ARC not keen on plans for Queen's Wharf

Auckland Regional Council (ARC) chairman Mike Lee does not like the $84 million plan Auckland City Council voted on to revamp Queen's Wharf for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The plan is to turn an eastern shed into a cruise ship terminal in conjunction with a live site on the ground floor for World Cup events.

A western shed would have a more basic upgrade for use during the rugby tournament, and would be converted afterwards to another use, such as a new home for the Auckland Theatre Company.

Mr Lee told Radio New Zealand that he visited the sheds today and was under-whelmed.

"Some elements of the eastern shed could be retained because that is right in the footprint of where we would want a cruise ship terminal. Most of the building really is rubbish," he said.

A higher building was needed for cruise ships.

"I think we can do a lot better with significantly less than what Auckland City are planning on," he said.

The $84m "just doesn't cut it". He believed "a building to be proud of" could be built for $30m.

Mr Lee wanted to "open up the red fence" to the people of Auckland.

This is a reference to the historic red fence which surrounds Auckland's commercial port, which is owned by Auckland Regional Holdings, the commercial arm of ARC.

Any decision about funding the Auckland City Council plan for Queen's Wharf will have to be signed off by a board charged with overseeing Auckland's transition to a single "super city".

The Government and the ARC each paid $20m to buy the wharf from Ports of Auckland, so the city council's proposal takes the total cost to just over $124m.

The funding of the redevelopment of the wharf is a matter for debate.

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