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Friends of Regional Parks Newsletter April 2016

posted May 10, 2016, 9:53 PM by Mels Barton   [ updated May 10, 2016, 9:56 PM ]
Hello Friends of Regional Parks Members and Parks Supporters,

With the warm sunny days of summer Auckland’s regional parks appear to have been even more popular and

well used than previous years and with the predicted increase in Auckland’s population, the importance of

maintaining and increasing our regional parks is very evident. We hope that 2016 has got off to a good start for

you and you have enjoyed some happy days in a regional park.

The Regional Parks Precinct Crisis

The committee’s attention has for some time been largely devoted to working towards ensuring that Regional

Parks are receiving appropriate consideration and treatment during the ongoing Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP)


In this regard we were extremely concerned to discover that in December council staff had filed a proposal to

delete the Regional Park Precinct from the AUP. We believe that this proposal was and is quite inappropriate

and if adopted it would be seriously detrimental to our regional parks network. At short notice FOR Parks

prepared a statement setting out the reasons that, as a preferred option, a separate zone should be created for

Regional Parks, (which we drafted) or failing that, the Regional Parks Precinct must be retained. This

statement and zone proposal were presented by myself as chairman and Bronwen as author of the statement

to the Independent Hearing Panel on the 22 nd February and we received a good hearing from the panel. At the

direction of the Panel a subsequent meeting between the council planner responsible for the proposal and

ourselves was held. A follow up summary of our views on this meeting was forwarded to the Independent

Hearing Panel. We will not know the outcome until the IHP releases its recommended Unitary Plan later this

year, however we are hopeful that at the very least the precinct will be retained even though we would prefer a

separate zone for the Regional Parks.

We are greatly indebted to Bronwen for the work she has done putting together FOR Parks statement on this

and for all the other work she has done preparing FOR Parks submissions to the unitary plan, appearing

before the Independent Hearing Panel and keeping track of the complications and ramifications of the Unitary

Plan as it affects Regional Parks.

Variation to the Regional Park Management Plan to include Te Muri

Following the initial public consultations, a draft management plan for Te Muri was put out by the council at the

end of 2015 for public submissions. The most critical aspect of the plan is the means by which public access to

Te Muri parkland is to be provided and the location of the public arrival area. Friends of Regional Parks

believes that the development of Te Muri parkland presents an opportunity to both maintain the very special

qualities of Te Muri and to create something exceptional for Auckland. Friends of Regional Parks is strongly

supportive of the concept of access to the park being provided principally by a pedestrian and cycle way as per

the proposed Mahurangi Coastal Trail referred to below, rather than by vehicle access to the beach area. FOR

Parks has presented a submission reflecting this view.

Mahurangi Coastal Trail a 50th Anniversary legacy project

As noted in a previous newsletter the concept of pedestrian and cycle connections between green areas is one

that is supported by FOR Parks and the committee resolved that joining Mahurangi Action Inc in progressing

this coastal trail would be a fitting way of marking fifty years of Regional Parks. The Mahurangi Coastal Trail

Trust has been formally established as a charitable trust for the purpose of this project.

The trail would connect the first and the last parkland purchased by the Auckland Regional Council

(Wenderholm) to the 383-hectare Peter Schischka farm at Te Muri. In so doing, it will link three special regional


Creation of this coastal trail would give a number of benefits including amongst others earlier public access,

minimising human impact on the special character of Te Muri, enabling access to three regional parks utilising

public transport and the provision of a further link to Te Araroa, the national walkway.