Council gives airspace sale breathing room

Posted at 10:34am Thursday 19 Nov, 2020

The potential sale of the ‘airspace' above the Silverdale park and ride (HM July 1) has gone a step further.

At its September 17 meeting, the Finance and Performance Committee gave Auckland Council's property arm, Panuku, approval to look into the options in detail.

The airspace proposal is part of Council's drive to bring in revenue and could see the airspace above the park and ride sold for housing, office or commercial use.

In what could be described as a partial asset sale, the proposal seeks to utilise “exciting opportunities for mixed use development and urban living” at 10 Auckland park and rides.

Local councillors John Watson and Wayne Walker both voted against the proposal, but are relieved that Panuku must come back to the committee with a business case for each proposed development before anything is taken further.

The councillors say what appears to be driving the idea is that park and rides are seen as ideal for intensive development, so people can live and work near transport hubs.

They say this is not relevant in the case of Silverdale, where intensive development around the park and ride is already going on.

“There is a lot of risk in selling airspace when you don't know what it might be useful for in future – such as expansion of the park and ride with a parking building,” Cr Watson says.

The councillors also say there are big questions about the potential effects on nearby residential subdivisions and the large retirement village and childcare centre due to be built.

“Park and rides are 24-hour, busy places and not that attractive,” Cr Walker says. The roads around them can be busy and dangerous.”

Panuku's assets and delivery general manager Marian Webb says the Finance and Performance Committee's decision enabled Panuku and Auckland Transport to further investigate the phasing of a 20-year development programme for park and rides.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Council on this. As we are currently in the preliminary stages it is too early to be able to confirm a development timeline for Silverdale at this point,” she says.

Whether the public will have any say in the matter depends on what is eventually proposed for the site and whether it meets Unitary Plan rules.


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