Most regular readers will probably know that I haven’t been all that impressed with the stupid berm debate that cropped up a month or so ago. I said at the time of my post on the subject that it would be the one and only post on the matter and that is still the case however I do want to pick up on a comment made in the article today about the issue as it relates to the Unitary Plan rather than the berms as such. The part in bold is the bit that really caught my attention.

But Waitemata councillor Mike Lee, one of three from areas of the old Auckland City who opposed the decision, said the council should not take the findings as vindication of it.

He said the council should heed discontent from the central district, where residents’ rates had paid for berms to be mowed, given that it was earmarked for the greatest intensification. “It would seem the council is relying on people in intensified housing to go out and buy a lawnmower to mow the berm that the council owns,” he said.

To me this shows that either Mike hasn’t actually read the plan or that he is trying to score political points over it. Sure there will be intensification in the CBD and perhaps some in the fringe suburbs but they don’t tend to have berms anyway. For the rest of the isthmus area there is very little intensification allowed for other than a few patches around town centres in the lower value areas. Almost all of the isthmus area has been locked in amber as what exists today by either imposing the single house or mixed house suburban zone thus preventing intensification. This was scaled back from the earlier draft.

Notified UP - Isthmus

Here is the legend

Notified UP legend

If Mike really wants to see the area that has been zoned for the huge intensification looks like then he should look to the west which has been zoned mostly Mixed Housing Urban or Terraced Housing and Apartments.

Notified UP - West

Oh and I doubt any of the people out west are also whinging about berms.

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  1. To be overly charitable, the actual words Mike Lee are quoted as saying talk about people who currently live in intensified housing. The existing housing stock in the central suburbs is way denser than what’s currently in West Auckland, and the West will take a while to catch up.

    1. For what it’s worth, I think berms are ridiculous. It’s proof that 1 chain (20.1m) is just far too wide for a residential street, if having a bit of useless lawn is the best thing anyone could think to do with the space.

  2. I do hope that, as you mentioned in an earlier post, there is in the future a direct link between people’s attitude to intensification and the level of public investment allowed for in various areas – the money should go where expansion is allowed to happen. You’d have thought that the supercity would have been able to counter the will of the few in the expensive burbs to shoe development further afield and impose that a regular densification surrounding central Auckland is at least going to be possible…

    1. Only where we need the cycle paths. As for other streets, the treatment at Hobsonville Point, with rain gardens, makes more sense. It helps filter rain water, needs minimal attention and can help ease sudden overload on stormwater pipes.

  3. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of the berm. I think it was Gordon Price (although I may have him confused with another former Vancouver City Council) who said that the single best thing he did as a councillor was put grass on the sidewalks of Vancouver’s West End (the residential portion of the downtown peninsula). I can’t speak to what the area was like pre-berms, but its a highly desirable place to live now, and for the benefit of Mike Lee – extremely dense population wise.

      1. Gosh. Look at all that ugly high rise (yes I know it actually mow/mid). How can people stand to live like that in little shoeboxes. They must be incredibly unhappy.(sarc)

    1. It is possible to have that space unpaved but not grass. It’s been like that for years in Ivanhoe Street (and from an earlier comment, I assume something similar in Hobsonville Point?). Don’t know why it hasn’t been done elsewhere. I think it’s much nicer than a bit of grass that no-one uses:

  4. I like berms. I think they are essential to making a road pedestrian friendly. You definitely feel a lot less safe walking on a suburban footpath directly next to the road.

    I can also totally understand why almost half of central Aucklanders are miffed that the berms are no longer cut. It used to be a service, then central Auckland rates are hiked up far greater than the surrounding suburbs, and then the service is, er, cut.

    Also, yeah, intensification, pfft.

  5. Sigh.

    You guys really have a blind spot when it comes to tamaki. Look how much orange there is there, but you keep using west Auckland as the exemplar of intensification.

    1. Er, there’s as much orange in Tamaki as there is is Te Atatu. In fact, I think all the orange of the isthmus could fit in Te Atatu and Henderson, without counting new Lynn, Avondale, Westgate…

      But yes, Tamaki is clearly the largest orange area in the isthmus.

      1. Yes, and the purple around tamaki is two special precincts in the unitary plan that will be very intensive housing. Sub precincts a and b. I haven’t measured it but this area may be larger or more intensive than out west. I see that countdown is already building a new store in Merton rd in anticipation.
        And it’s on an existing train line. So, by the same logic of this thread it should also get some govt oil right?

        1. I have to agree here, I think that we should just stop funding everything in the Northern Bays, Whangaparaoa, and the isthmus ring and reallocate it everywhere else.

          1. You’ll get representation, regular services and maintenance, but you can’t expect anything significant in the way of new infrastructure if all the growth is happening elsewhere.

          2. No Tamaki, representation is not the same as improvement. If the neighbourhoods want to remain as they are then so be it, they shall remain as they are.

    2. No we’re not ignoring Tamaki as there is a bit of intensification there but a couple of quick points. Yes there is a decent chunk of THAB but then it disappears to Mixed Housing Suburban, in contrast in the west the THAB zones are surrounded by Mixed Housing Urban so allow for greater overall density. Also while there is a bit of density increase, it is small in the scale of the overall isthmus area where as out west it covers most of the area. In other words you have almost all of West Auckland zoned to allow for higher density compared with pockets in the rest of the region.

  6. To see the effect of the stupid berms decision by the council and what it will look like go for a drive around the intensified areas of Glen Innes. The streets look a mess, unsurprisingly there is dumped rubbish along the berms, the roundabouts are full of weeds, and tagging is making a strong come back. That said tbe council must have got the message as they were out mowing the areas today and mowing and tidying the area.

    1. The problem areas are in front of housing nz owned properties. They are generally a hopeless landlord and they own half the houses.

  7. HNZ expects its tenants to mow the lawns at the property they rent. They have recently written to tenants and asked them to mow the berms as well. That is fine if you do your own, but expects the very poor, often people with disabilties who have to pay someone to mow their lawns already, to pay more to mow Auckland Transport’s grass.

  8. Who do housing nz expect to mow the berms in their intensified flats? The residents certainly won’t, which I suspect will become a problem if intensification happens. This whole debate has shown how little thinking the council have actually done about the implucations of their policy and how it ties into their desire for a livable city. I certainly won’t support intensification if we are going to end up with the general run down appearance we are now seeing in glen innes which is a direct result of poor planning, a stupid policy, and no care by the residents who live in these intensified housing.

    The council need to wake up and smell the coffee, and see what their policy is doing. This morning one of the worst sites on the corner of taniwha street and elstree avenue, which the council owns, has not been mowed for months, and people have dumped garden rubbish on the roundabout. That doesnt sound like a livable city to me, it is more like an inner city slum.

    1. Well said ejtma, intensification is great so long as it doesn’t turn into a socialists wet dream of more council housing.
      I’m all for more up market apartments making up the city skyline and filling in run down urban areas but I’m am not for cheap housing. That just lowers the tone of all of Auckland

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