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Hearings on America's Cup Centre Continue

All Objections Expected to Be Resolved Without Resorting to the Appeal Process

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 4, 1996) — The Resource Consent hearings have proceeded on a quieter note since the dramatic first day, when one of the leading protagonists requested an adjournment, and then announced that a settlement had been made with the Auckland Regional Services Trust (ARST).

The hearings are the main and, hopefully, final planning step to obtain the necessary planning approvals, so that construction of the America's Cup Centre in Auckland's Viaduct Basin can begin.

The commercial fishing interests, who are the current primary users of the area, want tough conditions placed on the development and development process to minimise, or rather eliminate, any impact on their activities during the construction.

Their requests included: a new facility of equivalent standard to the existing facilities; not "one second" of disruption to any vessel's operations; the "ice tower" in the main part of the basin must not move; and fishing interests must not contribute "1c" to the development.

The concern of the industry is that NZ$150 million of export trade currently being slung over wharves at the Viaduct will be compromised by the development or development process.

A Maori group has laid rights to the naming rights of the new centre. The Ngai Tai ki Tamaki Tribal trust are not happy that another tribe, Ngati Whatua o Orakei, have been recognised as the tangata whenua (resident people) for consultation purposes.

Charter boat operators want to see a central location established within the village or its precincts for use as a charter boat base.

The Institute of Architects and others want pedestrian access around the whole Viaduct area. This view was backed to some extent by the Department of Conversation (DOC), which wanted to see more planning protection on pedestrian access.

The hearings are expected to conclude soon. The expectation is that all the above objections can be accommodated in some way, and that there will not be any need for the matter to go to Appeal, which would delay the start of construction until mid-June, 1997. Provided all issues are settled at this hearing, construction is expected to start in January, 1997.

Public attention has been diverted from the hearings with concern being expressed over a NZ$1.4 billion development planned for the eastern downtown Auckland area — about 200 metres east of the America's Cup Centre. A further development of a large shopping complex has already been announced, which is expected to be completed by early 2000.

Yesterday (Monday, 18th November) the hearing continued, with the NZ Herald reporting that a power struggle appeared to have developed between Auckland City Council and ARST. Interestingly, a previous objector, Viaduct Holdings, turned up the heat on the City Council, stating three conditions (relating to land and seabed ownership and withdrawal of a request for exclusive occupation rights to the basin area), before Viaduct Holdings would withdraw its consent for construction work.

The status of the various objections and applications is still expected to be resolved at the hearing stage without going to Appeal.

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This report is courtesy of sailing columnist Richard Gladwell in New Zealand and the Compuserve Sail Racing Forum, where the original article first appeared.

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