Lighting up the issue

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013
MArybeth Reserve
LITTLE LIGHT: Rosehill residents petitioning the local board to get lights installed at Marybeth Reserve, from left: John Bright, Daphne Walters, Ailua Irene Sagatu and Jo Stenning.

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A petition asking for Marybeth Reserve to be lit up has gone to the Papakura Local Board.

The park is a hotspot for antisocial behaviour and the Rosehill Community Group has been campaigning for change.

More than 200 Rosehill residents signed the petition presented to the local board last Thursday.

The former Papakura District Council made big changes at the reserve after buying and removing houses to open it up to the street but cancelled plans to light the park because of budget restrictions.

Residents are grateful for the changes made but say lighting is still needed to get the park up to scratch.

In their presentation they said residents want to "see and be seen in the reserve", "be safe and not be scared" and be able to take the shortcut home along the reserve's footpath rather than walking around the block.

Vigilante groups could end up watching over the park if the lighting wasn't dealt with, they warned.

John Bright, whose driveway borders the park, says the group isn't asking for much.

"We don't want stadium lighting so people can play like it's daytime. We just want something like a street light."

They say the petition was well-received by the local board which seems to have taken ownership of the issue.

Chairman Bill McEntee says the board shares residents' concerns and will be "taking action" to get the park lit up.

But last year officers from Auckland Council told the local board it couldn't light the reserve because the problem would get worse.

Council planners follow principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, which says that lighting the park would not deter criminals or unsociable activity but would fool the public into thinking it was safe.

That would lead to an increase in assaults and crime, they said.

However a similar problem at Central Park in Papakura was resolved after that park was lit.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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