Park dream in dust
KELLY ST residents have lost their bid to turn a controversial empty lot into a community park.
The Auckland City Council’s arts, culture and recreation committee rejected the possibility of buying the Mt Eden site at its August 13 meeting.
The site was a former dental training school owned by the Environmental Science and Research Institute.
It’s now owned by developers Glenstone Ltd who plan to build apartments on it, and is not for sale.
However controversy has always surrounded the land because it was sold to a former chief financial officer of the institute.
Residents and members of the Eden Albert Community Board have been campaigning since 2001 to see the site purchased and used for open space such as an art and sculpture park.
The Eden Albert ward has the lowest amount of open space per 1000 people in Auckland city and board members want to see that changed.
Mt Eden North Residents Association spokesman Orlando Clairmont encouraged councillors at the meeting to vote in favour of the proposal.
“This is a great opportunity to restrict inappropriate zoning and end controversy around the site,” Mr Clairmont said.
“There’s no better time than now to invest.”
Councillors Cathy Casey, Glenda Fryer and Richard Northey also spoke in favour of purchasing the site.
“There’s so much negativ- ity around the site at the moment and we want to turn it into something positive,” said Ms Fryer.
“Why don’t you give the locals their dream which is a sculpture park?”
Despite the support, councillors voted against the proposal, with two for and five against.
Council streets and open space manager Rachael Ea- ton says officers have investigated the Kelly St site several times.
It’s considered unsuitable because it’s close to other open spaces in the area such as Tahaki Reserve and Mt Eden.
Priorities for the EdenAlbert ward are in planned growth areas of Mt Albert, Sandringham and Balmoral, she says.
“The Eden-Albert ward has some of the highest quality parks in the city and has a good spread of parks across the ward, providing a high level of accessibility to open space,” she says.
“The majority of residents live within a five to 10-minute walk of an open space and residents in the ward have indicated that they are satisfied with the amount of parks,” Ms Eaton says.
Ms Fryer says she is very upset about the decision, but will not give up.
“Local people have some wonderful, inspiring ideas for the site,” she says.
“We may give it a whirl again and see how we go, but for now we have hit a stop.”
Glenstone Ltd declined to comment.
Vacant site: Councillor Glenda Fryer wants to see an empty site at 17 Kelly St turned into a park for the community. The request was turned down at this month’s arts, culture and recreation meeting.