07 Mar 2013

NZ Herald letters to the Editor: 07 March 2013

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Dear Sir,

Reaction to the previewed parts of Auckland’s Unitary Plan given recent coverage needs clarification.

The Character Coalition of 53 residents and heritage groups, representing communities from Warkworth to Franklin, put to Council key features of Brisbane’s plan that stopped the demolition rush there when land values jumped, while allowing growth and intensification.

Demolition control of pre-1944 buildings is not aimed at keeping every single one – it shifts the focus onto why a building which forms part of the character-establishing fabric of an area should go, rather having to prove why it should stay. It changes the values underpinning decisions in favour of recognising and protecting what is uniquely ours, Auckland’s story reflected in its buildings.

Notification ensures those most affected by demolition of long-standing local features – the community – have a say in the outcome.

Public reaction against the Council’s plans for major intensification has been unfairly labelled “nimbyism”. Most people accept some degree of intensification in Auckland is needed – how much is a moot point.

But communities, the people for whom this plan is being made, are not required to passively accept whatever policy-makers, seen and unseen, devise.

What communities want from their Council is commitment to a real chance to say where and how intensification happens, and a process ensuring that opportunity.

The Coalition’s baseline position is that true local consultation must happen before Auckland’s suburbs are intensified.

If Council is to get anywhere near the public buy-in they say they need to make the Unitary Plan work, giving communities that involvement in such a  momentous change will be make or break.

Sally Hughes
Character Coalition

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