Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Unitec project: Something new, with a rolling start

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Neil,

    This land was an asset stripped from the mental health system. It could be an opportunity to redress that wrong by providing much needed long term supervised accommodation for those with major debilitating mental illness. With some of the original parkland for recreation and gardens.

    I've seen a couple of people say this – but I think it's important to acknowledge that by the time it was sold to Carrington Polytechnic by the Auckland Area Health Board in 1993, Carrington Hospital was a disaster – it featured heavily in the second Mason report. And even before that, its roster had plummeted.

    As things stand, the Mason Clinic (106 beds) will remain and there are community mental health facilities across the road. The system desperately needs more beds, but those should probably be at existing facilities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    What - in spite of all that planning by National?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 473 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    The PM now seems to be waking it back in her press conference to more like 2500 dwellings.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    2500 more than National were planning, though.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 473 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I'm all in favour of housing densification, but I also hope plenty of green space and recreation areas are in the plans.

    One thing that makes a city so dense as London fairly liveable is the amount of parks. And no, an adventure playground and basketball court jammed into a tight space won't cut it either.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 700 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The old institutions certainly has their problems but one of their main positives was the park like grounds which provided ample space for quiet time in a safe environment, a sense of community and for gardening activities including vegetable gardens. All that was stripped away and that asset base - that one could argue rightfully belonged to the mentally ill community - was never compensated for.

    Indeed more beds are needed in acute units but also more long term supervised residential care fascilitres that offer some of what was offered by the old institutions are desperately needed. At the moment it’s the likes of Dryden Lodge.

    It’s an opportune time for a progressive govt to address this.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    i.e what ever the faults of places like Carrington those were not the fault of patients and yet they were the ones that paid a price by losing the benefits of these very important and valuable resources.

    The State took it and give a pitence back in return. A not uncommon phenomenon.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to John Farrell,

    Not really. The PM told her press conference today the land is currently zoned for just over 2600 houses so they would likely have been built over the same decade that the new government is talking about. The only difference is now the government will be responsible for the work.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    LoL the apologists for National like Hooton are a pretty sad bunch of do nothing desperadoes, frantically spinning everywhere that crisis they created and pretended didn’t exist now can’t be fixed and even if it could be fixed it was already fixed by National even though there is no crisis to be fixed.

    For my sins i happened to be in a car this morning with ZB on and heard Hosking’s daily sore loser whine, which today happened to be built around this Unitec announcement. His comment piece was followed by an advertisment for Ryman Healthcare and I think some sort Viagra analogue. Sums up his target audience.

    It will be a pity that such a lovely campus will be given over to high density housing, but needs must. And it is much needed start.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    LoL the apologists for National like Hooton are a pretty sad bunch of do nothing desperadoes, frantically spinning everywhere that crisis they created and pretended didn’t exist now can’t be fixed and even if it could be fixed it was already fixed by National even though there is no crisis to be fixed.

    This. All this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Sam F,

    I do hope there are plans in the works to make the main Unitec backroad more cycle-friendly as part of the Wairaka Precinct plan.

    More cycle & pedestrian friendly would be nice... and seems almost certain judging by the way such developments happen these days...

    But just re-surfacing the existing roads would be a bloody good start... that has to be the worst hodge-podge of patchwork and poorly repaired pot-holes.... I've seen and used in a long time... A real 3D mosaic artwork collection, masquerading as a road surface... I expect that as an underfunded educational facility, Unitec were spending the very bare minimum on it's upkeep? I'm guessing that while the 30km speed limit was intended for student/faculty safety.. it's probably paid dividends in reducing the rate at which the patchwork wears out and needs more patches?

    I genuinely cant imagine it wouldn't get improved in the long run, because +2500 dwellings worth of trucks, diggers, cranes and other heavy equipment is going to make it much worse very quickly...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Neil,

    what ever the faults of places like Carrington those were not the fault of patients...

    I suppose being classified as a "patient" absolves one from most responsibilities, though it's small compensation for the loss of civil liberties. Back in the Oakley Hospital era there was a pair of long-term male inmates who'd managed to acquire staff uniform neckties. Visitors and patients who ventured into the more secluded parts of the grounds were at risk of petty harassment from these unconvincing pests, who took the opportunity to throw their weight around once they were away from official oversight.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4586 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, come on. They didn’t announce their housing plans during a campaign in which housing was a major issue because it might have been seen as pork-barreling? And $10 billion in roads and a new hospital in Dunedin wouldn’t have been?

    Good grief.

    You'd be forgiven that Simon Bridges and Marco Rubio were separated at birth.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5399 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    they would likely have been built over the same decade that the new government is talking about

    Just like all the homes in National's SHAs were 'likely' to be built - until those canny developers figured they could make more by landbanking and flicking it on unbuilt. Who could possibly have foreseen another market failure!

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19573 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Interestingly the phrase “public” housing has been used repeatedly by Ardern and Twyford and I haven’t seen anything regarding Housing NZ involvement in the project

    I wonder whether they have some other concept of social housing in mind.

