Image source: Chamberlain Park Masterplan, Albert-Eden Local Board.
The Albert-Eden Local Board has been working with the community on plans to widen the uses of Chamberlain Park to restore the ecology of the park and make better use of the available open space for improved facilities for our people now and in the future. Some of what has been written or said about the Chamberlain Park redevelopment is based on misunderstandings of what is actually proposed in the Albert-Eden Local Board’s Chamberlain Park masterplan.
Here we answer the most frequently asked questions about Chamberlain Park – but if you have further questions, please use the comment box at the end of this page.
- Why are we changing Chamberlain Park?
- What is there now and who can use it?
- What will happen to the Golf Course itself?
- What will the new local park look like?
- How will Meola Creek (Waitītiko) be restored?
- What new walking and cycling paths are planned?
- How many new sports fields will there be?
1 – Why are we changing Chamberlain Park?
- Albert-Eden has the lowest ratio of park land per capita in Auckland (2.3 hectares per 1,000 people versus 4 or 5 in other Local Board areas).
- Albert-Eden (and adjacent Waitematā) have the biggest shortfall in sports field capacity in the Auckland region and some local sports clubs are having to turn away children wanting to play sports. We also have more field closures due to wet weather than any other area.
- Our area continues to experience strong population growth – for example the Government has announced a housing project for up to 10,000 people on the UNITEC site.
- As one of the most intensely developed Local Board areas, the chances of Albert-Eden getting more land suitable for park use is remote and unaffordable.
- Therefore, in order to meet the needs of our 100,000 plus residents, we are required to make the most effective and efficient use of the open space land we already have.
- Albert-Eden Local Board has invested heavily in new or upgraded facilities in our existing local parks (for example the splash pad in Potters Park, and “weather-proofing” of sports fields).
- Chamberlain Park (33 hectares) makes up over 14% of our total open space (230 hectares) but can only be used for one activity.
- Reallocating about half of the space used for playing golf at Chamberlain Park, for other activities would be equivalent to a 7% increase in our useable open space.
- Hence the plan to better meet the needs of the whole community by changing Chamberlain Park to a multi-use facility, for a wider range of sport and recreation activities and a new local park.
2 – What is there now and who can use it?
- Chamberlain Park is an 18-hole golf course occupying a 33 hectare There is also a pavilion/club-house and a small practice putting green.
- It is fully fenced and off-limits for other uses, mainly for safety reasons – flying golf balls can cause serious injuries.
- About 60,000 rounds are played each year which equates to one round each week for about 1,200 regular players. Those who play more than one game per week are balanced by others who play less often or who share their play around some of Auckland’s 30 other golf courses.
- Playing records at Chamberlain Park reflect a worldwide trend towards shorter format games (nine-hole golf) with recent figures from Chamberlain Park showing that casual golfers are now more likely to play 9 holes, than 18 holes.
- It is expected that similar numbers of golfers will use the new golf facilities (9-hole golf course, driving range and practice facilities) but on a more compact area.
- The freed-up space at Chamberlain Park will be redeveloped to cater for a range of other activities (see below) greatly increasing the number of people able to use the park.
- Along with additional sports, Chamberlain Park will be reconfigured to cater for a wider range of casual recreation activities – a new local park, restored stream and cycling and walking.
- We want many more locals to have the opportunity to participate in sport and recreation, options to lead healthy, active lives and being able to freely access local open space.
- The existing trees are a mix of low-quality exotics, pines and a few natives. Most trees at Chamberlain Park were planted when the golf course was remodelled after the motorway and St Lukes Rd took large amounts of space.
3 – What will happen to the Golf Course itself?
- The Chamberlain Park Master Plan approved in 2015 sets out the high-level goals for the future of the park, including:
- Replace the existing 18-hole course with a new 9-hole golf course.
- Add a new high-quality driving range that will be available in all weathers and in the evening, for practice or as an alternative to playing a round of golf.
- Extend practice areas for new and experienced players.
- Upgrade the clubhouse, including better dining & hospitality facilities.
- Create a new local park at the western
- Develop two new sports fields at the eastern
- Restore a kilometre of Meola Creek (Waitītiko) and recreate wetlands.
- Develop a network of paths within the park and connections to surrounding streets.
- Contrary to the claim that “golf is an 18-hole game”, the rules of golf do not regulate the number of holes. While most New Zealand courses are 18 holes, there are also many 9-hole courses and even a couple of 27-hole courses. 6-hole and 9-hole golf formats are steadily growing world-wide.
