Residents in a central Auckland suburb are concerned major housing developments in their area are going ahead without the community facilities and support needed.
The beach side suburb of Point Chevalier is about 7km from the CBD and in the next 15 years, 4000 homes are due to be built in the Carrington Residential Development — a Māori-led development being facilitated by the Housing Ministry — while a new 61 one bedroom modular apartment block was due for completion by Kāinga Ora later this year.
But increasing anti-social behaviour has left some residents frustrated and others calling for more social support.
Locals say things deteriorated since the closure of the leaky library a year ago. Though a pop-up library was set up last March.
A restaurant owner, who asked to be known only as Emran, said his staff faced daily harassment from people who were drunk or high. And he believed shoplifting had also increased.
Emran said he was often racially abused and had been threatened by a man with a pair of scissors.
He said the police presence in the area had increased following a recent community meeting but he was not convinced the patrols would remain at that level.
Local William Fremlin said many of the people hanging out in the suburb’s centre were lonely and struggling.
“[We’re] not judgemental, I like to approach this problem in a better way than just trying to drive people away, help them and try and talk to them, if I can feed them I feed them.”
Fremlin said some of the people he had spoken to were homeless and squatting in derelict buildings nearby.
Long time resident and writer Russell Brown said the suburb had always been a mix of communities but “something acute” was going on.
“There’s a real need here and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious community support.
“The best you can do is call Auckland City Mission, who are in the city, it’s a fair way away, and they may not know these people.”
“I don’t think it’s as simple as a gentrifying suburb wanting the riff-raff out… that wasn’t the tone of the [recent] meeting.”
Albert-Eden local board chairperson Margi Watson said funding was a challenge.
She wanted Auckland Council’s governing body to include the new library hub in its 10 year plan.
“I want it to happen as quickly as possible, because we’re talking about a very large community that don’t really have access to suitable services.”
Watson urged locals to submit when public consultation for Auckland’s Long-term Plan opened on 28 February.
Auckland Council head of delivery Kevin Marriott said it was aware of the community’s concerns.
He said options for a future library and community services hub were being investigated and would be presented to the Local Board around the middle of the year.
Kāinga Ora said it would support the residents of its new apartment block, which included a community space.
Its central and east Auckland regional director John Tubberty said there would not be onsite social support, but residents would be connected with support agencies where a need was identified.
He said Kāinga Ora had met with council officers and the local board to discuss opportunities to contribute to community well-being and safety near the suburb’s centre.
By Lucy Xia of rnz.co.nz