The Greater Takapuna Reference Group – a group of volunteers representing diverse community interests – has identified 7 steps to help shape the Takapuna town centre.
The group briefed the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board on its collective thinking on 6 December and its list of ideas for the town centre will be presented to the board’s meeting on Tuesday.
Its first input since its appointment last April has been to council organisation Panuku Development Auckland’s framework plan for its ‘unlock’ project for the Takapuna town centre.
Image above: A view from Panuku’s Tomorrow’s Takapuna video, ocean to the left, harbour & cbd to the right.
The group has told the local board it’s willing to continue putting ideas to the board, but it’s also told the board of concerns at having political membership of the group.
Issue over political representatives
Board staff recommended in November that there be political representatives – 2 from the local board and one from the council governing body – and the board voted for George Wood – former North Shore mayor, Auckland ward councillor and now local board deputy chair – and board member Jan O’Connor to join the group.
The board also agreed in November that there should be a representative of the retail sector and 2 other Takapuna residents of on the group.
However, after discussion with the group’s independent facilitator, staff have said in a report to Tuesday’s meeting: “While having local board & governing body member oversight & input into the group has been beneficial, staff request that the local board reconsider political representation on the reference group. This is suggested for the following reasons:
- The group has reached a critical stage in its formation that could easily be undone through the introduction of new individuals not sharing the same learned values the existing group has. The group are all volunteers who can leave the group at any time. They serve on the group only because they believe they can provide a collective value to the local board & the community through their considered advocacy
- The reference group is a group of people representing a diverse range of opinions & backgrounds. Through this process, they have become a group that listens carefully & respectfully to each other’s views and share their thoughts openly & honestly with one another
- The issues considered by the group so far have been the thinking behind the Takapuna ‘Unlock’ project together with the streetscape upgrade of Hurstmere Rd. The group briefed the local board on 6 December about the work they had undertaken and described the common ground they had reached with regard to a desired future Takapuna.”
The group has people from the following sectors: Events, youth, parks, Panuku, transport, arts, education, Sunday market, local board, Auckland Council, residents of High, medium & low density housing, accessibility, community, tangata whenua, business, technology & health.
Council staff said they hadn’t found any extra candidates they could recommend.
After 3 months of hearing each other’s views about Takapuna, the group agreed to specifically consider: “How can we as a community influence Takapuna’s development as a great place to work, live & play by enhancing our social, economic, natural & cultural environment and creating open & civic spaces for all ages & abilities to enjoy?”
First, the group considered success factors, identifying 13 ‘must-haves’:
- Open public space
- Public transport with high usability
- Traffic flowing
- Sufficient parking
- Abundant & secure market opportunities
- Housing affordability, access & supply
- Natural environment maintained & enhanced
- Maori perspective embraced
- Retail, hospitality & accommodation vibrant
- Arts & culture welcomed & supported
- Universal design ensures multi-use spaces and connections, with an emphasis on pedestrian & cycle movement
- Events are welcomed & supported
- Employment opportunities (especially technology) pursued.
7 ideas on what Takapuna could be
A number of the group members wrote about their visions of a future Takapuna that had them journeying around a Takapuna that was accessible, attractive & vibrant. The 7 narratives were then integrated into a ‘super narrative’ to give an idea of what Takapuna could be. Initial recommendations that could have a positive catalytic effect:
Gasometer site (fronting Huron, Auburn & Northcroft Sts): It is recommended that a dedicated carpark be built for longstay & all-day parkers on the gasometer site, first & foremost. The building is to be adaptable with residential & retail options possible in the future. The reference group also recognised that there will be disruption to shortstay parking with future development of the Anzac carpark and suggested that the gasometer site might have flexibility to temporarily cater for shortstay parking over the disruption period.
Open public space: In recognition that public spaces are gathering points where city dwellers interact, congregate, celebrate and break down barriers, it is recommended that there be a mix of green & hard spaces that are ‘activated’ and are of various sizes. It is recommended that sizeable green spaces are maintained and opportunities to increase green space like the Northern Reserve are explored. It is recommended that connections & viewshafts are opened up between the public spaces, for example from the ‘civic plaza’ (discussed in the next recommendation) across open space to Hurstmere Green and then beyond to the Takapuna Beach reserve, the beach and to Rangitoto across the channel. It is recommended that there be exploration of better using the hard space by the current library site.
