The future of Chamberlain Park and the Aquatic Centre, and a commitment to the Mt Albert civic square stand out as key features of the annual plan adopted by the Albert Eden Local board.
Hardly a surprise, but the board is moving ahead with its steps to implement its Chamberlain Park masterplan – aiming to develop a local park and playground, new paths and cycleways, restore the Waititiko/Meola Creek and provide for a quality nine-hole golf course (in place of the present 18-hole course) and driving range.
It also maintains its strong position on the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre, declaring it will continue to advocate to the council through its 10-year budget process for a replacement pool in Mt Albert or another appropriate Albert-Eden site.
That “another appropriate Albert-Eden site” gives a clue to how difficult it may be to retain a public pool in Mt Albert once the aquatic centre on the Mt Albert Grammar School grounds shuts in something like five-to-eight years.
The board is including a new pool in its Chamberlain Park redevelopment plans, with council land behind Rocket Park also in its broad sights. But if neither makes the cut – because of traffic issues or local objections, say – the board appears to be saying it may have to consider other sites within its boundary but outside Mt Albert rather than lose the facility to another area.
The 2017 plan, adopted last week, also reinforces the board commitment to the Mt Albert civic square – the present carpark behind Albert’s Post, with stairway to the railway bridge, that is tied up until 2022 by historic lease arrangements.
The objective has always been to develop an appealing square on the small block to give the town centre real focus, but the board’s best intentions came unstuck when the council ran headfirst into the rigid leases.
Local board plans are strategic documents that are adopted every three years to set a direction for the local area that reflects community priorities and preferences.
They guide local board activity, funding and investment decisions and also influence local board input into regional strategies and plans, including the Auckland Plan (the 30-year vision for Auckland), the council’s 10-year budget and annual budgets.
But any plan from a local board can come unstuck if the money isn’t there. All boards have made their cases under the council’s 10-year plan due to be adopted in June next year – and that will be a huge balancing act with major capital works on the horizon and ratepayers showing no appetite for big rate rises.
As Albert-Eden chair Peter Haynes notes: “This balancing act may impact local boards’ ability to carry out all the key initiatives in their local board plans.”
In his preamble to the 2017 plan, Dr Haynes said the plan built on the board’s work to make Albert-Eden a “safer, livelier, greener place that is easier to traverse, cherishes its heritage, and offers better choices to play, work and do business”.
He was pleased to see such a high level of feedback – second highest in the 21 local boards – and pointed to “seven outcome areas to guide our efforts over the next three years”. They were:
- We are all proud to live in Albert-Eden and feel that we belong. Our community is connected and everyone’s involvement is welcomed. We are able to come together to support each other, and to celebrate our diversity.
- Everyone can access the parks we share in Albert-Eden, and use them in ways that enhance their lifestyles. As a community we feel a shared ownership of our parks, and we take care of them together.
- Our shared facilities underpin our strong community. They provide diverse and inclusive spaces that meet the changing needs of people of all ethnicities and ages. We have spaces that are inviting, flexible and well used by multiple community groups.
- Our town centres are attractive to locals and visitors alike. Our local businesses are well supported and thriving, driving a strong local economy that creates opportunities for everyone in Albert-Eden. Well-established business networks foster innovation, growth and sustainability.
- It is simple to travel between the many places in our area that people want to visit. We have a range of options to meet the different needs of our community. We have quality public transport and our streets are safe and enjoyable to use.
- Our community has a strong awareness of our area’s heritage. We are proud of the features that give our area its unique character, and work together to protect and preserve them.
- Our community cares for our environment and develops innovative ways to look after it. Our natural landscape is healthy and well looked after.
Read the full plan at this link.
Go to Big issues page for details on Chamberlain Park, the village upgrade and the pool’s future