Economist John Maynard Keynes once wrote, “When the facts change, I change my mind” and here is a case where new facts lead me to update my views.
In a previous column, I mentioned the Takapuna City Council had purchased land between Lake Road and Anzac Street from the North Shore Transport Company Ltd in order to open the carpark in 1964. I also mentioned a targeted property rate to finance the necessary loan.
The online New Zealand newspaper search website ‘Papers Past’ has recently extended its coverage of the Christchurch ‘Press’ to 1971. A ‘Press’ article dated 12 February 1964 confirmed that North Shore Motors Ltd (formed in 1955 as a subsidiary of North Shore Transport Company Ltd) had recently sold property “at Hall’s Corner” to the Takapuna City Council for 105,000 pounds. Quite a lot of money at that time, but between 1959 and 1964 much more than that had been spent by local businesses developing and opening 70 new shops in the Takapuna retail area.
Having disposed of the Hall’s Corner site, and some five acres of property in Milford, North Shore Motors went into liquidation later in 1964. The associated Devonport Steam Ferry Company, had already gone into liquidation in 1963.
On 6th December 1963, although the final sale had not yet been completed, the Takapuna City Council opened part of the site as a carpark. Christmas shopping was a strong consideration. The carpark was open from 8am to 9pm and the charge was sixpence an hour for parking, while North Shore Motor’s own carpark elsewhere on the site charged less. On the first day only 31 cars used the new car park.
Ultimately, the Council raised a 125,000 pound loan for purchasing and developing the carpark site, backed by the Takapuna Business Association (formed in 1948), and made the Halls Corner Commercial Centre a special higher rating area. This covered the Hurstmere Road, Lake Road and Anzac Street shopping triangle. Car park revenue was to be boosted by 50% of the parking meter revenue elsewhere in Takapuna, but at least a quarter of the 250 car spaces needed to be in regular use to adequately service the loan. The special rate was to remain until that capacity had been reached.
On the other hand, business owners in Milford also wanted to attract local shoppers and the Council officially opened the current Kitchener Road carpark on 13th December 1963. At that time, that carpark comprised three quarters of an acre and 150 spaces. Although owned by the Takapuna City Council, local business people funded the 11,000 pound loan to purchase and develop that site. Unlike Takapuna, parking in Milford was free and the local parking meters there had already been removed in 1960. The Milford Business Association was founded in 1949.
Regarding the Sunday Takapuna Markets, I have since learnt that there was a weekend second-hand ‘car fair’ on the site, at least in 1990. Law changes in 1990 brought in Sunday shopping, while Saturday shopping had been liberalised from 1980.
My article also noted that one acre of land was gifted for the development of the Takapuna Rose Gardens, also known as Potter's Park. Note that the Council report on that park, which is online, says it is actually only .3465 hectares, which is .8562 acres. The current Takapuna carpark site is reported to be 9050 square metres, which is 2.236 acres.
I am still awaiting access to Auckland Council Archives and am hoping to learn more about the subdivision of North Shore Motors’ Hall’s Corner site in 1963 and 1964. There is also a potentially interesting file on the carpark covering 1964 to 1975 and two files on the ‘fleamarket’ covering 1991 to 2002. More to follow.