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America's Cup: Auckland's eyesore replaced by regional urban park?

by Alexia Russell/Newsroom.co.nz 9 Oct 18:12 PDT 10 October 2018
Tank Farm - southern end - gone by Christmas 2018 © Richard Gladwell

Alexia Russell of Newsroom.co.nz takes a look the transformation of Wynyard Point from an ugly eyesore to what could be New Zealand's first urban regional park - a product of the 2021 America's Cup

A long-standing fixture of Auckland’s waterfront is about to disappear.

In eight weeks' time, 12 tanks that have been part of the skyline since the 1980s will be gone. The Stolthaven tanks on Wynyard Wharf are the first batch to be removed, in order to make way for America’s Cup bases. Another 53 tanks, at the north end of the wharf, will be gone by 2022. At the south end, nearer Silo Park, Bulk Storage Terminals is also vacating, although some of the taller ones will be left standing in a “selective pruning” process and incorporated into a new public space.

By Christmas the way will be clear to start laying the foundations for new infrastructure.

The tanks at Stolthaven’s southern site haven’t held petrol, diesel or jet fuel since the Marsden Point oil pipeline went through 35 years ago, but they have until now been fully occupied with other fuels, chemicals, inks, vinyls, caustic soda, solvents and raw materials for the likes of paint.

Built by BP when all the city’s petrol arrived here by ship, Wynyard Wharf is no longer a proprietary terminal, which means that Stolthaven leases storage out to various companies. From now those companies will have to bring their chemicals up from Stolthaven’s Mt Maunganui operation by truck. In some cases – for example chemical surface coatings which are mixed by the likes of Dulux and Resene to make paint – that manufacturing could now be done offshore and would then arrive as a finished product.

Brent Metson is Stolthaven’s regional engineering manager for Australasia. From an engineer’s point of view, he finds it a little sad that we don’t value such infrastructure the way we used to. The tanks were part of a system that allowed companies to add value to products and contribute to the economy. And “they all have their own little quirks and characteristics,” he says. Even though they are in good nick, none of them will be moved off site intact – too many stars have to be aligned for them to be useful elsewhere.

As for the dismantling operation, Metson says it will be done with safety as a central priority in the same way as anything else that’s been carried out at the site.

The carbon steel tanks have been gradually drawn down to leave them empty. There are no fumes floating about. With solvents the tanks evaporate dry; caustic soda just dries out. They are vented and certified safe.

The next step has been to weld lifting lugs on top of the tanks so a crane can pick them up and lay them down on their sides on an empty site that’s been created next door. Then a large digger with mechanical shears will chop them up. The metal is all recycled. That part of the operation is expected to take a day and a half for each tank.

Six pipe lines strung along the side of Wynyard Wharf and on overhead gantries, each about 470 metres long, must also be taken away and cut up for scrap.

For the rest of this story see newsroom.co.nz

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