With all the unbelievable ongoing crowding of Auckland city being planned it is a wonder that Council doesn’t have a good look at London’s post-war remedies. It was obvious back then that the existing city infrastructure would not cope with forecast growth expectations. The satellite city concept was successfully implemented at Milton Keynes and in several other regions to accommodate the returning post-war service men and women. Businesses were assisted by Government or attractive beneficial terms to relocate or expand in these areas to provide work. In our case, here in New Zealand, there is Crown land which could be utilised. New family housing could be built on Government long term, low cost leased land in these areas with eventual ownership possible if desired. A system of Government house funding similar to the State Advances’ low interest mortgage system of the 1970s and ‘80s could also be provided. Instead of thinking outside the square, local Councils seem to embrace the international city concept where they compete for recognition from their peers. Best City awards and self-congratulation!
Keith Wilkinson, Manly
More mobility parks
I was interested in the opinion page (HM April 18) regarding a lack of mobility parking in Ōrewa, and bike/motorcycle racks being favoured. For the past eight years I have banged on to Auckland Council about a lack of mobility parking in and around Ōrewa, particularly outside the WINZ/MSD office in Ōrewa. I got so frustrated when the housing boom really started to impact on our local town centre and able bodied people were ‘stealing’ the limited number of mobility parking spaces. When WINZ/MSD locked their back door two years ago – which was the access for disabled people – we were expected to hobble around to the front door, via a two way driveway covered in oil, carrying our bag, cushion, paperwork, walking stick etc. This was unsafe and quite frankly a disgrace. Therefore I rattled the cage of our two local councillors (Crs Watson and Walker) and they got on the case Finally a mobility parking space was painted outside the Ōrewa WINZ/MSD office at the beginning of March, 2022 and I feel quite chuffed that this has finally been achieved. It is quite ridiculous that at the main area of Ōrewa beach adjacent to the surf club there are only three mobility parking spaces, which often get taken by other. I have even had to move my vehicle to allow a more disabled person to park to access the toilets in a hurry. The population of Ōrewa has increased exponentially in recent years, yet there is never an increase in mobility parking spaces. Those of us who are disabled struggle to do everything every day and it all takes 10 times longer for us to do it. It would be great if we could educate the general public so they do not take the mobility parking spaces, which we actually pay for – a permit costs us $50.
Susan Slater, Ōrewa (abridged)
Can it cope?
Auckland Council is seeking feedback on their housing intensification proposals in response to the Government’s new housing rules (HM Nov 22, 2021 and May 2, 2022). This provides an opportunity for local residents to have their say on the proposed increase in density. Some surburban areas do not have adequate wastewater, stormwater or traffic roading infrastructure to cope with increased density. This appears to be particularly the case in respect of intensification proposed for the Whangaparāoa Peninsula. For example, there are radical changes to residential intensity proposed along the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, from its current predominantly Residential – Single House Zone to Mixed Urban Housing. There is already development intensification along the peninsula, for example at the old RSA site in Vipond Road (HM May 2) and towards Brightside Road, in addition to that occurring at the extension to Karepiro Drive and in Chenery Road. There is a high ratio of cars to population here. For example, there are four adults living in my home. Each adult owns and drives a car. Conversely, there is limited public transport in the form of buses and ferries available. Many residents commute daily to Silverdale, Albany or Auckland. Whangaparāoa Road is the single available access road by which to enter or leave the peninsula. The proposed Penlink alternative may not be available until 2026 or later, and as a single lane highway it may prove inadequate to remove the traffic pressure on Whangaparāoa Road if population density increases significantly. The proposed change in zoning under the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development may mean increases of up to three times the existing population on the peninsula. The roading and infrastructure is clearly inadequate to cope with this. Likewise there is likely to be further pressure upon wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, requiring significant planning and expenditure for upgrades. Hence the issue arises – is Whangaparāoa Peninsula suitable for increased intensification?
Robert Brown, Red Beach
Need is here, now
I’m aghast Whangaparāoa MP Mark Mitchell assumes social housing ‘brings with it social issues and an increase in crime’ and says ‘people housed by Kainga Ora are taken out of their own communities’ (HM April 18). He does not seem to recognise there are people already in his electoral area who are in desperate need for social housing. The proposed two bedroom homes constrain the size of families they can house. We are aware there is a need for two bedroom homes especially for older people in need living on a pension. Such housing will meet a significant need that is growing in the community. As a community we will be enriched by diversity.
Susan Adams, Army Bay
Editor’s note: To clarify – MP Mark Mitchell’s comment about ‘social issues and an increase in crime’ in the April 18 story referred to incidents reported to have occurred in Weir Lane, Silverdale.
Not safe on bikes
Auckland Transport is keen to get as many schoolchildren on bikes as possible (and their teachers as well how wholesome!). But before we embark on this high-minded project, or even consider the everyday practicalities, how about we look at the drivers who would be sharing the roads with our children – the ones we see racing at high speeds past our schools, some of them with children in the car. I might put a bit more store by AT’s plans if I saw a sign beside every school reminding drivers they are in a school zone, together with a speed camera to focus their minds – that’s right, good old consequences. Also if, when a safety issue was raised, it was treated seriously. My particular local concern is the mess that is traffic design around the Silverdale Centre. Whenever I am in the area around school closing time, I shudder: on the Silverdale Street side, a pedestrian crossing close to a school bus-stop is also close to where drivers are turning in and out of the shopping centre. As a driver and pedestrian, not to mention the mother of school-age children, it strikes me as hideously bad design. Who drew it up? Who approved it? Are pedestrian crossing lights for use before and after school being installed there? And if not, why not? On the other side of the Centre, we do have lights controlling the crossing over Millwater Parkway. These appear to have been designed by someone whose own family was certain never to use them, and Russian Roulette principles apply: perhaps the vehicle turning left out of Milner Avenue will stop for pedestrians; perhaps they won’t A letter to AT last year concerning this crossing received this response: “When the pedestrian crossing over Millwater Parkway turns green, vehicles turning left out of Milner have a red left turn arrow. This red arrow remains for the first 18 seconds of the pedestrian crossing and then turns off. After that 18 seconds, vehicles are allowed to turn left but must give way to any pedestrians on the crossing. Thanks for getting in touch. We’ve now closed your case.” How is it, then, that a family member quite conversant with pedestrian crossings narrowly missed being hit when using those lights last week? And what of the driver? Were there any consequences for their potentially life-threatening behaviour? In short: I’m a keen walker. But spare me the ‘eco sanctimony’ until our people are safe. Sort out our roads before you tell us to get on our bikes.
Vivienne Shakespear, Red Beach (abridged)