I was surprised to read in the Auckland City Harbour News, May 31, of the complaint made by the chairman of the Waitemata Local Board that the Birdcage Restaurant and Bar had been allowed to ‘‘commandeer public space’’.
I think that the outdoor dining/ drinking facilities are an excellent facility and an appropriate use of that space – which if left empty would be a bare expanse of concrete used only by skateboarders (who have facilities across the road in Victoria Park). I have enjoyed a drink there in late afternoon sun; I have also walked through the seating without feeling intimidated by patrons or staff and I’ve cycled through it on a couple of occasions – it is certainly not hindering public access through the plaza. This street furniture causes far less inconvenience to other users of the plaza than is caused by some of the tables and chairs on footpaths elsewhere within the local board’s district.
I assume that NZTA is getting a decent fee out of the Birdcage for the use of this area for outdoor dining/drinking area which is deservedly popular. Harbour News, May 31.
We have watched with interest the construction of the Victoria Park Tunnel, the moving of the Rob Roy building up and down Franklin Rd, and then the development of Waiatarua Plaza over the past number of years.
After much anticipation came the establishment of the Birdcage Restaurant & Bar.
Once the outdoor area development began we could see that this was going to be a very attractive and lively venue.
Anyone who walked through the plaza during the summer after the February opening would welcome the positive changes and excellent use of the area. Phil Houston and his team have brought the area alive. Now we have two Auckland Council divisions with different views on what the Birdcage business can and cannot do.
Come on members of the Waitamata Local Board, act like responsible, informed adults.
There is plenty of space for everyone to walk around the area and the outdoor furniture and planter boxes do not inhibit walking up and down Franklin Rd.
As for the introduction of antiskateboard studs being a concern, that is surely a statement out of left field.
The skateboarders have a wonderful purpose-built Skate Plaza no more than 500 metres from the Waiatarua Plaza where they can perform their impressive skills with no danger to the public.
On the matter of planter boxes being left out overnight, about an hour after reading the story, we walked through Waiatarua Plaza on our way to the Waiheke ferry.
As we walked by Degree Restaurant and the Waterfront Restaurant in the Viaduct Harbour, there were planter boxes and furniture on council land that we believe have not been moved for years.
The question is, why is the Birdcage any different?
So please, Waitemata Local Board, leave the plaza as it is and move on to matters that do require your attention and leave Phil Houston and his team to run their business and provide a service to the public.
We have frequented the Birdcage on numerous occasions since February and found it to be a most welcome and enjoyable establishment with an attractive and inviting outdoor area.