Monday, 13 November 2006

Another look at Carlaw's "problems''...

Trevor Mallard, that lame duck from Wainui to whom expertise has always been a stranger, is now offering expert advice to Auckland architects and designers to whom expertise and local knowledge is considered fundamental to their work.

Never one to see ignorance as a barrier to pushing other people around, Trevor tells us we have two weeks to respond to his decree of last Friday, and tells Carlaw Park promoters to stop flogging a dead horse.

But the problem here is that the promoters of the Carlaw Park option, many of whom have joined together as the Domain Stadium Promotion Group, have both expertise and local knowledge, and unlike Mallard they see what a Carlaw Park option can do for the city and park surrounds and realise that it's good -- or can be good. The 'expert advice' of Mallard, ignorant of everything but the magnitude of his own ego, is as shallow as he himself.

The problems with Carlaw Park, he says, are:
  • a private developer already has a contract for the area;
  • three hectares of the domain would need to be used and several hundred trees felled;
  • roading runs too close to the proposed area for the park, leaving inadequate space for people filling a 60,000 seat stadium to spill out on to afterwards.

Let's deal with each in turn.

  • A private retirement-home development is a barrier for using Carlaw park, he says, but disprupting New Zealand's biggest port, a five-billion dollar a year operation, is (he maintains) no barrier to building a bedpan on the port. To state the point is to see its stupidity. It is not beyond the wit of man to either relocate or renogotiate the retirement-home scheme -- it will however be enormously difficult to either relocate or reconfigure new Zealand's export-import gateway. You would think even a braindead bureaucrat could see that -- a sharp enough negotiator could see it and solve it in an afternoon.
  • Yes, three hectares of a little-used and rather seedy domain edge will probably be used for a Carlaw Park stadium -- though careful design can certainly minimise this -- and done properly, it will regenerate this domain edge and its linkages to the city, Newmarket and Parnell. It can be transormed from backwater to a vital part of the inner city. Now, Mallard claims this to be a problem (a view not shared by nine out of
    the twenty Auckland councillors, including chairs of three key Auckland City Council committees – responsible for Environment, Urban Design, Transport and Recreation , all of whom might be expected to know the area a little better than either Mallard or his Wellington-based advisors), but even so it is hard to take as any kind of serious criticism when he apparently does not see any problem at all in inserting an enormous bedpan out at sea, right at the very centre of central Auckland's interface with its harbour.
  • The roading he talks about has an immediate link to a motorway system heading to almost every point of the compass, surely an asset rather than a problem. Furthermore, there is no problem whatsoever with 60,000 people spilling out of a Carlaw Park stadium onto this roadway since there is absolutely no need for them to do so. If egress is properly designed, perhaps along the lines I suggested the other day, then upper-level concourses to north, east and west can allow people to spill out in almost every direction, with links to the east to new rail stations and Parnell, to the north to a new Stanley Circus precinct, and to the westacross an over-road western concourse to Albert Park and (via travelator in existing tunnels) to the city beyond. Together this will easily absorb and painlessly disperse the spillover, without most not even touching the ground at Stanley Street level at all. However, how 60,000 people including vehicles will spill out easily from Mallard's bedpan onto Quay St is another story altogether, one which fine talk of a "boulevard" that can be "shut down" just doesn't even begin to solve ...
It seems to me that these 'problems' raised by the lame duck are neither problems nor thought through -- they are (as so much of Mallard's commentary frequently proves to be) convenient excuses by which to shut down debate. I would suggest either the Sports Minister or his advisers have another look at the Carlaw Park option so cursorily discarded and at the problems of the bedpan so easily overlooked. A good look.

RELATED: Stadiums, Politics-NZ, Sports, Auckland


  1. It might be time to stop referring to the waterfront proposal as a 'bedpan' - while I'm not going to laud it as an architectural masterpiece, it is miles from the original 'bedpan' proposal mooted in the paper.

    I saw the WAM/Weta presentation fly-through while I was on the Picton ferry on Friday night and I thought it was not too shabby - even though the animation was tricked out with clever contrast, washed-out bright lighting and other bits of artful obfuscation of the actual building form.

    I don't have any grounds to comment on the actual proposed context, or any of the urban factors, given that I don't live in AK. It will be interesting to see how the various cases stack uo when we have concrete, actual proposals in the public arena that can be weighed against each other.


  2. the carlaw stadium could be designed over the road. Is it beach road? turn that into a tunnel and people would be delivered to the other side very easily.

    I think your point about jade is valid. none of the money would be mine but if they really can deliver the stadium for 80m it needs to be thought about seriously. which is why it will only come into play once the waterfront has turned to disaster in 2 years time

  3. The Weta production does not show "The Bedpan" from where it's impact will worst and where it will be seen by most - Quay Street.

    Lovely helicopter flybys and views from passing boats do not show how this structure will interact with the city & harbour. Also interesting that it's only seen at dusk...

  4. If only the Empiress's clothes weren't so bloody expensive...

  5. Why don't you do Morning Report on National Radio pc? If I have to listen to those morons questioning Mallard one more time I'm gonna cause a serious accident on the motorway.

    A few of the questions you raise had crossed my mind as well when I listened to the interview, but the journo's were so in awe of Mallard's intellect that they couldn't say a thing. And bringing in an outside expert on issues they obviously have no serious knowledge off at all? Can't do that with a Labour minister, can you?

    And where is National? Pretty quiet eh?

  6. I've spent a bit of time walking around the Quay St area in question (Rainbow Warrior memorial in immediate vicinity). I imagine the White Elephant as a 40m low canyon wall, blocking off sunlight and sky views from the Britomart-Old Train Station precinct, which is only just getting off the ground.

  7. Berend, what on earth possesses you to listen to National Socialist Radio?

    Having an accident as a result of listening would be getting off lightly. Listening to those state-worshippers would likely give me cancer ...

  8. My preferred option is Jade. This is because it is cheaper, Christchurch traffic is a hell of a lot better than Auckland's, and there is no need to build a new stadium. Failing that I'd pick North Harbour, followed by Eden Park. Then Carlaw. But never Bedpan Stadium.

    As a resident of Albany I can tell you I have no problem with the fact that I can hear events at the stadium from my home. Actually I like it.

    It's nice to know that in the TV3 phone poll last night only 32% supported Bedpan Stadium and 68% supported Eden Park (they only gave those two options).

    DenMT, it still looks like a bedpan. Or a pet's water bowl. Take your pick. Also it's quality is of a standard (and I use that term losely) befitting being called a bedpan. Besides even the Weta animation isn't final. It won't be till next late year. Run out time to finish it? I think so.

    Also, Robin has a good point, as does Berend.

    However, it has been "moved" to a new location not on the rainbow warrior.

    I agree, Sus, why listen to them dribble rubbish out of their mouths?

  9. DEn

    If those effing Orc media types can (deliberately) abuse Westpac by calling it cake tin then I hope they drown in their bedpan. What's the bets it never happens becuase being an Auck edifice it will be 'respected'


  10. "It might be time to stop referring to the waterfront proposal as a 'bedpan'"

    Way, way too late for that. Although I have started calling it "The Cyst"

  11. Anyone still saying Jade Stadium is an option that doesn't need to be rebuilt?

    OK, OK, the Earthquakes weren't foreseen in Nov '06 except by the guy who made the documentary.

    Anyway, the other unconsidered option (and I'm STILL, now the RWC has begun, in favour of Carlaw Park) unconsidered is Onewa Domain.

    Take out some of Smith's Bush and put parking across the stream and you're golden. Transport is sorted by the motorway and nearby ferry and bus options. Too easy.


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