The Kaipatiki Local Board is ignoring the community by installing adult exercise equipment in Little Shoal Bay Reserve according to the Little Shoal Bay Protection Society.
Society chairman Tony Holman says a strong response from the community shows that many people do not want the equipment in the reserve, especially on the site proposed.
There are many reasons for the opposition, he says – mainly the high cost at around $80,000, unsightly structures and taking up green space.
Mr Holman says there has now been three consultations with the community.
The first, the board’s promotion of the project, showed around 35 per cent were opposed, he says.
The society also surveyed the same area which showed 90 per cent were totally against it.
“The board ignored this information, and the society’s submissions, resolving to proceed as planned,” he says.
The society then carried out a wider survey across much of Birkenhead Point and Northcote Point which showed 80 per cent totally against the proposal and an additional 5 per cent against the proposed site.
Mr Holman says board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh wrongly stated that the society was advised of the initiative more than two years ago and chose not to respond to the board.
It only learnt of the proposal secondhand, he says.
“We find it reprehensible that Ms Waugh is refusing to correct her statement in any meaningful way to the people she has misled.”
Ms Waugh says the board minutes are verified and are the official record of events.
“The recent survey was to canvas community views on the preferred location for the equipment and the board voted in support of the majority view and recommendation as recorded in our minutes.”
Ms Waugh says the project dates back to a 2010 Birkenhead-Northcote Community Board decision.
On June 14 last year the Kaipatiki Local Board then allocated $80,000 to facilitate the project subject to consultation with the community.
“It has been through several stages of the democratic process,” she says.
Auckland Council’s treatment of Kaipatiki area “reprehensible” P5
GREEN LIGHT: Adult fitness equipment at a cost of $80,000 is set to be installed at Little Shoal Bay.
Adult fitness equipment for Little Shoal Bay costing $80,000 is creating controversy.
The Kaipatiki Local Board voted five to three in favour of it at their April 11 meeting.
But the Northcote Residents Association, the Birkenhead Residents Association and the Little Shoal Bay Protection Society all want the board to reverse its decision.
Northcote Residents Association chairman Brian Plimmer says the “cash-strapped” board has found $80,000 for a project which no resident has asked for, while projects which the community have requested, some for a long time, cannot be funded.
Birkenhead Residents Association committee member Carol Scott says the association is concerned at the large sum allocated to the project that has not been generated by public demand and the encroachment into the green open space of the reserve.
Little Shoal Bay Protection Society chairman Tony Holman believes the proposal was at the outset “internally generated”‘ and not the result of public demand.
Community consultation on the proposal showed 62.77 per cent of people were in support of the project at the proposed location and 37.23 per cent were against it.
Mr Holman says the society carried out its own survey over the same areas covered by the board’s survey and its results showed 96 per cent against the proposed site and 85 per cent totally against the proposal proceeding at all.
Several people also spoke in favour of the proposal at the meeting’s public forum including Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust member support manager Di Vivian.
She says there is a great need for them to be able to access these spaces and places, both for their own good and the good of their grandchildren.
Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh says it isn’t an “unasked for project” and there is a lot of community support for the project including some very long-term residents.
Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman criticised spending on the equipment saying most people in the relatively affluent neighbourhood go to gyms.
But Ms Waugh says that was a big assumption.
Not everyone can afford gym memberships and it’s about the wider community and their different needss.
A group that has worked for decades to preserve Little Shoal Bay in Northcote is furious at a decision by the Kaipatiki Local Board.
Tony Holman, chairman of Little Shoal Bay Preservation Society, claims the board acted unconstitutionally by voting last week to install adult outdoor exercise equipment worth $80,000 on grass beside Council Tce.
Mr Holman says the 1997 Little Shoal Bay/Le Roys Bush Reserves management plan states the grassy reserve is to be used for open, passive recreation and that the area is to be protected for “its unique environmental landscape”.
