure and a division of costs.

Many pundits believed that had the waterfront stadium gone ahead, the development at the tank farm would certainly have been put on the back-burner while the ACC concentrated its resources and defences around that folly.

Bob Dey again: “The ACC had been instructed by the Environment Court to lodge the plan change by 31 May. That date was deferred, and the discussion on when notification might happen has been submerged in the depths of the council’s confidential agendas – the commercial sensitivities of one party taking precedence over the commercial opportunities for another.

This article was made possible for the NZ Property Monitor by Timothy Terence Manning