Thursday, July 18, 2024

Council advances plan to sell public reserves

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Auckland Council is advancing plans to sell a number of east Auckland public reserves, including the one pictured at 111R Golfland Drive. Times photo Wayne Martin

Independent commissioners will be appointed to read submissions made as part of the ongoing process to sell public reserves in east Auckland.

Auckland Council’s finance and performance committee voted late last year to dispose of 83 council-owned properties across the city as part of an effort to raise money from “asset recycling”.

Among the properties it wants to sell are public reserves at 9R Fortyfoot Lane, Sunnyhills; 111R Golfland Drive, Botany; 76R Aberfeldy Avenue, Pakuranga; 72R Karaka Road, Beachlands; and part of the site of a gas station at 2R Ti Rakau Drive, Pakuranga.

The properties’ sale is being managed by council agency Panuku Development Auckland.

A Panuku spokesperson says approval to sell the properties is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of required statutory processes.

For the sites classified as reserves under the Reserves Act 1977, a process for the revocation of reserve status, including public and iwi notification, is necessary before land classified as a reserve may be lawfully sold.

“In February this year, council publicly notified and sought public and iwi submissions on its intent to revoke the reserve status of 20 properties across Auckland.

“At the close of the notification period, 1344 submissions and two petitions were received from the public, along with two submissions from mana whenua.”

Of those submissions, 1145 related to the properties in east Auckland, with 538 submissions about the five local sites rather than individual properties.

There were 333 submissions made about the reserve at 9R Fortyfoot Lane, 213 about 111R Golfland Drive, 58 about 76R Aberfeldy Avenue, two about 72R Karaka Road in Beachlands, and one submission on the site at 2R Ti Rakau Drive.

None of the submissions received by the council were in favour of the properties’ reserve status being revoked.

The spokesperson says Panuku requested at a June 15 meeting of the council’s regulatory committee that it appoint six independent commissioners to consider submissions about revoking the properties’ reserve status.

Due to the number of submissions received and the geographical spread, the agency recommended the six commissioners work in three pairs, with each pair to consider submissions about reserves in a specific area, one of which is east Auckland.

“The request was approved, and we are currently notifying all submitters of this approach,” the spokesperson says.

“We have begun the process of appointing the commissioners.

“It is impossible to guestimate a timeline at this point, but we will ensure the commissioners have all the time they need to for their investigations which will include reviewing all submissions, site visits, and hearing from those who have asked to have their submissions heard.”

The independent commissioners’ recommendations will be reported to the council’s parks, arts, community and events committee for a decision on whether to forward requests for reserve revocations to the Minister of Conservation for final approval.

The proposed sale of public reserves in east Auckland is opposed by the Howick Local Board, Howick ward councillors Sharon Stewart and Paul Young, and Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and Botany MP Christopher Luxon.

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