Waitakere council might see it as just a plot of land to sell, but for people living nearby, Harbour View Reserve is a green oasis in Te Atatu, writes Rowena Orejana.

Six hundred square metres of grassed open space sits opposite Zolene Houston's home in Beach Rd. It was a reserve given to Waitakere City Council when the Waimanu Bay subdivision on Te Atatu Peninsula was developed.

The council sees little value in Harbour View Reserve; it has no distinguishing features, little ecological value, and no historical significance. But the residents are quite attached to it.

"We're an ageing population. I, myself, have lived here for 48 years," says Mrs Houston. "A lot of people, especially the elderly, those who go shopping not in cars, they love to be able just to stay there just to break the journey."


Her daughter, Deidre, explains the reserve is about midway between a rest home and the shops.

"Often, there are people who want to take their [wheelchair-bound] loved ones up for just a bit of a push, stay and then turn around and push them back," she adds.

Mrs Houston says the reserve gets a lot of use during the holidays: "A lot of children play over there, throwing balls."

The council, however, is pushing through with its plan to revoke the reserve status so the property can be sold. The value of the land is estimated at slightly more than $300,000. Henderson Community Board chairwoman Elizabeth Grimmer says the board earlier opposed the sale when the council wouldn't commit to using the proceeds of it to develop other reserves on Te Atatu Peninsula. But, once the board got the commitment, it has withdrawn its objection. "It's not a park. It is a section on the corner of Beach Rd and Harbour View Rd. It won't be developed," says Mrs Grimmer. "In the 21 years we had the community board, there has been no request for anyone to develop the area."

She adds the area is close to other parks such as Pringle Park and Waimanu Bay Reserve.

The board wants the proceeds of the sale used to redevelop the playground at Pringle Park and the redevelopment of the Te Atatu Community Centre and Library. It also wants to buy the former reserve at the corner of Waipani and Te Atatu roads to create a new playground.

The council says it will sell the property but leave a portion of the area as a road reserve where people can stop and sit.

The Solomonic decision has failed to satisfy Mrs Houston entirely. "They're going to do half and half. It's better than nothing, I suppose."


Hold that sale

The council has run out of time to sell Harbour View Reserve this year.

Section 12 of the Local Government Act of 2010, or Auckland Transitional Provisions,

imposes a moratorium on the sale of council properties from Nov 1, 2010 to July 30, 2011.