This is good news for all of us who have sat in the cold and wet waiting for a ferry to Waiheke. It’s good news too for the domestic and international tourists who must have wondered what kind of a third world place they’d come to when the ‘jewel’ of the Hauraki Gulf was accessed through the gateway from Hell.
It took three years of nagging from your last Board to get this upgrade and persuade Auckland Transport of the importance for passenger comfort of having a waiting area sheltered from the elements. We were shown initial concept plans by AT but asked them to go back to the drawing board because they didn’t get to grips adequately with the shelter issue.
Council works at glacial speed so it’s good to know something is about to happen - but what? I was disappointed the plans were not on the agenda for us to get a glimpse of what’s in store. This should should have been insisted upon by the Board. Has the Board been keeping a close eye on the plans to make sure they achieve what’s needed? There’s no record in the minutes that they have, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. At least the work is due to be completed by the end of April in time for the onset of winter.
I see that work on Piers 3 and 4 is also to be undertaken. There were plans around in my time on the Board to change the ferry arrangements in the downtown basin so that all Waiheke ferries left from Pier 1 rather than 2, and piers 3 and 4 were to be upgraded to make way for all other ferry services. The cruise ship terminal was to move from Princes Wharf to Queens Wharf. Perhaps the Board could enlighten us as to what afoot in this important transport interchange area.
We need to be assured that the Board is looking after the interests of us all by maintaining our lifeline to services in the city which is the Britomart interchange. This area is every bit as important to us as the Matiatia area on this side of the ferry journey. City planners had other ideas for Quay St that didn’t take our needs into account so I hope the Board is keeping a weather eye of the changes being planned city-side, but who would know. Now there’s an issue for a future blog.