Neigh­bours in sup­port

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

BAT­TLE-READY res­i­dents are stand­ing up for their elderly state home neigh­bours in Free­mans Bay.

Hous­ing New Zealand flat ten­ants in Spring St – in­clud­ing many in their 80s – are still wait­ing to hear what will hap­pen to their homes af­ter news be­fore Christ­mas that the site is go­ing to be re­de­vel­oped ( Auck­land City Har­bour News, Jan­uary 17).

Now their neigh­bours are step­ping up to help.

Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion chair­woman Lynne But­ler dropped off more than 200 hand­writ­ten sub­mis­sions against in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in the pro­posed Auck­land Uni­tary Plan to the coun­cil on Fri­day.

The sub­mis­sions ob­ject to zon­ing changes that would al­low build­ings up to six storeys high on the Spring St site and to the lack of park­ing pro­vi­sions.

Neigh­bours op­pose the pos­si­ble de­vel­op­ment for a num­ber of rea­sons, but mostly for the sake of its res­i­dents, Ms But­ler says.

‘‘There’s just a whole lot of so­cial is­sues around it that they’re just not get­ting.

‘‘Most im­por­tantly is the care and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the pen­sion­ers liv­ing there.’’

Hous­ing New Zealand is ask­ing the coun­cil to make the site a Spe­cial Hous­ing Area, mean­ing de­vel­op­ment could be fast-tracked with a quicker con­sent process, no pub­lic no­ti­fi­ca­tion and lim­ited ap­peal rights.

One of its ten­der doc­u­ments says there is no Hous­ing New Zealand ex­pec­ta­tion for de­vel­op­ers to pro­vide af­ford­able or pensioner hous­ing in Spring St.

Res­i­dent As­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber Grey Sea­gar is not im­pressed.

‘‘They’ve for­got­ten that they said ‘you can live here for life’ to some of the pen­sion­ers who are still in there. We just can’t un­der­stand the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for it.’’

Hous­ing New Zealand re­gional man­ager Neil Adams says the or­gan­i­sa­tion met with res­i­dents to ex­plain it has no im­me­di­ate in­ten­tions to move them.

It is too early to talk about re­hous­ing op­tions and ten­ants will be the first to know when a de­ci­sion is made, he says.

De­vel­op­ments around Auck­land were dis­cussed at the meet­ing to show what has hap­pened else­where.

‘‘Com­ments in re­la­tion to Three Kings were an ex­am­ple only of the qual­ity, de­sign and fea­tures of some of the new homes we are build­ing in Auck­land at the mo­ment, not as a place for Spring St ten­ants to move to.’’

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board mem­ber Christo­pher Dempsey says the board voted in favour of the higher den­sity zon­ing for Spring St be­cause it sup­ports in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in the area.

Mr Dempsey looks af­ter the board’s plan­ning port­fo­lio and says the in­fra­struc­ture needs to be con­sid­ered be­fore a Spe­cial Hous­ing Area is given the green light.

The im­pact of de­vel­op­ment on sur­round­ing prop­er­ties is also a con­cern, he says.

‘‘The prob­lem we had is that we know Hous­ing New Zealand will want to in­ten­sify it in some sort of man­ner.

‘‘It didn’t mat­ter what we did re­ally.’’

Auck­land Cen­tral-based Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern says com­mu­ni­ca­tion with res­i­dents is the real is­sue.

‘‘I’m not against the prin­ci­pal of in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion.

‘‘But for Spring St I’m ab­so­lutely op­posed to the way Hous­ing New Zealand has de­cided to go about this de­vel­op­ment,’’ she says.

‘‘I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing I can to sup­port the res­i­dents who clearly don’t want this to hap­pen.’’

Speak­ing up: Free­mans Bay Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­woman Lynne But­ler with mem­bers Grey Sea­gar, Cynthia Beeby, Trevor Lund, Va­lerie Leech, Trevor Long­ford-Reid and Mar­garet Voyce.

Flash back: The front page of the Auck­land City Har­bour News, Jan­uary 17.

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