Well nothing actually – so it seems
The earlier DEBATE POINT: Wesgate-North West Mall and Any Implications to Wider Auckland Planning #AKLPols post this morning certainly has stirred comment and debate which is still mainly negative to both the mall itself and how Westgate came to be thus far planning wise.
This comment stood out for me and I am going to post it below after which I will reply to some of the questions below. The comment was from the above linked ‘Debate’ post this morning:
Ben can you confirm – it looks to me like Westgate is primarily Upper Harbour Local Board. Councillor Cooper lives in Upper Harbour Local Board although she represents Waitakere. Cooper and Hulse have focused mainly on the project and tried to sell it in as a west project. The result for the heart of the local board they represent which has seen no investment ?
I like the way on the North Shore they seem to provide equitable upgrades for all their town centres, providing real and equitable communities. By just providing mega funding to the sprawling Westgate and nothing to Henderson, Sunnyvale, or Glen Eden shopping which all run along the train lines we will see these suburbs continue to fall behind the rest of Auckland.
Councillors sell this as jobs for the West but this project will primarily benefit Rodney, Upper Harbour and a little bit of Massey. On the Titirangi community blog someone lamented sitting in the slum that is Westcity movies and can’t wait for his New Lynn movies.! So what will happen to Westcity in Henderson with all investment going elsewhere. Further decline..
Why can’t they support upgrades of existing communities and facilities instead of just spreading into greenfields. Waitakere Ward didn’t get any money or support for streetscaping or economic upgrades or strategy. No new swimming pools etc. Our money largely went to social services education and environmental education, and “weeding” trusts of which the elected members and council staff are trustees and which delivered vague immeasurable programmes and no long term assets which the rest of Auckland appear to receive for free.
Westies need to ask the tough questions this election. Did our elected members have our best interests at heart and what will they do for the West.
Okay from what I understand Westgate where North-West Mall sits in Henderson-Massey Local Board area, that means it is part of the Waitakere Ward that Deputy Mayor Hulse and Councillor Linda Cooper represent. I have been told Councillor Cooper represents the more affluent urban sections of the Waitakere Ward while Hulse is more with the rural sections and Henderson area of the Ward so you could interpret political dynamics there. That said the Auditor General is also looking into the Westgate venture and we are waiting back for the final report.
You are right in that Westgate/North-West will benefit more Rodney, Upper Harbour and possibly Albany depending on the movements of people and freight. Westgate will do little if anything for Henderson especially with public transport so piss poor between both Metropolitan Centres (Westgate and Henderson). This is in comparison with Southern Auckland where I reside and the efforts being made to connect Papakura, Manukau City Centre, Botany (work in progress) and Sylvia Park (all Metropolitan Centres) with a decent public transport network whether it be the bus or the train.
To make matters worse West Auckland lacks both heavy industrial complexes the South has and future vision with public transport. The North Western Motorway and Lincoln Road upgrades being all about the car and the bus being an after thought really does the former Eco City justice now does it not? The industrial complexes will always remain in the south although there was a chance to establish one near Kumeu next to the rail line but I doubt Council has the vision to get that one going despite Auckland being short on industrial land and the West short on actual well-paying employment centres.
While I have commented on the main City Centre getting lots of “attention” relatively so Southern Auckland is slowing getting its investment from Council while the North Shore is getting theirs and does things as you commented on above. Coming back to West Auckland something is wrong over there I hate to say. You have a natural urban corridor that follows the Western Line from Avondale to well Henderson and even Swanson yet apart from New Lynn Metropolitan Centre (and that seems to have slowed down since the apartment tower opened) the investment for urban renewal and intensification lacks. And by lacks I mean in comparison to upcoming urban renewal on the Southern Line corridor from Otahuhu to Pukekohe. Why this is so I would love to know with Henderson-Massey Board trying their honest guts out to bring improvement but ignored for that Westgate monstrosity and whatever the heck the Waitakere Ranges Local Board is doing.
I am sorry if that puts Deputy Mayor Hulse offside. But my comments on the north-west have been long known and as a Geographer (Human and Urban) it would be simply be wrong of me to agree or support an urban planning and form that I see runs against the goals of the Auckland Plan and does little for the actual improvement of human well-being for the West. Those who follow the blog know my staunchness for the South and its urban form (current and upcoming) to better benefit the people and the environments. That same staunchness also is there for fellow Westies as well.