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Monthly Board report – July 2012

Covering activities from 1 June – 30 June 2012

Porfolios

Transport

Monthly transport update

The monthly Transport catch up was held with the Transport portfolio (attended by myself and Member Dempsey) and relevant officers from Auckland Transport on 28 June. The issues discussed are reported back monthly by AT on our public agenda.  Specific issues include:

  • K’rd bus shelters –options AT are looking at to lower the panels that are currently blocking the view from the overbridge
  • Route optimisation process – a discussion about the approach taken to investigate and review existing traffic systems
  • Auckland Cycle network-  programme for development of what was known as the Regional Cycle Network

Richmond Road Safety Action Plan

Due to the numerous safety concerns raised by residents, businesses and Richmond Road School we are advocating through our Local Board Agreement for Auckland Transport to develop a safety improvement action plan for the shopping areas and schools zones on Richmond Road, concentrating on the following elements:

  • Pedestrian and cycle safety
  • Traffic calming and slower speeds
  • Urban design and amenity values.

I am currently in the process of pulling together all the issues that have come to our attention to form the basis of this plan.

Chorus Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout

We were briefed last month by Chorus on their rollout of ultra-fast broadband within the Waitemata Local Board area. The rollout will have many benefits to residents and businesses as average data speeds will increase from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps. However the rollout does require footpaths to put be dug up, many of which have only just been renewed.

On 26 June I attended the Chorus “Shed some light” open evening for residents at Café O, Great North Road. A number of residents from Arch Hill came along who fought hard to have their footpaths renewed in time for the RWC but are about to see them dug up for the rollout.

I have also raised with Auckland Transport that Chorus is not reinstating footpaths to exactly the same condition following the laying of fibre which is resulting in a patchwork of footpaths.

 Allocation of Auckland Transport capital budget to Local Board Priorities

I was delegated with Christopher Dempsey to provide the Board’s feedback on a discussion paper on the Allocation of an Auckland Transport $10m capital budget to fund Local Board priorities. We would like to see the budget used to fund small, one-off, single-site projects or initiatives that add value, enhance or unlock Auckland Transport directed projects that would not otherwise be funded  A copy of this feedback is attached to the agenda.

Community

Gambling Harm Reduction Amendment Bill

A Working Party is preparing Auckland Council’s submission on the Gambling (Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill (the Bill). At our business meeting on 12 June the Community Portfolio holders, were delegated to provide feedback on the Bill to the working party by 29 June 2012.

The amendments proposed in the Bill would significantly change the way Council interacts with the Class 4 gaming sector (non-casino “pokie” machines).

The feedback confirms the Board supports transferring to local authorities the ability to regulate gambling within their locality, including the number of machines and venues, and their type and location. However we raised a number of issues that we believe need to be addressed in the Bill particularly regarding distribution decisions. A full copy of the feedback is attached to the agenda.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings were attended during June relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Other Board activities

Grey Lynn Business Association

The GLBA business meeting on 19 June included a presentation by local planner Kris Macpherson on the Council’s planning process. Members of the Western Bays Community Group joined the meeting to discuss ideas for developing a Grey Lynn precinct plan.

Weona Westmere Coastal Walkway

At our Board meeting on 19 June I voted with my City Vision colleagues to progress the proposed Westmere walkway on public reserve land.  I wish to report on my reasons and why I believe all the issues raised in opposition at the open day on 17 May and at our meeting and sent via email can be adequately addressed.

Lack of consultation – it is unfortunate that a group of residents didn’t receive notice of the open day until it was too late. This was a stuff up however the open day wasn’t the only opportunity for residents to provide feedback on the proposal. The idea of a walkway and opening up the public reserve land is also not new. I first heard about it in August 2010 at a Western Bays Community Board meeting. Consulation is continuing with residents.

Privacy – residents who have enjoyed exclusive use of the public reserve will now have to deal with a walkway bordering their property. Privacy can be achieved through fencing and planting. However I have noticed in other coastal areas where private homes boarder public reserve land that each property engages differently with a walkway. Many residents open their gardens on to the reserve and prefer to have no fencing.

Safety – there is no evidence that coastal walkways on public reserve land increase safety risks for nearby residents. If anything passive surveillance is likely to improve safety.

Traffic – if the walkway does attract more visitors they are likely to park close to the Garnet Road shops to do a circular walk ending with visit to a café (thereby supporting the local economy). Once the walkway is further extended with signage to Westhaven (by road through Herne Bay at high tide or along the coast at low tide) I predict that walkers are likely to get dropped off to enjoy a one- way coastal walk.

Cost – it does seem like a lot of money is being spent on one project. However compared with other capex projects I think we are getting good value money for a 1.4km walkway that will have long term benefits. It will be unfortunate if costs escalate due to affected neighbours taking their opposition to the environment court.

Loss of funding for other projects –Member Moyle claimed that he has been blocked from advancing other projects where the funds could be better spent. This is incorrect. Member Moyle has proposed just one new project in 18 months for a car park on reserve land at Coxs Bay. With the support of the Board plans were drawn up for this proposal and costed. The proposal is currently with Auckland Transport. There are no projects identified in the local board plan that are going unfunded as a result of the walkway.

Loss of neighbourhood character – the walkway is likely to add to the character of the neighbourhood and become a key feature for the benefit of locals. The walkway also provides an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the area which has long been neglected.

