$1.1m cutback hits South Auckland’s regional parks

8:08 pm on 9 September 2020

A number of South Auckland regional parks will have no budgets for infrastructure upgrades that were expected to take place this year due to budget cutbacks the council will consider this week.

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A proposal to renew tracks at Hunua Regional Park may be delayed until 2021/2022 as part of Auckland Council's budget worries. Photo: Supplied

The Auckland Council's parks, arts, community and events committee will consider the planned cuts tomorrow as part of the Community Facilities Regional Work Programmes 2020-2023.

A report to the committee says the council's financial position has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and the 2020/2021 Emergency Budget has reduced the capital budgets from what had been anticipated before the pandemic.

"The reduction in anticipated budgets has required the reprioritisation of projects and activities that can be accommodated within the revised budgets."

The Regional Parks development budget for the 2020/2021 has been slashed from $2,163,202 to $1,108,089.

"As a result, the only development funded projects that are proceeding in this financial year are the purchase of stock for the farming sector and projects that are contractually committed such as the renewing of the accommodation portfolio equipment."

The report says the regional works programme is already under pressure due to the council trying to balance demands across the region, increasing visitor numbers and the impact of historic deferred maintenance.

Under the proposed cutbacks, plans to upgrade security systems at Mangere's Ambury Regional Park and Maraetai's Omana Regional Park will be deferred until 2022/2023.

A proposal to renew tracks at Hunua Regional Park and Waitawa Regional Park in Clevedon will be delayed until 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 respectively. Further works to build new public amenities at Clevedon's Duder Regional Park and Orere Point's Tapapakanga Regional Park will also be postponed until 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

Committee chairman Alf Filipaina said after passing the emergency budget it had been a hard task deciding which projects would be deferred.

But he said it was important that the public knew that the projects that had not been funded in this year's budget were only being deferred for one to two years.

"We needed to do what we did for this financial year because of the emergency budget and we've had to make these cuts," Filipaina said. "But the projects are going to get done and this is only for this year."

Auckland Council approved its Emergency Budget in July. It included widespread cuts to services and jobs, asset sales and a 3.5 percent rates increase. With a forecast $475 million loss in revenue and costs of up to $224m to boost the city's water supply due to the drought, it was a tough juggling act for the Super City.

Meanwhile, last week the Auckland Council announced that public submissions had opened on its review of its Regional Parks Management Plan. The public consultation process will run until 12 October 12.

To make a submission go to AK Have Your Say.

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