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Council endorses regional open space strategy

NEWS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Council endorses regional open space strategy

December 15, 2003

An open space strategy for the Auckland region is expected to be endorsed by the area's local authorities and should come into effect next year.

The Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS) is a result of a close partnership between the Auckland Regional Council (ARC), the Department of Conservation, Auckland's local authorities and the Ministry for the Environment.

The ARC document aims to provide a structure that will help local authorities in the region work together to develop and improve open spaces, especially where rapid population growth could affect housing densities and the provision of accessible open space. A vision for the future open space network within the 50 year Growth Strategy vision is presented.

North Shore City's strategy and finance committee chairperson, Tony Holman, says North Shore City supports the regional growth forum document, which underpins the city's needs:

* To provide open space for recreation purposes;

* To provide access to natural areas;

* To protect and enhance the city's unique marine environment;

* To protect cultural heritage features and unique landscapes.


Councillor Holman says it is important that provision be made now to preserve open spaces that will enhance the quality of life and provide more public space and recreation activities, especially where housing densities will cover more land, and building heights are likely to increase.

"It's important to recognise that open space in the city provides not just for recreation, but also helps to maintain vital ecosystems, it looks great, and it helps provide the glue that keeps our communities functioning.

"Open spaces provide many benefits, directly and indirectly. It's vital that we consider the issue carefully and have strategies that make it happen.

"As housing densities increase and private open spaces decrease, we should be adjusting the way we measure open space and perhaps adjust the ratio of open space to population," says Councillor Holman.

While the council will continue to plan for and develop open spaces as before, the regional open space strategy will operate in conjunction with the North Shore City's Open Space Strategy. One of its significant projects is the development of a regional open space protection, acquisition and management plan, which will shape the future of our regional open space network.

(ends)


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