America's Cup plan surprises Team NZ

America's Cup Village proposal hybrid plan. Photo: supplied
America's Cup Village proposal hybrid plan. Photo: supplied

Team New Zealand has expressed surprise at the release of an alternate plan for the America's Cup village for the 2021 regatta in Auckland.

The Government, with support from Auckland Council, has unveiled a "hybrid" proposal for at least seven team bases in the Wynyard area, NZN reported.

The plan includes restaurants and bars, public viewing and hospitality areas. It incorporates elements of the Wynyard Basin option, agreed by the council in December and publicly notified in January, and the Wynyard Point variant explored by the government.

Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton admitted he was "surprised" by the Government and Auckland Council's announcement, as it has been working through options but has not yet concluded discussions that meet all parties' objectives.

Dutch company Stolthaven Terminals has agreed to vacate its southern tank farm site on Wynyard Point early, which allows more room for a proposed America's Cup base.

And while Team New Zealand were pleased that by winning the America's Cup it had created the impetus for the agreed removal of the Stolthaven Tanks, Wednesday's announcement by the Government was unexpected.

"From our perspective we are still working together towards a final agreement," Dalton said of the Government's announcement.

Team New Zealand met with government and council officials, as well as architects and engineers on Tuesday and presented a plan they believed would cost significantly less to achieve than what was announced on Wednesday.

"Team New Zealand has always existed with the absolute priority of effectively saving money where possible, and the option we presented yesterday [on Tuesday] has the ability to save tens of millions of dollars," Dalton said.

Despite not having had discussions that meet all parties' objectives, the Government and Auckland Council announced they are pursuing an option that provided for at least seven syndicate bases around two basins in the Wynyard area with provision for restaurants and bars, public viewing, and hospitality areas.

The deal also clears the way for more land-based locations for America's Cup bases and reduced the proposed extension to Halsey Wharf from 75m to 35m.

The plan presented by Team New Zealand included the 75-metre Halsey extension, which was in the process for resource consent with a reconfiguration of bases and the ability to house up to seven teams on the Halsey and Hobson Wharfs all well within the confines of the existing neighbouring wharfs.

"While we are 100 percent behind the removal of the tanks, timeframe is a hugely significant consideration in the planning for this America's Cup," Dalton said.

"We feel our option presented to Government and Council yesterday eliminates the potential for unforeseen blowouts in both time and money when dealing with contaminated land which are factors none of the interested parties can afford in delivering the event on time and to budget.

"This option allows for a much more contained event village which has always been important for a world-class event.

"We are acutely conscious of costs and believe any reduction in the construction costs and risks must be a seriously considered.

"At this point, we want to clearly reiterate our continued commitment to hosting the event in Auckland in 2021 and hope we can continue to work to reach a shared agreement with Government and Council."

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