Save Waitakere One

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By Greg Presland

The formation of the super city is supposedly motivated by achieving efficiencies and saving money.  For westies this does not appear likely.  C&R appear to be determined to push through bulk wastewater charges, despite the opposition of some of its more outlying candidates.  This will mean a significant increase for most Westie families.  There is also the cost of a new computer system, the cost of reorganisation of 8 significant organizations into one and Auckland City’s neglect of its wastewater systems will become a regional expense.

So I was surprised to hear that the Auckland Transition Agency has indicated that it wants to build new premises for the Waitakere Ranges Local Board in the Glen Eden area, presumably at significant cost.

I thought that we could be spared the expense and share Waitakere’s former Council Chamber with the Henderson Massey Local Board.  Sharing occurs now.  Waitakere Community Board and the Henderson Community Board both currently use the Chamber along with the Council.  If Len Brown is elected he has promised to circulate Council meetings throughout the region and the Chamber would be ideal for meetings out west.

I have a certain affinity with the building.  Denise Yates and I were part of the Council that decided to build it.  There was intense debate at the time and we both voted against a prior proposal to build new premises on Ratanui Street, essentially on the basis that it would cost too much and that we could not see it working or the claimed economic benefits materialising.

The site where the current Chamber is situated then came on the market.  It was a cheaper option and offered also the benefit of integrating a brand new Rail Station into the development.  By building there we were making a statement that public transport especially rail is vital and that developments like the Council building should be on transport hubs, thereby reducing the need to drive and increasing the desirability of public transport.

The ATA intend to turn the Chambers into offices for use by Council officers.  Retiring chair of the Waitakere Community Board Kubi Witten Hannah intends to oppose this.  I for one will be supporting him.

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