May 17, 2018
Saving Bob’s bunker
Saving Bob's bunker
We need to thank Westie councillors Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper for saving Sir Bob's Bunker from the chopping block.
In its wisdom, the Auckland Council has decided to sell off everything around the old Waitākere City Council headquarters – two buildings, carparks and land valued at $57.7 million – but not the chambers.
Readers will recall I recently called out our two West Auckland representatives, asking what they were doing for the west – in particular the Henderson central business district.
At the most recent council hui, Hulse and Cooper were among the 13-4 majority who voted to sell seven of the nine properties up for consideration.
But they managed a stay, not sure for how long, on the former Waitākere City Council chamber – dubbed the Bob Harvey Mausoleum.
So credit where credit is due because we know Hulse and Cooper "sweated blood" to get the chambers built in the first place.
There will be some major building works required to extract the chambers from the rest of the building, but I guess they will at least get the building inspector's sign off. That will take three years going by the council resource consent process.
However, this sale leaves me with even more wanting questions including:
1. Why did Auckland Transport (AT) decide to vacate this building they actually owned, and take their workforce, in effect shifting major resources and staff downtown to a very expensive Vodafone Building?
2. Why has it taken so long for Panuku – the mighty property arm of the council who oversee $2 billion of land and buildings – to develop its strategic land holdings?
3. And why have Panuku just woken up to the fact about these excess properties and put them on the market?
4. Is there a magic date in 2018 because these properties have been sitting there since the super city was formed in 2010?
5. Why or when will the Henderson renewal project commence?
6. What are the forward commitments to the West Auckland community in lifting the CBD of the western region – namely Henderson?
As an aside, I bumped into councillor Hulse at a cafe in Te Atatū recently where she reflected on the fact that some of my commentary was unhelpful.
I accept councillors' Hulse and Cooper are hardworking, and are but only two votes out of a governing board of 20.
But all I ask is do not go silently into the night – and I'm still trying to work out who my commentary was unhelpful to?
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