Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

America's Cup: Cup bases given the green light in record time

by Richard Gladwell 24 Sep 2018 21:56 PDT 25 September 2018
The accepted America's Cup bases plan drafted by Emirates Team New Zealand © Emirates Team New Zealand

The Environment Court has pushed through a Decision approving the Resource Consent Application lodged by Panuku Developments for the construction of bases and infrastructure of the 36th America's Cup.

The Court concluded a two day Hearing on September 11, and delivered its 260-page Decision just 11 working days later.

Panuku Developments, the property development arm of Auckland Council, elected to bypass the initial Hearing stage and proceeded directly to the Environment Court, which would normally have been the first level of Appeal or referral. A five person Panel consisting of three Commissioners and two Environment Court Judges with Principal Judge Laurie Newhook presiding. They considered 2500 pages of written evidence, as well as submissions made for this, the second application, and the aborted first application. The first application was more controversial and was not supported by the Crown through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It was pulled after submissions had closed, and the second Application was lodged in early April.

In the end it proved to be a wise decision, and even though the second Application was lodged two months after the first, today's Decision was within the original timeframe.

The cost of the project is NZD$212million shared between the Crown and Auckland Council.

Emirates Team New Zealand is largely unaffected by the Application Conditions as it is moving into an existing building, the Viaduct Events Centre, which will have some minor alterations not covered in the Application. The team begins the move next week.

Design Requirements to remain

The contentious Design Requirements for the design of bases of which the Challenger of Record was in disagreement on several points, has not been altered by the Court. However like many other issues the Design Requirements were modified during a three-day mediation session ordered by the Court, and subsequent discussion between parties and experts.

Also remaining are the requirement for clear glazing or windows in the bases to allow "public surveillance" - covering various sizes on the base buildings. These would appear to have been reduced still further from the final draft tabled with the Court to which the Challenger of Record and one other party objected.

The signage sizes which were also questioned by the Challenger of Record have remained at 40% of the facade space which the legal team representing Panuku claimed was five times the level permitted in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

The Environment Court has allowed three flagpoles per team after a lot of back and forth discussion as to whether the number should be two or three with no party really advancing a case as to why there should be any limitation.

The Court noted " We acknowledge the frustration of the CoR at the situation it finds itself in, in the host country, where planning processes are ordained in considerable detail by the RMA and planning instruments. We are simply left with no evidentiary basis to offer the CoR any further relief."

Signage is prohibited "on any yard fence that may be erected along a wharf edge". The effect of that requirement is to remove one of the most effective signage spaces in Bermuda - which would be expected to have a impact on revenue for the event. Such signage is often seen in the backdrop for video and still images and has real sponsor value. It is not clear whether it applies to floating signage which was used extensively in Bermuda and rather neatly hid the ugly underside of wharves.

Long term fate undecided

The Crown and another party requested the Court to find a way to prevent the redeveloped area of Wynyard Point having a life limited to just ten years before it could be sold off to developers as happened with the Viaduct Harbour after the 2000 and 2003 America's Cup.

In its Decision, the Court confirmed that it could not impose conditions that extended beyond the ten year period of the Application, and it would seem that the only solution is for a Plan change or for the Government to legislate. A partial block on development comes with the formation of a Community Liaison Group which is a consultative body of various parties involved in the Hearing and named in the modified Application. A proposal by the Crown for the development of a Legacy Use Options Plan is a further protection mechanism for the area, and the Court in its Decision also endorsed this requirement.

There were calls by those opposed to further encroachment into the harbour for the bases to be condensed into those located on Wynyard Point only - due to there being only three Challengers at the time of the Hearing.

That would have meant that the extension on Hobson Wharf where Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa will have their base, would not have proceeded.

Various expert witnesses persuaded the Court that this was not a sound move, given that entries had not yet closed and the Court accepted that view in their Decision. As it stands, rather than having a surplus of space for the 2021 America's Cup there could well be insufficient space if more than two of the five teams materialise from the ranks of those contemplating entry.

Similarly, if New Zealand follows the 160-year-old statistical trend and is still the holder of the America's Cup come March 21, 2021, then there will almost certainly be a shortage of space for the 37th America's Cup in 2024.

