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Monthly Chair’s report December 2018

Report covering the period 12 November until 12 December 2018.  It is included in the local board business meeting agenda held on 11 December

This is my final report for the year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my hard-working fellow local board members, the outstanding Local Board services team who support the local board and everyone who works to make Waitematā a great place. Our Achievements Report 2017/2018 highlights just how much we have been able to achieve together.

The following provides a summary of the positive updates and major milestones reached by the local board as we come to the end of 2018.

Achievements Report 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018

 The Board’s annual report of highlights covering major projects and initiatives, community grants, advocacy and local governance is now available online. Here is my Chair’s message included in the report.  I included in my report the Chair’s message

TAPAC arts partnership

TAPAC was built in partnership with the old Auckland City Council, but no sustainable funding model for ongoing operational budget support was put in place at the time – unlike regionally supported arts facilities such as Q Theatre.  The Waitematā Local Board has endeavoured to support TAPAC through one off grants but this has been on an ad hoc basis and doesn’t contribute to administration costs.

At our November business meeting we achieved a major milestone. A report to the local board recommended the local board enter into its first arts partnership of $85k a year. The report details the substantial contribution to the arts by TAPAC and the diversity of their programmes and audiences.  ( Our Auckland story: TAPAC and Waitematā Local Board celebrate new partnership)

Erebus National Memorial

Also at the Waitematā Local Board November meeting we agreed to support the construction of the National Erebus Memorial at Auckland’s Dove-Myer Robinson Park / Taurarua Pā, commonly known as the Parnell Rose Gardens. We’re really honoured to host such a significant historically important memorial in one of our outstanding local parks. I got emotional talking in support of the project knowing what the Memorial means to the families impacted by NZ’s worst peacetime disaster. This disaster resulted in 237 passengers and 20 crew losing their lives.   (Media release: Auckland site approved for National Erebus Memorial)

The resolution of the board:

  1. a)       Supports locating the National Erebus Memorial at Dover-Myer Robinson Park subject to:
  2. i)        all necessary building and resource consent requirements being met
  3. ii)       a rigorous design process which includes a review of the short listed designs by the Auckland Urban Design Panel and, as a separate process, the Waitematā Local Board

iii)      the local board granting landowner approval for the installation of the winning design subject to Board approval of this design

  1. iv)       Ministry for Culture and Heritage providing funding to cover all costs relating to the installation and future maintenance of the structure and associated landscape features.
  2. b) delegate to the Waitematā Local Board chair and parks portfolio lead sign off of the memorial design parameters
  3. c)  receive the letter of support from the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei trust and notes that the Ministry for Culture and Heritage will lead mana whenua consultation on the location.

I was fortunate to attend the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Erebus families held on the 39th anniversary at the Dalmatian Cultural Society Hall.  The Mayor Phil Goff also spoke at the meeting.  A majority of the family representatives support the selected site and shared their desire to have input into the design.  The memorial is planned to be completed by May 2020.

254 Ponsonby Road – a civic space

The long-time project to develop a civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road reached a major milestone with the Environment and Community Committee unanimously supporting the officer recommendation that the full site at 254 Ponsonby Road is the optimal size for a park in this location and agreed to retain the whole site for the purpose of developing a civic space. Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers spoke on behalf of the local board to the Committee.  (Attachment 3 Presentation to the Environment and Community Committee)

The site was purchased by Auckland City Council in 2006 with the intention to develop part of it into a civic space. However, locals have long campaigned for the entire site to become a dedicated civic and open space for people, events, activity, and relaxation.

When the wider community were asked what they wanted for the site, 77 per cent of people voted for the entire site to become a park. Following this clear preference from the community, in 2015 the local board allocated $10,000 towards funding a grassroots community-led process to find a preferred design for the park.

This process saw community members take the lead in identifying a design using a community empowerment approach.  Locals were involved in decision-making throughout the process which was informed by ongoing robust community consultation. (Photo right: Local Board members, Councillors Cathy Casey and Mike Lee celebrate the decision with members of the Ponsonby Park group)

In November the LandLAB’s PARK+ design (photo right) was announced the winner in the Future Civic category at the World Architecture News Awards.

There is sufficient One Local Initiative funding (allocated through the Long-term Plan) available for phase one of the project ($5.5 million) without asset sales. The local board proposes to partially fund phase two ($5.5 million) through the council’s Service Property Optimisation approach.   A detailed business case and design of the site can now commence for construction in 2020/2021.

Our Auckland story  New Ponsonby civic space reaches a significant milestone

 Local Board Agreement 2019/20 and funding for the Mission’s Homeground project

Western Park- Invitation v4 Every year local boards have the opportunity to present on their top priorities for inclusion in the Council’s annual budget.

This year Waitematā Local Board advocated for:

  • whole of site civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road (Ponsonby Park)
  • funding to implement the Domain masterplan
  • region wide funding to reduce agrichemical spraying (we have allocated $70,000 to eliminate spraying in four parks but there needs to be a coordinated approach to benefit from economies of scale)
  • funding for the Auckland City Mission HomeGround project

In the picture above presenting to the Finance and Performance Committee with Deputy Chair Shale Chambers and local board member Richard Northey. (Local Board Agreement presentation slides to the Finance and Performance Committee)

As I raised with the Committee, addressing homelessness is a priority for the local board and some of the initiatives that we are doing at a local level include $20k local board funding (LDI budget) this year towards supporting homelessness initiatives such as funding a trial of showers for homeless in partnership with Ellen Melville Centre and supporting an outreach programme by the James Liston Hostel staff in Outhwaite Park community hall.

The local board strongly supports the Mission HomeGround project that is taking an integrated approach, based on international best practice and recognises that accommodation with both health and social services are required to meet the needs of homeless people.  Eighty supportive housing units that combine affordable housing with 24-hour security and services to help people with complex needs to live with stability, autonomy and dignity – it will also be an inner city community hub.

Initial findings of Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland’s Homeless Count show that on 17 September 2018, at least 336 people were living without shelter and 2,874 people were in temporary accommodation.  It is estimated that we have 800 people living without shelter based on a validation exercise.

We have advocated for Auckland Council to clearly show its commitment and support to the project as the City Mission needs to find another $16.5 million.

It was therefore great to hear a few weeks later that the Mayor proposes to grant $5m towards Auckland City Mission HomeGround project as part of the Annual budget 2019/2020. As Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly puts it “the development is an initiative unlike anything else seen before in New Zealand … It provides a purpose-built, safe space to stand against homelessness, hunger and poor health. Offering pragmatic, hands-on services and support to help those who need it most, this $90 million project will be a legacy for Auckland. The HomeGround development has been a long-held vision for the Mission and this $5 million funding proposal shows great leadership.” If approved by the Governing Body it will go out for consultation in February 2019.

Planning Committee presentation – City Centre Masterplan refresh

On 27 November I presented to the Planning Committee on the local board’s support for the City Centre masterplan recommendations ( Blog post: Auckland City Centre buzzing to the sound of people – covering my CCMP 2040 presentation to the Planning Committee)

The Committee unanimously voted for an innovative concept that paves the way to further pedestrianise Queen Street. One of three bold new proposals discussed today, Queen Street – Access for Everyone will further develop Auckland’s city centre into a vibrant public space for people.

Two new concepts – Maori Outcomes and Grafton Gully Boulevard were also adopted for further development and public consultation by the Planning Committee, with a view to seek committee approval by July 2019.

I also confirmed the local board’s support for trials and temporary installations to demonstrate the city we would like to become.  For example, a bollard on High St that goes up once deliveries are completed would transform the pedestrian experience overnight.  As we say in our local board plan:  We support pilot projects and quick, low cost interventions to promote long term improvements to our streets

The Planning Committee requested trials of ‘Open Streets’ in the city centre, and to work with interested local boards on trials in other town centres.

Playground openings

On 21 November we celebrated the playground upgrade at Vermont Reserve, Ponsonby with a sausage sizzle provided by the maintenance contractor, Ventia.

The new equipment has been welcomed by locals but unfortunately the design has made the playground less accessible.  I have logged this as an issue that will be fixed with a new entrance gate into the playground. (Photo right with local board members Adriana Christie and Richard Northey at the opening)

Parnell station walkway open

The new pathway connection to Parnell Train Station from Carlaw Park student village and business area is now open. Waitematā Local Board put up the funds to get this built.

On 15 November 2018 members of Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport, Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Business Association enjoyed a first walk on the new pathway connecting Parnell Station with Carlaw Park student village and business centre ( Our Auckland: New pathway connection to Parnell Station now open)

Waitematā Safe Routes Projects- update

Every household in a wide area of Grey Lynn and Westmere should have received a Have your say booklet from Auckland Transport on plans to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for everyone. There have been opportunities to see the plans in large scale and talk directly to the project team at various open days during the consultation .

Feedback is due by 14 December 2018.  The local board will provide our input once we have heard the public feedback.

In my December Ponsonby News update  I look back on the progress of this project since it was described as a “fiasco” over a year ago.

