April 2017: Of home and housing

Helen Perry, Editor

I can scarcely believe it; we have finally moved into our new Pukekohe home and while the reality of living in a semi rural area hasn’t quite hit home, the motorway crawl, morning and night, certainly has.

It’s unbelievable that part of our main trunk line is solidly blocked for
large portions of the day including at weekends.

Lane improvements may be underway but, even when complete, how this stretch of highway – Drury to Manukau, and sometimes beyond – will cope once all the new housing goes in at Takanini, Drury, Glenbrook, Kingseat and throughout Pukekohe, I have no idea.

Perhaps, by that stage, I won’t need to do battle and who in their right mind would want to?

On the Wednesday of the huge floods at Clevedon it took me two hours to travel from Pukekohe to Botany Town Centre!

Just think of all that wasted money on fuel, not to mention the resulting air pollution
from exhaust fumes.

On the other hand I am enjoying exploring my new environs and, of course, discovering new shops and restaurants. Nevertheless I will miss the district I have called home for 44 years – the one advantage of still working locally is that I can continue to frequent some of my favourite haunts.

On another note…but kinda related. I heard a suggestion on the radio that some of Auckland’s reserves should be carved up for more housing. How absolutely ridiculous.

Do we really want to damage New Zealand’s so called ‘clean, green’ image even further? And do we really want a concrete jungle with all its associated problems, for a city?

Green spaces are vital in busy, vibrant cities for many reasons. As more housing goes upwards (i.e. apartments), or where section sizes are diminished, in many cases to
some 300 square metres, reserves are needed for community leisure and relaxation, a place for families to enjoy, children to play, dogs to run.

And, of course, trees are vital in helping keep the air clean – imagine air pollution like some of the world’s worst affected cities – Delhi, Beijing even Los Angeles?

While India, Pakistan and some other parts of Asia are known to suffer the worst air pollution, European and American cities aren’t exempt. Heaven forbid that Auckland even becomes as bad as even some Australian cities which don’t compare to the pollution heavyweights but, nevertheless,
have problems.

Air pollution kills some 3.3 million people worldwide every year and some say this number could double by 2050. So, in my mind, Auckland does not need to be eliminating its
reserves but creating more.

We still have plenty suitable land left for housing development (and, as mentioned, there are several thousand houses already set down for southern parts of Auckland alone) but first we need improved infrastructure to accommodate additional housing.

And frankly, for those keen to live in the inner city, or close by, then it seems inevitable that more high rise or medium rise apartment buildings will be the way of the future. That may not be so bad if architects and town planners insist on the inclusion of communal courtyards,
ensuring such complexes embrace green spaces like that of The Parc in Market Place at The Viaduct.

There, apartments overlook a private garden, in the centre of the complex, planted with beautiful trees and encompassing a pool area – brilliant.

It is in stark contrast with some less visionary apartment buildings around the city. To my mind, planted green space should be mandatory with every apartment block.

And, on that cheery note, I must say that EastLife offers much more pleasant reading than my cross patch thoughts about sacrificing our parks. Check out the delightful Golly family of toys, and read about the Watts family’s US holiday (part two).

Find out how the Nanette Cameron School of Design has inspired one former lawyer on a new career path and go in the draw for some of our great prizes. Importantly, grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy EastLife!

Editor: Helen Perry