Oh Dear Auckland Council – You Are In A Bit of a Mess With OUR Parks (they have no idea where they are)

Council holds no central database on parks and residents

 

Parks and open space are one of the two green lungs of any city with urban forests and the rural surrounds being the other. Recently (and still ongoing) a debate flared up over the provision of parks and open space in Auckland with South Auckland (that has some of the highest social deprivation) missing out on the Parks budget while the North Shore (some of the lowest social deprivation) gets effectively double the parks budget (per population basis) than the South.

To add salt to the wounds for the South there was a very tin eared Spinoff article about parks and how we need lots of centralised Destination Parks to fix the problem, the very sort of park that has gotten Council into strife and the South missing out on parks (due to cost of building Destination Parks and maintaining compared to smaller but more pepper potted community parks). In the end the TL:DR version is if you are going to comment on Auckland’s parks please read the Auckland Plan 2050 and the 2016 Open Space Provisions policy paper first.

 

Anyway before that article came out I asked or rather filed a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) to Auckland Council on whether they had information on where Auckland’s parks are and how many residents are within a certain distance (often 800 metres as that is the standard 10 minute walk up catchment used with transit) of a park. The response was somewhat tragic – actually it was very tragic:

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
Re: park density
I refer to your request, which we received on 24 May 2018, seeking information about the percentages of urban residents within a 10 minute walk of a park (excluding sports fields).
We are unable to provide the information in the form you request as Auckland Council does not hold readily available detailed information about the walking distance or walking time of urban residents to parks across the Auckland region.

For administrative purposes the request in the format you have asked for is refused under section 17(e) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) the information does not exist.

However please see below for information that may assist with your request.

As a general guide, the methodology we use to determine the provision and distribution of parks in Auckland is contained in the Open Space Provision Policy 2016. This is based on walking distance rather than walking time, specifically:-
• Neighbourhood Parks 0.3 – 0.5 hectares – 400 metre walk in high and medium density areas and 600 meters in all other residential areas
• Suburb Park New parks 3 – 5 hectares but up to 10 hectares if accommodating organised sport usages – 1000 metre walk in high and medium density areas, and 1500 metre walk in all other residential areas.

The policy is publicly available on the Auckland Council website. We recognise that there are gaps present in the provision and distribution of open spaces in parts of Auckland. The policy informs planning and investment decisions to create a high quality open space network. In greenfield areas the policy seeks to establish the network, whilst in existing urban areas it seeks to improve the network.

Additional available information
Council have previously estimated that 80 percent of Aucklanders are within 400 meters of a neighbourhood park, and 1000 meters of a suburb park. This was noted in a report to the Parks, Recreation and Sports Committee in July 2016 [refer CP2016/14543].

A report was considered by the Appointments, Performance Review and Value for Money Committee on 7th June 2018 concerning a Section 17A value-for-money review for parks and open spaces. The report provides a current state analysis of the parks and open spaces in Auckland based on a review of national and international literature on access to open space which may be of interest. It notes that Auckland is well provisioned for open space overall, compared to other New Zealand cities.
Both these reports are publicly available on the Auckland Council website:
http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2016/07/PAR_20160720_AGN_6195_AT_WEB.HTM
http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2018/06/APP_20180607_AGN_6953_AT_WEB.htm

—ends—

 

Okay this is the tragic part in that:

  • We have no idea where the parks are nor how many residents are within walking distance to a park:

We are unable to provide the information in the form you request as Auckland Council does not hold readily available detailed information about the walking distance or walking time of urban residents to parks across the Auckland region.

For administrative purposes the request in the format you have asked for is refused under section 17(e) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) the information does not exist.

 

  • But we have a policy to provide parks at a set range depending on the Unitary Plan Zones:

As a general guide, the methodology we use to determine the provision and distribution of parks in Auckland is contained in the Open Space Provision Policy 2016. This is based on walking distance rather than walking time, specifically:-
• Neighbourhood Parks 0.3 – 0.5 hectares – 400 metre walk in high and medium density areas and 600 meters in all other residential areas
• Suburb Park New parks 3 – 5 hectares but up to 10 hectares if accommodating organised sport usages – 1000 metre walk in high and medium density areas, and 1500 metre walk in all other residential areas.

 

That is some real hit and miss stuff especially if Brownfield intensification is undertaken (which 60% of all Auckland urban development will be per the Auckland Plan).

 

The Environment and Community Committee meets today so I hope they might want to do something about this lapse with our parks. Because if we can create databases on how many residents we can squeeze in with the Unitary Plan then I am sure we can get a centralised database set up with parks and how many residents will be within 800m of said park as well (given parks show up in the Unitary Plan anyway).

 

Also time for some Cities Skylines Parklife because we all love parks and we are all Detailers (even me).

 

 

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