Construction of the Karangahape Road Enhancements Project is due to start in early 2019 ( Media Release – Contractors sought for Karangahape Road upgrade).  The K Road Business Association, alongside Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, have developed a Business Pac which will be distributed prior to the work commencing.  The need to actively manage business disruption has been one of the key lessons from the West Lynn project.

Ian McKinnnon Drive cycleway extension

with the Mayor Phil Goff, Minister Phil Tywford, Councillor Paul Young and local board member Adriana Christie about to ride the new cycleway

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff officially opened the Ian McKinnon Drive Cycleway on Friday 30 November.

The cycleway removes the steep climb alongside the Newton Road on-ramp up to the Newton Road bridge for people on bikes travelling to the city centre on the Northwestern Path.

The route runs through Suffolk Reserve, onto Ian McKinnon Drive (the section in the Waitematā Local Board area) and up to the intersection of Upper Queen Street. This is the most significant section of cycleway opened in Auckland over the last year.

Auckland Domain Committee

At the Domain Committee final meeting of the year on 29 November 2018 we made progress on implementing an Auckland Domain Accessibility Improvement Programme to deliver key outcomes of the Auckland Domain Masterplan 2016.  The initial focus of this programme is on reducing vehicle dominance and improving pedestrian and cycling opportunities in the Domain.

Report back from Trafinz conference 2018 in Wellington 11- 14 November

I attended the Trafinz conference ‘Prioritising for People’ in Wellington as an Executive Committee member representing Auckland Council.  Trafinz represents local authority views on road safety and traffic management in New Zealand.

I presented at the conference (photo right) and joined the final panel discussion.

Auckland Transport’s CEO presented a bold goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s road. As all the experts at the conference agree speed reduction is absolutely fundamental to achieving that goal. Consultation was due to start on a region-wide bylaw in November, which could see speed limits reduced in the city centre, metropolitan and town centres, and in some rural areas by June 2019.  However, the Auckland Transport Board postponed the decision to their 11 December meeting.

One of the conference speakers Assoc. Prof. Jeremy Woolley Director of the Centre for Automobile Safety and Research in Australia hosted by Auckland Transport held a meeting and Q&A with elected members on 16 December to discuss ‘Is Zero Possible?’.  We discussed why we need a forgiving transport system and what we can do to progress Vision Zero locally.

Local Board supported and funded events

25th annual Parnell Festival of Roses

This well-loved festival was a big success this year with record turnout of 9,000 people on a beautiful spring day.  The festival is one of the Waitematā Local Board’s flagship events that we aim to ensure is accessible, zero waste and community focused. In the photo above local board members at the event.

Lightpath Festival

Photo credit: Tina Plunkett

The second annual Lightpath Festival, supported by the local board with a $10,000 grant, took place on 1 December 2018. It is a free, family-friendly evening celebrating this iconic addition to our city and the joy of people-friendly streets.

The Festival was an opportunity to experience the city by night with entertainers, music, art, food, and bike fun along Lightpath/Te Ara i Whiti and Canada St, just off K Road.

Grey Lynn Park Festival

A very soggy day on 25 November meant lower turnout than normal, but the weather cleared for the final acts on the main stage.

The festival receives a $24,000 grant from the local board’s contestable events fund.

Franklin Road Lights opening

The local board funded the opening night and rubbish bins for the event.  As reported in NZ Herald  The Topp Twins turn on Christmas lights on in Auckland’s most festive street.

Santa Parade

There’s been reports “Auckland Council” has pulled out of supporting the annual Santa Parade on Queen St. This is not correct. Funding will be found from a regional events budget just not from ATEED (the parade doesn’t meet ATEED’s event criteria so this is the last year it will contribute $45k).  Waitematā Local Board is also proud to support the parade with a community grant of $5,000.  The parade was held on the rain date of 2 December 2018.  My nephew Tomu enjoyed the VIP experience thanks to the invite from the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust.

Roll out of residential parking

The long anticipated Grey Lynn and Arch Hill Residential Parking Zones went live on 7 December 2018. There will be a grace period from this date, through to 7 January 2019 after which enforcement will apply.

Events and functions:  12 November until 11 December

  • Attended the Trafinz conference 11 – 14 November in Wellington
  • Auckland City Mission HomeGround celebration at St Mathews on 14 November
  • Consular flag raising at the Auckland Town Hall on 15 November
  • First walk on the new pathway connecting Parnell Station to the Strand via Nicholls Lane
  • Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 15 November
  • LGNZ Zone meeting at the Auckland Town Hall on 16 November
  • EU Consular tree planting in Auckland Domain support of the Mayor’s 1 million trees project. (photo right with the Mayor Phil Goff)
  • Nepal Festival in Aotea Square on 17 November
  • Peace Foundation AGM on 17 November
  • Shortland Street the Musical at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 17 November
  • Parnell Waiters Race on 18 November
  • 25th anniversary Parnell Festival of Roses on 18 November
  • Wrap up session for the Heart of the City Street Guardian pilot at the Auckland City Mission on 20 November
  • November Local Board business meeting on 20 November
  • Vermont Reserve playground opening celebration on 22 November
  • Auckland Conversations on 22 November Transport Planning as Freedom Planning with Jarret Walker and a panel featuring Albert-Eden Local Board member Jessica Rose (photo right)
  • Modacity /Women in Urbanism presentation at Central City Library on 23 November
  • Here Lies Love at Q Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre
  • Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announcement of a major new urban development at GRID AKL on 24 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival on 24 November
  • Auckland Transport’s Waitemata Safe Routes drop in session at the Grey Lynn Community Hall on 25 November
  • Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 26 November
  • City Centre Masterplan refresh presentation to the Planning Committee on 27 November
  • ATEED farewell for board director David McConnell at GRID AKL on 29 November
  • Ian McKinnion Drive cycleway opening on 30 November by Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff (photo right)
  • Wynyard Quarter Transport Association AGM on 30 November
  • Basement theatre Christmas show Work Do on 30 November at the invitation of Basement Theatre
  • Santa parade VIP opening attended by my nephew Tomu on 2 December at invitation of Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum launch of the latest in Scala Arts and Heritage’s internationally acclaimed Director’s Choice book series on 3 December
  • Sackville Reserve Playground opening on 5 December
  • Attended LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 7 December and LGNZ dinner with Ministers on 6 December
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 8 December
  • Italian Christmas market on Freemans Bay Community Hall on 8 December
  • Final Waitematā Local Board meeting of 2018 on 11 December
  • Joined the official party at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Town Hall on 11 December

 

Auckland City Centre buzzing to the sound of people

The Auckland Council Planning Committee considered a report today to approve the proposed process for updating and digitising the 2012 Auckland City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) and Waterfront Plan and to approve development of new Masterplan content for 2019:

i)     Māori Outcomes

ii)    Grafton Gully Boulevard

iii)    Access for Everyone

Here is my presentation under Local Board input in support of the report.

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Committee and to speak in support of the CCMP 2040 recommendations.  The Waitematā Local Board has provided consistent political support for the masterplan through the consultation in 2012, the target refresh in 2016 and through alignment with our latest local board plan priorities.  The masterplan was in many ways a ground breaking document for its clear vision, strong direction on major initiatives and innovative thinking.  It is fundamentally sound but the refresh of the proposed focus areas is timely.  I would like to particularly speak to Access for Everyone and provide a local board perspective.

Board member Richard Northey, who is very familiar to most of you was on Auckland City Council in 1979 when a trial pedestrianization took place on Queen Street.   The NZ Herald at the time mounted an editorial attack against the trial because, in their view, a modern city “buzzes with the sound of traffic”  [ Richard has further confirmed that the trial was also not continued because of concern it would make Auckland look like a backwater. Councillors thought it farcical and dangerous to have buses going through it moving at less than 30 kph and beeping to alert pdestrians. In Richard’s opinion it otherwise it worked well – retail sales were marginally up].

It is not surprising that the trial was unsuccessful.  It was an era of suburbanization based on car dependent development.  It wasn’t even legal to build homes in the city centre.

The city centre is now buzzing with the sound of people and we know that city centre productivity  is dependent on foot traffic not vehicle traffic. You will be familiar with  Auckland Council’s research unit ‘s (RIMU) work on the economic benefits of walking.  It found improved pedestrian connectivity equals an improved city centre economy.  The number of people walking on Queen St has doubled in the last 6 years.  People now out number cars on High St 13 to 1 .

As your report indicates growth and change in the heart of Tamaki Makaurau has been phenomenal.  When the Super city was created in 2010 approx 20,000 people lived in the city centre.  That number has grown to at least 57,000.  There are 118,000 jobs up from 78,000 in 2000. If vehicle numbers coming into city centre had kept  pace we would have needed 9 new parking buildings.  The majority of residents do now own a car .

The report outlines at para 44  the many benefits of taking an Access to Everyone approach. We know that our city centre residents are particularly concerned about air pollution, road safety and the well being of children living in the city.  The refresh as proposed will help deliver on the board’s accessibility plan, child friendly city commitment, low carbon plan and as well as the wider Auckland Council strategies and targets including the recent commitment to be an age friendly city.

