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Demolished for access

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014
Maggie McDonald
Lauren Priestley

EMPTY SITE: Maggie McDonald is upset at the amount the council spent buying and demolishing an Onehunga property. 

Fergusson Domain
LOCAL PARK: The entrance to Fergusson Domain needs to be more accessible, council says.

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A house bought and torn down by the Auckland Council has an Onehunga resident riled.

Maggie McDonald has lived on Waitangi Rd for more than 25 years.

The council purchased a property down the road from hers for $650,000 at an auction in March and says it wanted the land to improve access to adjacent community facilities in Fergusson Domain.

McDonald was disappointed when the house and garage were completely demolished on May 2.

"It's a bit like money and power gone mad to me. I stand to be enlightened and perhaps pleasantly surprised but at the moment that's how I feel.

"They say we have a housing crisis but we are bulldozing houses? It doesn't make sense to me."

A council spokesperson says the council's original plan was to remove the house and garage from the site but after contacting five house removal and/or demolition companies they confirmed the house had no value for removal.

McDonald is a friend of the previous owner but hasn't had the heart to tell her what happened to her family home of 60 years.

There is nothing wrong with the access to the park, McDonald says. A sign signals its entrance from the road and it is wide enough for buses to get down the driveway without problems.

She has spoken to other residents concerned about the site and is setting up an online petition in the hope it might encourage the council to re-sell the land for housing.

"I would rather see the money used elsewhere and the land used for housing.

"It's a hell of a lot of money to fix access when access was perfectly adequate there."

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall says opening up the park driveway will help curb anti-social behaviour like drinking, vandalism and violence which have plagued the area in the past.

"The issue with Fergusson Park and the Oranga Community Centre is that it has about six entrances to it from neighbouring communities and all of them are not particularly well observed from the road."

The council keeps a "wish list" of properties it wants to acquire across the region, Randall says.

"The major reason we wanted to acquire it was about making the most of that park. We're definitely going to make sure that is achieved.

"At the moment when you walk past it on Waitangi Rd it's very hard to know everything that's happening at the end of the driveway."

Real estate agent Kam Dahya listed the property and says the price it went for is not out of line with other sales in the community.

Bidding started at $440,000 but the previous owner was not prepared to sell for anything less than its market value of $560,000, she says.

The property's last council valuation was for $480,000.

"Houses all over the area are selling for more than valuation."

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