Land lost for parks
A large piece of undeveloped land in Botany hasn't been bought by the city's ratepayers.
NAI Harcourts real estate agent Jon Whisker says the Mormon Church has sold the 12,150 square-metre plot on the corner of Chapel Rd and Kilkenny Drive to a private buyer.
Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross wrote a letter to mayor Len Brown on February 4 urging the Auckland Council to consider purchasing the plot for a park or badly needed community house or hall.
"I am regularly approached by community organisations looking for community space or residents seeking more recreational opportunities within Botany," he says.
However Mr Whisker says the council did not put in an offer, refusing to say who bought the land.
Mr Brown says there are several good-sized parks in the Botany area and other options are available if the community is short on facilities.
If the Howick Local Board and councillors cry out for more the council will look at its options, possibly next to Botany Downs Secondary College in Logan Carr Reserve.
Mr Brown says the council considered purchasing the land but the time frame to buy the Chapel Rd property was short.
"Not only that, it's probably a very big price," he says. "If council's looking at it, everyone all of a sudden starts getting big dollar signs in their eyes.
"So we certainly wouldn't be indulging in a public discussion overly about it."
Scouts Manukau Zone assistant leader David Thorpe says Mr Ross was "dead right" to bring the land into focus as it is impossible to find places to hold meetings in the area.
"We currently have about 60 kids operating out of the little church hall down in Flat Bush on Chapel Rd," he says.
"About a third of the room is taken up with the altar and we are always hoping the kids are not going to knock it over or something."
Mr Thorpe says the health of a community can be measured by the number of charitable voluntary organisations and he doesn't see any evidence there will be places for them to meet in the future.