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ARC proposes $10 flat charge for parks purchase

ARC proposes new $10 flat charge for parks purchase

The Auckland Regional Council is asking ratepayers in the Auckland region whether they are prepared to pay a $10 (plus GST) flat charge for regional park purchases.

The suggestion comes in response to continuing population growth in the region and an ever-increasing demand for open spaces for recreation and relaxation.

In its Draft Regional Community Plan for 2004/14 Your Region, Your Future, the ARC asks ratepayers to respond to the idea of creating a special dedicated fund for the purchase of new park land, and whether or not they are prepared to pay $10 (plus GST) per property to go to the Parks Purchase Fund.

The $10 (plus GST) flat charge will only be implemented if there is a clear mandate from the community. Every ratepayer would contribute an equal amount of $10 (plus GST) to raise a total of about $4.5 million each year. The ARC estimates this fund would result in four new regional parks over the next ten years.

In recent times the ARC has borrowed money and used cash reserve funds to pay for park land. Rather than borrowing more, it is proposed that the ARC uses the $10 (plus GST) per property (or rating unit) to build up a park land purchase fund.

At present, the region’s 21 regional parks attract approximately 8 million visitors per year. The regional parks network covers more than 38,000 hectares ranging from sandy beaches, farmland and bush wilderness to the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens and Ericsson Stadium.

The ARC provides for the use, enjoyment, maintenance, protection, preservation and enhancement of these parks for everyone in the Auckland region. The parks are home to many important conservation initiatives.

The Draft Regional Community Plan, including the proposed $10 park land flat charge, is open to public consultation from Monday 5 April to Monday 3 May. Written submissions can be made throughout this time.

People can also log on to www.getinvolved.co.nz to complete a quick on-line survey and let the ARC know if they support a $10 flat charge for buying new park land. This survey is also included in ARC’s newspaper, RegionWide, which will be inserted in local papers during the week of 5 April.

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