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Construction of America's Cup Centre to Begin April 1

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Construction of the America's Cup Centre in the Viaduct Basin is expected to start on April 1. The last of the three Appeals to the Environmental Court was withdrawn in late February, and therefore the development has passed all the necessary planning approvals.

The only approval now required is that of the Minister of Conservation, which is expected to be a formality, given the New Zealand government's support and financial backing for the project. This approval is required to allow the dumping of dredgings from the Viaduct Basin area. Maritime Safety Authority approval is also required, and should be forthcoming.

The only remaining appellant was Sinclair Fishing Tours. Details of the settlement, if any, reached with this group have not been announced. The two earlier appellants had their concerns alleviated by the developers to facilitate the withdrawal of their appeals as well.

The environmental group Harbour Edge Planning Association has had its concerns satisfied by the establishment of a $150,000 trust to be administered by America's Cup Developments Ltd. and to be used for objecting/lobbying on other harbour developments beyond the 2000 America's Cup project. Kermadecs Restaurant had its concerns alleviated several weeks ago, and subsequently withdrew it's appeal.

Construction of the full facility is expected to be completed by late 1998. While construction costs have risen as a result of the delays caused by the appeal process, the development is still marginally viable. The price tag has risen from earlier estimates of NZ$51 million to NZ$56 million.

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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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