Takapuna is ‘dying’ from a lack of car parking and Auckland Council's proposal to sell off public land for development will only make the problem worse, say residents.
A car park in the centre of the Takapuna central business district has been proposed for high-rise apartments, retail spaces and laneways.
A proposal from Auckland Council-controlled organisation Panuku Development to sell the central car park was unanimously passed by councillors at a development committee meeting last week.
Residents argue that, as home to the popular Takapuna Sunday Market and adjacent to historic Potter’s Park, the area is an important community space, and its use should be a matter for public consultation.
Jan O’Connor, a member of the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board, has founded a Facebook page to give voice to a community whose interests she feels have been overlooked.
The council has failed to consider locals who will be most affected and discussion has been limited to those already at the heart of the council, she said.
“I’m questioning whether we’ve consulted with the average person. We consult with what I call the inner sanctum, the people that we all know are running Takapuna.”
She also took issue with the use of public land for developments that could be carried out elsewhere in the area.
“I have to question why we need apartments on that particular plot of land when the whole of Takapuna is zoned for apartments.”
Local business owner Rochelle Scoones considered the proposition ill advised, calling sudden intensification of housing in the area a “horse-before-the-cart idea”.
She said she was shocked to see that sketches of the proposed development included the land on which her own retail business is situated.
“The first thing we saw was this lovely big picture, including our shop gone,” said Ms Scoones.
Both Ms O’Connor and Ms Scoones have urged the council to carefully consider alternatives before removing the suburb’s main car park. They said the lack of parking is already a serious issue for local businesses.
“As a result of the lack of all-day car parking, we’ve lost the district court, we’ve lost the police station,” said Ms O’Connor. “Takapuna has died from what it used to be as a working hub.”
With almost 200 likes on Facebook since the page was launched on Friday, March 11, Ms O’Connor hoped to stimulate community engagement and alert residents to the particulars of the proposal.
“The average person actually isn’t aware until the bulldozer comes in.”
Panuku Development representative Jessica Curnow said there was no desire to get rid of any parking and the agency was “working really closely" with Auckland Transport and the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
Ms Curnow said the local board had established a “think-tank” consisting of 17 members representing different parts of the community.
“Once we have some more detailed plans we'll be really engaging with the community,” Ms Curnow said.
“We can still have the same amount of car parks, but just not taking up all that land. It might be a parking building, it might be going underground.”