A proposal to sell the large Auckland Council-owned carpark in the centre of Takapuna has drawn strong reaction, with opponents making 1183 submissions and 838 in support.
Jan O'Connor of the Devonport Takapuna Local Board opposes the change and said the area was intensifying with a collection of apartment blocks under construction so more open space was needed and the land, bought by the council in 1964, should remain open space, available for the Sunday morning markets.
She threw the council's own words back at it, saying in her submission: "To quote from your foreword 'as density in Takapuna intensifies balancing future housing and commercial needs with the increasing importance of public space is of utmost importance to our community'."
O'Connor said: "We need a vision for the land. Carparking must be retained and increased - the council has a moral right to do this."
The council sought submissions on the changes at 40 Anzac St, turning the single-level asphalt carpark into an area of mixed development which could include "new public open space, retail, offices and residential uses, with related carparking." The area is a 250-space carpark in the centre of Takapuna between Anzac St and Lake Rd, adjacent to Potters Park.
A hearings panel of three councillors - Linda Cooper, Ross Clow and Sharon Stewart with independent Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox - is sitting this week to hear submissions on the sale and to make recommendations to the council's Planning Committee.
The council plans to develop part of the Gasometer site - located between Northcroft, Huron and Auburn streets - into a multi-level carpark with approximately 450 carpark spaces.
"This would be completed before any disruption to 40 Anzac St occurred. The vision for the other part of the Gasometer site is to create a mix of commercial, retail and residential spaces. If the proposed change of use is supported, the next step would be to work with the communities of Takapuna on future planning for physical public spaces and their preferred uses and activities."
The council says the Sunday markets could either stay on the site when it was redeveloped or move to Hurstmere Rd properties it owns.
"This proposed change of use would involve the sale and subsequent development of parts of the site by a private developer in a way that ensures the vision for a revitalised Takapuna centre is met. The alternative is that 40 Anzac St remains as a single-level asphalt carpark," the council said.
Ralph Roberts made a submission on the proposal saying he was opposed to "the lack of vision" and said Takapuna would be home to up to 20,000 new people within the next 20-30 years in new apartments surrounding this area.
"There will be no extra amenities whatsoever, the most obvious of which the lack of open space, and this central sheltered area would be far better developed in the future as an underground carpark with open space on top to be used for events such as outdoor Opie's, Anzac parades, markets," Roberts said.