With the aid of some great advocacy from the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society, it has been good to see the $3.6 m purchase of land within the Regional Park in the last year. This land included the two remaining houses situated in the heritage protection zone within the Park.
The cottages were recently placed on the market by the current owners, the Templeton Group, prompting the Society to urgently request that Council acquire the property. The Society was concerned that any redevelopment of the cottages caused by the sale could impact heritage values and have a detrimental visual impact on the Park.
It is thrilling as the purchase will help protect visitors’ enjoyment of the Park. The Park attracts well over one million visitors every year from all over Auckland to enjoy the beach and beautiful natural areas. The cottages can be clearly seen from the main beachside section of the Park, an area that attracts the greatest number of visitors.
The Environment Court in its 2006 Long Bay Environment Court decision, (Long Bay Okura Great Park Society Incorporated v North Shore City Council) noted the significance of this landscape and ordered that a large part of it be protected from future development.
The archaeological sites include shell midden complexes and a ditch and bank fence network, along with a World War II pillbox. The series of 19th century European ditch and bank fences were probably built by Alexander Pannill who farmed the land between 1864 and 1877. There is also evidence of 19th century gum digging.
The cottages hold great potential to be used for community and heritage purposes. The Society looks forward to the sensitive amalgamation of the cottages with the heritage protection area and Park.
We would like to acknowledge community organisations Friends of Okura Bush, Friends of Regional Parks and Civic Trust Auckland for their advocacy in helping this important acquisition come to fruition. We also thank the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board Council Parks staff and Auckland Councillors for their support.
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