NorWest News – By DANIELLE CLENT – 5 April 2017:
Auckland Council is buying a waterfront site in Riverhead to turn into a public park, for an undisclosed sum.
Two sections of about 5000 square metres on Deacon Point in Riverhead will be sold by developer Cabra to the council, in a sale described as a “once of a lifetime” opportunity.
Councillors voted on February 14 on the deal which will see a public park created on a piece of land at the tip of the Deacon Point development. The triangular site is bordered on two sides by the Rangitopuni River.
Auckland Council’s general manager, community and social policy Kataraina Maki said the purchase price of the land was confidential and currently under negotiation, but Rodney Local Board deputy chairman Phelan Pirrie said the cost would be millions.
Riverhead Community Association’s Claire Walker was “ecstatic” to secure a “critical” piece of land for the public, which has a river frontage.
“Riverhead is the river and we have very little access to the river,” she said.
The headland park will sit at the peak of Cabra’s Deacon Point development in Riverhead.
“It’s a stunning spot. It’s got beautiful views. Over the other side of the river is not zoned for development,” Pirrie said.
Walker said the land had strategic importance as it was “our last opportunity” to secure a river side park. Riverhead had a number of developments recently completed and work on Deacon Point – with 65 northeast facing sites with rural and river views – underway.
About 6700 to 7800 new dwellings are expected in Riverhead in the next stage of development beginning from 2028, the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy document said.
Walker said she would like to see a park that had “fairly limited development”.
Pirrie said the park would be developed as open space first. The community would then give input on where it went from there.
He said it could be three or four years before anything was done to it.
Claire Walker said she would like to see “fairly limited development” of the headland park.
Walker took her year-long lobby to the Environment and Community Committee meeting in February.
She said the community had been promised a 10,000 square metre park, including an esplanade reserve, by the old Rodney District Council.
The committee agreed to purchase two sections of land and the park would be just under 5000sqm, excluding an esplanade reserve, Walker said.
The association was supported in its bid by the Rodney Local Board’s Phelan Pirrie and Cameron Brewer. Brewer said it was great to have convinced councillors that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Having a good sized headland park not only provides much needed recreational and waterfront space, but it will help put the river back at the front and centre of Riverhead.”
Maki said the purchase of a neighbourhood park would meet the open space needs of the local
community now and in the future.