An Auckland local board is leading a grassroots rebellion against council plans to demolish a pensioner housing village to expand a park.
The 25-unit Liston Retirement Village, built by the Catholic Church in 1982 on the edge of what is now Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough, is due to be demolished when the last remaining resident with a licence to occupy either dies or moves into a rest home.
But the Puketapapa Local Board has commissioned a study arguing the site should be kept for housing to meet the city's housing shortage.
"We have a real problem here. Hillsborough is identified as the highest demand area for social housing in Auckland," said board member Michael Wood, who has called a public meeting for October 11 to save the village.
The study says that 183 Puketapapa households were on the social housing list in June and 41 per cent of people aged 60-plus in the board area did not own their own homes.
Jean Stansfield, 75, who has lived in the village for 10 years, said residents were worried about the future even though it could be decades until the death of the youngest person with a licence to occupy, who is still in her 60s.
"There are some elderly, they can't stop worrying," she said.
"The lady next to me came in a panic, which is understandable because she has nobody to find her another place if they kick her out.
"We can't see any sense in destroying 25 places for the elderly when there is such a shortage of homes."
The decision to transfer the village to the council when the last person dies was made in the final days of the former Auckland City Council, just before the Super City was created in 2010. Nine houses that have become vacant since then have been filled by renters.
The local board study by consultants Strateg.Ease says the council could choose to keep the village for pensioner housing when it eventually takes over, although that would require funding to buy the land for housing because the 2010 transaction was made out of the parks acquisition budget.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, whose mother lived in the village, said she would like to "retain some housing on that beautiful site" but was mindful of sale-and-purchase agreements entered into by the previous council.