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Alice Wylie Reserve

The specimen trees in the Alice Wylie Reserve were planted by Jack Clark of Eden Gardens fame. He planted azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, hibiscus and conifers. The area became a ‘minature Eden Gardens ’ with the intention of labeling all plants and varieties with their names as money became available. Unfortunately, after amalgamation the Auckland City Council planted natives behind the more exotic florals and gradually the reserve lost the features that made it an ‘horticultural gem.’1 These days the reserve is rundown and sad. The olive tree has lost the appeal of its beautiful trunk by untold numbers of saplings that have not been removed. The pohutakawa is full of mosquitoes and needs its crown lifted. The circle garden conifers are either too high or dead (I counted four dead last visit).

The hibiscus walk has disappeared and there are self seeded saplings on the partly covered lava flow. The natives planted by the council are now so huge they tower over and are killing off those  few specimen plantings of Jack Clark that are left.

This state of affairs is a direct result of Mt Albert being ignored for maintenance and repairs by Auckland City since amalgamation over 20 years ago! The writer and Alice Wylie had a meeting with council Parks and Reserves in the middle of last year requesting that the circle garden be replanted at the very least in the interest of safety. The Parks and Reserve staff member agreed and believed it would be an excellent SLIPS project. It was voted against by our Community Board on the basis of it “not being a priority.” What constitutes a priority? Do we become a priority when someone is assaulted?  There is not much point in having bollards in place if the reserve is so overgrown personal safety is at risk. This park is important to us NOW. It is going to be even more important when Auckland City ’s high density planning for the area comes into being. We will need a safe, calm haven of green in a suburb that is already low on public spaces.

So, what should we do?  Should we form a Friends of Alice Wylie Reserve group and deal with the problem ourselves as it would clearly appear that council have no interest in listening to our concerns?

Or do we just let it continue to deteriorate in the hope that Auckland City will at some point do something about its poor maintenance record?  






Please feel free to contact the writer on 846 4509.

1. Mt Albert Historical society newsletter no 6 March 2008

Article by Mary Inomata  January 2011                                                                                                             return to archived local heritage articles

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