That Bridge – Still Causing Annoyance

So What Will it be?

 

While the Auckland Isthmus and North Shore debate about Brownfield intensification, down here in the south a battle has shaped up over Greenfield Development. Yesterday I noted the Manukau Courier running two articles on the Weymouth-Karaka Bridge in my “KARAKA COLLECTIVE HAS BEGUN A MSM PR CAMPAIGN” which also spun off the “UPDATE WITH KARAKA COLLECTIVE INFORMATION” after receiving an update to the situation.

 

Today the Papakura Courier (which has just landed in my mail box) has produced its two pieces on the Weymouth-Karaka Bridge. The first being: “Bridge’s place on plan irks” by DUBBY HENRY; with the second being “Weymouth weighs in on bridge.” Thus far I have been to most community meetings on both the Karaka and Weymouth sides in relation to the Southern Rural Urban Boundary and THAT bridge. I have commented somewhat extensively on the matter so far with more coming as Papakura begins its turn with meetings on the RUB and transport.

 

Some of the material in the Papakura Courier’s “Bridge’s place on plan irks” has already been said else where in the blog and other media publications, so I’ll try to flesh out the new stuff here.

From Papakura Courier – Bridge’s place on plan irks:

The Karaka Collective wants the council to open up the Karaka North and West peninsulas for housing and says a bridge would provide the extra infrastructure to serve those areas. It would also unclog State Highway 1, which is rapidly reaching capacity. But many Karaka residents don’t believe their area should be rezoned and are preparing to fight the collective’s proposal. Objections are being raised by long-term residents like Deb Milliken and James Urquhart, who both own property on the Urquhart Peninsula. Mrs Milliken has owned a stud farm on the edge of the Pahurehure Inlet for 25 years and raised a family there but she wants to keep her emotional attachment to the land out of the debate. “I’m fighting for this because I believe it’s a fundamentally flawed concept for the growth of Auckland,” she says. “This is totally contrary to the Unitary Plan’s idea of making the world’s most liveable city.” She says the Karaka peninsulas are “geographically isolated and water-bound” making them completely unsuitable for development, especially while people continue to commute into the city. “Until they develop Pukekohe and have people commuting to new jobs in the south, this is not going to work,” she says. Karaka is also a major food producer for Auckland and the racing and stud farming industry brings in a fortune. Crowding farms out of the area would be silly, she says.

“I believe very strongly in keeping productive land productive. There are a lot of rural areas in Auckland that are far better suited to being included in the Rural Urban Boundary.” The council has proposed other development options, such as Drury and Paerata, which are near existing transport routes and make much more sense, Mrs Milliken says. The Karaka Collective’s submission suggests development could be done sustainably to improve the health of the Manukau Harbour – but Mr Urquhart and Mrs Milliken say they’re waiting to see proof of that. Weymouth residents are also being shortchanged by the collective, which has done a poor job of consulting people on that side of the inlet, Mrs Milliken says.

James Urquhart is the fifth generation of his family to farm in Karaka and agrees there is a lack of transparency around the proposal. Despite being a major landowner in the area he has not been approached about the concept and he’s not the only one, he says. “There is this perception out there that there’s a Karaka Collective but that is a misuse of the word. “People think all Karaka landowners are after is to develop up their land and sell out. I don’t think that’s true for a majority of people but we’re being lumped in with the minority,” Mr Urquhart says.

Around 100 Karaka residents turned up to a meeting of the local residents and ratepayers association this month to hear from council planners about the Rural-Urban Boundary options. Transport planner Joshua Arbury told them the Karaka-Weymouth bridge is “the elephant in the room” when it comes to discussing development in the south. Developing Karaka will almost certainly force the bridge to be built but other options could still require it in the future, he says. But whether the bridge would be needed in the next decade is still up for discussion. The council is trying to predict the level of growth that will be a “trigger point” for building the bridge, Mr Arbury says.

He urges people to give the council feedback on its proposals if they are worried about the effect on their community.

 

Before I go on I want to make something very clear and specific to blog readers. I hear what Mr Urquhart is saying and I personally know the Karaka Collective represents a very small minority rather than “all” of Karaka. I am posting updates involving the Karaka Collective situation (such as the one yesterday) as they come through to the blog to make sure: 1) information is correct, 2) misinformation is corrected, 3) what is correct is seen to all here at the blog.

 

As for the Regional Park option I have mooted which would cover Mr Urquhart’s land. I am interested to hear feedback from those living in the area covered by the Karaka North and West RUB option which is where I am mooting the Regional Park. Of note there are regional parks that act as fully fledged farms (as well as forests and bush) out there in Auckland (I can think of three off the top of my head). So if a regional park was laid down in the Karaka North and West areas the residents could negotiate with Council two options:

  1. Sell their land to council at market price and Council takes over fully
  2. Keep their land and land use as is but in recognising the Regional Park, urban and transport development could not occur in the park. As for public access – I shall leave that to the residents and council. So private property rights and use recognised except for urban and transport development (Cutting farms down to lifestyle blocks would be recognised as urban development as such under the Unitary Plan)

I mooted the Regional Park idea originally as a fail-safe to ensure Karaka North and West is never developed and made part of the urban fabric of Auckland. It stays as a rural area acting not only as a productive rural area of Auckland, but a green and blue lung of Auckland as well. In the same regard getting transport links put through a Regional Park is meant to be a heck load harder due to “park” status invoking city feelings on such developments through a park. We need our rural and harbour spaces in a growing Auckland. Karaka North and West should be part of that rural and harbour space for Southern Auckland 🙂

 

But from the Papakura Courier article you can see two things apparent that is stemming from the Southern RUB and Bridge debate:

  1. Residents are quite passionate about realists in the same regard to urban growth and development down in Southern Auckland. It is going to happen but we (Southern Auckland) want quality, in the right places (Karaka North/West is not a right spot for such development), and infrastructure to match
  2. Who is this Karaka Collective and why nothing but legalistic PR press releases. Still have heard nothing about public meetings yet and actual reasons why Karaka North and West should be developed.

 

For more commentary and my alternatives thus far please read my KARAKA COLLECTIVE HAS BEGUN A MSM PR CAMPAIGN post.

 

Southern Auckland – we CAN get this right. 

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL