Exchange of part of Margan Reserve for other land
Dec 3, 2017 — What is the news?
Information about developer Avanda’s final Stage Two proposal for roads through Margan Reserve has reached us. The good news is that the proposal shows only one access way over Margan Reserve, not two, as was originally shown in the Master Plan. Also, the location of this proposed access way does not pass through the middle of the reserve so does not involve the destruction of trees in the reserve centre.
The bad news is that Avanda still want to make use of part of Margan Reserve for a road into the private housing development adjacent to it. This is despite the fact that there is ample space to accommodate it on Avanda’s own property in approximately the same location without destroying any of this protected public greenbelt reserve.
The proposed access way is located at the eastern end of the reserve, closer to Astley Avenue . The proposal is for Auckland Council to engage in a land exchange – to swap this end of the reserve for ‘other land’ owned by Avanda.
Which land is to be exchanged? How many trees will be lost?
The area of existing reserve to be exchanged measures 295m2 and would extend 19.6 metres along Margan Avenue and is 17.5m in width. ( see map ) It is estimated that nine or more pohutukawa would be lost. In exchange, 295m2 of Avanda property, shown as a 66.6m long and narrow (6.2m wide) strip along Margan Avenue, would link up with and extend an existing reserve fragment. It is estimated that this private land exchange area contains one pohutukawa . The remaining three pohutukawa in this location are growing within the existing reserve fragment.
So, on estimation, the total number of mature pohutukawa gained in this exchange would be one tree and the total lost would be nine. We use the word ‘estimation’ because no ecological survey has been completed yet, but this is planned to be completed soon.
Also, the two very large pohutukawa at the far southeastern end of the Avanda property , referred to as “some of the best specimens” in the arborist report dated March 2016 commissioned by Parks Western Division, do not appear to be included in the exchange and are on private land owned by Avanda. These trees would be lost to the development estate as they do not grow within the 6.2 metre strip proposed for the land swap, although the Whau Local Board has indicated they wish to negotiate with Avanda to retain and protect these trees.
What are the Alternatives?
There are alternatives to this proposal. Avanda chose to destroy fourteen pohutukawa of this green belt in December 2015, because it could – they were not protected because they were on private land. This makes the case for reconfiguring the road more compelling.
The proposed road onto Margan Avenue could be moved further eastward off the end of the Margan Reserve, to be located entirely on Avanda land. This road could connect logically with Clinker Place and then diverge slightly from a straight line to connect with Crown Lynn Place into New Lynn centre.
Or, there could be no road at all to Margan Avenue, which is already inundated with traffic at certain times of the day.
What Happens Now?
The process for this land swap has begun. A report entitled ‘ Exchange of Margan Reserve for other land’ , issued by divisions of Auckland Council, was received by the Whau Local Board (WLB ) and considered in public meeting on 22 November 2017. The report asked for the WLB to start a process of public notification, whereby the public can make submissions on the land exchange proposal. This submission process will most likely commence in March 2018 and will last for thirty days.
The WLB supported the notification of the proposed land exchange and also attached amended resolutions. The most significant of the resolutions are to:
b) request that the ecological, transport and land value assessment be made available prior to public consultation in the new year
c) request that prior to public engagement staff investigate
i) moving the road crossing further eastwards
This is a good start. We await these surveys and reports to be made public. The ongoing concerns of many in the New Lynn community about the potential loss of further mature pohutukawa from the only green belt in the area, need to be heard, understood, and acted on by our governing bodies.
What is Our Position?
Save the Margan Reserve Pohutukawa will communicate to you, our petition supporters , the date of the start of the public submission process as soon as it is made known. Our position remains the same – that the loss of further pohutukawa will not be tolerated and that the Margan Reserve has strong ecological value both for the community and as a corridor linking to other natural areas and must remain intact.
The Tree Council supports the stance of Save the Margan Reserve Pohutukawa and is committed to lobbying and making submissions to reposition the proposed road to keep the reserve intact.