I would also highlight as a benefit that re-allocating space and prioritising vehicles that need access will benefit drivers.

As part of the refresh we would urge you to support trials and temporary installations to demonstrate the city we would like to become.  For example a bollard on High St that goes up once deliveries are completed would transform the pedestrian experience over night.  As we say in our local board plan:  We support pilot projects and quick, low cost interventions to promote long term improvements to our streets.

We supported a Grafton Gully Boulevard concept proposal back in 2014 and more recently it has come through as priority in the Parnell plan (the report mentions this plan but just to note it is still in the process of being finalized through a community-led empowerment process). So we are very keen for the area of Stanley Street/The Strand to be included in the refresh.

I am sure when you get into your debate on the report you are going to hear a lot about needing to have courage to support Access for Everyone.   In fact it was the politicians who led the way in their cities in 1970’s and were at the forefront of prioritizing people over vehicle traffic who were the brave ones.  One Mayor in the Netherlands famously even received a death threat.

What you have before you is solid data to show it is necessary and the experience from other cities to show it works.  What you are being asked to support is the logical outcome of the way the city is growing and the demand for mobility choice as we’ve seen with the arrival of e-scooters being embraced for short transport trips. It is estimated that once the CRL opens and light rail is operational up Queen St and beyond there will be 370% more capacity for public transport trips into the city.

I acknowledge the founders who were instrumental in putting in place the conditions for Access for Everyone to now be possible.  We probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation if Cr Fletcher’s council hadn’t saved Britomart and if Cr Lee hadn’t secured rail electrification and new stations.  Even the motorway builders are part of the picture for putting in place the detours around the city that are fundamental to the effective operation of Access for Everyone.

As politicians we are all mindful of the headlines and letters in the Herald – even with all the competing sources of news.  Last Friday’s headline “City of Soles” headline captured the transformation that has occurred since the 1970’s. It recognizes that Access for Everyone puts people at its heart; that a modern, smart, great, extraordinary city centre buzzes with the sound of people.

 

The committee unanimously voted to support three new concepts in the City Centre Masterplan including Access for Everyone for further development and public consultation by the Planning Committee, with a view to seek committee approval by July 2019

Related reading

Council votes to trial turning central Auckland into a car-free zone

 

 

 

Chair’s monthly report November 2018

Fields of Remembrance at Auckland Domain

This report covers the period 10 October until 11 November 2018 and is included in the local board November business meeting agenda 

Penny Bright Acknowledgement

At our October local board meeting we formally acknowledged Penny Bright (photo right in one of her last campaigns against cycleways).

MOVED by Chairperson P Coom, seconded by Deputy Chairperson S Chambers:

That the Waitematā Local Board

a) acknowledges campaigner and activist Penny Bright who passed away on 4 October 2018.  Our thoughts are with her family and close friends at this sad time.

Summary:

Transport

School safety

On 18 October I was invited to join a mum on her walk to school with five boys (not all her own) to experience the safety issues that have been raised with Auckland Transport by the school community.

The kids all enjoy using the Grey Lynn Greenway for part of the route (using it to get to the pump track before school too) but then have a really tricky section to navigate. Lots of local parents prefer to drive because of safety concerns.

Auckland Transport had resisted putting in a crossing or slowing drivers, but almost immediately Auckland Transport consulted on a new proposal to install a new raised pedestrian crossing on Kelmarna Avenue to serve the school.

 Car transporters on Great North Road

 For a frustratingly long time I have been following up with Auckland Transport on the issue of car transporters unloading illegally on Great North Road.  There is a serious concern about public safety as the car transporters are blocking bus stops and the pedestrian refuge.

I’ve met with AT Group Manager, Parking Services who acknowledges that the “sticks” available to Auckland Transport are not working.  The operators consider any fines to be a normal part of their business expenses.  Even when the side street loading zones are available the operators continue to park illegally on Great North Road as it is more convenient and there is insufficient incentive to put in place appropriate traffic management.

AT has confirmed that as a next step a safety audit will be commissioned to be prepared by Christmas.  AT will advise the main operators about the audit with a view to working with them on an appropriate response.

Freyberg Place pedestrian mall

On 15 October 2018 Freyberg Place officially became a pedestrian mall.

To do this the bollards (which are currently lowered to street level) at each end of Freyberg Place have been raised. This will prevent vehicles driving through the square and make it much safer for pedestrians.

Lime e-scooters arrive in Auckland

Auckland Council has issued the region’s first street trading licence to operate a dockless shared electric scooter (e-scooter) system.

The council has permitted Lime to operate systems for a three-month trial – like the initial trial licence granted to Onzo for its bike share service. Other operators of e-scooter systems can apply for a licence too.

Following the launch of 1000 scooters, Auckland Council’s community and social policy team is looking at the regulatory framework for e-scooters and the options that can be considered to mitigate any safety issues or concerns.

The scooters have provided a fun, convenient way to make short trips around the city, but also highlighted the poor state of footpaths and the inadequate space provided to people using small wheeled mobility transport.

Completed projects

The platform on Hopetown Street at the Western Park entrance has been refurbished.

Sackville Reserve Playground is now open. An opening event will be held on on 5 December (check out the board’s Facebook page for details). Photo left:  Alfie enjoying the new equipment (as featured in my Ponsonby News November update)

Weona-Westmere coastal walkway

Featured in Metro Magazine NZ Best of Auckland 2018 Waitemata Local Board‘s Weona-Westmere Coastal Walkway. Described as “Perfect for city strollin’” (photo right in Metro)

 Low Carbon Network Event – Trees

The  Low Carbon Network event held on 8 November at the wonderful Sustainable Coastlines Flagship on the theme of Rākau (Trees). Waitematā Local Board tree loss report 2006 – 2016 shows 61.23 hectares (approximately 17 per cent) has been lost in last 10 years – 65 per cent of the urban forest clearance has occurred on private land. Details on what is being done in the Our Auckland story – Protecting Auckland’s urban trees (Attachment 3).

Meetings and workshops 10 October until 11 November 2018

  • Catch up with Councillor Mike Lee on 10 October
  • Franklin Road Community Liaison meeting on 10 October
  • Monthly catch up with City Centre Residents Group representative on 11 October and 9 November
  • Local Board professional development workshop on 12 October Shining the light on placemaking (photo right: attendees with the speakers).  An amazing opportunity to hear about placemaking locally, nationally and internationally and explore how local boards can work collaboratively to create places for community connection and innovation. With a stellar line up of speakers:
    • Ethan Kent- Senior Vice President at the Project for Public Spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environment and transport planning, governance, resilience, equity and design. He has led high profile public placemaking projects around the world, for example in New York.
    • Lucy Tukua – Kaihautu Native by Nature, He uri o Tāmaki Makaurau, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Whanaunga.  Lucy has been serving iwi for many years in numerous roles and has a strong presence in and around local and central government. She is a passionate advocate for placemaking and the sourcing of place-based potential and bringing through the cultural sense of place and whakapapa.
    • Denise Bijoux – Network Director at Catalyse Denise has worked extensively in Auckland, as well as across New Zealand, to inspire, activate and understand locally-led urban transformation. She is a social researcher, evaluator, facilitator and project manager working in community-led development, urban sustainability, planning, health, social justice and government.
    • Neil McInroy – Chief Executive at Centre for Local Economic Studies Neil is a commentator and strategist on economic development and public policy who has collaborated on a broad range of local, regional and national projects across the globe. He is currently involved with both ATEED and the Southern Initiative/ Western Initiative and brings a focus onto the importance of the economic side of placemaking.
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 15, 29 October and 5 November
  • Regional Cluster Workshop for local board elected members on 15 October
  • Meeting to discuss the achievements report on 15 October
  • Meeting to discuss the high level 2019/2020 work programme on 16 October
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 October
  • Monthly transport portfolio catch-up on 17 October
  • Meeting with Mark Lambert, AT’s Executive GM Integrated Networks on 17 October
  • I took former Mayor Len Brown on a tour of the Ellen Melville Centre on 18 October.  Len Brown was instrumental in securing a budget for the restoration of the Centre. (photo right of the former Mayor talking to Ellie Craft who we bumped into at the centre)
  • Albert Park tunnels update meeting with Nicholas Reid, Cr Chris Darby and Rory Palmer from the Mayor’s office
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 23 and 30 October and 6 November
  • Trafinz executive committee meeting on 24 October
  • Meeting with Jill Kayser, Spice and Julia West, Lifewise at Merge Café on 25 October
  • K’rd business association AGM on 25 October
  • City Centre network meeting and lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 25 October
  • Auckland Transport quarterly briefing on 29 October
  • Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 29 October
  • Meeting with John Strawbridge, AT Group Manager, Parking Services on 31 October
  • Domain Committee agenda run through meeting on 31 October
  • Planning Committee workshop on Downtown spaces and City Centre Masterplan refresh on 1 November
  • Meeting with Auckland City Mission on 1 November to discuss the City Mission’s HomeGround project
  • K’rd Business Association annual BID presentation to the board on 8 November
  • Meeting with Waitemata Local Board / CRL / Auckland Council & Auckland Transport on 9 November to discuss concerns raised by the Waitemata Local Board regarding a number of issues including the Board’s opportunity for input into placemaking and the development of Beresford Square, public toilets, bike parking, and coordination between the organisations.

