Police called to residents’ protest over driveway
Auckland residents fighting to save a reserve on their street had police called on them during a peaceful protest.
Mt Eden resident Michael Neill, his wife and a couple of other residents sat on a Mt Eden roadside on Wrights Spur from 7am on Tuesday to stop contractors digging up a strip of land they want left alone.
In the 1980s the then Mt Eden Borough Council created a reserve at the back of a commercial building on Wrights Spur, stopping vehicles from accessing the property.
For more than 30 years, residents in the area have had to fight new tenants, owners and the council to maintain the reserve after repeated attempts to gain industrial access to the warehouse on site.
In November a developer gained resource consent from Auckland Council to create a driveway and industrial access to the site without having to notify residents.
When contractors showed up on Tuesday residents refused to move off the reserve. Police were called by the developer Jed Wieland.
Wieland said the building would be occupied by a gym for at least the next two years and the entrance would create a disabled access way.
Wieland said he had tried to be flexible with residents.
His contractors had already turned up once before in an attempt to start the work but were stopped by residents.
Police were at the scene for two hours talking to residents and trying to mediate the dispute. Voices were raised but no arrests were made.
Councillors Mike Lee and Christine Fletcher also turned up in an bid to stop contractors demolishing the reserve strip as well as Albert-Eden local board chair Peter Haynes.
‘‘There is a principle at stake here that this is council land,’’ Lee said.
‘‘It’s breaking the heart Aucklanders doing this.’’
A meeting was held on Wednesday between residents, of local MP David Seymour, Fletcher and council planners.
Neill said their only option was to take the dispute to the High Court.
‘‘There is a principle at stake here that this is council land. It's breaking the heart of Aucklanders doing this.’’
Michael Neill and other residents had the police called on them.