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Parkland central in Albany's future April 30, 2004

April 30, 2004

Parkland central in Albany's future

The North Shore City Council reconfirmed its commitment to open space when considering a draft development strategy for the Albany Centre.

The council opted against a continuous shopping area for the Albany Centre which would involve commercial development on some of its own land right in the heart of the centre. It believes open space here will enhance the area and the public's enjoyment of it.

The council owns more than six hectares of land in the centre of Albany. Approximately 4.5 hectares was bought for parkland and stormwater treatment, and 1.5 hectares for a future library (currently being consulted on as part of its draft 2004-14 City Plan), associated activities and additional landscaping. This site is between land owned by Westfield New Zealand and The Neil Group.

North Shore City strategy and finance committee chairperson, Tony Holman, says Albany is an important centre from a local and regional perspective.

"It is also an area of the city where the location, amount and quality of green open space is critical to its future," he says.

Councillor Holman says the council has already earmarked this land and drawn up plans for how it could be turned into an attractive park.

"We must protect and take care of what parkland we have and embrace opportunities to create new ones for our current and future residents and visitors to enjoy."

The Albany Centre development strategy which was prepared after extensive consultation with key stakeholders, landowners and the community, aimed to give the council a clearer direction on what changes were needed to its District Plan and other ways to achieve a more attractive centre for residents and workers. The decision to retain the area at the heart of the Albany Centre as public open space means the council will need to reassess some of its plans for the area.

North Shore City's environmental policy and planning manager, Trevor Mackie, says the community has expressed concern with the way in which the Albany Centre has developed and this still needs to be addressed.

"The council's vision in the development strategy is a dynamic city centre of which we can all be proud. To achieve this it's essential that we create a sustainable city centre which attracts people and jobs, has good quality buildings and open space, and is easy to get around by walking and public transport," he says.

The council will need to review how this can be achieved and what changes are needed to its plans. Passenger transport, the road network and reserves are important elements of the centre, and it is likely that there will still be a civic building in the heart of the area.

The council has already received resource consents from Westfield New Zealand and The Neil Group on plans for developing their land, and it will need to respond to these applications.

The Neil Group is also currently challenging in the Environment Court part of the council's District Plan that shows what development can take place on its land.

North Shore City Council will continue to work closely with the other landowners, the local community and key interest groups.

For information about the Albany Centre project, people are invited to visit the council's website www.northshorecity.govt.nz.

ENDS

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