Neighbourhood Biology

The Byway of the Weka

a forum for issues concerning community participation

Neighbourhood Parks in Auckland City: liability or possibility?
by Dawn Bardsley, Neighbourhood Parks Officer, Auckland City.

Auckland City Council had a restructuring in February last year in which all the area offices were amalgamated. Consequently we now have within our city one main Parks Division called Parks Services. This comprises Arborists, Sports Parks, Premier Parks and Neighbourhood Parks. Sports Parks include any park with organised sports played on it on a regular basis.

Premier Parks include the larger, higher profile parks of a regional significance such as the Domain. Neighbourhood Parks comprise the rest (and the most) of the parks in Auckland City.

I am a Parks Officer for Auckland City looking after Neighbourhood Parks in the Avondale and Western Bays Wards, a total of 110 parks. I have held this position for just over a year during which time I have experienced a vast array of both disinterest and enthusiasm that people have for their local parks. THEIR being the operative word because, as many people don't seem to understand, these are your parks. They belong to us all.

It is heartening to be involved with enthusiastic residents who want to look after and improve their local park. A number of community days have been held recently with excellent results. Some of the residents in Pt Chevalier in particular are especially keen on making the most of their parks, getting involved in organising, and participating in working bees to improve them.

I wish this was the case in all our parks. Sadly in some spots of the city there seems to be only disinterest, with the local park being used mainly as as rubbish tip. This is very sad and frustrating, especially when I know that with a little bit of effort these too could be developed into pleasant, well used areas for locals to enjoy, relax and play in. With a bit of local concern and involvement, the money spent on constantly cleaning up rubbish and repairing vandalism and grafitti could instead be spent on some trees or picnic tables, BBQ's or play equipment.

Auckland City's Parks Officers are always keen to encourage community involvement in our parks. We will provide assistance and guidance wherever we can. While we work for you maintaining our local reserves to the best of our ability, money only stretches so far. Community help, even in just keeping an eye out in your local park and letting us know when untoward activities are happening is greatly appreciated.

If anyone is interested in getting more involved in their local park, please give us a call on the main Auckland City number (09) 379-2020. Or have a read of the City Scene or the bulletin board on this web site for any upcoming events in your area. Get involved.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY - It's something to keep in mind.

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