Someone Flushed Good Money Down the Loo – on a Possible White Elephant
I got wind of this particular story last night on $14 million of our ratepayers cash being spent on a possible (heck it is actually) White Elephant called a car parking building.
From Bernard Orsman of The NZ Herald:
Rates slashed but Manukau’s $14m parking building remains almost empty daily.
A carparking building in Manukau that cost ratepayers $14 million to build is sitting virtually empty and slashing prices to attract vehicles.
The building has been called a “dog” by councillor Dick Quax and lauded by Mayor Len Brown as a transformational project for the Manukau community – few of whom are using it.
When the Herald visited yesterday, the top two levels of the seven-storey Ronwood Ave carpark were empty and there were just 10 vehicles on the top five levels, including five Auckland Council cars.
The first and second floors had 62 and 18 vehicles respectively, but overall the 680-space carpark hadan occupancy rate of just 13 per cent.
It is understood the occupancy rate has improved since Auckland Transport cut the hourly rate from $3 to $1 and the all-day casual rate from $19 to $6 and $4 for an early bird special.
The transport body is matching and, in some instances, undercutting its own on-street rates to lure vehicles to the carpark. The on-street charges are $1 an hour and up to a maximum of $5 for all-day parking.
The $14.05 million carpark opened on June 18 as a revenue-gathering, commercial operation by Auckland Transport.
An Auckland Transport spokeswoman yesterday said it was performing below budget while the new Manukau Institute of Technology campus – which is leasing 240 carparks – was still under construction.
It was also built to free up valuable land in the city centre for future development to provide another 354 leases and act as a park-and-ride facility for the new Manukau branch line railway station with 86 public spaces.
The pro-public transport Auckland Transport Blog has called the carpark a disaster and an appalling waste of money, and published aerial photographs showing it set in a “sea of … car parking” at Manukau central.
Mr Quax said the carpark was a dog and he did not believe it would reach capacity for a long time, and councillor George Wood described it as a strange project with few vehicles using it.
But Mr Brown, who encountered strong resistance to the carpark when he was Mayor of Manukau City, remains bullish.
“This project is an investment in the future of Manukau City along with the neighbouring train station and MIT campus currently being built,” he said. “It is an example of our commitment to our growing metropolitan centres across Auckland.”
A planned $6 million expansion of the carpark has been cancelled.
$14m cost to build
680 parking spaces
90 spaces in use yesterday
$19 original all-day casual rate
$4 new all-day early bird rate
Oh dear, oh dear what has the Mayor and Auckland Transport done with this folly.
My reaction of Facebook reaction was rather swift as well as Twitter comments on what $14m could of been better spent on:
Meh – the Mayor is full of crap (even more so than the Mangere Sewage Plant) with his comments on the AT public parking building in Manukau City Centre. If AT are having to slash prices to even undercut its own street parking that is already existing then we have a problem.
Note to AT Planners, Manukau is a destination station – not an origin station so a Park and Ride is next to useless here regardless of the Manukau Tertiary Campus
As I have said before; people COME TO Manukau as it is a major service hub, not start their journeys from the station (well there are a few but more of a rarity there) so a public car parking building acting as a Park and Ride is nothing short of a daft idea. In a conversation I had with a Councillor last night; I said that even with the Tertiary Campus being built, the parking building is in the wrong place let alone the fact no student is going to pay $19/day (although that has been slashed now) when they can park on the street for $5/day. Also the fact that most students are most likely to catch a bus or a train (Manukau South Link anyone?) to the campus might be an indicator that this new parking building is going to remain under utilised.
Now as for this AT parking building in the wrong spot, let me show some pictures for you to illustrate my point (click for full resolution):
The annotated pictures show what is currently happening and what SHOULD of happened to get better bang for our buck in ratepayer investment!
So what could of $14 million could of got the ratepayer instead of this parking building? It could have got the following (the newer Avondale Train Station cost $2 million as a base price comparison for a new station)
- Close to a 1% reduction in our rates bill
- The Walters Road Rail Station behind the Mitre 10 MEGA at Takanini, complete with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and even a shuttle bus facility
- Upgrades to Papakura Station Interchange including again Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and Bus Interchange
- The Manukau South Link (4 times over)
- Upgrade to the tired Otahuhu Town Centre Bus Station
- New Bus Stops at Addison and East Takanini (which has no bus routes currently)
- Deposit on the Selwyn Station complete again with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride, and Shuttle Bus Facility (Selwyn Station is the relocated Meadowbank Station)
- Decent lawn mowing and garden services for Papakura and Manurewa Local Boards
But no, we won’t be seeing any of those investments (apart from Selwyn Station and the Manukau South Link) any time soon!