Anzac Quarter: It is recommended that a heart be created for Takapuna on the current Anzac carpark in the form of a ‘civic plaza’ that could be called the Anzac Quarter. It is recommended that the TAB & Burger King building be purchased and added to Potter’s Park together with additional space to create a civic plaza of about 80m² for public use. Creative design will enable activation of the space. It is recommended that all war memorials be moved into this space. It is recommended that consideration be given to moving the library into the Anzac Quarter. It is recommended that a height limit of 6 storeys be encouraged around the Anzac Quarter to maximise sun and limit shade & wind. It is recommended that the multi-use design in Panuku thinking that includes opportunities for street markets & events be supported.
Sunday market: In recognition that the current format of the Sunday market requires hard surfaces & extensive vehicle access that can be found in Smales Farm as well as in the current Anzac carpark, it is recommended that there be a medium-term plan to relocate the Sunday market. This plan should:
- have plenty of lead-in time to a change of venue
- be initiated at the time of the Anzac Quarter developments
- have minimal disruption to the Sunday market experience
- take into account transport links between Smales Farm & Takapuna town centre.
Hurstmere Rd developments: It is recommended that the Hurstmere Rd developments be planned, engaged on and implemented at the same time as the Panuku Unlock initiative. Although the responsible agencies (Panuku, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, local board) have differing budgets, the outcomes of the changes affect all Takapuna residents, workers & visitors. It is therefore crucial that these agencies fully collaborate on development in Takapuna.
Universal design: It is recommended that Takapuna become a flagship destination for universal design. Universal design is the design of products & environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without need for adaptation. It is driven by a mindset of an inclusive environment that is good for everyone. It is recommended that all design decisions in Takapuna have universal design incorporated from the outset with no more retrofitting! It is noted that the new playground by the beach is already proving universal design value.
Events: It is recommended that all agencies with decision-making authority in Takapuna agree an event-friendly policy. Recognising that events bring people & income to Takapuna, it is important that governing bodies support events in principle and work with event organisers to plan & run events smoothly. It is recommended that the proposed Anzac Quarter in addition to Gould Reserve & Hurstmere Green be used for events.
Regeneration over the whole region
When Panuku set out its plans for regeneration in 2015 it needed both some quick hits and the presentation of action around the whole region.
To do both, it created 3 priority lists – first the majors to transform, second a list of 8 centres (and the council’s network of villages to house the elderly) where the project would be less extensive, and a third list of comparatively minor projects.
Work has started on some projects in all categories.
- Wynyard Quarter
- Manukau Metropolitan Centre and surrounds
- Onehunga Town centre and Port
- Tamaki regeneration (in partnership)
- Takapuna town centre
- Northcote town centre & surrounds (including Housing NZ block)
- City centre
- Old Papatoetoe town centre
- Henderson town centre
- Ormiston town centre & nearby sites in Flatbush
- Housing for older persons network of villages
- Mt Eden (Dominion & Valley Rds)
- Whangaparaoa (Link Crescent)
- New Lynn
- Stonefields (Morrin, Merton & Donnelly Rds)
- Howick (Fencible Drive)
The list of previous stories below is extensive, to give you an idea of how things have/haven’t developed for Takapuna this millennium.
9 March 2016: Takapuna & Northcote first up for revitalisation
6 December 2015: How Panuku proposes to lead transformation of Auckland
4 December 2015: Manukau & Onehunga earmarked for transformation
19 November 2014: Board does the Shore thing, micromanaging Takapuna centre plan
20 September 2013: Anzac St West plan change gets final council approval
15 September 2010: Takapuna planning framework endorsed, after a bit of relitigation
9 December 2009: Weipers confident of starting Merge on gasometer site next year
9 December 2009: Takapuna development framework document nearly complete
7 September 2009: Anzac West seen as model for redevelopment of centre fringes
22 July 2009: Slow journey to a centres parking strategy
2 June 2008: Location lodges consent application for gasometer site tower
23 May 2008: Brookfield Multiplex & Perron working on Takapuna Strand plans, and wharf concepts being fine-tuned
13 May 2008: Precinct plans to be prepared for Anzac St West & Beachfront/Strand
15 May 2007: Takapuna strategic review bemoans residential influx, ignores fundamental cbd question
23 April 2007: Council agrees to 30-storey development on Takapuna gasometer site
13 October 2006: Ferry wharves proposed for Takapuna & Browns Bay
17 April 2006: Shore council sets out programmes for plan changes & district plan review
4 April 2006: Shore council puts 2 options on town centre rejuvenation
8 February 2005: East Coast Bays ferry study to coincide with overall transport plan
2004: Update: Final gasometer site decision in 4 weeks
2 March 2001: Takapuna plan out for consultation
26 July 2000: Prescribing layout for development already in motion: the Albany expansion zone
Attribution: Local board agenda, Panuku & council images.