There is currently a huge debate raging in Auckland. It’s not about taxes, or religion, or poverty. No. It’s about whether or not to build a stadium on the waterfront to host the finals of the Rugby World Cup 2011.
The detractors of the idea claim that putting a stadium on the waterfront would destroy the views and the unique character of the area. An area that is currently used to house imported used cars while they await customs clearance.
While stuck in my usual 5 minute crawl along Quay street this morning, I had plenty of time to contemplate the view-blockage of the waterfront proposal. If you travel west to east along Quay street from The Strand, here’s what you see, and what might be spoiled by the stadium:
- I cruise past the strip mall, with the big Mobil, KFC, Macdonalds, and the hobby shop with the worst customer service in Auckland. On my right is a busy container terminal. I can’t see the sea because of the wall of containers and port buildings.
- Stopping at the Tinley Street lights, the memories of teenaged Friday nights, cruising in my Carolla with its 18″ subwoofer, brings a tear to my eye. The view towards the stadium location is blocked by a huge glass wall thing. I presume it’s a windbreak for the port?.
- I drive off from the lights, barely able to contain my sense of architectural pleasure as I drive between a big-block Foodtown store and the ‘wall’.
- Coming to the end of the ‘wall’, I gaze to my right (checking first that the woman in the car in front has finished with her mascara, and has her attention back on the traffic). I see acres of Japanese cars, and behind that I can just make out the cliffs of Belmont, topped by 70’s apartment buildings, and partially obsured by a nice grey and blue container crane.
- Cruising up to the next set of lights, I crane my neck and can just make out Devonport and North Head, again only if I peer through the legs of container cranes.
I think about how life might be, stuck in traffic on my way in to work on a Friday morning, tickets to that night’s game in my glovebox. Will I be disappointed at the lack of view while I talk to friends on my cellphone arranging a post-game meatfest at Wildfire on Princess wharf? Or will I be gazing at the cliffs of Belmont while I desperately arrange how the fuck I’m going to get to Eden park (the alternative stadium location, buried deep in the suburbs) and home again before midnight?
Waterfront please. Waterfront.