Popular public park set to be sold

Sunnyhills residents Frank Lombard, left, and Sue Goldwater are among the locals who oppose Auckland Council’s plan to sell the public reserve in Fortyfoot Lane. Times photo Chris Harrowell

An east Auckland public reserve popular with families, children, and their pets may soon be on the chopping block.

Passionate Sunnyhills residents are behind a campaign to stop Auckland Council from selling their local neighbourhood reserve at 9R Fortyfoot Lane.

It may soon go up for sale along with public green spaces at 111R Golfland Drive, 76R Aberfeldy Avenue, and part of the site of a fuel station at 2R Ti Rakau Drive.

A lengthy legal process must be completed before that can happen.

Frank Lombard has lived adjacent to the green space in Fortyfoot Lane since 2007.

He says he was “shocked” to read, in the Times late last year, of the council’s desire to sell it.

“The perception is parks are there for community use and there’s an expectation they’ll always be there.

“You don’t expect the council to decide one day it’s short of cash and it’s going to sell the reserve.

“We use it as a place for get-togethers and the street Christmas party.

“That’s been going on since the early 1990s.”

Lombard says residents exercise their dogs at the reserve “all the time”.

The next nearest public green space is in The Boulevard, which is a much busier road and it’s therefore not as safe for children to play at, he says.

“There’s no pedestrian crossing and people won’t let primary school aged kids go to that park by themselves.”

Several sections in Fortyfoot Lane have been used for the development of intensified housing in recent years.

Lombard says he expects if the public reserve is sold it will also be used for housing.

“Someone isn’t going to buy it to build a single house on there.

“We aren’t against intensification, but green space is a really valuable place for people to connect.”

Fellow resident Sue Goldwater says the reserve is there for residents and their children and grandchildren.

“The people who gifted it to the council, that was their vision, that it would be there forever.

“People with dogs come from further afield because it’s a safe place to let them run around and they aren’t going to get onto the main road.”

She says it’s also a popular place for people who own pets other than dogs.

“Local children go there after school with their rabbit. They’re out there most nights.

“Other kids climb the trees and walk through the park to go to school.

“At Christmas little kids are there doing ballet.

“Intensification isn’t going to stop and we don’t want to stop it, in fact it’s important we have intensification so people can be housed in this city.

“But it’s also important we have green spaces so our city is liveable and it’s a place where people want to live.”

  • 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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