North Shore plans pre-Super City spend-up

By Wayne Thompson

North Shore City is to fast-track $8.1 million of projects in its final annual budget, including revamps for Takapuna's Hurstmere Green and Birkenhead's Highbury Town Centre.

The money comes out of the $14.4 million collected from the sale of the council's former works depot in Rosedale and the cash reserves of its NSC Holdings company.

Sixteen projects are in the 2010-11 budget due to be agreed by the council tomorrow. They have been approved by the Auckland Transition Agency.

Mayor Andrew Williams said yesterday bringing forward the projects from long-term budget slots was good use of the sale proceeds. "All these projects would have to be done anyway and paid for out of rates and loans."

But other legacy projects promoted by North Shore have not made the cut.

The agency rejected the council's move for a $1.5 million North Shore exhibition centre in the old Takapuna library and replenishing sand on inner harbour spots - Little Shoal Bay and Hall's Beach - for the same cost.

It also knocked back the mayor's suggestion of buying a $600,000 building to relocate the Birkenhead-Northcote Community Facilities Trust - which is on notice to quit the Northcote War Memorial Hall - because they were not specific items in the long-term council plan put out for public comment last year.

An alternative plan for a council-owned site for a lesser amount could be managed through existing community service budgets.

Mr Williams was confident the council would make good last week's promise to boost the funding for two multimillion-dollar projects, though neither has agency approval.

He said the council would contribute $10 million to the 50m-pool complex proposed for public and competitive swimming by the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health facility at Mairangi Bay.

A further announcement, in conjunction with Sports Minister Murray McCully, was to match the Government's $3 million contribution to construction of the National Ocean Water Sports Centre at Takapuna.

"We have recommended to the agency that the projects will be either funded by loans or partly paid for out of what's left of the NSC property sale, or a combination of both."

The new Auckland Council might provide the pool a loan as a regional facility, he said.

FAST-TRACKED PROJECTS

* Highbury Town Centre - $1.5m
* Hurstmere Green - $1m
* Sportsground toilet blocks - $1.5m
* Parks acquisition - $1.2m
* Beach Haven Civic Square - $750,000
* Leisure centres renewal - $420,000
* Takapuna Aquatic Centre - $380,000
* Torpedo Bay walkway - $300,000
* Other walkway renewals - $500,000
* Northboro pipe bridge - $200,000
* Sanders Track development - $200,000
* Greenhithe skateboard park - $150,000

- NZ Herald

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