The Auckland Council, through its property company Panuku, wants to sell the Takapuna Carpark for a bit of quick cash.
In 2017 they published the Takapuna Framework Plan, which shows the site covered by 9-storey buildings. We lose an 8,000m2 open space – and would be left with just two narrow alleys and a tiny courtyard beside Burger King. There’s no room for the Sunday Markets.
In the Framework Plan, there is no parking. And Auckland’s Unitary Plan does not require new housing developments to provide parking either.
The plan has no provision for expanding public transport services – although our bus services are already struggling with the limited bus stops along Lake Rd.
Council’s plan: The carpark would be replaced by 9-storey towers. There is no parking, and no provision to expand public transport. Instead of the whole site, we would only have two narrow alleys and a small courtyard by Burger King – certainly not enough room for the Sunday Markets.
The carpark land is the jewel in Takapuna’s crown. Cities all over the world would pay a king’s ransom to have a large, flat site in the heart of their community like the one we already own. It is incomprehensible that we would sell it – because once it is gone we can never get it back.
Heart of Takapuna‘s vision is to turn the carpark into an absolutely amazing open space, suitable for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy all year around. The parking – which local business rely on – would be underground. There would be a public transport hub which would cater for huge expansion of our bus capacity. In the longer term, if trains ever make it across the harbour, we would also have the option of a central train station right where it is needed most.
Census figures predict that Takapuna’s population will triple in the next 20-30 years. The Auckland Council Unitary Plan has ‘upzoned’ the whole of central Takapuna and the residential areas around it for high rise and intensive terraced housing. There are already cranes dotted around Takapuna building apartment blocks where there used to be single houses. And we’re OK with that – because people need houses, and we need more houses in our back yard too.
What most of all these new homes won’t have is much outdoor space. We need to keep this public land in public hands, so that future generations of Takapuna’s children to have a decent place to run around in. Most of Takapuna’s open spaces are steeply sloping, so we need to keep this site so that our older and disabled residents have accessible public spaces.
With a huge population boom due, we not only need to keep the public land we have, we should be buying more.
Good urban planning does NOT advocate cramming towers of concrete and steel into every available square inch of space. Good urban planning weaves multiple threads together to create the fabric of a functioning community: transport, housing, education, health, employment, passive and active recreation, arts and culture, basic infrastructure, and much more.
The Takapuna Framework Plan fails to address any of these in any depth – and omits to mention a number of them altogether. Instead of a holistic and farsighted plan for Takapuna’s future – its incredibly narrow focus is limited to selling the Takapuna Carpark and the Gasometer site in Northcroft St.
The result is a plan which falls well short of the depth of thinking that our community deserves and needs.