Westgate Saga Rolls On

What is the underlying issue that has got a Councillor so upset

 

Westgate Metropolitan Centre
Westgate Metropolitan Centre

And this is especially when those who levelled the complaint against Westgate to the Auditor General are from the same political stock at the Councillor screaming politicking!

 

Since Orsman from the Herald ran his piece about the Auditor General investigating Auckland Council’s dealings with the Westgate Metropolitan Centre development the thoughts and reactions have been quite mixed.

I followed up on Orsman’s story with a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request into the 2012 report that was never made public (see: AUDITOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE OVER WESTGATE METROPOLITAN CENTRE DEVELOPMENT). Since then Newstalk ZB and Radio New Zealand have followed up.

The Radio NZ piece can be seen HERE and this is where Councillor Cooper’s replies seem somewhat interesting. Cooper’s reaction is opposite to Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse’s who has stated she will await the report and that is that until then.

 

Below is a public Facebook exchange into the Westgate development in which Councillor Linda Cooper has used some very strong words against another Councillor. Put it this way using the word HATE is very strong, people distrust and dislike but note hate and that is to be remembered when levelling claims against another person.

Note: As always the Public Mode Facebook policy applies. If the post was made in Public not Friends mode I treat it as fair game to stick into the blog. Remember in Public Mode everyone even those without Facebook can see the comments.

 

Thoughts?

Auditor-General Lyn Provost has begun an inquiry into Auckland Council’s involvement in a new town centre at Westgate, which is costing ratepayers about…
NZHERALD.CO.NZ
  • Ben Ross Something is coming back to bite someone in the backside of the AG report is not favourable. New Lynn’s upgrade, Westgate, Botany, Albany and Flat Bush are not the most shining examples of 21st century planning but relics of 1990s planning around the car.
  • Annie Newman It is hard to believe that the Auckland Council will not invest 6 million in ensuring its staff and contracted workers get a Living Wage and yet with a blink of an eye spend 200million on a town centre and claim there is no money to reduce poverty in its own house. The Auckland Plan says it will raise living standards to create the world’s most liveable city – somehow I think they are dreaming.
    • Bryce Pearce Not quite blink of an eye. This is a legacy project from Waitakere City Council.
  • Bryce Pearce Westgate Town Centre. Let’s play ‘spot the mixed use residential’. http://www.westgatetowncentre.co.nz/…/masterplan_full.jpg
  • Ben Ross Heh the answer none?
  • Shane Henderson You forget though that the Red Hills SHA is down the road. Still though, apartments on top of businesses are the go
    • Bryce Pearce And the need to cross a 80km/h road. Car oriented sprawl.
  • Ben Ross or even Mixed use Towers like M Central in Manukau which has in its 11 storeys:
    apartments
    food courtSee More
  • Christine Rose A fraught proposal from the start. A poor process led to this development -lacking public input, developer led in collusion with the Waitakere ‘Eco’ city. But in reality, sprawl, taking up productive land, wasteful of space and inefficient. More car based peri-urbanism. The Council contribution to roads that should have been provided by the developer and vested in the Council is most unusual.
  • Ben Ross Shane least South Auckland is getting this new ritzy Tower all on its own https://voakl.net/…/new-apartment-tower-on-the-way-for…/
    Don’t quite see Council nor Auckland Transport sinking the devotion and cash down here like they do with Westgate and the City Centre now do we?

    New R$$$ Apartment Tower Planned For Manukau   I…
    VOAKL.NET
    • Christine Rose We’d love some of that investment in Kumeu too, where we have thousands of new homes under construction and planned for development, but no budget for infrastructure
    • Shane Henderson Does Kumeu want intensification?
  • Shane Henderson The thing is, with lots of housing planned in Red Hills and Kumeu, we need places for these people to work. Waitakere has a shortage of business land and high rates of travel out of area for work, shamefully high. It’s no accident Lincoln Rd and Te Atatu are so congested in the mornings

    I agree re apartments on the businesses though, a trick has been missed. Also concerned about transport infrastructure and neglect of Henderson

