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Cloud over waterfront plans - Council feels pinch after hotel vetoed

DAVE BURGESS - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Wellington City Council could put some big waterfront projects on hold as it grapples with the financial fallout from the failed bid to build a Hilton Hotel.

The council-owned Wellington Waterfront wants to defer a $5.3 million upgrade of the Taranaki St Wharf, including an extension of the Frank Kitts Park lagoon and the building of a second bridge.

Instead, it would spend only $1 million on the area next year and complete the upgrade some time in the next 10 years.

The 142-room, $45 million hotel had been planned for the outer T of Queens Wharf but was rejected in an appeal to the Environment Court this year.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the council had been banking on revenue the building would have generated.

"There was an expectation that we would receive several millions of dollars from the hotel.

"We can't commit to do public space [developments] without the income from the outer T, and the delay from the Environment Court appeal for the Overseas Passenger Terminal upgrade puts a delay on that too."

If the Hilton had gone ahead, private developers would have funded more than $7 million of wharf strengthening which the council now had to pay for. It would cost the council $20 million to strengthen the Overseas Passenger Terminal wharf should developers lose the Environment Court appeal.

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