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Growth 'diabolical'

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2013

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Census figures show the Upper Harbour area has experienced the largest population growth in the country.

Local board member Margaret Miles, who lives on an Albany lifestyle block, says the "huge" population increase and the area's growth is "dramatic" and "diabolical".

And there are "no solutions coming forward" from local and central government to solve the area's problems, she says.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand show Upper Harbour had a 25 per cent increase in residents since the last census in 2006.

The area added 10,797 people, bringing the current population to 53,670 and counting from Whenuapai in the southwest, to Northcross in the northeast.

An Auckland Council spokesperson says the increase comes as no surprise.

Albany centre is one example of how the council has been planning for growth, and the area is "well positioned" for future development, the spokesperson says.

But the census figures emphasise the need to address the area's infrastructure issues, Ms Miles says.

Easing traffic congestion is one of her biggest concerns.

"In the last five years congestion issues have increased dramatically."

A lack of traffic lights and poor road layout around the Albany intersection at The Avenue and Dairy Flat Highway combined with heavy commuter traffic make the area an accident black spot, she says.

Parking in Albany Village is "diabolical" too, because of inadequate investment, she says.

Albany Ward councillor Wayne Walker says underspending on bus routes and community facilities like libraries has made life harder especially for new migrants.

A Greenhithe realtor is positive about the census figures.

Barfoot & Thompson agent Ronelle Henning says a new highway completed in 2007 changed the area's fortunes.

"Greenhithe wasn't that popular, but the Upper Harbour Highway opened, giving the area a new attraction."

Aucklanders from as far away as Remuera now seriously consider moving into the area, she says.

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- North Shore Times

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