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America's Cup: First constructions expected to start next month

by Wynyard Edge Alliance CLG/ 2 Oct 2018 02:40 PDT 2 October 2018
Emirates Team New Zealand will be moving into the Viaduct Events Centre on the right. The NYYC and RYS bases will be located where the white tanks are in the background. Wynyard Wharf has the red ferry tied up to it © Take a Break webcam

Wynyard Edge Alliance held its third Community Liaison Group (CLG) meeting on 27 September to provide an update on the America’s Cup Programme alongside America’s Cup Event Ltd (ACE), Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Panuku Development Auckland and The Wynyard Edge Alliance.

The Wynyard Edge Alliance is the group responsible for delivery of the overall project and infrastructure for the 36th America's Cup Regatta. The Panuku Development, as the Consent holder, is responsible for holding a Community Liaison Group meeting every month. The members of the Community Liaison Group are parties who were involved in the Environment Court process leading to the granting of the Resource Consent for the development of the bases and infrastructure.

The purpose of the meetings is to keep the parties updated as to what is planned and to get feedback and issues arising during the construction process.

Following is a report on the meeting last Thursday morning hosted at the ASB Bank "Cube" located on the edge of the area to be developed for the America's Cup bases.

Spectators a priority

Grant Calder from ACE [America's Cup Event Ltd who are organising the shore-based activities in Auckland but also throughout New Zealand for the America's Cup] told the group that the 36th America’s Cup would be the most inclusive and spectator-friendly one yet.

“The most exciting news is that the race courses have been released last month, which saw the courses come in closer to land and therefore closer to the public. This means people won’t have to go out on a boat and will be able to watch from around the Hauraki Gulf,” Grant said.

Grant discussed two key viewing points, North Head in Devonport and Musick Point in Bucklands Beach, as places where people can watch the race and feel part of it.

“We’ve looked at what worked and what didn’t at the previous events in Bermuda, San Fransisco, Valencia and Auckland in 2013, and as part of this we’ve focused on creating a closer event for on-land and on-water viewing,” Grant said.

“The racing will be done between 4 and 6 p.m. when the southwest wind comes into the Hauraki Gulf, so people won’t have to wait around for the right conditions as happened in the past.”

[Because Auckland straddles two oceans - the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, during the summer it can have two opposing sea breezes develop. There is minimal land influence. Usually one will prevail over the other - and the case of a sea breeze coming from the West (Tasman Sea) this will usually happen late in the afternoon with a very steady 15kt offshore breeze. Hence the decision to be able to race in these conditions and not be placed in a situation as happened in previous Cups when there was no wind during the day, racing was called off at 3.00pm, and the boats towed home only to greeted by a beautiful westerly sea-breeze and flat water. If the sea breeze is from the east, then it will have formed by 11.00am and will stay in place well into the evening with a moderate sea-state. Remember New Zealand is on daylight saving time in March and times given are really an hour later than NZ standard time which is 12hrs ahead of UTC. The later start time also works much better for TV coverage in Europe and UK.]

Grant gave an overview of the five options for race courses for the America’s Cup, the Prada Cup and the Christmas Race – three of which are preferred options (A, B and C), while the other two are options in the event of poor weather (D and E). [Course A is off Takapuna Beach, Course B is in the Rangitoto Channel, and Course C is around North head at the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour.]

He also outlined the berthing locations identified for superyachts and other vessels - with 90 spaces available capable of taking vessels of various sizes from 28 metres to 110 metres.

Race village heart of the event

Showing the plans and layout of the race village – which starts at the Eastern Viaduct and Te Wero Island and runs through to Silo park – Grant said that it will be the heart of the event and offer a real experience for visitors.

“We’ll provide entertainment, activities, education opportunities, event information and access to the sailors, all of which will be free for people coming to the village,” he said.

“We will also be working with schools across the country on education programmes so that everybody can feel part of the event and learn about topics such as sailing, the environment and technology.”

These will look at sustainability and the ocean, both of which are big parts of the event and the focus of discussions with mana whenua.

“We want to ensure we leave something behind as a legacy, and water quality of the Hauraki Gulf is one of our priorities,” Grant said.

He added that work is already underway with the syndicates that are coming to Auckland, which will be arriving 1 August 2019 and out sailing by mid-November.

“At the race village at the moment, we have Prada on Hobson Wharf and Emirates Team New Zealand moving into the Viaduct Events Centre next week. We have American Magic, and INEOS Team UK confirmed, and we’re currently in discussions with other teams.”

The village will also have around 90 berths to host international visitors arriving on superyachts. A world-class programme is being developed for the super yachts so that they have a great experience, with the goal of leaving a legacy that they will come to revisit Auckland.

Grant also talked about the plans to welcome international and national media and the opportunities they will offer.

