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Residents in for a shock

Tue, 22 Jun 2004

Chris Fletcher's Mayoral Campaign

Below is a media release from the Hon Chris Fletcher, QSO mayoral candidate for Auckland city _____

Residents in for a shock

Squeezing in thousands more will change the face of Auckland neighbourhoods

Aucklanders have grave distrust and misgivings about a population growth strategy that would have Auckland City boost its housing stock to cope with an additional 111,800 people by 2021.

Auckland City Council's population growth plan, called the Central Sector Agreement, was signed by Auckland City Council in November last year, but I have yet to see any evidence that this council is carrying out the necessary planning and co-ordination with all parties - including central government.

How can the city absorb hundreds of thousands of people without further dismembering the existing social fabric of our local communities?

The Central Sector Agreement would allow for Auckland City's population to grow from 346,000 in 1996 to 583,000 by 2050; an increase of 237,000.

An estimated 377,000 people lived in Auckland City in 2001, and the Regional Growth Forum estimates the city's present capacity for growth is 30,000 people and this is likely to be used up by 2006.

It is clear to me, after campaigning across Auckland for the past two years, that the city's residents are in for a major shock when they fully understand the implications of Auckland's population growth plan.

Priority areas for growth include the central (downtown) area, Newmarket, Panmure, Glen Innes, Mt Wellington Quarry, Otahuhu, and Avondale.

One of the worst affected, however, will be the Grey Lynn neighbourhood, which the Regional Growth Management Strategy 2050 marks as an 'area of change'. This is bureaucratic jargon meaning the area will be required to accommodate huge numbers of extra people.

This is in conflict with the fact that large areas of Grey Lynn, such as Crummer Road, Williamson Avenue, Prime Road, Wilton and Castle Streets, are among those identified as heritage areas and are zoned Residential 1. Such identification is supposed to protect the historical architectural form and authentic character of the area.

How can the unique character of an area such as Grey Lynn be preserved and protected when even the local councillors believe the area has to change and the extra people squeezed in?

It is imperative that we reconsider the growth targets for our city as a matter of urgency.

Is extraordinary population growth what we really want for our city or need for our children? Are we adequately coping now? I think not.

I believe the plans of the present Auckland City Council are out of control and I urge the city's residents to ask the questions that will uncover what is truly planned for their communities.

Chris Fletcher

Auckland City Mayoral Candidate

ENDS

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