He says the plan was formed after extensive public consultation and the board is riding roughshod over that process. As a former North Shore City councillor and chair of its parks committee, he believes he knows the situation well.
“It was a public process, a statutory process. Submissions had a common theme – to keep the area natural. That’s what’s in the development plan and what they should refer to in any decisions.”
But board chair Lindsey Waugh says the equipment will be in a section of park zoned for active recreation. “The advice I have had from council officers is that there is no legal reason that prevents the installation of this equipment.”
She says the location was recommended by parks officers because it is on a popular walking route.
“Support and demand … came from a number of sources in the community,” says Mrs Waugh. “It was brought to the attention of the Birkenhead/Northcote Community Board by the community co-ordinators several years ago, because it responded to the [former] North Shore City Council’s Auckland Regional Physical Activity Strategy.
“The popularity of the … adult fitness equipment at Shepherds Park [Beach Haven] led to subsequent investment in other parts of the Kaipatiki Local Board area.”
The board used a discretionary fund pool for this and equipment in five other parks.
But Mr Holman says this situation differs from Beach Haven’s. “Shepherds Park is a different kettle of fish. It’s an area designated for active recreation. That’s fine there, it’s a permitted use. The whole area at Little Shoal Bay is supposed to be for open, passive recreation. As soon as you start to build on it you interfere with that.”
Mr Holman says the plan clearly says no buildings should be erected where the equipment is planned.
“Other than replacement, no new buildings are permitted on the reserve. The definition of a building under the Buildings Act … is movable or immovable, temporary or permanent … a structure … These are structures and therefore they are buildings and I think they recognise that because they know they have to go for a resource consent.”
Mrs Waugh disagrees: “Exercise equipment is not classified as a building and is therefore permitted. The existing children’s playground was installed after the management plan was written so would have been subject to the same constraints as this proposal.”
The board did acknowledge that the equipment is not specifically permitted in the management plan “as this is 15 years old and the demand for outdoor fitness equipment is relatively new.
“[But] … it is not precluded under the objectives and policies of the plan. Consideration has been given to the relevant policies and objectives of the plan whilst choosing the location for the equipment to minimise its potential impacts,” the summary said.
Mr Holman says a better site would be across the road between the tennis courts, toilets and bowling club, on an under-used carpark.
“It would be much safer there. Where they are suggesting currently is a 30-second dash from a playground and beside a road. It stands to reason children will be drawn to running across to the adult equipment, with its own set of dangers.”
Ms Waugh says the chosen spot is safe and contained by a retaining wall. “Traffic in this area travels very slowly due to the large number of speed bumps on this road. The speed limit is 30km/h.”
She says the board delivered 255 questionnaires to the community and said 37 per cent opposed the equipment from the 36 per cent returned.
Mr Holman’s society also surveyed locals and its results contrast with the board’s. Largely the same area was surveyed, with an 84 per cent negative response from the 26 per cent of people who returned the 300 questionnaires.
Mr Holman says his group shouldn’t have to ensure decisions are made that protect the bay.
“That should be the responsibility of the board, the council and their officers. Why are they spending $80,000 on this equipment anyway? Why aren’t they getting on with other things [that] are in the development plan that have been approved but not begun?”
Areas needing attention include drainage from the reserve’s higher part to the flood-prone lower area, and the poorly designed sand wall which causes sand in the bay to be washed out to sea.
“This is the largest bit of inner harbour shore coastline amenable to having a decent local beach so kids can build sandcastles, but they can’t.”
Mrs Waugh says the board’s long-term plan includes advocating for resanding and mangrove management at both Tui Beach [Beach Haven] and Little Shoal Bay.
She also takes issue with comments by local MP Jonathan Coleman that the area’s affluent residents can afford gym memberships and therefore do not want the equipment.
“That assumes the park is for the exclusive use of those who are fortunate enough to live next door,” she says, adding the community has given “wholehearted support for this initiative”.
