A notice of motion to save a reserve in Sunnyhills was lost despite strong opposition from locals to the sale.
At the Finance and Performance Committee meeting on July 26 a notice of motion to repeal the revocation of reservation status at 9R Fortyfoot Lane was voted down.
By revoking reserve status Auckland Council will now be able to sell the property.
The decision comes as a result of council's emergency budget in 2020 which looked to raise $244 million through council property sales.
Cr Sharon Stewart put forward the notice of motion and said there would be a tsunami of apartments in Howick and holding on to green spaces was important.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Stewart said. “When things come right for council and it one day will, we will need to buy more green spaces.”
Cr Wayne Walker said councillors all knew intensification was going to happen with incoming government policies which made green spaces more important than ever.
“There is almost no land on an individual property for a child to play,” Walker said.
Walker said when a community overwhelmingly supports holding on to a property it was important for council to listen.
By voting the motion down, Walker said “it is an ongoing failure and another reflection of the crisis in confidence that exists in Auckland around this council and parts of its leadership.”
Cr Tracy Mulholland said the sale of Fortyfoot Reserve accounted for $1.74 million in the budget and was a small sum for the value.
“The public has made it abundantly clear they are using the park for their enjoyment. Reserves are for community enjoyment and not cash reserves for council,” Mulholland said.
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said the sale of 9R Fortyfoot Lane allowed for reinvestment in the community like a new recreation centre proposed in Howick.
“I would think every Councillor has tossed and turned over the sale of reserve land,” Cashmore said.
“Your heart wants to go, let’s give this one back. I want some back in Franklin. I am sure Cr Watson and Walker will want some back in Upper Harbour and Albany… Where does it end?”
Cashmore said without the sale of assets council would need to implement a ten percent additional rate increase.
Cr Pippa Coom said the Fortyfoot reserve benefited a very small neighbourhood.
“If we start unravelling every single sale then there is going to be a domino effect,” Coom said.
Coom also criticised Stewarts' vote against this year's rate increases in the annual budget that would raise revenue for open space acquisition.
“You did not listen to your community in terms of that vote. I am sorry to the community members that are now discovering that their councillor did not support the budget for open space acquisition.”
Mayor Phil Goff said several councillors supporting the motion had voted against the budget.
“I am sorry you cannot vote against every revenue-raising measure and for every spending measure,” Goff said. “If you do not want to sell the properties tell me how you are going to raise that $244 million?”
Goff said if councillors made an exception for the Fortyfoot reserve it would invite other communities around Auckland to ask for the same consideration.
“Here is where the rub comes; you have got to apply your rules fairly.”
While the motion was lost, Cr Christine Fletcher, Tracy Mulholland, Daniel Newman, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, Wayne Walker, John Watson and Paul Young voted in favour.