The Ministry of Education is carving a large piece of land off the side of Whangaparaoa College and putting it up for sale.
The site is a prominent one – it runs along Whangaparaoa Road, west from the corner of Stanmore Bay Road, opposite the town centre.
Last week the Ministry of Education confirmed that the land is up for disposal – a process that is handled for government by Land Information NZ (LINZ). Crown Property group manager John Hook says that LINZ is currently completing investigations into the Crown’s obligations to offer the land back to former owners. The next step will be to submit the land for consideration under the Maori protection mechanism.
The corner of the site with Stanmore Bay Road features a small piece of bush with mature pohutukawa and puriri trees. None of these trees are on Auckland Council’s Notable Tree schedule and they are therefore not protected.
Despite this, Cr Wayne Walker says they are significant trees, which could be 100 years old and were planted around one of the original homesteads in the area, since removed.
He says if there is any subdivision of the site, Auckland Council could have the opportunity to acquire some of the land for a reserve.
“You’d think on such a prominent site, right opposite the town centre and with mature trees, that a reserve would be highly desirable,” Cr Walker says.
The land was part of Whangaparaoa College and the school is being updated on the progress of the sale. Principal James Thomas says that it’s important that students have the walking and cycling access from Whangaparaoa Road that this land provides – it also gives the college a presence on the main road. He says the Ministry has agreed that it is important to retain a small chunk of land that includes the current track to the school from Whangaparaoa Road.
In addition, Mr Thomas says he has pointed out to the Ministry that there will be access issues to the land that is up for sale; the only options are directly onto a very busy portion of Whangaparaoa Road or via Stanmore Bay Road.
This intersection already gets very congested at peak times. The school’s main driveway is behind the site and is not a public road.