Plans for park to go to iwi as settlement
Auckland could lose a prime piece of recreational land at Gladstone Rd, Parnell.
Council representatives are speaking up to give people a chance to have their say before it’s too late.
Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers and Councillor Mike Lee say they feel a moral obligation to let residents know about a deal that so far has only been discussed behind closed doors.
It concerns a treaty settlement redress proposal regarding land at Blacketts Point (Gladstone Park).
The sites affected are the Fred Ambler Lookout on Gladstone Rd, the Gladstone Tennis Club and the neighbouring childcare centre and playground. The land is owned by the Crown.
In an August 5 memorandum from chief crown negotiator Mike Dreaver to Auckland Council’s general counsel Wendy Brandon, Mr Dreaver outlines the Crown’s intentions.
He says the Crown intends to transfer the site of the Fred Ambler Lookout to the Marutuahu iwi as redress in recognition of their historical interests there.
Marutuahu iwi hail from the Coromandel Peninsula.
Mr Dreaver says the site holds cultural significance for the Marutuahu iwi as the site of a reserve that was promised to them in 1842.
The area was frequently used as a base by the Marutuahu iwi on trading journeys from the Coromandel Peninsula.
In the memorandum Mr Dreaver says the preservation of the lookout and associated carpark will be a condition of the transfer.
However, the rest of the land would be commercial redress, meaning the iwi would have to purchase it.
The Crown proposes that the tennis club’s existing lease be protected for a period of 15 years from settlement date.
But Mr Lee and Mr Chambers fear that in the long term the land where the tennis club, childcare centre and playground sit could be redeveloped.
‘‘The real concern is these deals are going on and [people] don’t know about it. Sure, there are connections between the Marutuahu iwi and this land, but that doesn’t mean you should transfer well-used community land,’’ Mr Chambers says.
Mr Chambers has requested details of the claim’s basis.
He wants to know why the land was promised in 1842 and exactly what was promised, but hasn’t received the information yet.
‘‘We want to be responsible about this. We want to warn people and we welcome their ideas,’’ he says.
‘‘There’s not an enormous amount of open space in Parnell. To lose an actively used recreation park would be a significant blow.’’
City view: The view from the Fred Ambler Lookout.