As part of the works for the City Rail Link, Queen Elizabeth Square will be completely dug up however as we know it won’t be replaced, instead the square has been sold to Precinct Properties and will be developed. In its place the current road area of Queen St between Customs and Quay Streets – with the exception of a small access to Galway St and from Tyler St – will be created.
The council have also said the proceeds of the sale of QE Square would be used to go towards at least two of three new public spaces proposed along the waterfront and that the spaces should be delivered by 2018. An update to the council’s Auckland City Centre Advisory Board a few weeks ago gives an update on that with some useful information about what we’ll get. The three potential public spaces are
- new/improved space west of Queens Wharf on the water’s edge at the foot of Lower Albert Street
- improved space around the historic ferry building and at the base of Queens Wharf
- new/improved space east of Queens Wharf in the Admiralty Steps area.
Of the spaces the third is tied up in what is currently the operational area for the port so relies on the outcome of study into the ports future. That means the two spaces being focused on are 1 and 2. The report says that within the ferry basin the plan will deliver a total public space of 4,700m² of which 2,100m² will be brand new space. To put that in comparison the area being lost from QE Square is about 1,800m². As you can see that will obviously require some changes to the current ferry piers.
The report highlights a few major issues related to budgets.
- The council won’t receive the money from Precinct for QE Square till at least February 2018 which is about 6 months later than when they estimate they need to start construction and of course money is needed immediately for design, planning and consenting works.
- A pre-requisite for the works is the seismic upgrade to the Quay St seawall however that isn’t budgeted to occur till after 2020.
- It requires redevelopment of the downtown ferry terminal however that isn’t currently budgeted for in the 10 year Long Term Plan.
The minutes aren’t available to confirm what was agreed however the City Centre Integration team were looking for an agreement in principle to use funding from the CBD targeted rate to progress the investigation and design of project.