Change of direction for Te Arai parking
In a show of just what people-power can achieve, the proposal to relocate Te Arai carpark has done a three point turn.
Te Arai North Ltd, the joint venture developing group between Te Uri o Hau and NZ Land Fund, have decided to leave the original carpark alone.
The new proposal was presented days after environmental group, SAVE Te Arai and Kiwi author, farmer and philanthropist Christine Fernyhough, who has a holiday home in Mangawhai, addressed concerns over community access to the beach to the Auckland Council Parks, Sport and Recreation Committee.
At the meeting, chairperson Christine Fletcher authorised the general manager of the committee to mediate with Te Arai Coastal Lands and the community to resolve public access to the beach.
Spokesperson for Te Arai North, David Lewis: “What became clear is that some in the community wanted the Pacific Road carpark to remain where it is, despite the reasons for moving it. We have listened.”
“What we are now proposing, and what the Council is keen to progress, is that the current carpark will remain in place,” Lewis says. “There will be no impact other than cars will enter on the south of the carpark rather than the north.”
The new carpark, which is in the process of being developed, will be used as an overflow parking area for beach goers at peak times with future plans for changing rooms, toilet facilities and security cameras.
The original plans to move Te Arai’s carpark back 400 metres from the beach has provoked outrage and protest from local residents and community groups in recent months.
While protecting the sensitive shoreline, sand dunes and bird life were the official reasons given for the relocation of the parking area, protesters believed the motive lay more with an attempt to privatise the beach for the privileged few, who could afford to live in the new housing area.
The revised proposal regarding the parking at the popular beach was presented to concerned citizens and community groups including Te Arai Beach Preservation Society, NZ Fairy Tern Charitable Trust, Surf Break Protection Society, Orewa Longboarders and SAVE Te Arai at a meeting on May 27. The local representatives agreed that the new plans addressed their concerns.
Chair for SAVE Te Arai, Aaron McConchie says the new plans are a good sign.
“It’s progress, creating a meaningful discussion which has been sadly lacking in the developing companies communication with the community.”
David Lewis agrees. “We look forward to ongoing dialogue with the Council and community on how we continue to protect the special place that Te Arai is, together.”
ACCESS: Footprints along Te Arai’s shores will remain a common sight now the carpark is to remain. PHOTO/Julia Wade