Events attended 10 October until 11 November

  • World Homeless Day on 10 October at Aotea Square (Attachment 1 Helping Hand for the Homeless)
  • Community morning tea for the Mt Albert Electorate hosted by the PM on 11 October
  • Brake annual reception and awards night on 11 October
  • Kelmarna Gardens plant sale on 12 October
  • Tour of the Shortland Flats (1923) for Auckland Heritage Festival on 13 October at the invitation of Michael McKeown. The residents opened up their homes to show off the many original features. Interesting fact: There are only 7 cars and 7 car parks between 40 residents in 23 apartments (photo right).
  • Fukuoka Gardens picnic for Friends of the Garden on 14 October
  • Visited the OMG Symonds Street Community Garden on 14 October
  • Biketober event at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on 14 October
  • Joined the school run on 18 October to Marist School at the invitation of a parent concerned about the safety of students walking and wheeling
  • Bikes and Beers hosted by Bike Auckland on 18 October
  • Grey Lynn Business Association Block party at the Grey Lynn Library Hall on 18 October
  • Fields of Remembrance Official opening at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 19 October (photo at the beginning of my report)
  • Diwali Festival official opening in Aotea Square with the PM on 20 October including a walkabout with Mayor Phil Goff, MPs Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Deborah Russell and Puketapapa Local Board member Shail Kaushal (photo right)
  • Popped by The First Great Big Jumbly Bumbly-Bumbly Jumbly Sale organised by the City Centre Residents Group on 20 October at Griffiths Garden
  • Opening of the Italian Festival at Non Solo Pizza on 23 October
  • Bike Rave event on 24 October
  • Opening of Te Paki o Matariki – 160 Years of Kiingitanga. This ground breaking exhibition at Auckland War Memorial Museum on 27 October the exhibition features important taonga selected from the royal collection of Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII, the present Maaori king.
  • Spoke at the Grey Lynn 2030 10th birthday celebration and book launch at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 28 October (photo right).
  • Spoke at the official opening of Festival Italiano in Newmarket on 28 October
  • Thriving urban places breakfast seminar hosted by MADE Group Ltd with speaker Tim Stonor, Managing Director of London-based Space Syntax
  • Enviro Schools celebration at Western Spring Community Centre on 1 November
  • Maritime Museum opening on 1 November
  • Merge Café Spring pop up fundraising dinner on 1 November
  • John Elliott’s 80th birthday celebration on 5 November. John brought together community leaders who he wished to acknowledge on his birthday.  He ended his speech “Finally, I’ve had a longstanding interest in environmental issues, and value Gus Speth, a main stream American environmentalist, who said recently. ‘I used to think the top E problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. But I was wrong. The top three E problems are selfishness, greed and apathy and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation”
  • On Track for the Living Wage launch event at Britomart station on 6 November calling on Auckland Council to become an accredited living wage employer. If Wellington City Council can do it then we can too! (Photo credit: Jason Fell.)
  • Patrons Night at Basement Theatre. Invite to attend a performance of Bad Mood
  • Officiated at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall on 9 November
  • Richmond Road School gala on 10 November
  • T Whites bikes 10th anniversary on 10 November
  • Armistice Day commemoration service and Roaring Chorus at the Grey Lynn RSC on 11 November (photo below).

Feedback on Local Board projects: Brickbats and bouquets

Ponsonby News update November 2018

As Chair of the local board I welcome feedback on our projects and performance whether good or bad.  Of course it is always lovely when a constituent gets in touch with positive comments.  Recently I received a message about the new stairs that connect Hopetoun Street with Western Park. The constituent wrote  “I have just discovered the new stairs to Western Park off Hopetoun. This is amazing and within metres it’s hard to believe you are not in the Waitakeres. Congratulations. You have created a wonderful place for those of us in the inner city.”

The stairs project includes new handrails to improve accessibility and re-decking the viewing platform on Hopetoun Street.  It shows the value of having a masterplan for our parks so that any development is undertaken holistically and priorities identified for funding.

Since the Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan was adopted by the Waitematā Local Board in August 2015 footpaths have been upgraded, new lighting and fitness equipment installed, and a new playground opened with a 25m tunnel slide one of the longest in Auckland.   With the completion of the Hopetoun Street steps nearly all the projects identified in the plan have now been realised. The improvements are part of the long-term vision in the Plan and Waitematā Local Board’s drive to provide quality parks and open spaces for our community.

I also welcome the feedback I receive either directly or indirectly via Ponsonby News. Last month Mort was moved to write a letter to the editor about the derelict Western Suburbs Amateur Harriers club building. He’d like to see it made available as a community asset and shared space for activities like a bike clinic and a bike riding school.  The local board investigated options for the building but unfortunately it is in such poor condition it would be a very expensive renovation.  Instead the board is progressing with a new building to house changing rooms and toilets. The facilities will be available to all codes including the Richmond Rovers Rugby League club who have been located in Grey Lynn park since 1913.  The club are in the process of securing a new lease and renovating their building. There is lots of potential for wider community use.

Investigation on the best location and design is currently underway for the new building. The secured budget for the changing rooms includes demolition of the athletic clubrooms. The preferred site and concept will be confirmed during November with the aim to start construction by the end of 2019.

A Ponsonby parent got in touch to let me know the new playground in Vermont Reserve is an “extreme hit”.  Hopefully the new playground in Sackville reserve will also prove popular with locals who can take advantage of picnic area with a BBQ and improved access.  When I checked out the playground recently I bumped into Grey Lynn local Richard who was there with his son Alfie enjoying the new equipment.

Safer speeds are on the way for Auckland

I have been campaigning for Vision Zero for several years. There has been a 70% increase in fatalities and serious injuries on Auckland roads since 2014 or over three times the rate of the rest of New Zealand. I am therefore really pleased that Auckland Transport has now prioritised bringing down this unacceptably high rate of death and serious injuries on our roads to zero.

Auckland Transport has set up a new Reducing Speed Limits website page with information about why AT is fast-tracking implementation of a speed management plan for Auckland.

 I wrote the following for the September Ponsonby News 

Hairdryer speed enforcement organised by Walk Auckland to mark the 8th anniversary of 40km speed limit on Ponsonby Rd

September marks the 9th anniversary since Ponsonby Road was slowed to 40km.  Now in response to a road safety crisis that has seen Deaths and Serious injuries (DSi) increase by 67% since 2013 Auckland Transport is following that ground-breaking lead by proposing speed limit reductions across the region.  In Waitemata 77% of all DSi involved vulnerable road users, people walking or cycling. This is the highest percentage among all Local Boards.

The project to lower the speed limit along Ponsonby Road started in 2004 with a Walk Auckland survey in which 65% of people indicated they would like the traffic along Ponsonby Road to slow down. It took campaigners such as Hamish Keith and Andy Smith and the members of the former Western Bay Community Board five years of hard work to turn this into a reality.

One of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce road danger is to implement speed reduction measures.  A drop of just 10km/h can make a huge difference to the safety of our streets. Reducing a 50km/h local street to 40km/h reduces the risk of pedestrian death from 60% to 25%.   Speeds of 30 km/h are the maximum any vulnerable or unprotected road user can withstand without sustaining death or serious injuries. In fact, lowering speeds is the most valuable move any local authority can make if we are serious about saving lives. The World Health Organization has concluded that a five percent reduction in average speed can result in a 30 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.

Hamish Keith and Andy Smith with local board members mark the 3rd anniversary of 40km on Ponsonby Road

In 2014 New York City, following the adoption of “Vision Zero”, lowered its speed limit to 25 mph (40km).  It has resulted in a 25 percent decline in traffic fatalities.  The Mayor of London recently announced a Vision Zero goal ambition – the elimination of all deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets by 2041. The Waitemata Local Board was the first to support Vision Zero in our plans. Vision Zero is a long-term goal that creates a more people-centred transport system. At its core is a moral imperative that no loss of life on our road network is acceptable or inevitable.

The Vision Zero approach also accepts that everyone makes mistakes and therefore all parts of the transport system need to be strengthened through a safe road environment, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road use, so that when mistakes occur, it does not lead to people dying or being seriously injured.

In April the Associate Transport Minister, Julie Anne Genter announced the development of a new road safety strategy with a bold Vision Zero target. This was followed up with additional funding for safety improvements.   Auckland Transport is now also aligned with a commitment to create a road network free of death and serious injury.

Work is currently underway to identify areas and roads around the Auckland region to set lower speed limits.  These roads will be added to the Schedule of Speed Limits and drafted into the bylaw. The bylaw will be consulted on Auckland-wide. From the feedback I receive I know locals want safer and healthier streets that encourage walking and cycling.  Far more streets and neighbourhoods are likely to join the example established by Ponsonby Road.