    Public housing is also supplied by local bodies, as is the case with the Arlington redevelopments in Wellington.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5399 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to John Farrell,

    2500 more than National were planning, though.

    Can’t bite the “invisible” hand that feeds, eh? The very same hand that pulled up the ladder and laughed at everyone standing below, only to lose its grip when the Great Recession blew everyone down to the ground. Now that hand is holding a "Leave" sign in Britain or a "MAGA" sign in America.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5399 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    According to the government’s announcement, the cheap ones (which will only be 30-40% of them) will be $500,000 to $600,000 and the rest more. If it’s 4000 dwellings in total (1000 more than its zoned for), the population density will be 6x Hobsonville, but with a height limit of 27 metres. This just doesn’t add up. The announcement is total bullshit in the best traditions of Nick Smith.

    H;hold debt in NZ relative to GDP even dwarfs Japan during its epic pis up. Everyone's putting on a brave face, even if they're aware of the scale of it or not.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Public housing is also supplied by local bodies, as is the case with the Arlington redevelopments in Wellington.

    Successful public and social housing infrastructure is driven by the public sector, like in S'pore and Japan. The premise is that it gives everyone the opportunity to participate in the economy, regardless of SEC. NZ is different. We consume more than we produce and there is no vision for the economy to be anything but. Poster children for the Anglosphere monetarist paradigm.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Kinda funny to watch folks rant and rave about who started what when and exactly how many and how much.

    What is being proposed is unlike anything seen in Auckland before. It's a development that has to be dense yet has to avoid being a slum. The infrastructure alone will be unlike anything done before in NZ.

    No we don't know the details, nobody does yet.

    No we don't know the final number of houses, but it will be dense.

    No we don't know the final house prices - really? you asked that question given the way Auckland house prices have moved - how stupid are you?

    I'm really relieved it will be government run because the private developers have consistently cut corners on infrastructure resulting in huge costs borne by local and central government anyway while the developers walk away with any profit.

    I will say I'd like to see serious effort to improve the already good cycle infrastructure. This density will only work if residents don't all have three cars that need to be parked on the public roads. The Carrington Rd crossing has to be fixed and the route by the creek has to become a commuter route and not just a Sunday ride playground.

    So far I think it all sounds good - it will be interesting to see how it works out.

    It will change this part of the city forever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Visitors and patients who ventured into the more secluded parts of the grounds were at risk of petty harassment from these unconvincing pests, who took the opportunity to throw their weight around once they were away from official oversight.

    During the late eighties, when parts of the hospital grounds where being transitioned to education, I did my first metal fabrication corse at the polytech. On my why to school one morning, someone had let the cows had escaped the hospital paddocks, so the cattle where walking up carrington road and blocking all the rush hour traffic.

    I Thought it was pretty a funny thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4045 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I will say I’d like to see serious effort to improve the already good cycle infrastructure. This density will only work if residents don’t all have three cars that need to be parked on the public roads. The Carrington Rd crossing has to be fixed and the route by the creek has to become a commuter route and not just a Sunday ride playground.

    Yeah, it's a cert that the Carrington Road crossing will need fixing – but I'd really like to see them explore taking the crossing out of the equation and running the shared path under the bridge and directly to the Wairaka precinct.

    A couple of other things have occurred to me. One is that the impending revamp of Chamberlain Park to open it to the community that owns it is going to be pretty crucial.

    The other is that I fear the disruption is going to be a lot worse than it was for the Waterview project, where construction traffic was very well managed on the whole. Both routes to Carrington Road run through town centres and, ironically given its proximity to Waterview, there's no direct motorway access.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Just like all the homes in National’s SHAs were ‘likely’ to be built – until those canny developers figured they could make more by landbanking and flicking it on unbuilt. Who could possibly have foreseen another market failure!

    Quite. It's not realistic to pretend that the SHA model worked and got houses built (let alone affordable ones). It didn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose, in reply to Sam F,

    Bike Paths Map - Wairaka.pdf

    I do hope there are plans in the works to make the main Unitec backroad more cycle-friendly as part of the Wairaka Precinct plan.

    Based on this map (hopefully attached) that was produced by Wairaka Land Company, it looks like there was plans for this. Also this Bike Auckland article has a link to the proposed road layouts that had been developed for the site before the govt sale. Very bike friendly! I hope the govt does the same.

    https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/new-community-rises-will-biketopia/

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'd really like to see them explore taking the crossing out of the equation and running the shared path under the bridge and directly to the Wairaka precinct.

    That would seem to be the obvious solution. The Te Atatu tunnel is a great example of a bike/pedestrian tunnel. It shouldn't be too big a project.

    It would be really good if such a tunnel went in before the construction on the site started. Carrington Road is not going to be fun for the duration and giving people a safe way across when that becomes a major route for trucks has got to be a priority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    What’s the likelihood that this will just amount to the govt subsiding the middle class buying into Mt Albert.

    Not many people see $600,000 as affordable.

    We don’t know how much the govt is spending on this so we can’t really know if this money could have been better off being spent on health and education - to the benefit of many more.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

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