Ockham Residential

In thrall to the sprawl: How Aroha can cure Auckland’s addiction

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A protest to save a macrocarpa tree on Avondale’s Ash Street began just before Christmas. Auckland apartment builder Ockham’s Mark Todd argues that while the loss of a lone macrocarpa is not the ideal option, he says it’s far preferable to losing another six hectares to urban sprawl.

Every year on October 1, when the spring rains ease and the ground hardens, hundreds of heavy machines roar to life on our city’s fringe. During the officially designated Earthworks Season which runs for seven months until the end of April, the equivalent of 10 rugby fields each day are devoured as Auckland sprawls ever outwards.

They clear the land first. Bulldozers, diggers, graders carve through anything in their path. Out Waimauku way on the road to Muriwai, there are trees in the way. It’s scrub to some, regenerating bush – mānuka, kowhai, ti kouka, ponga, teenaged totara, elderly macrocarpa – to others. On Western Heights and into Henderson Valley, vineyards and hundred-year-old orchards succumb to marching polystyrene-pillared armies — five-bedrooms, three bathrooms and a double garage — nibbling at the feet of the Waitākere Ranges. On the Shore, Albany approaches Silverdale which morphs into Orewa and spreads inexorably up the coast.

(This story was published in Newsroom on Tuesday 13 January. To continue please READ MORE...)