That doesn’t sit well with Mr Holman who insists the site is wrong.
“I believe the board’s decision is unconstitutional. They will say it’s only a minor thing, but it’s not minor to be putting active stuff in part of the park labelled for passive recreation and open space.
“It means specific management plans are completely subverted and mean nothing.” The largely unused car park where Tony Holman thinks the equipment would be better suited.
Written by: Denise Montgomery Photo/s by: Kellie Blizard Reprinted with permission: http://www.theaucklander.co.nz/news/little-shoal-bay-exercise-on-reserve/1350454/
Parks aren’t just for the children, with many offering exercise equipment to keep all ages happy, writes Susan Edmunds.
If you want a good cardiovascular and strength-training workout without the cost of a gym membership, the answer could be at the end of your street. There are lots of parks and reserves around Auckland that offer free fitness equipment. Look for a fitness trail to work out some extra muscles while you run or weights to lift to keep you burning calories while your children are on the playground. Get some friends together and make a fitness date to check out a different park each week.
With a 3.6km, mostly flat track around the Panmure lagoon, this is a really popular spot for the city’s runners and walkers. You can increase the intensity of your workout by stopping at some or all of the fitness trail stations around the circuit. There are 11 in total, including chin-ups, pull-ups, a log jump, parallel bars, step-ups, beam jumps, an overhead ladder and sit-ups. Ten repetitions on each of these as you run around the circuit will give an excellent full-body workout.
Exercise equipment manufacturer Don Oliver installed workout gear at Rocket Park in Mt Albert a few years ago, so parents could get fit at the same time as their kids made use of the extremely popular playground. Anyone over 11 can use the gear to do everything from cycling and bench presses to tricep dips and sit-ups on the brightly coloured equipment. From time to time, YMCA Mt Albert, which is also based in Rocket Park, offers free classes in the park – Zumba classes in February were really popular.
With a pretty track through native bush and alongside a stream, the only drawback with doing the fitness trail at Craig Avon in Blockhouse Bay is that you might find yourself dodging canine hurdles as well as those on the exercise stations. The park is a really popular off-leash area, so if you have a dog, it is the perfect place to go to exercise. The circular track is about a kilometre long and includes eight fitness stations along the way. Because the trees offer some shelter, it’s an all-weather outdoor exercise option.
Marlborough Park, Glenfield
Marlborough Park is one of the most popular parks on the North Shore for skateboarders but it has also become really popular with elderly residents since adult exercise equipment, worth about $28,000, was installed. On offer is an airwalker, which is a kind of low-impact cardio exercise machine that mirrors the movements of walking, a leg press and a multistation that allows people to strength-train lots of different muscle groups. There’s also a standard playground to keep the kids entertained while you work out.
Grey Lynn Park
Although Grey Lynn Park is probably best known for its free paddling pool – supervised in summer months – the park’s “fitness zone” is a good option for adults wanting to get some exercise in. It’s recently had a $100,000 upgrade. At the Dryden St entrance there are stations for doing tricep dips, a chin-up bar and a sit-up bench. All of them have suggestions on how to do the exercises and use the equipment. Older equipment, including old-style chin-up bars, has now been removed and the council has opted for a station, rather than a circuit, approach for the park. To round off your workout, take a stroll or jog along one of the tracks.
Check out other parks near you with fitness trails or exercise equipment:
Central: Fowlds Park, Michaels Ave (Ellerslie), Walker Park (Pt Chevalier), Western Park (Ponsonby) North Shore: Normanton Reserve (Glenfield), Unsworth Reserve, Rosedale Park and Rook Reserve (Albany), Greenslade and Cadness Reserves (Northcote) and Shepherds Park (Beach Haven).
South: Meadowland and Somerville Parks (Howick), Logan Carr Reserve (Botany), Howick Domain, David Lange Park (Mangere), Ngati Otara Park (Otara), Jellicoe Park (Manurewa), Rotary Walkway (Pakuranga).