Saturday, April 13, 2024

COMMENT: Another victory for people power

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Great things are possible when concerned residents band together to take action on behalf of their local community.

We saw that recently when a group of Northpark residents I’m supporting obtained a commitment from the Howick Local Board to fund the installation of a light at Tarnica Park in an effort to make it safer at night.

And we saw it again last week when, after months of work by a group of Cockle Bay residents, a resource consent for a proposed large-scale apartment block on the corner of Sandspit Road and Reydon Place was refused.

The developers wanted to build a complex with more than 70 apartments that would have been wildly out of place in a quiet seaside community like Cockle Bay.

That suburb was once part of the council heritage zone that protects residents from developments out of line with the community’s needs and expectations.

Putting more than 70 apartments in that location would have caused a range of problems.

Sandspit Road is a busy thoroughfare with four schools in close proximity and a large amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Local opposition to this proposed development was loud and effective.

Numerous locals and the Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association made it clear from the start this proposed apartment building was not welcome in their neighbourhood.

As the local MP for Botany, I shared their concerns. According to the council, all 16 submissions received on the resource consent application were opposed to it.

Submitters raised issues related to potential problems including traffic, stormwater and wastewater, privacy and construction and contamination effects.

And an online petition against the development was signed by more than 2100 people, so clearly there was widespread community opposition to this project.

We recognise that Auckland has a housing crisis and increasing density is one way to address this issue.

But that doesn’t mean local residents aren’t right to stand up and make their voices heard when a development that would totally change the character of their community is proposed.

People power can achieve great things and it should be celebrated when it does.

  • Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany

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