27 Nov 2012

Northshore Times: Letters – 27 November 2012

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Unitary plan queried

I am pleased that Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse has recognised that intensification leads to increasing house prices (NST Nov 20).

However, I do not accept her “choice”-driven arguments that were also advanced in the 1980s
to justify socially detrimental programmes. There is no choice when approximately 95 per cent of
the Kaipatiki Local Board area’s sections (apart from the heritage zoned areas) will allow four- and
eight-storey and higher rise buildings. There are only about 78 sections in Glenfield and 59 in
Bayview that are unaffected and ‘zoned to remain as single sections.

People already raise concerns about a neighbour’s new garage, high fence and overhanging trees.
Imagine the reaction when they awake to a four-storey or eight-block development next door.

The deputy mayor stated that the Kaipatiki Local Board backed “a compact Auckland”, but while the board unanimously received the Auckland Plan report earlier this year, only the councillors can
approve it.

In fact, there are many enlightened aspects in the Auckland plan but some are concerning. The whole board strongly objected to proposed intensification of our heritage areas, and won.

The Auckland Plan only described “Some Changes” to Kaipatiki neighbourhoods that the Unitary Plan now depicts as having four storeys. More dramatic than “Some”! There was also a strong inference that intensification would occur only at town centres and at the time we were not to worry as the accompanying maps were “blurry”. Deceit is a strong word but I am sure we were not told the complete story at the time.

No wonder the council tried to dramatically prune the Unitary Plan consultation process and requested the Government truncate appeals to the Environment Court.

Earlier this year I tried to get the Kaipatiki Local Board’s resolutions on the Unitary Plan reports discussed and revealed to the public rather than held behind closed doors, but lost 5-3. And, this process is trumpeted as a new enlightened process. Give me a break. No wonder some have lost
I trust in the new arrangements.

Despite the pressure applied, I reserve the right as an elected member to inform my local board area of my views over council and board matters especially in areas that specifically affect my community.
Grant Gillon – Kaipatiki Local Board
Northshore Times: Letters – 27 November 2012


Density? no thanks

So Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse in your “Letters” column is reassuring the anxious, apparently misguided people of Auckland that density is good.

She claims that cities world-wide embrace higher density because it creates stronger communities, yet the clear experience is that high density tends to destroy decent living conditions, personal security and “liveability”.

There is a strong correlation between gang-controlled neighbourhood crime, and high-density urban environments such as those in New York, Mumbai, Rio, and London housing estates.

The gang communities meet Councillor Hulse’s criterion of being strong communities, but in the worst possible way.

Greater density and rapid expansion of the Auckland population will not fulfil the mythical quest for being the “world’s most liveable city” either.

That’s the world’s most ludicrous statement.

During my 27 years in local and regional government and many more in residents’ associations, I
have only ever heard the overwhelming cry from the community to resist greater density and to protect our hard-won traditional New Zealand residential environment.

Kaipatiki Board member Grant Gillon is certainly reflecting the majority view as I have seen and
heard it. I hope communities throughout the region will shout it out to the Auckland mayor, deputy and council.

Tony Holman – Northcote Pt
Northshore Times: Letters – 27 November 2012


Ideal density

It was rather a surprise to read that Auckland’s deputy mayor, Penny Hulse, believes that “cities worldwide embrace higher-density development” (Density good, NST November 20), and to see that she uses this claim as an attempt to convince North Shore residents to accept higher-density living.

Apart from obvious queries about the slums of London and New York, there is something in the tone of Ms Hulse’s prescription for higher density living that suggests residents have no choice and had better like it or lump it.

Has Ms Hulse not noticed that a house with some sort of backyard still remains the ideal for most New Zealanders? Advertisers make it their business to know where the market is, and the most popular image presented in ads for selling homes is of a single free-standing house with garden,
M Carol Scott- Birkenhead
Northshore Times: Letters – 27 November 2012


Making sense

It is good to see Mr Gillon and Ms Hulse exchanging letters about proposed high density developments, This is an important issue for all Aucklanders. They probably agree that
compared to the past we need more properties for single people, couples and small families and
that most young people prefer electronic media to gardening. So it does make sense to build apartments.

However Mr Gillon’s letter made sense whereas Ms Hulse’s contains wild and false assertions. She claims that “higher-density development creates stronger communities and successful economies”.

So would she argue that Hobson St has more wealth and community than say Warkworth or Glenfield? Does she claim that American cities with low density populations such as Phoenix and Dallas have less community spirit and wealth than say Baltimore and Philadelphia?

I lived in Spitalfields, which then had the highest density of housing in London and it also had the highest poverty and unemployment in London. Now living in North Shore I note that subdivision has roughly doubled the housing density in the 40 years since most of the first houses were built.

I do not notice a corresponding increase in community spirit – churches and bowls clubs are in decline, few young people attend local political meetings, etc.

Bob Atkinson – Birkdale
Northshore Times: Letters – 27 November 2012



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