I would like to make it clear that I support intensification in Auckand. The city simply cannot continue to sprawl. I do however want intensification that is carefully planned and considered with infrastructure investment in place before intensification becomes a problem for the city. Much of Auckland in particular the central isthmus is already under pressure with sewerage overflows storm water and flooding issues and traffic congestion already costing the city millions. To simply open over 50% of the isthmus for intensification without planning for it is simple folly. Len Browns vision for the world’s most liveable city cannot happen without significant investment in infrastructure. If the Billion dollars for the inner city rail link was used on infrastructure then the UP might just work. But that is another debate.
I have a letter from water care that states that current and proposed infrastructure (central interceptor for one) would simply not cope with predicted population growth. They have advised council of this yet we still plan to open up the whole city to intensification in one go instead of a staged process.
Albert Eden is already the least greened area in the whole of Auckland and needs more open space desperately. This is agreed by all. However there is no provision for any additional parks or open space in the UP yet the intensification planned in the UP will increase the population of Albert Eden at a minimum to say 150,000 people over the next 10 years, but no more open space. The worlds, most liveable city! How?
I did not write this email, it was forwarded to me I do not know who the original author is. I chose to forward to those in my email group as I hoped to cause debate and make people realise the importance of this document to the future of Auckland. It seems it has worked. I have to say that I have received many emails and phone calls thanking me for bringing the importance of the UP to people’s attention. I suggest that if it had being called something like “The Auckland housing intensification plan” it would have caused people to sit up listen and get involved to a much greater extent. Most people still do not know what it is all about. But let’s not tell people what it really is.
The consultation process around the plan and on this most agree has been meagre and of the meetings I attended much of the important information such as section size in the mixed use and single house zones was glossed over. The planners did not know this detail, chose not to know or were actually incorrect and were corrected by the general public. Is this good enough for something so important?
It was only at my insistence that more meetings for the general public be held in Albert Eden we had one at Unitec and library venues for drop in discussion, plus a couple for stakeholder groups was simply not enough for a population of 100,000 plus with a lot changing. Finally the board agreed and unfortunately no planners were available. Never the less they were very well attended the last on the 27th May in Mt Albert with 70 people many incredulous that they were only getting a meeting about it just 4 days out from the close of submissions. Aucklanders have not being well served by this council on this debate.
In fact that very day at a council meeting a motion was passed by George Wood to extend the consultation period by 15 days and was voted down 10 – 7 not to extend. Where was the harm in giving Aucklanders the time they needed given the surge in interest at that late stage?
This plan is important for the future of Auckland. All we can hope now is that council and the planners listen and put a lot more thought, facts, planning, focus on infrastructure issues and consultation into the next round of the process. We’ll see.