Our open spaces are incredibly important to all of us. They provide places for us to convene, places to explore, places where we are active and can feel removed from our urban environment. They're places where we can be connected with the elements. Our open spaces include our significant maunga and fresh water Lake Pupuke, they are our coastal areas, beaches, inlets, estuaries, headlands and cliffs, and they are the sports grounds and green routes where we can participate in organised sport.
The DTLB were recently presented with a new Open Space Network Plan which is a research document that assesses our open spaces and evaluates how they’re meeting the needs of a growing and changing population.
When compared against our AC open space provision targets, there are gaps in our open space provision in the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board area. Interestingly too, it turns out there’s lower sport and recreation participation levels compared to the rest of Auckland. The document identifies the need for additional sports grounds as demand for open space increases. The big question is how do we do this with no new budgets, and very little spare land?
Opportunity lies in improving the existing network whilst looking too for opportunities to optimise. The DTLB has 123 council owned open spaces spread across the LB area. As residential back yards start to diminish and the city builds up, the need for greater provision of open space become imperative. This is in all types of open space – pocket parks, destination parks, native bush, civic squares in town centres and sports grounds.
A review of the sports capacity and demand shows that by 2028 our area will have a significant shortfall of training hours per week on sports fields (26 hours) as well as a 21 hour shortfall of sports grounds for weekend competitions. Most of this shortfall is within the Takapuna area.
With childhood obesity rates on the increase, and lives growing more sedentary, ensuring we have the appropriate facilities that meet the needs and desires of our diverse communities is really very important. There are massive links between exercise and mental health and for us to raise the next generation to be strong, resilient and healthy humans, we need to offer them every opportunity to get out into our open spaces and be active.
The Open Spaces Network Plan, which is an excellent document, sets out a list of short, medium and long-term actions to ensure the gaps in our area are being closed and that we all have access and opportunity to enjoy our open spaces.
Elected member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board for the 2019-2022 Election Term.