Candidates face mall questioning
Mt Albert’s byelection candidates are backing residents who are concerned about the impact of a proposed multi-million dollar expansion of Westfield St Lukes.
The St Lukes Community Association approached candidates from four political parties to determine their views.
The group says with 90,000 square metres of floor space, the new mall would almost double in size and could see building height in some areas reach 40 metres, more than doubling the existing 15 metre heights.
After meeting with residents, Labour candidate David Shearer agreed Westfield’s private plan change and any subsequent development would have a negative impact on the local community.
He says it would lead to increased traffic and congestion and was likely to further undermine local businesses.
He says Westfield must work with residents on a development that allows the local community’s concerns to be met.
National’s Melissa Lee says Westfield has failed to convince locals the proposal was in the community’s interests.
She says until the shopping mall giant did that, she would continue to represent community concerns.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman backed the association’s bid to have the zoning change rejected.
“We think the impacts on the local community, with the loss of trees, increase in local traffic and the intrusive height of planned buildings on the Aroha Ave frontage, are simply unacceptable.
“We urge Westfield to open real negotiations with the community to address the genuine concerns local residents have.”
Act’s John Boscawen has also taken on board residents’ objections.
Mr Boscawen has facilitated a meeting giving residents the opportunity to brief Auckland mayor John Banks on their concerns.
Public submissions close on Friday.