I hereby give you permission to cry wholeheartedly, to throw up all over the place, to bombard Waterfront Auckland with complaints and/or shake your head wildly in disbelief. Just when we thought that things were moving in the right direction and that the powers-that-be weren’t just full of hot air and empty promises, things have started regressing and all indicators point to the fact that Waterfront Auckland have lost control of Wynyard Quarter. Let’s hope that I am wrong and that they have only lost focus, the latter will be much easier to fix. We can give them a shake and remind them of the promises that they had made to all and sundry i.e. to make Auckland a people friendly city, to focus on the people and to not focus on cars, to rid our streets and heritage buildings of visual pollution and clutter, to create a vibrant city with an emphasis on better design and to transform Auckland into a sophisticated World class city. My report card will prove that Waterfront Auckland and all those involved are currently failing abysmally.
Let’s start our tour – it isn’t going to be an easy pill to swallow but we need to show you the truth and we need to expose the liars that like to pull the wool over our eyes. Our first stop is none other than WYNYARD QUARTER. Oh my, will they ever get it right ? first it was the problem of cars (article) parking where ever there was a free spot and now it is advertising that has gone viral. The people at Waterfront Auckland are making it loud and clear that Wynyard Quarter is a business venture and to hell with the people who want to use it, what’s worse is that they don’t give a damn about blind people either. Super size me sandwich boards and other forms of advertising are springing up all over the sidewalks – impeding pedestrians and blocking access ways. Tables and chairs have also been allowed to sprawl up to and against the crate seating – to hell with people wanting to walk and/or sit there, never mind the fact that this is the only area that will provide you with some cover should the heavens open up. As for the car-parking problems, well they have not been fixed and it is just as bad as it was before. Pavements / access ways are now loading zones and car parks for the owners of the restaurants in the vicinity – all at your expense and inconvenience. Some of the restaurants already look “tired” and “bogan as” – the plastic facades don’t help either. It is safe to say that the area is starting to look like one big shanty town.
The area has already lost it’s appeal for many people and like myself they are no longer hanging out there. They would much rather be seen at the Eastern Viaduct where there are no cars, no clutter, no “plastic bowls”, no visual pollution and no “landmines” in your way. I spoke to a lady at The Silo Park who told me that she only goes there because of the children’s playground and that she finds the whole area distasteful. As soon as an establishment starts placing huge sandwich boards in front of your view and treating you like some goldfish in a plastic tank then you know that your interests as a paying customer no longer matters. I can fully understand that if there are gales and rain then you need the plastic for protection but NOT when it is 25 degrees and only a breeze. Sandwich boards are so 70′s and Wynyard Quarter is not the place for them – rules and design standards should have been set up from the start and one can’t help thinking that the people in the driving seat have lost their way. Let’s hope that it isn’t too late and that the area can be saved from becoming the biggest bogan hell-hole in Auckland. For now my money and I prefer to stay away.
The following photograph was taken before restaurant seating spilled out towards the crate public seating. It is quite evident that advertising/sandwich boards are already starting to block the pathway:
Once upon a time you could zig-zag in-between the advertising and clutter. You could also sit facing either direction on the crate seats. Now you have to squeeze though tables and forget about sitting on the crate seats facing the restaurants. Super size sandwich boards have now moved onto the sea-facing side of the boardwalk as well:
Clutter / advertising is spread out across the access paths leading from the sea-ward side to Jellicoe Street. Very clever and very thoughtful. You are left with a little access path to the right of the advertising and guess who paid for the paving ?, definitely not the sandwich boards:
After my last post, we were promised that the parking issues will be sorted and cars will be towed. If this is what they call sorted then I do not want to see chaos – I forget, we have already seen Waterfront Auckland at their worse and they aren’t getting any better at managing things – the complete opposite in fact. Access paths are blocked by cars once again (all photographs taken on the same day within minutes of each other):
Urban Turban’s Company car has been parking here (opposite the Urban Turban Restaurant) every day that I have walked through the Wynyard Quarter and nothing has been done about it:
Welcome to Tent Town:
Now one would think that major cleaning works take place before people start arriving i.e. 6/7 am. No – not at Wynyard Quarter. They will start cleaning once people have arrived and block off the tidal steps, spoil the ambience for everybody trying to relax at Karanga Plaza and to hell with the water views. It is a stage and Auckland Council cleaners are the main act:
The following photographs were taken on the 30 of September 2011, a wide open and orderly Boulevard for people to stroll freely. When you compare these photographs with the ones above, it becomes evident that the area has regressed into some Third World free-for-all slum camp.
Wymyard Quarter is a mess and not a pleasant pace to be – at all. I have heard people describe Auckland as the “City of Village Idiots” and there does seem to be some truth to it especially when you look at the mess that Wynyard Quarter is in. I don’t know if the people in charge are amateurs or if they just can’t be bothered but one thing is for certain – something needs to be done and/or somebody needs to be replaced. This is an embarrassment to say the least. In Part 2 I will show you the Te Wero Island / Viaduct area – a very, very, very happy place for cars and clutter.
Update | 07 DEC 11:
I went for a walk through Wynyard Quarter this morning and things seem to be even worse today:
Vans and trucks parked across pavements. Super size me sandwich boards are also appearing on the Jellicoe Street side:
Advertising getting bigger and bigger, blocking pedestrian flow (the Rushworth sandwich board also blocks the sea view of the patrons sitting at their tables – selfish ? yes indeed) :
Look at this bright spark, parks on the tram tracks and challenges the tram:
I have saved the best for last, have you ever seen such tasteless restaurant furniture (wine barrel tables) – 100% pure bogan ! One would think that Auckland Waterfront would have design guidelines in order to maintain some level of sophistication.
Since I posted this article I have had many emails from concerned citizens. I have emailed this link to John Dalzell, Mike Lee, Ludo Campbell-Reid, Len Brown, Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey and Pippa Coom. Let’s see who is brave enough to tackle this issue and who will be able to resolve these problems.