The $75.6 million redevelopment of Auckland’s Downtown Ferry Terminal is still under review despite the fact the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) says it has received an updated business case for the project and is waiting to sign off 51% of the funding for it.
In February it was revealed that the Auckland Transport (AT) project was facing a cost blow-out and questions had been raised by the NZTA over the quality of its business case.
The project will see the creation of six new berths on the west side of Queens Wharf which Auckland Transport (AT) says is “the first step towards a modern, consolidated ferry terminal for Auckland”. The works will include modifications to the existing ferry terminal buildings (located at existing Pier 1 and Pier 2) and the removal of the existing Piers 3 and 4. The new berths will require the installation of a concrete piled breakwater located immediately adjacent to the west of Queens Wharf, the installation of reverse saw-tooth shaped pontoons, three gangways and three fixed shelter structures.
A report by consultants Flow in November said construction was supposed to start this month. But despite the delays AT spokesman Mark Hannan says it’s important that they get the design right.
“The team is undertaking a review to ensure the best value for money regarding the design and type of materials used,” Hannan says.
“Taking account of future redevelopment plans, the review is considering whether the design and size is suitable for current requirements or whether some elements could be incorporated into the redevelopment – this is still being worked through. Other aspects include the ease of maintenance and operation of the terminal.”
When Auckland Council announced the upgrade in September 2017 it was expected to cost $55 million, but in February AT revealed total cost projections had increased to $74 million.
Hannan says the project’s budget has increased to “ensure the outcomes of the project can be delivered on”, but he admits the final price of the project hasn’t yet been established.
“Designs are still being finalised and as such the final cost has not yet been accurately determined.”
Hannan says work on the project is expected to start in June depending on the resource consent being approved.
According to an NZTA spokesperson AT has submitted an updated business case and a funding request for 51 percent of the redevelopment's $75.6 million "estimated implementation cost". AT will also require permission from Auckland Council CCO Panuku and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), who both own Queens Wharf, before it can proceed with the redevelopment.
The ferry terminal upgrade is part of the wider Downtown Programme, a collaboration between AT, Auckland Council and Panuku Development Auckland (Panuku). In addition to the ferry terminal redevelopment it also includes the upgrade of Quay Street, a new proposed Downtown Public Space, a proposed Mooring Dolphin at the end of Queens Wharf and a new Downtown Transport Hub.
The Downtown Ferry Terminal currently caters for approximately 7.6 million passengers a year (2017/2018), but according to projections from AT this is expected to increase to 13 million passengers per annum by 2028.
The existing facilities are used to provide ferry services to Devonport, Stanley Bay, Bayswater, Birkenhead, Half Moon Bay, Waiheke and Gulf Harbour, Hobsonville, West Harbour, Pine Harbour and Rakino Island.
But in a report prepared for AT by the project’s designers Tonkin and Taylor last year they said the growing demand for services was the behind the need for the new facilities. AT’s own projections have indicated that existing infrastructure will only have enough capacity to accommodate the growth in ferry services and patronage through to 2022/23, at which point additional berths will be required to accommodate predicted growth.