Auckland Council’s proposal to sell 23 properties along Whangaparaoa Road (HM May 8) resulted in the most strongly worded rebuttal yet from the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board.
This strip of properties, which extend from just past D’Oyly Drive, around the corner into Brightside Road was purchased by the former Rodney District Council for future widening of this narrow section of the main road.
Council’s property arm, Panuku Development, and Auckland Transport (AT) say that the properties are surplus to requirements and that widening Whangaparaoa Road is no longer needed because of the Dynamic Lanes, despite projected growth in the area.
At its meeting on May 15, local board members were unanimous in expressing their disapproval to Panuku portfolio review team leader Anthony Lewis, who was there for a second time seeking the board’s endorsement of the proposed sale.
The board instead rejected the proposal utterly, pointing out that this section of road has significant safety issues for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and that there will be no way of improving that situation if the properties are sold.
Chair Julia Parfitt told the meeting that she was shocked by the scant information contained in a summary of a confidential AT report that she and other members have recently seen regarding the land disposal.
“It did not even include traffic modeling or demographics,” she said.
Deputy chair Janet Fitzgerald said the local board, on behalf of its community, should have been consulted right at the start, not asked to sign off the proposal at the last minute.
The final decision will be made by Council’s Finance & Performance Committee at its June 18 meeting.
Local board members will address that meeting and they want the community to come and join them in sending a strong message that enough is enough.
Cr John Watson says having the community there always changes the dynamics of the Council chamber. “Some councillors are very brave when there is no one there, but less so when faced with angry ratepayers,” Cr Watson says. “Wholesale flogging off of assets is rapidly increasing because of budget blow outs such as the City Rail Link.”
Cr Wayne Walker describes this section of road as dangerous. He says a solution could be to sell some of the properties, provided that AT ensures land is retained for better walking and cycling, and that an alternative access/exit to the properties is created from Brightside Road.