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Forest & Bird North Shore has launched a frantic bid to stop the lucrative sale of education land in Browns Bay.
The Ministry of Education has put up for tender 2.1 hectares of bush-clad land it has deemed surplus.
But Forest & Bird North Shore says the bush land, which sits on two schools' property, needs to be developed as a public reserve, instead of for housing.
"We shouldn't be destroying bush in built-up areas, especially in Browns Bay," president Richard Hursthouse says.
Albany councillor Wayne Walker says Auckland Council should buy the land to help conserve already scarce green spaces.
"They're the lungs of the city and reduce flooding, these are important issues for Browns Bay," Mr Walker says.
The tender process closes on February 13 and Mr Hursthouse and Mr Walker say the privatisation of publicly owned land without community input is worrying.
Forest & Bird has raced to create a Facebook page and distribute 100 fliers to residents living near the bush.
Real estate agent John van Lierop, who is managing the tender process for the ministry, says the steep, bush-clad property could be subdivided into more than 30 sections.
It's the biggest parcel of land he's seen up for sale in Browns Bay "for many years", the Harcourts realtor says.
Developing the land would help ease a property shortage and when built on, some of the lots could fetch over a million dollars, he says.
The capital valuation on the schools' combined 9.95 hectares of land, including the surplus area, is $8.3 million.
In a statement to the North Shore Times, the ministry says half of the net proceeds from the land would be split between Northcross Intermediate and Sherwood Primary.
Northcross Intermediate board of trustees member Kevin de Jong says the windfall would come in handy.
"Funding from the ministry is tight," he says.
"Extra funding would be absolutely helpful given the new two-storey, 13 classroom block we're building."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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