There's more than three kilometres worth of tunnels that run beneath Albert Park in the Auckland central business district, and developer Bill Reid wants them reopened.
The Albert Park Tunnels were built in 1942 during WWII to act as an air raid shelter if Japan ever decided to invade New Zealand. The huge network of underground tunnels, in some sections measuring over four metres wide and three metres tall, can shelter a whopping 22,000 civilians.
Reid's mission (a 27-year quest) is to re-open a section of the tunnels to develop a subterranean tourism hotspot for the city, including a section commemorating the 28th Maori Battalion, a wine and cheese cellar, black water rafting, glow worm caves and a direct link from the city to Parnell. The incredibly exciting development is something he has proposed can be funded by private investors and constructed in just six months once signed off. Read the full proposal here.
Having already hinted at interest from members of Auckland Council to open the tunnels, Reid has now met with the council and confirmed positive interest from the higher powers, including Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
He stated via the Albert Park Tunnels Facebook Group, "Yesterday's Auckland Council meeting was the most positive and progressive meeting I have had in 30 years. One of those in attendance was Mayor Phil Goff who said how interesting and exciting this tunnel project is for Auckland City and even asked Nicolas Reid how soon the tunnels could be opened to the public. The chairperson was Councilor Chris Darby who also purveyed the same enthusiasm as Mayor Goff. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support."