    • Christine Rose Retail and logistics as planned for Westgate isn’t that great an economic model
  • Ben Ross Problem is with West Auckland is you have no Heavy Industry Land nor complexes like Southdown and the complexes in South Auckland. It is the heavy industrial complex where the jobs truly sit especially for and dear I say it, Maori and Pacific peoples who both enterprising and great with their hands
  • Bryce Pearce Ah, no. Not according to UP. It will stay as a big strip mall.
  • Linda Cooper Let’s wait and see what the Auditor General has to say before we start lynching people. This is a witch hunt by Christine Fletcher because she hates Penny Hulse being the Deputy Mayor and wants some dirt. Christine Rose was always opposed to this as an ARC Councillor because cars were involved . The reality is there is tremendous growth in the Northwest. Without this new town prospects for employment and access to local retail and community services would be many kilometers away incurring more costs for travel and more emissions from cars. This town will serve not just old Waitakere area but southwest Rodney and Greenhithe. As a local resident I am thrilled that I won’t have to make the trek to barren Albany or St Lukes malls. Save petrol and time and see my local people with jobs. Retail is a good start for young people and people who haven’t been able to get a job. There will also be a diverse offer of administrative and practical jobs in new office space at Westgate and the Hobsonville industrial corridor. As to public money from the project: It will build roads, storm water, wastewater a large sub regional library and community Centre as well as a bus interchange, town square and parks. Good value for the public. The development contribution arrangements are not a cookie cutter template because there is no recent model. They have been negotiated over time and Council have been very hard assed towards NZRPG during the process. NZRPG have stuck this out through a recession at huge personal risk and i admire their tenacity. Others would have walked away but they are Westies and believe in this area’ s potential. A tough new learning curve but not a frivolous experiment , I am confident of that. Not an easy ride for anyone but nothing of this scale is. There may be highlighted some minor pecadillos along the way however in a more than 10 year process with damaging changes to staff at amalgamation time ( no thanks to Mark Ford) and loss of political leadership on the massive complex project it won’t be a surprise. There will be mixed use more as time goes on but it ain’t magic. This stuff has to be built in sequence to make it work. Most of the local people I represent really want this and have been waiting years. Seeing it come out of the ground now is very exciting for us and we feel we are finally getting what we deserve. ( That includes the people in SW Rodney would are big users of the library and shopping centre)Something that is more than a corner dairy and will give a boost to the regions GDP and benefit many people. It’s saddening to hear such classic negativity from people who aren’t themselves willing to take risks but sit on the sidelines criticizing. Good on you Shane Hendersonfor trying to put the positive side. Sadly there will alway be the naysayers. I’ m looking forward to the development being fully completed and celebrating the hard yards everyone has put in to get there.
  • Bryce Pearce Stuck in the 70’s Linda. This is a mall, not a town centre. It’s Botany Pt2. I hope you enjoy the traffic congestion and the inevitable car parking issues. Me, I’ll stay away.
  • Bryce Pearce And as for the sleight on Cl Fletcher, she has done a huge amount for Auckland including being instrumental in getting Britomart built. I have a lot of respect for her.
  • Ben Ross Linda Linda Linda some rather strong words against a former National MP, former National Minister and a former Mayor who had the vision and staying power to bring things like Britomart and soon light rail to the Isthmus.

    Fletcher might not like Hulse but hating? That is what Nazi’s do and did – hate. So maybe a retraction and better choice of words against a well respected Councillor and former Mayor.

    Now for Westgate and its incoming failings.
    Westgate will serve the Hobsonville and Kumeu areas but nothing as a glorified shopping mall and here is why:

    Looking at the plans from NZRPG it is nothing but retail and cafes. I see no mixed used towers like M Central in Manukau nor other such towers like the City Centre and Westgate is a metropolitan centre thus support it. If there is office space it will be limited. Although I note you say office and administration space in the Hobsonville industrial corridor.

    That would be in fine breach of the Light Industry Zone under the Unitary Plan where there should be NO such commercial occurring. Industry zone is for just that industry! Any office and admin should be either in the Metropolitan Centre itself or any surrounding Mixed Use Zone or General Business Zone.

    You have NO heavy industrial zoning of any significance out west and THAT is where your jobs and money is to be found for the workers. Heavy Industry is located on the southern Isthmus and in Southern Auckland which does give an unbalanced situation.

    All Westgate will provide is somewhat low paying retail and hospitality jobs without that industry. You might get offices but as I said earlier money and skills made in the industry sectors. Thus regardless of Westgate the bulk will continue to travel to the City Centre or to Albany for work. What a failing that would show Westgate.

    Further more you might want to sink investment into Henderson Metropolitan Centre. Unlike Westgate it sits on the Western Line and not needing a new bus way which is somewhere off in the Never Never (unlike the busy way to Albany which NZTA is looking at by 2020 if not 2025).