Co-incident with the release of the Environment Court Decision, Emirates Team New Zealand confirmed that it was in discussions with an Italian challenger that would be a two boat team. The Court had earlier been advised that there was a good possibility of new two-boat team and a single boat team. That being so all available base space would have been allocated.

The Environment Court Decision is subject to Judicial Review and Appeal on specific points of law.

But given that what was initially expected to be a two week Hearing, with more than forty parties involved, the time shrank through the Mediation Process and struggled to encroach into the second day seriously. It would seem that the level of disagreement is very small indeed and that further Appeal is unlikely.

The Decision handed down this afternoon was well ahead of the expected time, and will provide some welcome breathing space in a tight project plan.

For the full Decision click here

For the Environment Court documents relevant to this Decision click here

Related Articles

America's Cup: Dalton explains need for injunction
Team New Zealand and America's Cup Event CEO, Grant Dalton on need for injunction Team New Zealand and America's Cup Event CEO, Grant Dalton has issued a statement explaining the Sailing team and Event organisation's rationale for obtaining a High Court injunction blocking publication of a confidential draft report on AC36 Hosting Posted on 3 Jul
America's Cup: Te Aihe's returns to the Waitemata
On Wednesday, Emirates Team New Zealand had a long five hour session mostly sailing on America's Cup On Wednesday, Emirates Team NZ had a long five hour session mostly sailing on America's Cup Course C. They were sailing in mid-Winter - one can only guess as to the wind chill factor in the AC75 foiling at 30-35kts. Posted on 3 Jul
America's Cup Event body obtains Court injunction
America's Cup Event Ltd obtains High Court injunction on confidential report publication America's Cup Event Ltd and Team New Zealand Ltd have obtained an injunction in the High Court in Auckland restraining media from publishing the contents of a confidential draft report on the $40m Event Fee expenditure Posted on 2 Jul
America's Cup: Team New Zealand hits the headlines
Early Wednesday afternoon Team New Zealand issued a lengthy statement over a leaked letter Emirates Team NZ has issued a statement in response to claims in a leaked confidential letter from the CEO's of Auckland Council and MBIE, published on the front page of the Wednesday morning edition of NZ Herald. Posted on 1 Jul
America's Cup: Kiwis and Americans hit the water
The 36th America's Cup entered a new phase today with the launching of New York Yacht Club's AC75 The 36th America's Cup entered a new phase today with the launching of New York Yacht Club's AC75 this morning from the BBC Destiny. Out on the Hauraki Gulf, Emirates Team NZ's AC75, Te Aihe went sailing for the first time in more than four months Posted on 30 Jun
America's Cup: Three years on and not long to go
The 27th of June in New Zealand, will always be a day for celebration amongst Kiwi sailing fans 26th of June in Bermuda and the 27th of June in New Zealand, no matter what year, will always be a day of reflection of winning the 35th America's Cup for many kiwis. Posted on 26 Jun
America's Cup: Third anniversary of Kiwi win
Three years ago at 14.33PM Bermuda time, on June 26, Emirates Team NZ won the final race Three years ago at 14.33PM Bermuda time, on June 26, Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line off the Royal Dockyard, Bermuda to win the 35th Match for the America's Cup. Posted on 26 Jun
America's Cup: A taste of the Summer of 2021
America's Cup have published a new video highlighting the three America's Cup regattas America's Cup have published a new video highlighting the three America's Cup regattas due to be held in Auckland starting December 17, 2020. It features video for all four teams - three Challengers and the Defender. Posted on 24 Jun
Planet Sail Episode 4
Exclusive interview with double America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli Alinghi boss and founder Ernesto Bertarelli rarely does interviews, but in my exclusive meeting with the man who won the America's Cup twice and started a Cup revolution in the process, he reveals his views of the past present and future in the Cup world. Posted on 24 Jun
America's Cup: Te Kahu turns in the dry laps
Last Tuesday, Emirates Team NZ finished their block of development on their test boat Te Kahua Last Tuesday, Emirates Team New Zealand finished their block of development on their test boat Te Kahu with some racing practice on part of Course C, between North Head and Orakei Wharf. Posted on 23 Jun
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom FOOTERHighfield Boats - Sailing - FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - FOOTER