Clare Morris and her family have lived and worked on the coast of the Waitemata Harbour for nearly 100 years.
Her grandfather rode horses between Ponsonby and Westmere, her father sailed boats up Motions Creek and as a child she rode a bike to Pasadena Intermediate.
They've all seen the landscape and community shift, grow and develop but now Ms Morris, nee McDonald, is confronted with a change she's worried about.
Her property meets a coastal reserve at a boundary marked by an old weeping willow and that's the point where an Auckland Council-funded walking track is planned.
The Waitemata Local Board has voted five against one to go ahead with the Weona-Westmere leg of the Waitemata Coastal Walkway Project.
The $800,000 proposal is set to open up the coast "for all of the region to enjoy" according to board chairman Shale Chambers.
It's part of the City Vision-driven board's long term vision to connect the coast via walkways from Parnell to Pt Chevalier.
And with most of the coast in Westmere identified as reserve it's a slice of New Zealand that should belong to the public, the majority of the board agree.
The only problem with the concept is that Ms Morris and her neighbours feel like they've barely been consulted on the proposal despite it garnering a huge chunk of money that they as ratepayers contribute to.
Council project manager Rebecca Barclay says 80 per cent of those directly affected by the walkway don't want it.
Concerns include safety, privacy, increased traffic, too much money being spent, loss of funding for other projects and loss of character in the area.
Ms Morris realises most of the waterfront in Westmere is coastal reserve and at the end of the day it has to be accessible.
But she wishes the board spent more time chatting to residents in the area before committing to the project.
She says much of the Westmere Coast around her family property used to be covered in privet and bamboo.
It was residents who got together and removed it along the coastal reserve – not the council, Ms Morris says.
The beachfront is also accessible by foot and connected by pathways from nearby roads and reserves but much of the original reserve has eroded.
She wonders if it's necessary to spend more money putting in a boardwalk through mangroves and a path across the back of properties when it's just as enjoyable to walk along the beach at low tide.
Many people already do this and neighbours are happy with the area as it is, Ms Morris says.
Local board media adviser Chris Baldock says: "Nobody is underplaying their concerns but you've got to look at the bigger picture."
Feedback to the board from the wider community suggests 90 per cent of people beyond those in the immediate area support the walkway project, he says.
But Mr Baldock isn't able to produce documents to support that figure.
The bigger picture in this case is that the track is something for all of the Waitemata region and Aucklanders to use.
City Vision board members suggest it will mainly be locals using the track and these people need to get over a "fear of change" in their neighbourhood.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think about the proposed Weona-Westmere Coastal Walkway? Should local board members be making decisions based on the thoughts of those directly affected by the project or should they be commissioning projects that benefit the wider Auckland community? Comment Below.
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