I have been living by the waterfront of Devonport all my life, and I cannot believe the number of ships carrying cars that are arriving – sometimes there are three or four of these berthed at the Ports of Auckland and another three or four anchored in the channel of Hauraki Gulf. Somebody told me there are 18,000 new vehicles per month arriving in New Zealand. I think it’s time we started having a long hard look at the way we are importing cheap Japanese cars, that do nothing but clog our roads and turn our streets into car parks.
I see Jutland Road in Hauraki has had a huge makeover, with new seal, new footpaths, new curbing, new driveways and new verges being sown with grass seed and completely new road seal.
According to the residents that I’ve talked to, it was quite adequate the way it was. Jutland Road is a bus route, and a main thoroughfare for residents and the Hauraki Primary School. There was no notification by Council, or consultation with residents as to whether this was necessary. So they have spent millions of dollars on putting back the road the way it was, with the exception of a wider footpath. I believe this has been an opportunity lost here, as there was a chance to widen the road to improve traffic flow, as it is like the dodgems at certain times of the day with it narrowing down to one lane when cars are parked on both sides of the roads. The verges are very wide, and could very easily have provided bays for parking between the power poles. The wider footpaths encourage pedestrians and are good for cyclists, especially children, but while great for their safety, it is not so good for people, especially the elderly. Some of these bus drivers try and manoeuvre their large buses down there sometimes, and this creates complete mayhem.
During the construction period there was a major hiccup, when residents noticed that one large stretch of the footpath was elevated beyond what was practical. The outcome was that work was halted for a period, surveyors were brought in and the footpath was realigned, and made lower. All the boxing and all the hard-filling had to be removed and it all had to be redone. How can this happen? Just another example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. No one has any clue, and there is no accountability.
Can somebody tell me also, if there is any Master Plan for expansion in the local schools within the peninsula area of the North Shore, from Takapuna down to Devonport, as with the Unitary Plan allowing smaller houses to be removed and multi level developments being constructed in their place – therefore one site may have up to 50 people living there rather than one family, and a lot more children being brought into the area.vThere doesn’t seem to be much forward thinking in this Master Plan, just a determination to pack more people in.
My men at the coal face have been telling me that the Royal NZ Navy Officers’ Training facility on Vauxhall Road between Narrowneck and Cheltenham beaches, could be removed at the end of the Lease term and there is a proposal for it be replaced by apartment buildings. These buildings can be of medium height, four to five storeys with car parking underneath and outstanding views out over the Hauraki Gulf. Some years ago, when we were still under the North Shore City Council, there was a long and hard fight to have this land revert to reserve land at the termination of the Defence Department’s lease. There is still a large portion of that land that is Reserve, the naval houses that used to sit just above Narrowneck beach have gone, and you can walk up and along that beautiful outcrop of land known as Fort Takapuna, breathe the sea air and look out over the tranquil Hauraki Gulf.
My understanding is that there could be some 160-200 apartments built on the land where the Defence Force buildings currently are. As I mentioned in last month’s column, we need to be very aware of these possibilities and plans, and make our feelings known. These things can happen without too much consultation or notification to residents and before we know it, another crane goes up, the trucks move in and another beautiful, peaceful part of our city is lost to us all.