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Feedback sought on plans for more parks

Feedback sought on plans for more parks

April 5, 2004

North Shore City Council is testing the public's mood on a proposal to earmark funding specifically to buy coastal land for future parks in the city.

People are also being asked whether they want to chip into a regional fund to buy Kaikoura Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

The council's parks and community services committee chairperson, Margaret Miles, says the need to preserve public access to and enjoyment of the city's coastline is essential.

"We have a beautiful coastline and retaining access for our growing population is critical for maintaining the quality of life for residents in our city," she says.

"With our rapidly growing city, and the trend towards medium and high density living making the traditional quarter-acre section a thing of the past, it is vital we have more open space in the city, so people can get outside to enjoy our natural environment."

North Shore City is seeking community feedback on these and other proposals as part of its draft 2004 - 2014 City Plan (or long term council community plan) - a new requirement under the Local Government Act 2002.

In the draft plan the council is proposing to establish a fund of $25m for buying significant coastal parkland within the city. If established there would be annual funding and maintenance costs of $2.6m a year, which would lead to an additional 2.2 per cent rates increase.

In another proposal North Shore City residents and business people are asked to consider whether to contribute $225,000 towards a regional fund to buy Kaikoura Island.

There are more than 500 parks and reserves covering 1234 hectares in North Shore City. The council recently bought a coastal property next to Kennedy Park. The vacant land had for many years been used as though it were part of the park.

Councillor Miles says the proposed fund would be used to buy land that could extend existing reserves and create new ones.

She says it is possible not all the money in the fund would be needed.

"Should significant sites become available, the council would seek to involve other partners in any acquisition and look for alternative sources of funding that were not a direct cost to ratepayers.

"However coastal land is very expensive, and the number of sites suitable for future parkland relatively small, so we need to have the money at hand to ensure we can act quickly to buy suitable land if it becomes available."

"If we put off buying suitable land when it becomes available we may either miss out altogether or end up paying much more for it in the future," Margaret Miles says.

The public has until April 22 to comment on these and other proposals on which the council is seeking feedback for its draft 2004 -2014 City Plan.

ENDS

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