Andrew: FYI NIMBY is not okay
The story thus far: Last week’s column criticised the plan for a 41-floor building on the city edge of the harbour – in particular, failure by Auckland City Council planners to ask for public reaction to the scheme.
I cited this as a worrying indication that bureaucrats don’t consult the community as they are required to do.
I feared that this trend could worsen in a supercity with planners even more distant from the public that pays them.
Now read on, and for those unfamiliar the terms FYI = For Your Information and NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard.
From Andrew Love: “As an expat, with a keen interest in what’s happening in New Zealand and more specifically Auckland – a city I grew up in – I can only voice my immense frustration with your column on Monster cities and monstrosities.
“Perhaps this has passed you by, but the overwhelming frustration with many expats overseas, and as a consequence an overriding concern with returning home with families in tow, is this fascination with the NIMBY culture and resistance to change. We desperately need development.
“We need a collective desire to change Auckland from a city half in the 1970s and half into the 21st century.
“Ask tourists what their perception is of Auckland.
“Almost without exception, the comment is along the lines of: ‘Nice, but I didn’t spend a lot of time there.’
“If we provided tourists with one spot in New Zealand which oozed a worldclass CBD, I would venture that tourists would be more likely to spend a couple of days and nights there.
“Go out and ask a sample of younger Aucklanders within the ever-shrinking 21 to 35-year-old age group – they’re all emigrating to larger, more exciting cities and countries – for their feelings on larger developments within the CBD.
“A simple question: Do you, or do you not, favour increased high-rise development within Auckland’s CBD?
“Protect the waterfront, protect Savage Memorial Park. Protect Devonport, but allow the CBD to become a world-class environment.
“As for your argument about the ‘community’s view of the harbour’, are you serious? A five-minute drive or walk from the CBD affords you exactly that.
“There are views of the harbour from Parnell, Takapuna, Ponsonby, Devonport, Herne Bay, North Head, St Heliers ... the options available to view the harbour are too numerous to mention.
“Fight, and fight hard to stop the ugly, cheap apartment buildings.
“On the other hand, we need to start embracing proposed Auckland city developments such as Saffron, Elliott and The Chancery. These are world-class developments and will enhance the cityscape, not ruin it.
“Ask these same people about their perception of what Metropolis and the Sky Tower have done for the city of Auckland? How about the latest addition to the Takapuna skyline?
“If Auckland is to ever assume some sense of becoming a world-class city, we must embrace change and development.
“I dare you to follow through on a questionnaire – targeting the future of the city.
“Do they or do they not agree in principle with increasing the Auckland skyline? I have given you three examples of developments which need to go ahead.
“The absurdity around the Saffron with the backlash is only to be expected.
“If you want views of the harbour, or protection of existing churches and old buildings, move to somewhere else in New Zealand.
“You can see the lack of foresight and development in all its glory. If you want to see what Auckland could and should have become, have a look at Melbourne and Sydney.
“Perhaps with less of the NIMBY attitude, the flood of young New Zealanders overseas may slow down, as they see change and development going on in their own city.
“What is the average age of the people showing opposition to the Saffron? Is it closer to 60, or 20?
“Yes, I am overseas and unfortunately, I’m just waiting for the Rugby World Cup and Eden Park to fall flat on its face. From what I can ascertain, this stadium has been there for the best part of the 20th century, yet any desire to upgrade it to a world-class facility is met by outrage and disgust. Residents knew where they were buying.
“I’d also venture that we will not have a subway system to cope with the North Shore, the eastern and far eastern suburbs in even 50 years. Again, the reason? NIMBY.” • Is he right or wrong?
I was wrong in saying the building will be 328 metres high. That is the height of the Sky Tower.
A reader suggests a more likely height is half that. So only 170 metres!
For the record, the 67-storey Elliott apartment block – planned for the old Royal Hotel site in Victoria St by Korea’s Dawe Ju Construction and already approved by the city council – has been reported as being “close to the height of the Sky Tower”.
So close that, in a high altitude scrap, SkyCity has objected because of the fear the neighbour could block its telecommunication system – and that Elliott tenants may later object to people on its observation deck being able to see into their expensive apartments.
Note: Elliott is one of the world-class projects Andrew says we should “embrace”.
To contact Pat Booth email: email@example.com. Replies are open for publication unless clearly marked Not For Publication.
Also in the mail: Passed on by reader Wallace Moore, a follow-up to another column topic – concerns over the influx of European workers into Britain.