Is the City Centre Revamps at the Expense of the West

Some would think yes – and just not for the West either

 

The issue has been brewing away for a while and I have mentioned it both in the blog and to the Auckland Development Committee before. However, when the Main Stream Media pick up on the story and it starts growing legs then Auckland Council start having issues.

From Stuff

Waterfront revamp at west’s expense?

MONICA TISCHLER AND JESS ETHERIDGE: Last updated 05:00 19/09/2014

A proposal to revamp Auckland’s waterfront has left many residents, councillors and business owners in the west feeling neglected as millions of dollars could be deferred from projects.

Auckland Council last week agreed to put the idea to the public on whether to sell or lease Queen Elizabeth Square to a private company with proceeds of the sale going towards creating at least two public spaces.

The public spaces are part of the framework to beautify the waterfront, upgrade the ferry basin, extend wharves and create public space.

The $2.4 billion City Rail Link and $300 million Downtown Shopping Centre redevelopment are also included in the framework.

Council is investigating public-private partnerships to fund the projects.

Waitakere councillor Linda Cooper said pairing with private investors on council projects takes away the financial strain from ratepayers.

She said residents want the waterfront returned to them and opening up public space would be a start.

“Get those gates down and get us in touch with what is at the heart of being an Aucklander. We can’t twiddle our thumbs any longer.

Aucklanders have been waiting decades.”

But the Auckland Council Finance and Performance Committee’s proposal to defer millions of dollars from West Auckland projects has locals asking whether council’s focus and distribution of funds is fair.

Deferred capital of New Lynn’s regeneration project could reach more than $900,000 while the Glen Eden town centre implementation could lose more than $200,000.

More than $1 million may be deferred from Waikumete Cemetery, including $154,000 for burial development, $418,000 for the Sexton’s House conversion and $437,000 on storm water installation.

Whau Local Board heritage portfolio holder Derek Battersby said it appears council could take legacy funding from the Crown Lynn park and recreation of the Whau which plans to develop housing in the area.

The Community and Recreation Centre comprising of youth community facilities could also be affected, he said.

“I’m concerned that money is being gathered for the big projects in the city.

“I’m not opposed to the waterfront it’s just how the pot is divided up.

“You can’t just rip out all the flowers in Auckland and take everything away from the suburbs.”

Battersby said there’s a common viewpoint among local board members that the city centre is sucking money out of the suburbs.

……

Source and full article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/10514768/Waterfront-revamp-at-wests-expense

 

Now before the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, or the Officers get uppity about this some realisations first:

  1. We know the City Centre pays a Targeted Rate of which is contributing to 42% of the total cost of the $477m Downtown Framework over the next 10 years
  2. The City Centre does need to be a people centre not a car centre thus the projects can be seen as worthwhile
  3. The City Centre is the heart of wider Auckland and competes internationally
  4. Blogs are covering as much as they can about the City Centre renewal projects

All the above the City (Auckland) knows. The problem is now down to timing and perception.

The timing of the Downtown Framework was sadly done with the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan draft just out and the news Town Centre renewals (that are not already under contract to be done) being scaled back if not deferred. This along with the fact that the West mainly misses out on the new proposed Spatial Priorities framework that was announced by the Mayor when he handed down the Long Term Plan does give rise to the perception that the suburbs are missing out.

Once only has to look at Avondale, Glen Eden and Henderson to see how much of a bad state they are in to get the perception too much resource and time is going into the City Centre.

 

The ultimate situation being if that perception runs away then having the Town Centre renewals deferred and the Spatial Priorities not delivering will go down like a cold bucket of cat sick with the wider community. Ball is in Council’s court at the moment.

 

The Spatial Priorities

 

June Auckland Development Committee Presentation

 

One thought on “Is the City Centre Revamps at the Expense of the West

  1. Yes they are most definitely at the expense of the West. We have a major gap between rich and poor in Auckland and it’s enabled by disproportionate town planning. Glen Eden and Henderson and Avondale face crime and lack of investment because funding has been sucked into central projects. But part of it is the fault of the local boards out West who continually prioritise lovey projects over getting the basic design and infrastructure of their Central Spaces right. Where are the millions they do get allocated each year going? Getting the hub right for these areas should be first priority. They all need to take responsibility.

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