As David Clendon blogged last week there has been a lot of concern in West Auckland about the impacts the third super city bill might have on the Waitakere Ranges.
First, Westies were concerned that the Bill might lead to the Waitakeres being taken away from the Auckland Council and made into a National Park. This would be a bad outcome as DOC almost certainly couldn’t afford to spend as much on conservation/facilities in the Waitakeres as the Auckland Council.
After various people, including David, raised this issue in the media Paula Bennett quickly backtracked – telling the Herald that the government will not try to nationalize the Waitakeres using the third super city bill. That’s good news!
Nevertheless, West Aucklanders are still concerned that the third super city bill would create a spatial plan for Auckland which would over-ride the current Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act of 2008. This is a major issue as right now the Act protects the Waitaks from sub-division or urban style development.
A new spatial plan could mean that the boundary of the urban parts of Auckland would be shifted right into the foothills of the Waitakeres. The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society have drafted a petition to stop this which you can download here. Please support them by signing it!
Allowing Auckland to sprawl outwards into the Waitakeres and the other precious parks and rural areas around Auckland would have many negative consequences. Joel Cayford has an interesting blog on this where he outlines some of the key problems that sprawl can lead to.
We need to give the Auckland Council the tools it needs to grow Auckland smarter and intensify sustainably – rather than just sprawling farther and farther out.