24 May 2013

Youngsters look to the future for their suburb

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Written by: Karina Abadia
Published: Auckland Now / East & Bays Courier – 24 May 2013

YOUTH INPUT: Year 5 and 6 Victoria Avenue School pupils get to grips with the draft unitary plan with Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson.

YOUTH INPUT: Year 5 and 6 Victoria Avenue School pupils get to grips with the draft unitary plan with Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson.

There has been a big push from Auckland Council to encourage young people to comment on the draft unitary plan but Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson took that a step further on Tuesday.

Year 5 and 6 pupils at Victoria Avenue School spent an hour giving Ms Simpson and council planner Megan Tyler feedback on the kind of Auckland they would like to live in when they are 40 years old.

The children say they like living in Remuera because there are lots of other children living there, plenty of trees, the homes are nice and the level of density is fairly low.

But some have grandparents living in apartments and say the benefits of this type of housing is it is easier and cheaper to heat and maintain and there isn’t a garden to look after.

Armed with maps of the area and multi-coloured blocks, the pupils constructed four-storey apartment blocks, which the terrace housing and apartment zone allows for.

On the south side of Remuera Rd the pupils could envisage the apartments being quite dark and suggest building them at different levels or designing them with lots of glass to let in the light.

The children also have a variety of transport suggestions.

“If you narrow the road and make the footpath bigger, more people could walk to work,” one boy says.

Another suggests the opposite.

“I think we should widen the road for cars and also have more public transport.”

The position of the Remuera train station next to the motorway makes it hard to access by car, one pupil says.

“You can create subways so trains don’t take up space above ground.

“Create pedestrian bridges above the really busy roads so people don’t have to look out for traffic,” another pupil says.

Protecting grassy fields and open space at school and in the community is something the children support.

“It’s nice that we’ve got lots of fields to play on and parks,” one boy says.

Ms Simpson says the fact the children volunteered to take part in the session goes to show that they really do care about the future of Auckland.

“It was good they were engaged and very quick to understand what we were trying to do around the unitary plan.

“They certainly got the height and numbers concepts and I think they realised that land was valuable.

“Interestingly, the children were saying basically the same thing as the adults had been saying in our public meetings.

“In essence they were worried about infrastructure occurring before development.”

Submissions for the draft unitary plan close on May 31.

Go to shapeauckland.co.nz for more information.

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