The short term outcomes for Devonport under the new Auckland council are beginning to crystallise, with the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board releasing the final version of its local plan, and the prioritisation of local projects now largely complete.
At a meeting attended by Mayor Len Brown, the Board hammered its way through a huge agenda, from which The Speculator gathered the following gems.
Topping the priorities is the Devonport and Victoria Wharves redevelopment, with at least $5m allocated for structural improvements to Victoria Wharf, and another $6 million potentially being allocated for Devonport Wharf. This latter amount has yet to be confirmed however.
In The Speculator’s Humble Opinion (ITSHO): Great news. BUT READERS!! DEMAND TO BE KEPT ABREAST OF THE OBJECTIVES AND THE DESIGN FOR THE WHARF!! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build something truly world class that will significantly benefit Devonport residents and businesses. Do not let it turn into an even bigger white elephant.
The Speculator proposes some kind of community audit team be formed to monitor and report on the progress of this project. What do you think?
The other key projects that affect the Devonport area are;
2: The demolition and replacement of the library. The new facility will include a mezzanine level, which will be double the size of the existing facility. Mayor Len Brown and Councillor Ann Hartley were particularly interested in this project, and were clearly concerned that the debacle of the Birkenhead library – where cost estimates were woefully inadequate – not be repeated;
ITSHO: Great news! But again – let’s keep abreast of the design objectives and the actual plans. There will also be significant disruption to library facilities during the rebuild, so be prepared.
3: Improvements to Lake Rd from Hauraki corner to Bayswater Ave.
ITSHO: Please, mercy mercy no, mercy no! Just the disruption is reason enough not to embark on this, let alone the fallacy of trying to “improve” Lake Rd by making it bigger. Certainly fix the intersection whose name shall not be mentioned, but surely it must be worth promoting the ferry, the ferry feeders and a decent bus route direct to the CBD without a change in Takapuna.
However, a number of projects which had hitherto appeared to be heading for immediate implementation have been de-prioritised for at least two years. These include;
– Ngataringa Park re-design; this had involved the development of the area around the Devonport garden and the transfer of the skateboard park to a position closer to the road;
ITSHO: A shame; this site is deteriorating rapidly. The Speculator has heard stories of kids lighting the water that oozes from the ground, and an old bath has apparently been sighted, emerging zombie-like from the soil. Conversations with board members confirm the site is regularly monitored, but a walk around the area confirms Nasty Things are emanating, emerging and oozing from the skateboard park surrounds.
– A “Devonport youth facility”. This project originated under the old council and also relates to the Ngataringa Park site. The intention was to provide a well-serviced, secure area for local kids to participate in a variety of casual sports.
ITSHO: As mentioned, the current skateboard site and its surrounds are terrible. This area has considerable potential to be made more user-friendly. Disappointing that this has been deferred.
– Street improvements in the Clarence St / Barclay St area; readers may remember that this project was at the centre of some confusion after some works were conducted in the area that had nothing to do with original plan; the reason being confusion among the offices of the new council. The project now essentially consists of two stages; 1: the expensive traffic calming berms – priced at around $250k because of the necessity of using bluestone to keep in character with the rest of the village and the opening up of the area around The Depot; 2: a second stage that targets improvements to Clarence St between Victoria Rd and Wynyard St. The footpath outside Stone Oven is one of our centre’s few all-year sun traps; the plan is to investigate (among other things) how this area may be made more pedestrian-friendly.
ITSHO: Stage 1: This area surely has great potential; but I’m not convinced this plan realised them. A key issue is the chunk of private land – the Caroline Sills car park – right in the middle. But I can imagine The Depot and Community House doing something wonderful with this area if the plans were right. Stage 2: Similarly with the area outside The Stozza Ozza and Asahi; it could be a great communal “loll and lunch” area.
– Fort Takapuna; The Speculator understands the deferral does not relate to the proposed Passchandaele Museum planned for the site, but to more general improvements to some of the buildings – particularly the Barracks. It also excludes the imminent leasing of the Officer’s Mess, which is about to become a cafe and catering facility.
ITSHO: Probably the right move, given two revenue-generating facilities are likely to emerge on the site over the coming years – the cafe and the museum. The cafe is being established in a way that will provide funds for the total site’s restoration; hopefully the museum will be structured in this way too.
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