Ponsonby news update October 2018

On 19 September we celebrated 125 years since New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.  Although it wasn’t until 1919 that women were eligible to stand for Parliament and another 40 years before Elizabeth McCombs became Aotearoa’s first elected female member of parliament.

Ellen Melville, the first woman elected on to Auckland City Council in 1913, stood unsuccessfully for parliament in 1919 for the electorate of Grey Lynn. She went on to stand a further six times always polling highly but blocked from achieving her potential by the sexism of the time.   The Ellen Melville Centre in Freyberg Place was erected in memory of her 33-year membership of the Auckland City Council.  To coincide with the one year anniversary of the re-opening of the upgraded Ellen Melville Centre the local board and the Auckland Branch of the National Council of Women recently hosted a morning tea in honour of The Rt Hon Helen Clark who has a room named after her at the Centre. The former Prime Minister continues to be a strong advocate for women’s rights.

I’m grateful for all the women who fought vigorously for the right to vote and for the right to stand for public office. I ultimately owe my career to them. I was first elected on to the Local Board in 2010 on the City Vision ticket but in 2009 I experienced my first taste of political campaigning when I stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election. Now renamed Entrust, the 5 Trustees are elected every three years by the 320,000 Auckland electricity account holders. Entrust owns a 75% share in Vector providing an annual dividend to consumers.  The Entrust election usually goes under the radar resulting in a very low voter turnout. However, what has been described as the “least well-known political soap opera in Auckland” has been blown open.  The C&R trustees, who have held all spots on the Trust for 9 years, are infighting and have dumped long standing Vector chair, Michael Stiassny. There are indications C&R are planning on selling down the Vector shares.  There are serious issues at stake that hopefully will encourage far more electricity account holders to exercise their right to vote even if it does require a trip to a post box!

Pest Free Auckland 2050

Jesse Mulligan at the launch of Predator Free Grey Lynn held at GLFM in August 2017

As part of Conservation week, Auckland Council recently hosted Pestival 2018 an annual event to showcase community-led conservation and an opportunity to discuss best practice to create predator free environments that encourage the return of native birds.

Broadcaster and Grey Lynn local Jesse Mulligan was MC for the event. He paid tribute to the many volunteers who are working on Pest Free Auckland 2050 initiatives. Jesse is also coordinator of  Predator Free Grey Lynn, a local group that aims to get rid of native bird killers like rats and stoats.  There are other local Predator Free New Zealand groups that can be found on Facebook or via Auckland Council’s website page Pest Free Auckland 2050.

Ponsonby News update October 2018

Chair’s monthly report October 2018

This report covers the period 13 September 2018 until 9 October 2018.

 Summary

Completed projects

The new stairs with an improved handrail between Hopetoun Street and Western Park are now open.

A constituent wrote to say “I have just discovered the new stairs to Western Park off Hopetoun. This is amazing and within metres it’s hard to believe you are not in the Waitakeres. Congratulations. You have created a wonderful place for those of us in the inner city”

Poynton Terrace connection between St Kevin’s Arcade and Myers Park (funded from the City Centre Targeted rate).  A safety audit is still to be completed on the design.

An interpretation sign in Te Hā o Hine place has been installed.  It explains the background to the Women’s suffrage memorial commissioned in 1993 for the suffrage centennial.

New Trees

10 elm trees at Grey Lynn Park’s Schofield Street entrance were removed because of Dutch elm disease. They have now been replaced by a mix of tanekaha and puriri.

 Representation Review

Every six years a review of Auckland Council representation arrangements is required including whether the wards properly reflect their populations. The outcome of the review applies at the next local body election (2019).

The Auckland Council review of the ratio of population to number of elected members showed four wards did not comply with the 10 per cent (more or less than the average) guideline. The Waitematā and Gulf Ward population differs from the average per member by 43 per cent.  The submission I gave at the Representation Review hearings (photo right) on behalf of Waitematā Local Board focused on the proposed Waitematā and Gulf ward boundary change (attached as an agenda item).

Following the hearings the council’s joint governance working party responded to submissions on the council’s proposal and decided to recommend changes to the council’s initial proposal.

The changes include retaining all of Grey Lynn and Westmere in the Waitematā and Gulf Ward. This was in response to submissions and public concern from the Grey Lynn area.

The working party also recommended to the council’s governing body that an area of Grafton should become part of the Ōrākei Ward in addition to the proposal for Newmarket and Parnell to become part of the Ōrākei Ward. (the recommendations were to be considered at a governing body meeting on 18 October)

The review does not impact the Local Board boundaries. Working party recommendations to the governing body meeting 18 October.

 Auckland Domain Committee

 At the Auckland Domain Committee meeting on 30 August 2018 a working group was set up to review the Accessibility Improvement Review Programme and its long-term implications.

The working group met on 14 September 2018 agreeing to a range of proposals to improve walking connections and parking management. The working group’s recommendations will be referred to the Domain Committee meeting to be held on 29 November.

At the same time the Local Board is progressing options for funding improved paths in the Domain.  At our September Business Meeting we requested Auckland Transport prepare rough order of costs for the following walking and/or cycling connections in the Auckland Domain as identified in the Auckland Domain Masterplan and/or Waitematā Greenways Plan and work with Community Facilities to identify the renewals budget available for each project:

  • Titoki Street carpark to Football Road from Parnell Train Station through the woodchip yard to meet the track leading to Lovers Lane
  • loop around Watsons Bequest, including path on north side of Domain Drive
  • upper connections to Kari Street Commons
  • Centennial Path to Grafton Mews
  • Park Road entrance to Grandstand Road South
  • path on The Crescent to connect the Wintergarden to the Auckland
  • Museum
  • path extension on east side of Domain Drive off Parnell Road to meet
  • Lower Domain Drive
  • path on east side of Domain Drive to meet Lower Domain Drive – not costed – part of Greenway and Auckland Domain Masterplan for cycling

Local Government New Zealand

As the LGNZ national council member representing local boards I attended the LGNZ strategy meeting on 4 October in Wellington.  LGNZ is focused on four priority areas – water, housing, climate change and localism.  Minister Mahuta attended the meeting to discuss the three waters review and water regulation.

Minster Phil Twyford attended the National council meeting on 5 October to provide an update on the new Urban Development Authority.

Helen Clark Room at Ellen Melville Centre

To coincide with the one-year celebration for the revamped Ellen Melville Centre, former prime minister Helen Clark was welcomed at an event hosted by the Local Board and the Auckland Branch of National Council of Women held in the room named in her honour. (Our Auckland story).  Photo right: With Helen Clark and Auckland’s National Council of Women chair Carol Beaumont

125 Suffrage Day celebration

The National Council of Women – Auckland Branch, Auckland Council and Auckland Live hosted a Sunrise celebration to mark 125 years since New Zealand became the first country where women were able to vote in a general election. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a parade from Te Hā o Hine Place to Aotea Square (photo right) for speeches and performances by Annie Crummer and New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh MC’ed by Jennifer Ward-Lealand.   It was a very special morning to honour the fight for gender equality in Aotearoa.

I reported on why I am grateful for all the women who fought vigorously for the right to vote and for the right to stand for public office in my latest Ponsonby News update. 

Meetings and workshops 13 September until 9 October

  • Monthly comms meeting on 13 September
  • Domain Committee working group meeting at Auckland Museum on 14 September
  • Presented an ADO lunchtime learning talk “Auckland as a Cycling City: Dare to compare – Learnings from Velo-City Conference in Rio de Janeiro”  at Auckland Central City Library on 14 September at the invitation of Darren Davis
  • Catch up with Cr Darby
  • Meeting with Big Street Bikers to discuss their Ebike network strategy on 14 September
  • Weekly chair’s catch up held on 17, 24 September, 1, 8 October
  • Regional Cluster Workshop for local board elected members on 17 September
  •  NZTA road show discussion on the new National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) at the end of August that gives effect to the new Government Policy Statement (GPS).  This NLTP helps create a transport system that is safer, more accessible, better protects the environment and delivers value for money transport solutions for all New Zealand. The Transport Agency invites you to a conversation with our new Board Chair Michael Stiassny, Board representatives, Chief Executive Fergus Gammie and Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton to hear about how we’re partnering with local government to deliver on this new direction for transport. It’s all about enabling our economy to prosper and helping people get the most out of life.  By working together, we will create liveable cities, thriving regions, stronger communities and achieve the best outcomes for New Zealand by giving people choice on how they move about
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 September
  • Meeting with Housing NZ representations on 19 September regarding the HNZ development at 139 Greys Avenue discussion prior to lodging Resource consent
  • Attended the Parnell Trust board meeting on 19 September
  • Catch up with K’rd Business Association GM on 20 September
  • Presented to the Joint Governance Working Party on the Waitemata Local Board’s submission on the representation review (attached as a report item on the October business meeting agenda)
  • Tour for members of the Western Springs Lakeside Park rock forest with Elizabeth Walker and Sel Arbuckle from STEPs – St Lukes Environmental Protection Society Inc on 21 September (photo right)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 25 September and 9 October (the board had a recess week so no workshop was held on 2 October)
  • Central City Community Network meeting on 27 September hosted by Central City Library and guided tour of the Wahine take action Suffrage exhibition
  • Housing NZ bi-monthly meeting
  • Monthly catch up with the Board’s relationship manager
  • Meeting with the GM of the Newmarket Business Association and representatives of Newmarket Pool on 28 September
  • LGNZ strategy meeting in Wellington on 4 September
  • LGNZ National Council meeting on 5 October in Wellington
  • Monthly Chairs Forum on 8 October
  • Parnell Plan Working Group meeting on 8 October
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly meeting on 9 October

