‘It looks like they’ve made their mind up’

Residents are campaigning to prevent Auckland Council from selling a public reserve in Aberfeldy Avenue, Highland Park. Times photo Chris Harrowell

The number of residents trying to stop the sale of east Auckland’s public green spaces is growing.

Auckland Council has notified the public it wishes to revoke the reserve status of parks at 111R Golfland Drive, 9R Fortyfoot Lane, 76R Aberfeldy Avenue, and part of the site of a former fuel station at 2R Ti Rakau Drive, so they can be disposed of.

A lengthy legal process, which involves sign-off from the Government, must be completed before that can happen.

The move is part of an effort by the council to raise money through its emergency budget, which requires $224 million to be realised from “asset recycling”.

Residents who live in or near Aberfeldy Avenue are fighting to protect their local park from being sold.

They’re taking part in a letterbox drop of information about the proposed sale and how members of the public can make a submission if they oppose the move.

Michelle Varga lives directly across from the reserve.

She says Howick and much of Auckland is experiencing growth in housing intensification, so “why do we need to develop on reserves?”

“They say we don’t need this reserve and we can just go to Lloyd Elsmore Park, but they’re completely different.

“This is a much quieter space. At Lloyd Elsmore, it’s sporting and it’s chaos on the weekend.

“That’s not where you go for your walk, or where you walk your dog, or if you’ve got young children to spend a bit of time outside.”

Resident Rashna Tata says Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns have slowed their efforts to door knock and raise awareness of the council’s plan to sell the parks.

“We want to get the word out as soon as possible.

“They’re [the council] telling us you’ve got all this green space but the problem is that when it’s gone, it’s gone.

“It looks like they’ve made their mind up so we want to make as much noise as possible.”

David Dwerryhouse lives adjacent to the reserve.

He’s concerned about the potential impact on the street if the land is sold to a property developer.

“This is a quiet, pleasant neighbourhood.

“If an intensified housing development goes up here, which is on the cards, this will put extra pressure on [local infrastructure.

“There will be more traffic, more cars parking on the road and it will alter the whole character of the neighbourhood.”

Husband and wife Ian and Catherine Roycroft also oppose the reserve’s potential sale.

“My kids grew up playing on these fields,” Catherine says.

“We have grandchildren on the way and we’d like to see this as somewhere they can play.

“This is an area for families. During Covid so many people would come and play here with their kids.

“When they are here they are safe.”

  • People who wish to object to the proposed revocation of the properties’ reserve status can email their objection to propertyreview@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or write to the Chief Executive, Auckland Council, Private Bag 92300, Auckland 1142, Attention: Moira Faumui, no later than 5pm on March 31.

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