Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa has expressed its opposition to Auckland Transport’s plan to relocate the regional bus terminal to hapū land at Quay Park.
Chief executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa, Andrew Crocker, says he is angered at the lack of engagement and nature of the plan. “We were advised on 6 January 2020 that Auckland Transport plans to relocate the regional bus terminal from SkyCity to our land on Beach Road. Our subsequent request for information on the plan reveals Auckland Transport was asked to identify relocation options as long as three years ago yet we’ve only just heard about it now.”
“We have expressed our opposition and concerns to Auckland Transport. We have a clear plan for the long term use of our land at Quay Park as featured in the masterplan we released in December 2019. A bus terminal is not aligned with that plan and it would not fit with our environmental goals for the site.”
Mr Crocker says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa is not convinced Beach Road is a better or long term solution for a regional bus terminal. “Beach Road was rejected as an option in 2016 and since then the suitability of the SkyCity site has improved and will continue to do so, making it the best option. It is well located, close to the Aotea CRL station when it opens, providing fast easy access across Auckland. By comparison, Beach Road provides no more capacity, is more isolated from main public transport nodes and will cost the ratepayer.”
In addition, Mr Crocker says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa has concerns the preliminary designs, which encroach on to Te Taoū Reserve, are in conflict with Auckland Council’s lease obligations.
“SkyCity’s original resource consent was publicly notified and took over public land that was held for a bus terminal for so long as they operated a casino on the site. As an additional safeguard, the contract between Auckland City Council and SkyCity required the casino to operate and maintain public transport facilities for 999 years. Moving the busy terminal away from SkyCity would give it 2,000m2 and a 20 car park/drop off area of free land and release it from ongoing maintenance costs.”
Crocker believes any proposal to release SkyCity of this obligation should go through a publicly notified resource consent process and public consultation by Auckland Council.
“We challenge Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to revisit the current site and options for improving it for the long term. We are thinking long term as reflected in our visionary masterplan for Quay Park. We urge Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to do the same.”
These artist’s impressions are from the three most popular features of the Te Tōangaroa Quay Park masterplan.