- Rather than implement the Master Plan in stages over several years as originally planned it has now been decided to seek resource consent to deliver all stages in one year.
- Funding will come from several sources:
- Council has approved funding for the bulk of the project as a Local Board priority subject to a business case and resource consent.
- The Local Board has also allocated funding from their Transport Capital fund, SH20 Waterview Project fund, and renewals budget.
- Healthy Waters will fund restoration of the stream and wetlands.
- Officers are now working on detailed planning and assessment of effects.
- We hope that consent will be obtained in 2020 and construction work can begin in 2020-21.
4 – What will the new local park look like?
- The new local park will include about 3 hectares from the western end of the golf course plus the existing Rawalpindi Reserve (0.74 hectare).
- It will be bounded down its eastern side by the restored Meola Creek/Waitītiko and wetlands, with extensive riparian planting of trees.
- Access will be off Sutherland Road, Rawalpindi Street, and the North-Western cycleway – potentially also from Norgrove Avenue on the south side.
- There will be a children’s playground, large open space and picnic facilities.
- A major walking and cycling path through the new park will connect the west side of Mount Albert with the North-Western cycleway – so that pedestrians and cyclists can avoid the very busy Carrington Road which carries about 20,000 vehicles daily.
- The existing large groundsman’s shed and equipment store off the end of Sutherland Road will be relocated to the south side of the golf course.
5 – How will Meola Creek/Waitītiko be restored?
- For many decades much of Meola Creek/Waitītiko has been treated as an artificial storm water channel and as a flood-control issue rather than a natural stream.
- 1,060 metres of the creek is hidden from public view as it flows through Chamberlain Park, mainly in a concrete-lined channel.
- Waitītiko will be restored as close as possible to its original meandering course through the golf course with naturalised banks and an alternating series of pools and rock riffles to increase habitat variation and provide visual interest.
- The section of the creek running along the southern boundary is more natural but overgrown with weeds and diseased trees. There will be extensive removal of weeds, diseased trees and selected exotics, and replacement with eco-sourced native trees to restore the original ecotype.
- The original wetland will be replicated with a new large wetland located within a restored bend in the stream.
- The “Paleo Channel” (part of the original stream course) will be used to clean storm water from nearby streets.
- Watercare will use stream naturalisation techniques perfected in similar projects such as at the Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek restoration in Walmsley and Underwood Parks in Owairaka.
- The project involves the planting of many thousands of trees — around thirty different species of native trees, shrubs, flax and grasses on the stream edge, floodplains, stream banks, wetlands and surrounds of the stream, as well as in the regenerated forest in the south of the park.
6 – What new walking and cycling paths are planned?
- A broad shared path will connect streets in the west side of Mount Albert directly with the North-Western cycleway. It will also connect the existing Rawalpindi Reserve with the new local park.
- A second shared path could be incorporated into the sports field development at the east end of the park.
- A network of minor paths will also be built, including a boardwalk looping through the new wetland, and bush tracks through the forested areas along the creek banks.
- In future there may be additional walking connections to streets along the south side of the park but these will require bridges across the creek.
7 – How many new sports fields will there be?
- Chamberlain Park will have two new playing fields (early plans had more but this would reduce the space available for casual users and golfers).
- The playing area will need a flat platform of about 3 hectares, on which will be laid a hybrid “all-weather” playing surface.
- Albert-Eden needs these extra fields to address the significant shortfall sports clubs and players experience for both game day and practice fields, even with the current sports field upgrade projects across the region. In our area, we know that some clubs limit new players, teams and sometimes pay to hire private or school fields.
- We have upgraded and are continuing to upgrade other sports fields in Albert-Eden with hybrid or artificial surfaces to make them weatherproof. But we still have huge demand which is likely to increase, and using part of Chamberlain Park to create new fields is the only solution.
- Alternative sports fields in our area have been investigated exhaustively but they are unsuitable because they are less than regulation size or too close to neighbouring properties and houses. Noise and light spill disturbance to neighbours from evening games and practice sessions can cause significant consenting issues.
- Because of underlying hard volcanic rock at Chamberlain Park, the platform will need to be built up with around 66,000 cubic metres of fill.
- Council officers have applied a conservative ‘worst-case’ costing for this on the basis of paying a massive premium for fill ($80 per cubic metre) when it can be obtained for nothing from large construction projects, leaving just the cost of trucking it in at about 15% of the estimate.
