A last minute solution to break the regional impasse over a site for the 2011 Rugby World Cup has been hailed by the Auckland Regional Authority, a strong majority of Auckland city councillors, and World Cup MP Trevor Mallard.
“This is workable solution which is both innovative and daring, and will give the nation something to be proud of,” said Auckland’s mayor Dick Hubbard last night.
“As one who understands the need for vision and making Auckland a world class city I say this is the option that we should grasp with both hands, get our fingers on the trigger and just go for gold.
“It is time to get ready, fire and aim our sights in a new and bold direction. I am as enthusiastic about this as I was about the waterfront option yesterday.”
Minister for the World Cup Mallard said last night that he too was impressed by the proposal which its designers and developers say will come it around $250 million, a figure he says which may have to be cost-adjusted for inflation, increased wage rates, inevitable delays and other unknown factors.
“Inevitably the figure will double if not triple, but it is certainly do-able in the time frame that I have demanded and threatened, and now it just needs Aucklanders to pick up the ball and run with it."
Helen Clark who is currently overseas has indicated that she too approves of the new site, and not just because it isn’t an option just round the corner from her place.
The Minister for Auckland issues was unavailable or unable to comment.
The head of Auckland Urban Development, Strategic Planning and Procrastination Mr David Edwards also said the proposed new site has much to recommend it over the other options currently being discussed.
“Here we have a site which has direct access from all points on the North Shore down a long straight road which can easily be widened and turned into a major carriageway. I am sure that the long suffering residents of the district who have endured endless delays during peak hours will also see great merit in this development, of which they will be the major beneficiaries.
“The option also makes use of otherwise under-utilised public land and gives Aucklanders the option of creating a functioning network of harbour ferries which is something many have been demanding for years.
“And then of course there is the beautiful location which has commanding views and yet will not be in the sight lines of neighbours and those on adjacent land.
“I see it as a socio-economic boost to a dormitory suburb and within a few years cafes, bars, nightclubs and adult entertainment outlets will all sprout up in what is otherwise a sleepy suburban backwater. This is exciting progress and will make Auckland the envy of the South Pacific.”
The architectural firm Spraggon and Langholme which came up the concept has already submitted a series of plans which have been distributed to councillors.
“Construction can be rapid and we can foresee neither construction delays or cost blowouts,” said the company’s chief architect Donald Spraggon.
“We can limit truck traffic to the site during the day and have them working at night on the site which will be fully floodlit. Blasting, which is necessary to sink footings, will be conducted in a period between 4pm and 7pm every day of the first 18 months so local residents can accustom themselves to it. And in consultation with two major construction firms we have concluded the work will only take three years, which is considerably less time than any other proposed site.“
The public will be invited to make submissions before construction starts at noon on Friday November 24.
An artist’s representation of the proposed stadium in place of Mt Victoria in Devonport will be published in newspapers tomorrow.