Events attended 13 September until 9 October

  • Morning tea in honour of the Rt Hon Helen Clark in the Helen Clark room at Ellen Melville Centre on 13 September (one year anniversary of the opening of the Ellen Melville Centre)
  • Hīkoia te Kōrero: a parade in celebration of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori at Aotea Square
  • GLBA networking drinks held at Malt to discuss the West Lynn upgrade proposals
  • Opening night of Mr Burns at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 14 September
  • Auckland Pestival 2018 held at Aotea Centre on Saturday 15 September Pest Free Auckland is a community-led conservation programme, facilitated by Auckland Council, to eradicate pests (pest plants, animals and pathogens) and concurrently restore the region’s native ecosystems. Partnerships with mana whenua, community groups, landowners, schools, the Department of Conservation, and the private and philanthropic sectors are key to the success of this programme.  As part of the Pest Free Auckland programme, Auckland Council hosted the annual Auckland Pestival to showcase community-led conservation, provide a networking opportunity and seek feedback on initial plans to support expanded delivery funded by the natural environment targeted rate
  • Launch of Mātātuhi Foundation on 17 September by the Writers Festival Trust at Auckland Central City Library – a new initiative to support the literary landscape of New Zealand
  • Sunrise Celebration with the PM on-Suffrage Day 2018
  • Opening night of Rendered on 20 September at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company
  • World Park(ing) day installations on Tyler Street and High Street as part of the Festival of Architecture (photo right)
  • Bad Jelly the Witch gala opening at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions on 22 September
  • Heritage Festival Opening on 26 September at Ellen Melville Centre
  • Auckland Boat Show on 29 September at the invitation of ATEED
  • Foreshore Heritage Walk guided by member Vernon Tava on 30 September for the Auckland Heritage Festival (photo below)
  • Hosted a significant birthday morning tea for board members and local board services team on 2 October
  • Beauty and the Beast at TAPAC at the invitation of TAPAC (four tickets) on 2 October
  • Late Night Art event on 9 October for Art Week
  • Biondi Brunialti duo concert at St Matthew in the City on 9 October at the invitation of the Italian Ambassador

 

Chair’s monthly report September 2018

This report covers the period 15 August until 11 September 2018 including the start of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 10 – 16 Mahuru.

 Ko te reo te taikura ō te whakaaro marama
Language is the key to understanding

He pai ake te iti i te kore
A little is better than none

Summary

Waitematā Local Board August business meeting

At our monthly board meetings, we are fortunate to welcome a range of presenters to an often lively and interesting public forum.  Our August business meeting was especially well attended with presentations from:

  • John Elliott – Non-toxic non-herbicidal spray method
  • Elizabeth Walker and Sel Arbuckle of STEPS – Western Springs plantings on lava flow forest
  • Caitlin McIlhagga General Manager 95bFM – Presentation about 95bFM does and how it is involved with the community (photo right)
  • Jennifer Ward, Chris Bailey and Paula Wilkinson of Community- Led Design Group – 254 Ponsonby Road
  • Chris O’Brien, Chairman Laura Fergusson Trust; Rob Small -Trustee Laura Fergusson Trust and Simon Wilson, Managing Director Heineken Urban Polo – Heineken Urban Polo Tournament
  • Example of an urban tree that was felled following the removal of tree protection rules

    Graeme Easte, Albert-Eden Local Board Member – Meola Creek Catchment Update

Minutes are available on the Auckland Council website.

2006 – 2015 Urban Forest Canopy Changes in the Waitematā Local Board area

Last term the board initiated LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mapping to understand changes in the urban tree canopy. It has taken some time for the results to be presented due to a number of technical challenges.  At our August meeting we received the draft ‘Tree loss in the Waitematā Local Board over ten years (2006 – 2015)’ report funded as part of the Waitematā Local Board’s 2017/2018 urban forest framework project

The report highlights that the amount of tree loss in the Waitematā Local Board area 2006-2015 is 61.23 hectares (approximately 17 per cent) and that 65 per cent of the urban forest clearance has occurred on private land. This does not include the growth of new,canopy. Further analysis work is underway and will be the subject of a subsequent report.

A significant part of the tree loss has been caused by the removal by the former central government of Council’s general tree protection rules so we urge the Governing Body to advocate to government to change the law to enable Auckland Council to reintroduce general tree protection rules.

 Western Springs Lakeside Park Development Plan consultation

 A draft park development plan for Western Springs Te Wai Ōrea Lakeside Park was out for consultation until the end of August.

The Board held an open day at the park playground on 18 August (photo right Deputy Chair Shale Chambers and member Adriana Christie with local resident Chuck Joseph).  A number of people gave feedback not just about the park plan but about concerns over current maintenance issues.

I logged these issues and in response received the following updates:

  • Bird numbers no longer managed – unfortunately we missed the opportunity last Spring to train our contractors in conjunction with the Zoo hence the rise in bird numbers this year. We are now working with our contractors and the zoo and will undertake the seasonal addling of the eggs this Spring.
  • Paths no longer swept – all bird poo washed into the Lake – Paths are blown and water blasted once a week and are contractors are aware that bird faeces should not be washing into the lake. We have reiterated this with our contractor and we have increased the frequency of water blasting to 3 x a week as of Tuesday this week.
  • Broken drinking fountains – There are a couple of water fountains that have no active water pipe feeding it due to them being broken by tree roots coming up through the concrete. These have not been working for a number of years and this will be addressed as part of the Western Park project works.
  • Broken toilets at the playground with dirty Portaloo replacements – The zoo is constructing a new administration building on the site of a previous building that has been removed. Unfortunately, when the Zoo staff began work it was discovered that the western spring toilet had been connected to this facilities waste water line. This was unknown to the zoo project team and was not recorded on any plans so reinstatement of the sewer line was included in the design for the new building. Community Facilities are working with the zoo project team and have devised a methodology for a new connection, so we can recommission the toilets. Whilst the work may not be expensive it is complex given the significant amount of volcanic rock and protected trees along the pathway for a new connection.  The new work will require a consent and arborist approval before works can commence. We hope to have the toilets reinstated before the summer season starts.
  • In the interim alternative facilities are provided and these are cleaned twice daily with the expectation this meets the same outcome as permanent toilets by way of cleanliness. If this is found not to be the case a request for service can be called through and our contractor will attend.
  • Broken light in toilet block in park – disconnected due to the works going on at the Zoo.

We also received positive feedback from “Friends of Fukuoka Gardens” community group who have been working directly with contractors to improve maintenance of the Japanese garden.

It is proposed that issues such as water quality and bird feeding will be addressed through the plan.

Salisbury Reserve consultation and removal of the Masonic Lodge

Land purchased to create an entrance way to Salisbury Reserve

Consultation on the two options for opening up the entrance to Salisbury Reserve ended at the end of August.  During the month I met on site with both local residents and representatives of the Herne Bay Residents Association.  I confirmed that the local board doesn’t intend revisiting the decision to remove the Masonic Lodge building for a number of reasons:

  • We don’t have a budget to upgrade it, to cover operational costs nor to pay for a change to the required resource consent (which will be opposed by local residents).
  • There is no evidence of a need for another community facility serving Herne Bay.
  • Current facilities including Leys Institute Hall and the Vermont Centre are not at capacity. I also provided the occupancy stats below of local facilities that directly report to Council.
  • The reserve is not large enough to support two community facilities.
  • There are minimal heritage values associated with the building as it has been through so many alterations.

The standard available hours in 10h/day and the percentages below is based on the standard.

Utilisation                                                 FY16/17           FY17/18

Leys Institute Hall                                             16%                 20%

Freemans Bay Community Hall                    38%                 39%

Grey Lynn Community Centre                       55%                 53%

Ponsonby Community Centre                         37%                  36%

Leys Institute Gym                                            59%                  57%

Central City Library opening hours
The board made funding available so the Auckland Central City Library can open for an extra hour on Saturdays and Sundays from September 1. Funding is guaranteed until 30 June 2019.

Transport

John Street, Ponsonby – a trial for a new “healthy streets” approach

As a narrow street and rat run John Street in Ponsonby has suffered from a number of parking, traffic and safety issues going back some time.  The transport portfolio has been following up with a group of residents who would like to be part of the solution.  They are keen for John St to be used to showcase AT’s new approach to safer, healthier streets which are designed for all road users not just cars.

