Regional Parks are not to be split up despite earlier concerns today
After the PLEASE EXPLAIN: Council Chief Operating Officer Confronted Over Attempt to Break Up Regional Park Network which picked up on the Herald’s piece about Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer being apparently confronted about the Auckland Regional Parks network being split up, Council (more specifically the COO) has replied to the earlier story.
From Auckland Council:
Auckland Council is making changes to its Operations division as it gears up to respond to the challenge of Auckland’s rapid growth.
“Auckland is expected to grow by roughly the population of Hamilton every five years, so we need to maintain our focus on responding to that growth,” says Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton.
The Operations division makes up the largest group within Auckland Council, with more than 5000 staff delivering critical frontline services to Aucklanders, such as libraries, infrastructure and environmental services, parks and reserves networks, licencing and compliance services, and more.
Changes to the Operations division focus on providing better service delivery for Aucklanders, faster and more cost effectively. We will achieve this by bringing activities together so that communities experience services in a more streamlined way. This can already be seen in Te Atatu and Mangere-Otahuhu, where community centres and libraries have now been integrated. We will also provide improved processes for customers such as integrated online booking and consenting services.
A number of changes are underway including a new Development Programme Office will launch early next year. It will bring together the Housing Project Office and City Transformation Projects units to coordinate the council’s response to major development and infrastructure programmes, including large housing developments.
Another change is the reshape of the council’s Community Services, which includes the regional parks network, and Community Facilities.
Changes won’t affect regional park services
“Auckland Council values the regional park network and has no intention of breaking it up,” says Dean Kimpton. “Our focus remains on enhancing how we look after these assets in the context of increased visitation and Auckland’s continuing growth, and we will continue to work with the Friends of Regional Parks and volunteer networks.”
“Top of mind is the 50-year history of regional parks in the Auckland region and that all of our parks and open spaces are well loved and are used by thousands of Aucklanders and visitors every year. We know that there is 98 per cent visitor satisfaction across our network of regional parks. We certainly want to maintain this. We also know that visitation across our regional park network has increased by 20 per cent over the past seven years and will continue to rise.”
“Regional park asset and management decisions will continue to be considered in a whole-of-network way, and there will be a continued focus on ensuring that all regional parks are effectively resourced.”
About Auckland Council regional parks:
- 26 regional parks in the Auckland region, covering over 40,560 hectares and representing approximately 40 per cent of public open space
- 85 park rangers on the regional parks network
- over 65,000 person-hours of volunteer work are undertaken on the regional parks every year
- over 5 million people visit our regional parks network every year
- 20 per cent increase in visitation over the past seven years
- 98 per cent visitor satisfaction across our network of regional parks.