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Auckland's green space under threat

New roads identified to run through parkland

Birkenhead's reputation as one of Auckland's 'greenest' suburbs is about to be shattered with the potential development of three new roads.

The new roads were identified as part of the planning proposal submitted by Chelsea Sugar Refinery in its application to build 528 one/two and three-bedroom units on its existing site.

Residents at a preliminary planning response meeting held at Birkenhead Primary School on the weekend (April 30) heard that traffic projections of at least 1100 cars coming in and out of the proposed new subdivision could be filtered through the construction of three new roads.

The new roads would see:

* Onetaunga Road extended into the planned development from the east. This would increase congestion for David Beattie Place, Brigato Place, Balmain Road, Chelsea View Drive and all roads accessing onto Chelsea View Drive

* Huka Road extended into the planned development from the north.

* Blundell Place extended into the planned development from Chatswood.

Traffic volumes on Colonial Road, which already serves the refinery, would also increase - ultimately adding to increased congestion on Onewa Road.

Almost 120 Birkenhead and Chatswood residents attended the meeting, with many saying they were previously unaware of Chelsea Sugar Refinery's plans to extended current 'dead-end' roads into the proposed new subdivision.

"However, when you look at the sheer numbers calculated for living in this new Chelsea subdivision, it makes sense that the cars have to enter and exit from somewhere other than Colonial Road," an anxious Blundell Place resident told the meeting.

"That would destroy the character of our peaceful cul-de-sac and see anything up to 1100 cars using Chatswood as a short-cut onto Mokoia Road. The effect this would have on all cars using Mokoia Road would be catastrophic."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Onetaunga Road and Huka Road residents. Both roads are currently 'dead end' streets terminating on land owned by Chelsea Sugar Refinery and could be easily bulldozed to make way for new access routes.

Other objections to the proposed 528 unit development included the destruction of wildlife habitat in the Chelsea park area - home to moreporks, native terns and ducks, the creation of mid-rise tower blocks which would have a detrimental effect on heritage aspects of the historic refinery, and the loss of coastal access for all visitors to the current green space.

A second meeting to outline the effects of the proposed 528-unit development at Chelsea Sugar Refinery takes place at the Northcote Point RSA, Rodney Road, at 6pm on Tuesday May 2.

Submissions on Chelsea Sugar Refinery's planning application can be made to North Shore City Council - and close on Friday May 5.


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