Western Springs update

Resource Consent has been granted to council to clearfell the 200 Monterey pines.

Submitters have kept Waitemata Local Board informed on what we learned while working on the consent process. We highlighted historical reports on Western Springs Lakeside Park omitted from board deliberations when it made its decision to take the flawed Community Facilities clear-felling proposal to notified resource consent.

We have met council to discuss the new WLB Western Springs Lakeside Plan that seriously fails to recognise fully that the park is a Significant Ecological Area and a Biodiversity Focus Area. Instead, the plan prioritises recreation and events. WLB also ignores the importance of how all parts of the park function as one system. Some members of the WLB still refuse to support the urgent need to reset the priorities towards our environment.

This flies in the face of commissioners’ directions. It is also unacceptable given the Environment Aotearoa 2019 Government stock-take report showing that New Zealand’s environment and biodiversity is in very serious trouble. And it’s a particular problem in Auckland because of the damage done to our city’s environment by the failings of the Super City.

We also met with council about the overall bigger vision of creating an ‘Open Space Corridor’ or ‘Green Corridor Link’ to join up with the north-west Wild Link across the Auckland region. This had been proposed by the zoo in January 1992. It is an obviously desirable expansion of the north-west Wild Link. This makes a corridor link for biodiversity that traverses Auckland from the Hauraki Gulf to the north and the south of Auckland.

We have also been working with Save Chamberlain Park on the bigger vision there to manage the golf course as a wildlife park and to join up the two parks with a green bridge.

The resource consent process has resulted in a modified plan and methodology but it is deeply flawed and inadequate. We just don’t know what Community Facilities intends to do now. It has ignored direction from the commissioners and were disrespectful of council’s own processes.

We don’t trust Community Facilities to guard the values of our SEA Forest nor to comply with conditions the commissioners may set. We have, furthermore, explained to council that the full public liability risks for long-term damage to the brick houses at the top of the hill have never been assessed by council.

Residents had formed an incorporated society in preparation for the decision. Residents and submitters are now in a position to take the matter further to the Environment Court now the consent has been granted. (WENDY GRAY)