Town centre upgrade causes debate on Auckland's North Shore
The tree is stands in the middle of a debate between public safety and car parks.

A pine tree stands at the centre of a heated debate around pedestrian safety and main street car parking in a North Shore town centre.

Kaipatiki Local Board voted on the “option one” design for a planned upgrade to Birkenhead’s town centre at a meeting on April 19.

Option one increases public open space and seating areas, as well as introducing a new decked area at Highbury Corner – the junction of Birkenhead Ave, Hinemoa St and Mokoia Rd.

However, the decision to design the upgrade around the tree has severed opinions.

Kaipatiki Local Board member Lindsay Waugh said the amount of effort the board had spent on keeping the tree is a “travesty of urban design”.

Equally concerned is Birkenhead Town Centre Association chairman Pete Taylor who said he is as worried about losing seven car parks as he is about pedestrian safety.

“The plans shows encouraging people to hop across the roundabout in an increasingly busy intersection,” Taylor said.

“I wonder when organisation members become liable for such decisions.”

Highbury Corner’s upgrades follow from the extensions to Rawene car park and the building of Kaimataara o wai manawa.

Local board chairwoman Danielle Grant said option one will deliver the main street its “much needed” facelift.

“These projects have been a significant part of the board’s focus for the past four years,” Grant said.

Option one will now go to tender and work is expected to start in June.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 28 April 2017 > North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz