One too many?
Joyce Williams, Ōrewa (abridged)
Retirement villages – a growth industry with our ageing population – serve a vital need and most do so extremely well. However, too many of these large villages in the one location can be undesirable for several reasons: medical services to the community can only stretch so far and are already overloaded with so many elderly patients in one concentrated catchment; an area with an over concentration of one demographic range is not a desirable or sustainable outcome for the rest of the people in the area; competition in Ōrewa for new residents has become acute among existing and planned retirement villages. We are bombarded with advertising from operators on radio and through print media,including offers of food and wine to encourage visits and various financial incentives to tempt the potential new clientele. Is it a case of too many consents being given in too short a time to too many developers, thereby creating an excess of retirement villages in this area? Has the Council done enough due diligence in this situation and how it will affect the overall balance of the population here? Do we really want Ōrewa to become one giant retirement village?
Parking help appreciated
Caryl Hawkins, Ōrewa (abridged)
I applaud Local Board member Andy Dunn for trying to help CAB volunteers with their parking. It was very disappointing to read the letter from Hellen Wilkins – Destination Ōrewa Beach in your February 17 edition. Ōrewa has been a very neglected area by Auckland Council and it is about time somebody took the bull by the horns to get things fixed – it is only when roadblocks are put in the way that people resort to unorthodox methods. If these methods result in the issue/s being out in the open and discussed, then that can only be a good thing. I understand that Mr Dunn and Mr Brown were approached by the group mentioned to help sort things out and have met with AT at the site, however no solution can be seen at this time, but there will be ongoing discussions to find a long-term resolution. If Destination Ōrewa Beach is so concerned about volunteer groups in Ōrewa and their parking issues, why hasn’t it taken action previously – it would be more appropriate for Mrs Wilkins to work with the Local Board rather than criticise them. The library and Age Concern volunteers are two that could be sorted – the library could allocate a couple of parks out the back of its building for their volunteers and the car park in the front of Age Concern is privately owned and not subject to Council parking rules (discuss with Body Corp).
Wayne Unkovich, Manly (abridged)
As a concerned resident of Big Manly beach I would like to bring attention to the decimation of the beachfront berm at The Esplanade, which is being turned into sand dunes. Council planted pohutukawa trees, which now have their roots exposed and damaged. This is not coastal erosion – it is caused by excessive vehicle traffic and unsafe driving habits ripping up the berm. Auckland Council needs to get its act together before this lovely part of Manly Beach is just sand dunes! I spoke with Cr Wayne Walker, who says the damage is the worst he’s ever seen. He has consulted Council’s coastal engineers but the options to fix it may include restricting parking, which could be unpopular with the public. At the same time, Council allows parts of Manly Park to be bollarded and chained off across from the sailing club so no visitors to the beach can park there. Double standards?
Auckland Council Chief Engineer Paul Klinac responds (abridged): Auckland Council is aware of the damage being caused by vehicles at Manly Beach. We are investigating options to address the issue while balancing the need to provide car parking spaces close to the beach. This scenario is reasonably common during the higher use summer months, and is also occurring at Matakatia and Arkles Bay. We are in the process of developing a Whangaparāoa Coastal Management Plan, which will assist with identifying key areas and issues of importance to the community. Council is seeking feedback via a range of community meetings and public open days. Community feedback will help inform Council’s management responses for this particular issue over the coming months. (HM February 17 and see updated public meeting dates).
Cr Wayne Walker responds (abridged): I have been meeting with residents to discuss the options. Although the issue will no doubt be raised at the Coastal Management Plan meetings, this is urgent and needs to be addressed immediately. It has got much worse over summer but vehicles park on the dunes all year round. One option I’ve discussed is putting barriers in place, such as Auckland Transport use for temporary cycle lanes – these are inexpensive and can be put in place quickly. I have encouraged residents to share with each other what they think will work and have input. If parking is reduced, we need to think about additional parking, such as in Manly Park.