- The true cost of developing the sports fields will be around $10 million – which seems high – but 3 hectares of reasonably flat land elsewhere on the isthmus would cost over $70 million.
Is the golf course going to be designed by a golf course architect? Or is the plan just to leave 9 holes alone and destroy the rest? I have a feeling that due to safety concerns of other people using the new other facilities in the area getting hit by golf balls, that will be the excuse for you to say its to dangerous for the other users of the area and close the course down, even though golf was their before them, or the excuse will be “not enough people are using the course” well they wont use it if its a bad design, and after a few years the 9 hole golf course will be either classed as unsafe and unviable and left to rot away. Which will be the outcome that i feel you want all along.
Good news Jamie. Some of NZ’s best golf architects have already been working on a superior design for a 9-hole course. We want a quality golf experience, not just in the course, but the driving range and the practice facilities as well. We are well aware that people won’t play on a mediocre course, and that has never been part of the plan. The safety concerns are manageable, as at Hagley Park in Christchurch, where a short course has paths and cycleways crossing it. One side would be the driving range, and the other the stream and wetlands restoration with lots of native trees, etc. We want to provide a golf offer that better meets the increasingly time-pressed needs of golfers. There’s room for a golf offer of this sort and the other activites planned for the park!
This sounds amazing. What a lot of land being used for so few people as it is now. The new plan will allow many more people to use this area. I am sure you will do everything in your power to keep as many trees as possible and also improves the ground.
Thanks, and yes, we will do everything that we can to keep as many trees as possible. First, the extensive stream and wetlands restoration, and the new neighbourhood park should see more trees planted than will be lost. The figure of 1,000 is doubly misleading: as well as not taking any account of the many thousands of trees that we hope to plant on the park it is based on an ‘indicative plan’, which had four sportsfields and an aquatic centre and is unlikely to be realised in full. (We’re working hard behind the scenes to retain the pool at MAGS.) Under City Vision the Albert-Eden Local Board nominated more individual trees for scheduling than any other local board (and had more individual trees scheduled), has consistently advocated for urban tree protection to replace that lost when the previous Government removed it, and has a Future Giants tree-planting programme. We love trees!
Kia ora – It’s worrying that http://www.savechamberlainpark.org has put out a pretty compelling leaflet, “10 reasons why we can’t let CityVision destroy Chamberlain Park”, that has great emotional appeal, beginning with 1 – Massive tree destruction – At least 1000 mature trees will be felled, For people like me, that first reason, along with 7 – Importance of Bird Corridor, would be the triggering issues, and I can’t seem to find any specific rebuttal of the 10 points.
As we know, in politics people can be swept aside on single issue matters, and this seems a considerable one.
My question is, is the council planning to make any response to these points, and if so, where can that be found?
Kia ora Deryn,
We’ve updated this webpage to answer some of the points that the Save Chamberlain Park group raise.
Regarding the claim of 1000 trees being felled, the count of 1000 is pretty unreliable. It was done by two golfers walking the golf course making a lot of assumptions. They’ve said themselves that after it started raining, they stopped counting, went inside and estimated the rest.
The reality is that yes, some trees will be removed. But of course thousands more will planted in the new plan. There’s a whole wetland which alone will have thousands of plants and trees of various sizes, not to mention trees along the fairways of the upgraded 9-hole golf course, and around the open spaces and cycleways that are planned. Also note that these trees will be mostly natives, to encourage native birds more effectively than the current pines and exotics which are dotted around.
City Vision candidates are regularly the only Local Board members who turn up at the various tree planting meetings that they organise around Albert-Eden, so can you really imagine this plan NOT being all about trees and the environment?
Hi Deryn, We will do everything that we can to keep as many trees as possible. First, the extensive stream and wetlands restoration, and the new neighbourhood park should see more trees planted than will be lost. The figure of 1,000 is doubly misleading: as well as not taking any account of the many thousands of trees that we hope to plant on the park it is based on an ‘indicative plan’, which had four sportsfields and an aquatic centre and is unlikely to be realised in full. (We’re working hard behind the scenes to retain the pool at MAGS.) It was also not ‘independent’ as claimed, but an estimate by some golfers–who knows what they considered a ‘mature tree.’ Under City Vision the Albert-Eden Local Board nominated more individual trees for scheduling than any other local board in 2012 (and had more individual trees scheduled), has consistently advocated for urban tree protection to replace that lost when the previous Government removed it, and has a Future Giants tree-planting programme. We love trees! Peter Haynes