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Hurdle Removed for AC Centre

A potential snag in the development of waterfront facilities for the 2000 America's Cup was removed last week when the New Zealand Parliament passed a Local Govenment Amendment Bill allowing the Auckland Regional Services Trust (ARST) to investigate the construction of America's Cup facilities in the harbor area known as the Western Viaduct Basin.

Richard Gladwell, a sailing columnist and international sailing judge and umpire from Devonport, New Zealand, said the bill was necessary to give formal sanction to the activities that will be undertaken by ARST in connection with America's Cup planning and development. Without the legislation, these activities could have been subject to legal injunction and delay in a time-critical project.

It is expected that by June 30 ARST will have decided whether it will be the lead developer of the proposed America's Cup Centre, or whether this will be undertaken by another party, Gladwell said in a posting to the Compuserve Sailing Forum.

ARST apparently has allocated NZ$25 million toward the construction of the estimated $65 million to 80 million waterfront redevelopment project. The remainder of the funds for what will be a publicly owned facility will likely come from government and private sources.

However, it's still not a done deal. The Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki Tribal Trust, a Maori group, has gone on record as opposing the project. Under the Land Claims policy of New Zealand, the Maori, the indiginous people of New Zealand, could lay claim to the area and throw up a legal roadblock to further development.

One Aussie Out, Another In

Australia's Southport Yacht Club, apparently, is out, but another Aussie group may be in.

Southport YC boldly announced last January that it would challenge Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for the America's Cup. But Australian sailing writer Peter Campbell, who writes the Rhumbline Column (Reuters), reports that Southport YC won't be announcing its plans for an America's Cup challenge in 2000.

It seems that "a request for A$5 million from Queensland's EventCorp to underwrite the project went unheeded and Southport YC's involvement in yachting will remain as the host club for the Canon Sydney-Gold Coast Classic in August and regular club regattas," Campbell said.

Meanwhile, scuttlebutt has it that Aussie yachtsman Ray Roberts is one of the two unidentified challenges filed with RNZYS last month. His yacht club affiliation has not been disclosed, but it's presumed to be the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Speculation on the identity of the other unnamed challenger has included Southport YC, as well as Hawa|'s Waikiki YC, which announced its intent to challenge, but has not done so.


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