On 18 August I met with residents on the street to discuss potential options. I confirmed that the Local Board is pushing AT to use all the tools available to improve the conditions of John Street. AT is currently preparing a proposal for consultation.

Grey Lynn Parking

The local board passed the following resolution at our business meeting on 21 August in response to the parking concerns that have been raised with us in response to a letter drop to 600 Grey Lynn households opposing a proposed time restricted parking zone.

MOVED by Chairperson P Coom, seconded by Deputy Chairperson S Chambers:

That the Waitematā Local Board:

  1. receive the Auckland Transport August 2018 update report
  2. request Auckland Transport to implement the proposed new Arch Hill and Grey Lynn residential parking zone as soon as reasonably practicable and put on hold the proposed implementation of the time restricted P120 zone that has not been consulted on until after an assessment has been made of the impact of the residential parking zone
  3. request Auckland Transport work with the Grey Lynn Residents Association to identify suitable locations for P120 restrictions.

In response to the resolution AT has confirmed that the RPZ implementation will be brought forward to December and they will put on hold the time restricted parking.  Further details are on the Auckland Transport website.

Waitematā Safer Routes

Concept design for West Lynn, Richmond Road

New designs prepared by Boffa Miskell to fix the issues on the two Waitematā Safer routes were presented to Community Liaison Groups (CLGs) on 5 September.  A few days later the NZ Herald reported that the Grey Lynn cycleway debacle could cost $35m to fix and claimed that the project was for a few “existing cyclists”.   Grey Lynn Business Association co-chair Irene King was reported as saying that preliminary designs as “very, very stunning” with beautiful urban design and landscaping.

There is a lot that Auckland Transport has got wrong with this project and it should have been done correctly first time (I have previously reported on the background and what went wrong) but it is far is more accurate to describe the project as a street upgrade as it covers a safety improvements for everyone, bus stop changes, bus stop changes, traffic lights, parking, stormwater, landscaping and new trees.  Auckland Transport has also confirmed the figure of $35m is incorrect and should not have been presented to the CLG.   The actual projected cost for this project sits between $17m-$22m at present. AT has explained the figure of $35m was an initial costing that had long since been refined but was unfortunately inserted into the presentations to the CLGs and wasn’t caught until it was too late.

Auckland Transport plans to take the proposals out for consultation in Novembers so the wider community can decide what should be prioritised within the available budget.

Road Safety

My latest Ponsonby News column covers the 9th anniversary of speed reduction on Ponsonby Road and the speed bylaw proposals that are shortly to go out for consultation (Attachment 1).  Deaths and Serious injuries (DSi) across Auckland have increased by 67% since 2013.  In Waitematā 77% of all DSi involved vulnerable road users, people walking or cycling. This is the highest percentage among all Local Boards.

I was really pleased to see Auckland Transport’s CEO strong leadership and uncompromising statement on safer speeds in a letter to NZ Herald on 10 September (right).

On 5 September I attended a business strategy workshop in Wellington as a committee member of Trafinz.  The New Zealand Local Authority Traffic Institute or Trafinz represents local authority views on road safety and traffic management in New Zealand. It exists to lobby the government, to influence decision making on road safety and traffic issues. It also acts as a forum for collectively pursuing traffic issues of interest to local authorities, and for sharing information and advice.

Trafinz is actively involved in the development of a new road safety strategy with a Vision Zero target.

Meetings and workshops: 15 August until 11 September 2018

  • Meeting with local residents on 15 August at the Masonic Hall regarding the Salisbury Reserve consultation
  • Auckland Paths working group meeting on 16 August
  • Meeting with Steve Mutton, Director Regional Relationships on 17 August
  • Met with John Street, Ponsonby residents on 18 August to discuss options to traffic calm and reduce volumes
  • Attended the Western Springs Development Plan consultation event held at the park on 18 August
  • Chair’s weekly meeting with the local board services team on 20, 27 August and 3 and 10 September
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 21 August
  • LGNZ Zone 1 meeting on 24 August in Manukau
  • Spoke to Citizens Advice Bureau Grey Lynn/Ponsonby Branch volunteers on 27 August about the role of the local board
  • Board all day workshops on 28 August and 4, 11 September
  • Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association meeting on 29 August
  • Meeting with Jeremy Hansen, Britomart Group on 29 August
  • Attended a Vision Zero meeting organised by Bike Auckland at Bizdojo on 29 August
  • Meeting with representatives of the Herne Bay Residents Association on 29 August the Masonic Hall regarding the Salisbury Reserve consultation
  • Interviewed by Grant Hewison regarding the Ponsonby Business Association strategic plan on 29 August
  • Auckland Domain Committee workshop followed by the public committee meeting on 30 August
  • Inclusive governance in a diverse Auckland workshop offered by the Kura Kawana Elected Member Development Programme with guest speaker Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor – College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University on 31 August
  • Kia whai whare atou katoa: Regional, cross-sectoral homelessness plan for Auckland workshop at the Fickling Centre on 3 September (photo right)
  • Meeting on 4 September with the Community–led Design Group to discuss 254 Ponsonby Road in preparation for the forthcoming Options Paper.
  • TRAFINZ workshop in Wellington on 5 September
  • Visit to Auckland Zoo for local board members on 6 September (photo right)
  • Catch up with City Centre Residents Group representative on 6 September
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 7 September
  • Meeting with Director Regulatory Services Penny Pirrit to discuss compliance issues at the helicopter boat shed construction on Sentinel Beach, Herne Bay
  • Attended the “Business Grey Lynn” organised community meeting at St Columba church on 9 September regarding the Representation Review consultation that closed on 11 September
  • Local Board Chairs’ Forum on 10 September
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee meeting on 11 September
  • Briefing by Heart of the City regarding their street guardians initiative

Events and functions:  15 August until 11 September 2018

  • Interview on 95 BfM on 15 August to discuss the development of green spaces
  • Opening night of Auckland Theatre Company’s Filthy Business at ASB waterfront Theatre on 16 August at the invite of ATC
  • Dropped by 95bFM: Drive Island w/ Ha the Unclear & Skilaa at Ellen Melville Centre on 17 August (photo right)
  • Walters Prize opening at Auckland Art Gallery on 17 August
  • Panel member with MP Deborah Russell and former MP Damien Fenton at the Central Auckland Labour LEC’s Locally Left event at the Grey Lynn RSC on 27 August (photo below)
  • Opening of the Mina and Courtney Pellow NZFW show pop up shop on 30 August at the invite of the K’Road Business Association (photo right)
  • Living Wage Employer celebration held at the Ellen Melville Centre on 3 September (photo below)
  • “Into the Underworld” exhibition opening on 8 September in Silo 6, Wynyard Quarter.
  • Officiated at the Town Hall citizenship ceremony on 11 September.

Chair’s monthly report August 2018

This report covers the period 15 July until 14 August 2018.

Summary

Western Springs Development Plan consultation
A draft park development plan for Western Springs Te Wai Ōrea Lakeside Park has been released for public feedback.
The vision outlined in the draft plan for the park includes improved water quality in the lake and streams, connecting the surrounding areas via paths, and improvements to event infrastructure. The focus of the plan is on improving the existing state of a well-loved park without making major changes.
Consultation is open until 27 August.

Salisbury Reserve consultation

Land purchased to create an entrance way to Salisbury Reserve

12 Argyle Street, Herne Bay was purchased by the former Auckland City Council to improve the entrance to Salisbury Reserve. There are two draft options out for consultation. In both options the pathways into the reserve are improved with additional lawn and trees. The main difference between the options is whether or not to provide car parking on the reserve. We want to ensure the community can consider the best use of valuable green space. The old Masonic Hall on the site will be removed with as much of the building material recycled as possible. For a number of reasons (outlined in a post here) it wasn’t possible to retain the hall, but we have committed to improving the clubrooms that are in the reserve and making them more user friendly (the clubrooms are leased to the Herne Bay Petanque Club, but available to hire). There is $25,000 in the budget for the coming financial year to refurbish the bathrooms on top of other renewal work that has recently taken place.
Consultation on the two options has been extended until 30 August.

Teed Street upgrade celebration

On 18 July we celebrated the Teed Street upgrade with the Newmarket Business Association and local retailers. It was an opportunity to acknowledge everyone who had worked on the project and to bless the new art work commissioned for the upgrade by Ray Haydon. Our Auckland story and more photos here.

New art work in the City Centre

Light Weight O by artist Catherine Griffiths which is hanging between 1925 heritage buildings the Royal Exchange and Administrator House was opened on 1 August. Member Richard Northey gave a speech on behalf of the Local Board.
The work was commissioned as part of the O’Connell St laneway upgrade and was funded through the regional public art budget and city centre targeted rate.

LGNZ conference in Christchurch 15 – 17 July

I attended the annual LGNZ Conference in Christchurch 15 – 17 July as a National Councilmember and local board representative. For the conference I facilitated one of the workshops on Climate Change. I was also one of Auckland Council’s four delegates to the AGM held on 15 July. My conference report back will be tabled at the business meeting on 21 August.

