$4m to open regional parks to public

UPGRADE: Works at the North Shore's Long Bay Regional Park are part of the proposals.
UPGRADE: Works at the North Shore's Long Bay Regional Park are part of the proposals.

Aucklanders will see more of the great outdoors as the council looks set to spend millions on developing recently acquired regional parks over the next three years.

A report to the Parks Recreation and Heritage Forum reveals $3.9 million has been allocated to make parklands more user friendly.  

It is proposed the money is mainly used to develop Waitawa Parkland - near Kawakawa Bay - so that it is fully open to the public within three years, and to create basic visitor services at Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour within two to three years.

Works at the North Shore's Long Bay Regional Park are also proposed as is work to enable infrastructure development at Te Kuri Regional Park - an area on the Mahurangi Coast that the former Auckland Regional Council bought for $15m in 2010.

A proposal put to the council for consideration in its long-term plan sought $13m for capital developments and a further $23.5m for ''consequential operational expenditure'' over 10 years to develop the parks.

In November last year the council's Strategy and Finance Committee approved $4m of funding over the next three years and $5m of operational funding to 2021.

The money was sought to meet increasing demands for tramping, cycling and horse riding trails, the report read.

Park plans also included longer term plans to open a new park every two years at Te Muri and Te Rau Puriri regional parks and Pakiri and Te Arai parklands.

The report said some priority would also be given to completing works and programmes already committed to including works at Long Bay, Muriwai, the Hunua, Waitakere Ranges and at Shakespear and Ambury regional parks.

The report proposed that $1.33m be spent in 2013 and $1.2m each year for the following two.

In 2013, $1.3m should be spent upgrading roads, water and reticulation, toilets and tracks at Waitawa and $30,000 at Long Bay on track upgrades.

The following year, $600,000 was proposed to be spent on Waitawa road upgrades and $80,000 at Long Bay on entry roads - $553,000 was yet to be prioritised.

In 2015, $500,000 would be spent on Puketutu Island on toilet, car parking and basic infrastructure. The remaining $693,000 was ''yet to be prioritised within a broad range of opportunities''.

Auckland Now