Park dream in dust

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Sloan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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