Environmental damage – at the open day I heard about middens along the route and the many ecological values of the area. I also heard that there is continuing concern about the pollution in Motions Creek. I think the walkway is an opportunity to enhance and project the environment. Historic features can be incorporated into the interpretation boards for the walkway.

At the end of the day the walkway is on public reserve land that belongs to everyone. For over 80 years the residents with coastal properties have enjoyed almost exclusive use and have come to see the coastal reserve as an extension of their backyards. I can therefore fully understand why the walkway is seen as a threat to their lifestyle and there are concerns.  However I believe these can be addressed by the Board and Council officers working with the residents. I think the walkway is going to be used primarily by locals who I hope will come to feel proud of it as a lasting legacy.

Local Board workshops and meetings

Attended:

  • Local Board workshop on 5 June with members of the Be Accessible team to work towards a vision statement and action for the Board around our goal to become the first “accessible” Local Board. The workshop was a unique collaboration with officers and Board members.
  • Site meeting on 1 June to discuss fruit tree planting in Grey Lynn Park with Simon Cook, Jesse Chalmers and members of Grey Lynn 2030
  • Visit to The Kitchen (a collaborative workspace for change makers and social entrepreneurs in Ponsonby)  with members of Puketapapa Local Board and Community Development officers
  • Tamaki Drive master plan workshop organised by Orakei Local Board on 5 June in St Heliers
  • Meeting with Waterfront Auckland to discuss local board priorities and Waterfront Auckland projects update
  • Unitary Plan central cluster workshop on 7 June  providing an opportunity for Local Board members to input into key issues
  • Governing Body meeting making decisions on the draft waste management and minimisation plan
  • Waitemata Local Board public meetings on 12 June at the Grey Lynn Community Centre and on 19 June at 35 Graham Street
  • Regional Walking and Cycling Forum organised by Auckland Transport on 12 June
  • Hīkoi, Part II walking of the proposed Waitemata heritage foreshore with Malcolm Paterson from Ngati Whatua o Orakei
  • Meeting of the Community portfolios from Waitemata, Puketapapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards to discuss possibilities for collaboration
  • Meeting to discuss Waitemata’s submission on the Gambling Harm Reduction Bill
  • Youth Focus Strategy with Community Development officers
  • Local Board workshop on 19 June
  • Waitemata Communications catch up
  • Monthly meeting with  Community Development and Partnerships Central
  • Meeting to discuss Pt Resolution Bridge design proposals
  • Meeting to discuss the proposed capital renewal programme for 12/13 for community facilities.  Officers have worked together to compile a list of proposed capital work projects for each local board area (central at this stage), prioritised and rated the projects in order of need, and matched against local board community facilities budget.
  • Meeting with Malcolm Paterson; Manager -Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Heritage and Resource Management Unit following the Hikoi to discuss the board’s 2012/13 projects and priorities and to discuss how the board can best work with Ngāti Whātua o Orakei to progress these projects in a mutually beneficial way.
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport and Council officers to provide the Board with an opportunity to communicate feedback on any issues, concerns, ideas or opportunities relating to the development of the Khyber Pass and Broadway corridor plans
  • Meeting with members of the Western Bays Community Group to discuss community engagement
  • June ATEED Board Meeting – Meet and Greet with Local Board Chairs (attended for the Chair)
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss the proposed City Centre Parking Zone proposal attending by the Board and Cr Mike Lee
  • Meeting to discuss Auckland Council’s discussion document “Powering Auckland’s Low Carbon Transformation”
  • Meetings to finalise the Board’s feedback on the Gambling Harm Reduction Amendment Bill and the Discussion Document on the proposed allocation of the $10m capex fund for Local Board priorities
  • Follow up meeting with a member of the public concerned with the level of spitting in the city centre that creates a hazard for those using walking sticks
  • Local Board workshop on 26 June – we received a report outlining the community input on the future of the Campbell Free Kindergarten
  • Monthly transport portfolio catch ups with Auckland Transport on 29 June

Events and functions

I attended the following events and functions during May:

  • Backbenches TVNZ 7’s final Auckland show at the Britomart Social Club
  • Cycle Action’s Associates Breakfast at the Art Gallery on 7 June
  • Auckland Peace City  Declaration – Launch on 8 June
  • Gala Preview of the TelstraClear Season of A Shortcut To Happiness at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company on 8 June
  • Twenty Fifth Anniversary of Nuclear Free New Zealand on Saturday 9 June in Aotea Square
  • Youth Advisory Panel Waitemata selection event
  • Grey Lynn Business Association June networking drinks
  • Launch of the Matariki Festival at the Mangere Events Centre
  • Public Open Day for the proposed Development Plan of Myers Park and heritage walk with Edward Bennett
  • Inner City Connectedness Research Launch by Parnell Trust on 18 June
  • VIP celebration for the reopening of  the restored Tepid Baths
  • Official opening of the Tepid Baths on Saturday 23 June
  • Chorus “Shed some light” open evening for residents on 26 June at Café O, Great North Road
  • Cocktail Party to launch Highwic’s 150th year on 27 June
  • Gala Opening of Margaret Mahy’s The Great Piratical Rumbustification at the Pumphouse (at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions)

I was one  of 3 guest speakers to present on “Sustainable Auckland” at the Mercy Spirituality Centre in Epsom on 6 June

I also participated in The Big Sleepout on 28 June with 60 celebrities, business leaders and politicians personally raising over $1500 for Lifewise’s support of homelessness.

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