“We’re not holding an event in a stadium. We’re holding it in Auckland. As such, through the media, we’ll be showcasing Auckland to the world.”

Event will fit in with Auckland

Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at ATEED, talked about their role as the event lead for Auckland Council.

“We want to make sure the event fits in with Auckland and the country so that there is minimum disruption of business as usual – in fact, we’ll working to get business above usual,” he said.

Referring to when London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012, Stuart said that in cases of major events there are always some businesses affected at the time, but that the cities benefit from an increase in tourism overall.

“Our job is to identify who those affected are and minimise disruption, while also ensuring that businesses are taking up the opportunities created by the event,” he said.

Stuart encouraged members of the CLG to provide feedback to the council and the Crown.

“We want to know what you want to do and how we can help.”

First phase wrapping up

With the resource consent process finishing and the host venue agreement being finalised, Stuart said that the first phase of the project is nearing its end.

“We’re starting to think about how the village works during the event, and how many people will be coming – we need to ensure there are enough visitors to the village and Wynyard Quarter, but not too many that it gets to the point they have an adverse impact,” he said.

“With the courses designed intuitively to maximise public viewing, spectators will be able to be involved in the event at other places across in Auckland, and we need to be thinking about how the event will spread out across the region. There will be opportunities for people who can’t get to the water to come together and watch the event in Auckland and across the country.

“ACE will be doing business engagement with businesses around the area of the race village, as well as others throughout the region, so people can get a good idea of what’s going to happen and how their businesses can engage.”

Echoing the sentiments of Grant and ACE, Stuart said the village would represent the best of Auckland and New Zealand.

“It needs to showcase everything we’ve got to do here and talks about our cultures in a way that is exciting for visitors while also something residents can be proud of.”

While currently none of these plans are developed, the next phase – beginning early next year – will focus on solidifying the plans. “These will become a lot clearer in 2019. In the meantime, we welcome any issues and thoughts you have.”

Consent granted

Fiona Knox, Development Integration Manager at Panuku, confirmed that the Environment Court has granted the resource consent for the event.

“We’ve got it. It’s pretty exciting.”

“We’re really delighted, the judge is really excited with the process, the planners are really delighted – everyone’s delighted,” she said.

Fiona acknowledged the work of everybody in the room to work with the consent team and consent experts to review consent conditions and urban management plans, as well as the CLG.

“This group here is starting to blossom and grow, and will now feed into the next phase of the process,” she said.

Fiona gave a brief overview of the work done on the resource consent to get to this point and said that they’ve now got a high level of certainty of the consent conditions and the parameters they’re working to.

“The next phase is about continuing to work on those management plans, working through some relocation issues and refining the programme,” she said.

Time to get started

“We now have a real project to get started on,” said Kurt Grant, Construction Manager at Wynyard Edge Alliance.

He explained that the Alliance’s teams are currently working on the management plans, procurement and recruitment in preparation for the project.

“Next, we’ll be undertaking site-wide mobilisation planning. Fencing will be going up in the Eastern Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter in early November.

“We’ve got some sites laid out, which have been adjusted based on feedback from the CLG, and we’re getting ready to get in there,” he said. Kurt said they have started repair works underneath the Wynyard Wharf – which is essential for enabling further works – and that this process will take around eight to ten months.

“A good milestone will be the arrival of the first barge in late November, which will see things like cranes and drill rigs being set up to start drilling and putting piles in sometime in December or early January, depending on when the right documentation is in place,” he said.

While it’s not part of the Alliance’s work, Kurt said that Stolthaven south will start its tank demolition in October.

“After that’s done, the first thing we’re going to do out of Wynyard Point will be the access road across the north end of the current ASB car park so Brigham Street can eventually be closed off for construction to start,” he said.

Key points and dates are:

- Initial site facilities (fencing, offices etc.) will start in early November.

- Wynyard Wharf, under wharf repair works, will start in two weeks (mid-October).

- Recruiting underway for a construction team of around 175 people

- Tank demolition (on the New York Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron base locations) will be done by the leaseholder Stolthaven and will start this month.

Alliance in interim phase

Wynyard Edge Alliance’s Stakeholder and Communications Manager Michael Goudie said that the Alliance is still in an interim phase.

“We’re technically still working up to an agreement to deliver. We’re still in the thick of that phase, and are looking to have that agreement in late October or early November,” he said.

He also reiterated the event’s three functions – all of which the CLG will see through – and their roles. The [Wynyard Edge] Alliance is leading in the project phase as it delivers the infrastructure, with ATEED taking over for the operational stage to make sure that Auckland – as a region – is getting ready, and finally ACE will be responsible for ensuring the event takes place.

Emirates Team New Zealand will be the first team into the America's Cup base complex, when they move into the three-level glass-walled Viaduct Events Centre later this week, and will occupy the grandest America's Cup base in over 160 years of America's Cup history.

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