Protest against car park

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

PLANS to ex­tend a church car park have got nearby res­i­dents in a flurry.

But lead­ers of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter Day Saints in San­dring­ham say they’re only try­ing to be good neigh­bours.

The Ki­witea St church is seek­ing con­sent from the Auck­land Coun­cil to turn two of its res­i­den­tial properties on Calgary St into a 52 space car park.

‘‘It would be a to­tal eye­sore for the whole street. It has a huge amount of his­tory, and beau­ti­ful old houses, and then we would have this mas­sive con­crete mess in the mid­dle,’’ res­i­dent Wayne Evans says.

‘‘The car park is also used for ac­tiv­i­ties that make a large amount of noise and draw a huge num­ber of peo­ple to the area.

‘‘The peo­ple who use the church don’t just cel­e­brate a wed­ding or a fu­neral, they cel­e­brate all the time. There would be cars com­ing and go­ing at night and noise,’’ he says.

Res­i­dent Jocelyn Brice fears the car park would be a se­cu­rity risk.

‘‘We’ve had four bur­glar­ies in the past so we’re quite emo­tive about se­cu­rity and a car park would cre­ate an es­cape route for bur­glars,’’ she says.

Many of the houses on the street were built in the early 1900s in­clud­ing the two homes that would be re­moved.

‘‘It’s de­mol­ish­ing the his­tory of the street, and it seems crazy to get rid of two houses when there is a hous­ing short­age in Auck­land,’’ Mrs Brice says.

Res­i­dents have been hold­ing meet­ings and in­tend to op­pose the car park if the plans are pub­licly no­ti­fied by the coun­cil.

Church stake pres­i­dent An­thony Wil­son says the sec­tions were pur­chased in the early 2000s as a way to ap­pease neigh­bours. There were com­plaints about church­go­ers park­ing in the street.

Plans to con­vert them into a car park didn’t go ahead when one of three con­gre­ga­tions was moved to an­other build­ing and num­bers lev­elled out.

Mr Wil­son says con­gre­ga­tion num­bers are again grow­ing and other fa­cil­i­ties are un­der pres­sure.

Two con­gre­ga­tions of around 200 peo­ple cur­rently use the fa­cil­ity each Sun­day and that is ex­pected to grow to three.

‘‘As a con­se­quence we’re go­ing to need the car park. I know some of the neigh­bours don’t like the idea of it but we be­lieve we can mit­i­gate some of their con­cerns be­ing raised. We’re just try­ing to do the best we can to be good neigh­bours.’’

He says traf­fic on Calgary St won’t be an is­sue be­cause there will be no en­trances and ex­its on the road and users will need to use the ex­ist­ing church en­trance on Lam­beth Rd.

News of ex­pand­ing con­gre­ga­tion num­bers has fur­ther riled res­i­dents.

Res­i­dent Renske van den Brink says un­til now rela- tions with the church have been am­i­ca­ble.

‘‘We’ve been fairly tol­er­ant neigh­bours re­ally. We’re quite happy with the two con­gre­ga­tions. We don’t mind the odd bit of noise and cel­e­bra­tions. We don’t ring noise con­trol at the mo­ment.

‘‘Our bot­tom line is we don’t want the two houses to be bowled. We want the church to act as a re­spon­si­ble neigh­bour,’’ she says.

The say they would like the church to con­sider other op­tions in­clud­ing park­ing on Lam­beth Rd which is much wider, or ask­ing church go­ers to walk where pos­si­ble.

Pho­tos: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

No way: Re­nata Dealy, Jocelyn Brice, Lester Brice, Wayne Evans, Renske van den Brink, and Stu­art Son­tier stand in front of one of the houses that could be de­mol­ished to make way for an ex­tended church car park.

Neigh­bour­hood dis­pute: Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter Day Saints San­dring­ham stake pres­i­dent An­thony Wil­son, left, and Bishop Siosifa Hala­fuka say they are try­ing to be good neigh­bours.

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