    Henderson which serves Waitakere more so than Westgate ever could should get investment to support an upgrade of the mall, support of small businesses, and being a Metropolitan Centre able to support more education and commercial office facilities. I need night remind you Henderson has a crime issue more than South Auckland owing to your lack of attention and investment and you are meant to be its Councillor.

    As for Greenhithe and Rodney? That is what Albany Metropolitan Centre is there for and to service. Albany is all set to go with roads down, light industry nearby, two motorways servicing it, and the NEX bus system also connecting it. Albany has significant job centres to attract the North Shore, West Auckland, and Rodney. Thus being deemed capable of a Super Metropolitan Centre like Manukau for the fact both service a massive sub region within Auckland and its neighbours (Albany for Northland, Manukau for the Waikato) unlike Westgate. As Albany like Manukau are already there you don’t need to start from scratch on developments to serve an area so $200m could have been better spent on a non empire building project.

    So it seems Westgate being nothing short of a planning failure is also nothing short of an Empire project out of the 1990s that cannibalises Henderson and Albany which were better suited to serving the respective catchments.

    It seems a jolt in planning lessons might be very well needed!

  • Ian Miller Now we is one – the West needs a hub…much as Manukau now serves the East and Albany the North Shore. And that is what Westgate is destined to become. The fear here will surely be transport options; unlike Manukau we do not have a rail link, nor do we have dedicated bus lanes like Albany. A seven bay bus station may not be sufficient in the long run. It is one thing to grow a region (and that is happening at an alarming pace out West). It is another to make sure that growth will be beneficial for the community – both current and future – and not just for the developers and contractors and those who stand to gain through an engorged ratepayer base. As for claims of backhanders and pot sweeteners – it would not surprise me.
    • Bryce Pearce A hub? That is failed 1990’s thinking. The West needs a town. A town has people living there. A place where people can walk to shops or libraries etc. The Botany/Albany/Westgate approach is flawed and will only serve to create more of the traffic congestion that evceryone says they hate so much.
    • Bryce Pearce Allow me to demonstrate how this approach differs from older town planning. Westgate overlaid on Auckland CBD.
  • Ben Ross Henderson is already your pre existing hub for Waitakere while upper North Shore and Rodney have Albany.

    Westgate will mark its place in due time but heck the planning could have been better. Being so close to the NAL rail line (Kumeu) and on two State Highways a nice slather of 100 hectares of Heavy Industry Zoned land in the area would have done wonders.

    Not only would it balance the South out where we house all the heavy industry but give the west some meaningful well paid and skilled jobs that commerce could never give. That is what is missing out West – heavy industry

 

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The Auditor General does not investigate matters unless the complaint is serious and the preliminary evidence to back the complaint is pretty serious and solid. So for the A-G to start looking at Westgate means something serious was presented. Now the A-G can clear Council for sure. But it can also invoke the Police and Serious Fraud Office as well if things are well beyond the pale.  

 

Western Bank-19 Jun., 011405763052

Westgate is looking at replicating Albany and Botany and they are not the best examples of planning I can think off unless you like hectares of car parks and getting around only by a car.

Mixed use towers (Westgate is a Metropolitan Centre so it can take mid and high-rise towers), heavy industry zoning nearby, and not having to cross wide roads where cars travel at speed would be a very good start.

Now before someone utters Manukau City Centre I will say this; yes we have wide roads but they will soon go on a diet. The luck Manukau does have is it has a grid street pattern and wide grass medians which make road diets while not adversely traffic much easier.

As for Cooper’s reactions? Might be a good idea to follow Hulse’s move and just wait for the report before going off on a rant.

 

Update: Council has acknowledged the LGOIMA into Westgate rather than reject it outright thus far. I should know by the end of the month what the final results will be. If the report is made public then it will make for very interesting reading.

 

 

 

One thought on “Westgate Saga Rolls On

  1. Interesting. 1. Waitakere and it’s enterprising deals. Long history of “deals and dealing”. I believe Ross Clow (labour) and Linda Cooper (national) were business partners in the now defunct Waitakere City Holdings Ltd – google it for the whole dodgy saga on accountability nz. 2. Thumbs up. Yes . Invest in the existing towns along the rail lines! Instead of just one big epic mega mall. 3. Looking forward to Kane Glass and the videos of council meetings again. The video of Christine Fletcher requesting the long overdue growth report and Penny Hulses condescending attitude means we can judge for ourselves what’s really going down in council meetings.

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