Agrichemical-free parks

A number of parks within the Waitematā Local Board area are going agri-chemical free. The first parks to benefit will be Albert, Western and Myers, with the non-sports sections of Victoria Park also included.

More than $70,000 has been allocated to the initiative, which comes in response to public feedback during the Local Board Plan and Local Board Long-term Plan consultation processes. Our Auckland story with more details here

Waitematā funded or supported projects underway or completed

Parking updates
Thanks to the efforts of the Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee Auckland Transport has agreed to fast track the implementation of the proposed changes. There are still a number of issues to resolve regarding how the current scheme is working for local residents.
In Grey Lynn Auckland Transport is planning on installing signage for the Residential parking zone by December with go live in February or March. However, concerns have been raised with me regarding AT’s proposal to introduce a time restricted parking zone that was not previously been consulted on.

On College Hill following consultation Auckland Transport will now proceed using a graduated rate structure which will charge $1/hour for the first 2 hours and $2/hour for subsequent hours. The rate structure will align with recent changes to on-street parking along Ponsonby Road and while it will have minimal impact on short-term parking utilised by customers and visitors, Auckland Transport expects that it will encourage parking availability.
Further details are on the Auckland Transport website.

New network bus changes
On 8 July Auckland Transport launched a new bus network for Auckland’s central suburbs. Most services have changed, including bus routes, route numbers, timetables and some bus stops. In the Waitematā area the changes appear to be working smoothly with a few exceptions. I have received complaints regarding the removal of services from Williamson Ave (this is also subject to a local petition), removal of a service to Herne Bay from downtown and the fact the Westmere service stops just short of the shops. Auckland Transport has advised that there will be review of the New network operations after 6 months.

Meetings and workshops: 15 July until 14 August 2018

  • LGNZ National Council meeting on 15 July
  • LGNZ AGM on 15 July
  • LGNZ Conference in Christchurch 15 – 17 July
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 17 July
  • Catch up meeting with Local Board services team on 18 July
  • City Centre Advisory Board meeting on 18 July (as alternate to Deputy Chair Shale Chambers)
  • Board all day workshops on 24 and 31 July and 7 and 14 August
  • Chair’s weekly meeting with the local board services team on 23 and 30 July and 13 August (in our workshop on 23 July we received an update on accountability reports submitted from groups who had received community grants – Attachment 5)
  • Meeting to discuss achievements report on 23 July
  • Comms meetings on 23 July and 2 August
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 24 July
  • Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association meeting on 24 July
  • Joint Governing Body / Local Board Chairs Meeting on 24 July
  • Meeting with members of the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Auckland to discuss K-Pop Dance workshops during Mental Health Awareness week
  • Relationship manager monthly meeting on 26 July
  • Newmarket Business Association board meeting on 26 July (as alternate for member Rob Thomas)
  • Housing NZ bi-monthly meeting on 26 July
  • Meeting with representatives from Summerset Parnell development on 27 July
  • Meeting with participants of the Smart Seeds challenge
  • Parnell Plan working group meeting on 30 July
  • NZTA scene setting briefing for Councillors and Local Board chairs re Auckland’s light rail projects on 1 August
  • Meeting with representatives of the National Butterfly Centre project on 2 August
  • Local Board Resource Consent and Planning workshop on 6 August covering the resource consent and planning lead role covering:
     the Auckland Unitary Plan
     developing effective local board feedback for notified resource consents, plan changes and notices of requirement
     presenting feedback at a hearing
  • Auckland Cricket and Grafton Cricket Club introductory meeting on 7 August to discuss their strategic plans and upcoming events
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss options for traffic management improvements at Newton School
  • Parnell Business Association annual presentation to the local board on 9 August
  • Community Liaison Group meeting on 9 August for the Pt Chev/Meola Road cycleway project held at Pt Chev School.
  • Drop in session for the Facility Partnerships Policy Project consultation held at Ellen Melville Centre on 10 August
  • Local Board Chairs’ Forum on 13 August

Events and functions: 15 July until 14 August 2018

  • Teed Street upgrade celebration on 18 July
  • How We Win Change: A Bike Auckland presentation with Paul Steely White at Mason Bros building on 19 July
    How to be a Voice for Change: Towards Safer Streets for Auckland workshop with Paul Steely White hosted by Bike Auckland at Ellen Melville Centre on 21 July
  • InMotion Matariki all-wheels illuminated parade 2018 Hosted by Touch Compass Dance Trust on 21 July
  • Officiated at the Town Hall citizenship ceremony on 23 July
  • Attended the Campaign for Better Transport AGM with a presentation by AT CEO Shane Ellison
  • Attended the 2Walk and Cycle conference dinner on 31 July in Palmerston North for the Bike to the Future Awards at the invitation of NZTA (I was one of the judges for the awards)
  • Morning tea with Grey Lynn library staff on 2 August (photo bottom)
  • Auckland Conversations – Healthy Streets for Auckland presentation by Lucy Saunders and panel discussion at the Viaduct Events Centre on 2 August (photo right)
  • AT Cycling & Walking, Women in Urbanism and Boffa Miskell hosted presentation by Lucy Saunders at Boffa Miskell on 3 August
  • Opening night of HIR on 3 August at Herald Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre
  • Wynyard Quarter 7th birthday celebration on 4 August
  • Opening on 7 August of Moana, a large- scale mural painting by Ahota’e’iloa Toetu’u at the South British Insurance Company Limited Building (photo right of the artist and Paul Baragwanath who commissioned the art work)
  • Street Talks: Urban Japan: Lost in Translation? presentation hosted by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, ARUP and the Auckland Design Office at Auckland Central Library on 8 August
  • Presented on Local Board funding and advocacy to the Bike Auckland “Bike Burbs” hui held at Ellen Melville Centre on 11 August
  • Afternoon tea at the Grey Lynn Community Centre to celebrate the completion of the Re-purpose trial project by Grey Lynn 2030 and Earth Action Trust
  • Newmarket Business Association “State of the Nation” in Newmarket update at Event Cinema Broadway on 14 August followed by the movie “The Book Club” with ice cream and popcorn at the invitation of NBA.

Parks update for Waitemata Local Board

Ponsonby News: Waitematā Local Board update August 2018

One of the most important roles of the Local Board is to act as kaitiaki for our parks.  As guardians we want to ensure we maximise the valuable benefits our parks and green spaces provide.   We’re fortunate to work alongside many volunteers who undertake pest control, planting and generally keep an eye out for their local parks.  The Local Board agrees on priorities for the 80 plus parks and reserves located in Waitemata following feedback from the community.

You may have noticed that over the last couple of years more fun and excitement for all ages has been added to local playgrounds as they’ve been upgraded.   The latest work to get underway is to replace the play equipment in Sackville and Ireland Street Reserves.  For the Sackville Reserve project additional seating has been incorporated to make it a great neighbourhood spot for picnics and we’ve made the area more accessible with a new path from the street.  Construction is also due to start in late July on the Vermont Reserve playground. Basque Park and Home Street Reserve are next in line for long overdue attention with budget this year for investigation and design.

As reported last month by member Richard Northey we’ve taken steps to remove agri-chemicals from our parks following community support. As a start we’ve allocated over $70,000 to eliminate spraying in Albert, Myers and Western Parks and the non-sports field areas of Victoria Park.

Site of the old Masonic Lodge purchased to create an entrance way to Salisbury Reserve

There are two park consultations currently underway.  12 Argyle Street, Herne Bay was purchased by the former Auckland City Council to improve the entrance way to Salisbury Reserve.  The old Masonic Hall on the site will be removed with as much of the building material recycled as possible.  There are two draft options out for consultation.  In both options the pathways into the reserve are improved with additional lawn and trees. The main difference between the options is whether or not to provide car parking on the reserve.   We want to ensure the community can consider the best use of valuable green space.   For a number of reasons it wasn’t possible to the retain the hall but we have committed to improving the clubrooms that are in the reserve and making them more user friendly (the clubrooms are leased to the Herne Bay Petanque Club but available to hire).  There is $25k in the budget for the coming year to refurbish the bathrooms on top of other renewal work that has recently taken place.    Consultation on Salisbury Reserve is open until 16 August.

We would also like feedback on a draft park development plan for Western Springs Te Wai Ōrea.  Our vision for the park includes improved water quality in the lake and streams, connecting the surrounding areas via paths and making room for big events.  The focus of the plan is to improve the existing state of this well-loved park, without making any major changes.  You can let us know what you think about the ideas in the plan such as bird feeding and a tuna (eel) sanctuary until 27 August.  Basque Park and Home Street Reserve are next in line for long overdue investment.

In a unique co-governance arrangement with the governing body the local board also has responsibility for Auckland Domain Pukekawa.  We’re delighted that the Domain has received a prestigious Bronze Award in the 2018 International Large Urban Parks Awards, the only New Zealand park to receive an award. The awards recognise quality parks across the globe, the skills of the people who manage them and the value green spaces bring to cities.

Consultation information is on the Have your say page of the Auckland Council website.