LocalMatters       

23 strategic Whangaparāoa properties could be sold

Posted at 4:33pm Tuesday 07 May, 2019

Auckland Council, via its property arm Panuku Development, is proposing to sell 23 properties on Whangaparāoa Road with a combined rating value of $13.9 million.

It is the largest number of Council-owned properties on the Coast to be considered for sale since the councils amalgamated in 2010.

Most of the properties form a line from just past D'Oyly Drive, around the corner into Brightside Road.

They are numbered 472-502 Whangaparāoa Road and 4-6 Brightside Road. In addition, 599, 616A and 750A Whangaparāoa Road are proposed to be sold. Sixteen of the sites are vacant land and the remainder are residential properties.

As a whole, the sites from 472 Whangaparāoa Road to 6 Brightside Road are considered a key part of the road network allowing for future road widening as the peninsula's population grows.

The 23 properties, many of which have sea views, are zoned Residential Single House. However, because most are adjoining, some local board members, including chair Julia Parfitt and deputy chair Janet Fitzgerald, fear the properties could go to a developer who could amalgamate the titles into one site and build many houses.

“Any such development would add to the problems on Whangaparāoa Road, whereas this land was purchased by Rodney District Council because it had the potential to reduce traffic problems,” Mrs Parfitt says. “Rodney didn't have a lot of money to throw around, so purchasing those properties was a big investment and done for strategic purposes as they could see the growth occurring.”

Mrs Fitzgerald says it is irresponsible to sell off land that could be critically important for road safety in future. “At the very least they should first subdivide off enough for road widening,” she says.

Cr John Watson says that although widening Whangaparāoa Road is not a funded project from 2018-28, the option should still be retained.

“It's hard to understand how Rodney could determine that this was needed in the late 1990s but over 20 years on, with a significantly increased population, it's no longer required,” he says. “We've already seen this when the land in Link Crescent was sold off for housing a few years back. This was an ideal location for another park and ride servicing the eastern end of the peninsula. That opportunity was lost the moment that land was sold.”

Because the Whangaparāoa and Brightside Road properties were purchased for road widening, they are on Auckland Transport's (AT) books and the AT board had to agree to the disposal, which it did following a report presented to it recently. The local board was refused access to the report on the basis that it is confidential.

At the local board's April 17 meeting, members were asked by representatives of AT and Panuku to endorse the proposed land sales. Instead, the local board deferred its decision, asking again to see the AT report.

“We need all the information when considering such a key disposal on our arterial network,” Mrs Parfitt said at the meeting. “Did AT think about the increase in traffic and development along the route?”

Despite this lack of local board support, Panuku's portfolio strategy manager, Marian Webb, says the sale proposal is going before Council's Finance and Performance Committee's June 18 meeting for final approval.

“The properties are no longer needed for transport or infrastructure projects, nor for any other council service,” she says. “Part of Panuku's mandate is to identify sites that are underused or no longer needed for council purposes to create a return for ratepayers.”

Panuku's report to the local board states that it is required to sell $24 million of property by June 30.

“To retain non-service properties for an undefined purpose is contrary to council's Revenue and Funding Policy principles and would require support from the Finance and Performance Committee given the impact of not realising the sale of the non-service properties,” the report says.

AT had no comment to make on the proposed disposals.

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