Opposition to mall plan grows
The size of Westfield St Lukes will increase dramatically if a private plan change goes ahead, with community attention now turning to possible relocation of the St Lukes community library.
Auckland city councillor Glenda Fryer is concerned about the future of the library, saying it is being moved without consulting the community.
“The developers will move it where it is most convenient.
“It is being used as a dis- posable commodity,” she says.
But Westfield New Zealand director Justin Lynch says possible relocation of the library isn’t part of Westfield’s application for the plan change.
“Given the library land is owned by council, it is their place to comment,” he says.
“Naturally the vision for any future development could include community services.”
Council city development committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar says he is not aware of any council plans to move the library, but says Westfield has inquired about long-term plans for it and its possible integration into the mall.
A letter from the council to Westfield on May 23 last year outlines a discussion from an urban design panel meeting about relocating the library.
“The panel favours building development on the Cornwallis St frontage in the long term. This would be greatly facilitated by the relocation of the library from its corner site,” the letter reads.
The application for the plan change says both council officers and the urban design panel support the library being shifted north to become part of the “main-street” environment.
Westfield says it is creating a “main-street” environment similar to Nuffield St in Newmarket.
Mr Lynch says that in line with community feedback and best practice in urban design, the plan change would enable future development to cater for improved integration with the surrounding community.
The company says it is in the initial process of ensuring St Lukes is at the heart of a well-functioning town centre for the local area.
Graham Dekker, who lives near the mall on Aroha Ave, says all three members of his family use the library extensively and they would be happy with the move if it was to Morningside Drive or Exeter Rd.
Mr Dekker says he thinks the majority of residents on his street would not oppose a library relocation but they are totally opposed to any extension of Exeter Rd to link with Aroha Ave.
Resident Peter Nightingale agrees, saying the library is a well-used amenity, but he has concerns about traffic flow in residential areas.
Ms Fryer says developers are conning the community to look at the positives.
“Westfield has dwarfed the library. The bottom line is no to the Exeter St plans and no to the library shift.”
Ms Fryer also feels that private plan changes are being rushed through before the system changes under the new governance structure.
Submissions on the private plan change are open until May 29.