Change looms for Mt Albert summit
Years of frustration could be over for users of Mt Albert as a long-awaited restoration of the mountain's summit progresses.
The eroded and potholed road that runs up to the summit has been resealed and reinforced, and work is about to get started on the Owairaka Domain Landscape Master Plan.
The $300,000 plan drawn up by the former Auckland City Council in 2009 will see tracks on the mountain improved, old broken down fences removed, and more native trees planted.
The plan came after pressure from residents who were concerned by the then council's lack of funding and maintenance for the reserve, but has taken until now to be put into action.
"It's been a constant source of frustration for locals and their representatives over the time its taken to get works started," Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes said.
An attempt to reseal the volcano's road was made in 2009, but the excitement quickly turned sour when the freshly laid bitumen started to lift within days.
"It was atrocious, the locals were so vexed," Haynes said.
Mt Albert MP and Labour leader David Shearer has had a number of complaints from residents who were disappointed in the neglected state of Mt Albert, or worried about safety because of the run-down road and tracks.
"People have felt their maunga has been overlooked, or treated as the poor cousin in comparison to others, like Mt Eden," he said.
"Proper care and maintenance is vital because Mt Albert is the jewel in our crown. It's precious and we need to look after it for the long term. It's great to see work has begun."
Auckland Council's acting regional and specialist parks manager Richard Hollier said the delay in work was because of the lengthy design process.
He said all of Auckland's volcanic cones had different levels of use and needs and, while Mt Albert was popular with locals, it did not attract anywhere near the number of visitors that Mt Eden did.
Mt Eden attracts more than 1 million visitors each year and is a popular spot for tourist groups.
"With that kind of usage it will attract more funding," he said.
Hollier said there had been varying levels of service for volcanic cones across the city in the past because of previous councils' different policies on them.
"With the creation of the Auckland Council we have been working on trying to improve standards of the cones," he said.
The next stage of work includes installing speed humps while landscaping will begin next year.