Auckland Council has begun surveying residents in the vicinity of a park at 86 Harvest Avenue, Ōrewa, as it plans what to do with what is currently a grassy space.
Two of those residents, Allison Mangan and Roy Little, have asked the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board for it to be left as an oasis of green with some native planting. They say while better drainage is needed, plastic play equipment is not.
They say open green spaces are timeless and increasingly rare in an urban setting.
“Filling the space at 86 Harvest Ave with ubiquitous playground equipment just adds more structures of metal, concrete, and plastics into an environment becoming increasingly urban,” Roy says.
His submission says while playground structures are important for child development, they only benefit a small slice of the community. He says those benefits are minimal compared to the environmental impact of plastic playground structures and that “the likely future issues of graffiti, rubbish, traffic/transport, and social disorder appear high”.
“The current pathway is used by children for activities such as cycling and skateboarding, the gentle curves and general flatness are confidence building for the younger ones and the older kids use the bordering pathway in a loop fashion for an additional challenge. The large flat grass area is used by families for picnics, games of frisbee, kicking a ball around and games of tag,” he says.
He suggests native plantings would provide a gathering space not only for residents, but also birds.
Allison says she is pleased that Council seems to be offering options – not necessarily a playground.
“The area has a lot of birdlife, so let’s hope we get a big vote for enhancing the area naturally rather than building yet another playground that rules out enjoyment for a larger part of the community, including wildlife,” she says.
Council’s area operations manager, Kris Bird says the land was purchased in 2016/17 for a neighbourhood park, as part of a subdivision.
The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board previously approved a project to develop a new neighbourhood park on the land.
“Council’s Open Space Provision Policy (2016) states that in a high or medium density housing area, such as the location of the proposed park, there should be a neighbourhood park with associated amenities within 400m walking distance. Currently, this is not the case,” he says.
Consultation with the community within a 400m radius of the park about what they would like to see included in the development of the park is currently being sought and closes on July 8.
The feedback will be reviewed, and a concept design developed between August and October. The design will then be presented to the Local Board for feedback and thereafter for approval.