It was great to see the Dominion Post actually use some of its reporters to explore some of the local issues in the Weekend, with a two whole (almost) full pages on developments on the Wellington waterfront. The WCC is currently in the throes of evaluating further submissions on Variation 11 (regarding the Waterfront), which, rather confusingly to me, comes about 7 years after the Variation 17 debacle erupted onto Wellington’s radar. 11 comes before 7? How does that work? Does WCC have a time machine, or did they helpfully leave an empty slot in the schedule? Or do they just count backwards towards zero? And what happens then? Does the universe explode? Implode? Its just all so perplexing.
Despite that confusing possibility of a Big Bang while I zipped through the Sudoku, I got quite excited while reading the paper, due to the following statement in the report:
“Several new buildings are planned, including an award-winning design for what is now a car park just south of the Meridian building.”
Now, an award winning building is pretty special – especially if it hasn’t even been built yet. Its hard enough to build a building in real life, let alone virtually, and to win an award for that before it’s built: Someone must be very clever. Perhaps they are going to find one off-shore and ship it in to the site, south of the Meridian building. Very clever indeed. And even more so, as I thought there was a pub in between – the Loaded Hog, I believe. Here’s a picture of the ‘car park’ south of Meridian. Can you see room for an award winning building between the Hog and the Meridian?
Me neither. I can’t even find room for a car park there, and suspect that instead, the DomPost must be talking of the area North of Meridian – where, as we all know, sites 8, 9, and 10 are situated. Bit of a let-down there, except of course wonderful to hear that Athfield Architect’s 3 proposed buildings have already won awards. Still: the DomPost wouldn’t be the paper it is today without a few mistakes. But enough bitching about that – it’s simple enough to get north and south muddled up. Just like day and night really.
What I’m more intrigued about lies many miles away, in the fog-bound Queen city. For reasons that completely escape me, a couple of local body governmental bodies have bought Queens Wharf up there for $20 million or so – even though they already owned it. And hear me out – what exactly are they going to do with it? Apparently the plan is for it to become a “party zone” for the Rugby World Cup.
Now I’m not a frequent flier, so my geography may be a little rusty, but I still have Google-Earth and can figure out a few things like: the stadium is still going to be in Mt Eden, but the party is going to be at the bottom of Queen St. There is a couple of old sheds already on the Queens Wharf too. Not rich old beauties like we have in Wellington, with a row of old brick warehouses called exotic names like Shed 11 and Shed 13. No, the sheds in Auckland are just plain sheds, barely worthy of keeping. But the Jafas are going to keep the sheds, and spend up to $80m in total doing them up as a temporary party zone. Despite this being virtually next door to the existing Viaduct Basin party zone. The words ‘crazy’ have been mentioned.
Whatever. I don’t mind them spending their own money on their own crazy schemes. But isn’t the whole thing crazy? While its true that Auckland will hold the final, and a few other games, the rest of the World Cup games will be spread around the country. Wellington will be holding one of the semis. Dunedin, if it builds its stadium, will be doing likewise. And certainly Christchurch has a stadium ready to go and will hold matches there. Auckland still has to actually rebuild their stadium. But nowhere else in NZ do they have to spend that kind of money just to build a party zone, for essentially the last 2 hours of the whole World Cup.