Carparks on move

23:42, Jun 29 2010

THE AUCKLAND City Council is steaming ahead with plans to reallocate parking at Matiatia, despite local opposition.

It is applying for resource consent to make the Owhanake car park in Ocean View Rd the central parking point for users of the ferry at Matiatia.

Meanwhile, leased parking near the kayak sheds along the foreshore will be relocated to land being made available in front of the old Harbourmasters' restaurant.

Waiheke Community Board transport spokesman Herb Romaniuk is fuming.

He believes the plans will make life more difficult for residents and commuters, potentially damaging the economy and social makeup of the island.

Council transport officer Reg Cuthers claims each project is separate and unrelated, even though they are indirectly linked by being part of council's directional plan for Matiatia.

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"But they are completely separate," he says.

He says the relocation of leased carparking to the area vacated by the car rental companies is the responsibility of council property officer John O'Brien.

The car rental companies will be moving to the Harbourmasters' building and their old offices bowled.

Mr Cuthers believes commuters can only stand to benefit from the move, saying the current grassy leased parking area often gets waterlogged.

He has no responsibility for that project but says he is working on the other one.

Mr Cuthers is looking to get resource consent for the Owhanake site so it can be the main carpark, as per the land-banked plans for development at Matiatia.

The council owns the land at Matiatia but has done nothing with it, deciding to put plans on hold during the economic downturn.

Now it is planning to get resource consent for the carpark so it is in place for any new development when the chance arises.

Mr Cuthers says the process normally takes around two years.

He says consultation is already under way with the two affected neighbours overlooking the site.

But he was not able to give any direct answer over whether the application for consent will be notified. "It is not a given," he says.

Mr Cuthers believes concerns that commuters and other travellers will be seriously inconvenienced by not being able to park next to the terminal are unjustified. "People don't expect to be able to park next to the ferry terminal in Auckland."

‘‘Why should it be any different here?’’

But Mr Romaniuk is adamant Waiheke has a special case, and parking should be left as it is. He is not happy about the plan to remove the leased parking from the grassed foreshore area and thinks there should be more parking near the ferry terminal, rather than the same or less.

And he says travellers with heavy luggage, mums with young children and pushchairs, and commuters returning home on late ferries will all be disadvantaged by a long trek to the new carpark – particularly in cold, wet weather.

Mr Romaniuk is a commuter himself and says many people get up very early, work long hours, and arrive back to the island late, so they need somewhere close to park.

He thinks if travel is made too hard for commuters many will move off the island and take wages often spent on island products and services with them.

He says the council’s argument that it needs to free up space for development is a ‘‘goofy’’ one, claiming no professional would want to touch what is essentially a transport hub.

‘‘It does not make sense. Look at Devonport. Those shops on the wharf are nothing. It started off as being something of significance but now restaurants are closed.

‘‘People get off the ferry and then they go. It’s not a place to sit at or buy anything. ‘‘Council is pressing ahead with plans for a development that’s a dead duck.’’

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