Youth climate campaigners Generation Zero and Women in Urbanism are weighing in on the Chamberlain Park debate. The future of the Chamberlain Park 18-hole golf course has been debated for numerous years. Generation Zero and Women in Urbanism want to get the community thinking about what a publicly accessible and open Chamberlain Park could look like that is available for all to enjoy.
“Auckland’s increasing urban density means that it is more important than ever to have accessible green spaces for all.” says Women in Urbanism spokesperson Alana Bowmar. “Making Chamberlain Park publicly accessible is critical to delivering on the Auckland Plan and catering to the needs of the Waitematā and Albert-Eden Local Board area.”
Generation Zero alongside Women in Urbanism are concerned about a misleadingly-titled petition ‘Save Chamberlain Park’ that has been circulating and gathering signatures for the past few years. This petition calls for Chamberlain Park to remain a golf course that is not accessible for public use.
“We do not see this as fulfilling the community benefits that the title of ‘park’ suggests. As long as Chamberlain Park remains a golf course with no public space, it is incompatible with providing accessible green space to city communities says Generation Zero member Nola Smart. “It creates a barrier through the neighbourhood for walking and cycling, blocking entry to one of Auckland’s busiest cycle routes, the North-Western Cycleway.”
At the end of this month, the Albert-Eden Local Board will make a decision about the park's future. Generation Zero has an alternative suggestion to ‘save’ space as a park. They would like to see a change from a mono-use, privatised public park to a multi-use public park with the golf club retained as a halved 9-hole course. Generation Zero and Women in Urbanism have launched a petition supporting this suggestion here: https://www.generationzero.org/a_chamberlain_park_for_everyone
The campaigners believe that transforming the park encourage sustainable modes of travel such as walking and cycling and support Aotearoa’s precious biodiversity. This will be achieved by creating walking and cycling links through the non-golf course half of the park and restoring the Meola Creek (Waititiko). Planting more native trees across the park will bring native birds back to the park, improve biodiversity, and support carbon sequestration.
Generation Zero hopes that opening this discussion of the future of Chamberlain Park beyond a golf course leaves possibilities for incorporating other sporting facilities should evidence and community consultation run by the local board show demand.
“Given the recent passing of the Zero Carbon Bill, we have a goal to reduce our emissions, but no specific actions. Preparing for a low-carbon future requires sustainable and equitable decision-making now, and making Chamberlain Park publicly accessible is a great place to start.”
The campaigners will present the petition back to council on the 25th of November and will continue pushing for increasing access to Chamberlain Park and supporting a liveable and equitable Tāmaki Makaurau.