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Anzac Day speech 2019

Grey Lynn RSC Parade and Service

Rau rangatira ma e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.  E ngā hau e whā

Kia ora tātou katoa.  Greetings to everyone gathered here this morning.

We come together this year on the 104th anniversary of the Anzacs landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 and the close of New Zealand’s Centenary Programme that marks the return journey home. Our thoughts turn to those who didn’t make it back from distant shores to their homes.  To those who kept the homefires burning throughout the Great War . To those who returned to their loved ones traumatised and scared beyond repair from the horrors of war.  To those who would die at home in the aftermath of war.

For the Muslim community that promise of security and safety on our home shores has been severely shaken by the terrible attacks in Christchurch.  Out of the horrific massacre and in the Anzac spirit we have an opportunity to recommit to tolerance, respect and mutual understanding of all people regardless of religion, ethnicity or cultural differences.

Each year we all come together, not to glorify war, but to commemorate New Zealanders, Australians and Pacific peoples who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations and share the sorrow at the loss and suffering of so many lives in war including those opposing war.   18,000 New Zealanders and  people  from the Pacific Islands didn’t return home from the Great War.  Tragically since, what was meant to be the war to end all wars a further 12,000 men and women have died in conflicts overseas.  We acknowledge those who maintain the security of home, respond in the times of crisis and  and contribute to the strength and resilience of our communities.

I’m really honoured to be invited to speak today on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board.  The Local Board is pleased to be able to support the Grey Lynn RSC’s very special and unique Anzac day parade and service. I give thanks to the Grey Lynn RSC for bringing us all together as a community to remember the lives lost and the huge impact of war on those who served and their families.  Thank you for providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive place.

It highlights that Anzac day is for everyone.  It is our day of national commemoration.  Vice-President Gary and members of RSC you are right to feel passionate and proud about the the parade and service you host that as you say welcomes the whole community including the many children who enjoy attending.

We remember and reflect on ANZAC day together and work to ensure future generations do not face the horror of war. As we remember those who sacrificed their lives and honour those who served.  As we reflect on the divisions of hate, of the lives lost in a places of worship in Christchurch and Sri Lanka may we reconfirm our commitment to peace, justice and democracy.

Kei wareware tātou

Lest We Forget

Peace be upon us

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Chairs Monthly report April 2019

This report covers the period 13 March until 9 April 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 16 April.

The last few weeks have, of course, been dominated by the terror attacks in Christchurch and the community response to the massacre of 50 innocent people.

Christchurch Mosque Massacre

At our board meeting on 19 March, just days after the horrific events that have changed our country for ever, I led us in a minute’s silence and we gave the following acknowledgment:

Waitematā Local Board acknowledges the victims of the Christchurch terror attack. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends directly affected by the shocking, tragic and devastating mass shooting carried out at two Mosques. We acknowledge, love and support the Muslim community in Waitematā and across Aotearoa as we come together to stand united with the community in grief and solidarity.

We commit to promoting tolerance, empathy and mutual understanding for people of all ethnicities and religious beliefs. We value the diversity of Waitematā and wish for all people to feel safe and welcomed. The board’s Ellen Melville Centre (photo right) is one of the Auckland Council community centres with a condolence book to give Aucklanders the opportunity to express their messages of support for the victims, their families and their community.”

At the Vigil in Aotea Square on 16 March (photo right), a defiant and passionate Mayor Phil Goff spoke about his determination more than ever to give nothing to racism, and to ensure the world knows that Auckland and New Zealand is wonderfully diverse, where people of all ethnicities and faiths are welcome.

The Waitematā Local Board joins with the Mayor in taking a strong stand prohibiting speakers wishing to use our community venues to incite intolerance and hate.  In addition, we support Auckland as a City of Peace and the development of a regional policy that prohibits the promotion, marketing and sales of weapons of war in council facilities. I reported on our acknowledgement in the April Ponsonby News (Attachment 1)

On 22 March I was in Wellington for a National Council meeting and joined LGNZ staff for the two minutes silence observed across New Zealand. Auckland Council staff assisted in providing support to Ponsonby Mosque who were overwhelmed by the numbers who attended NZ Stand Together for Friday prayers and the evening gathering on one week commemoration.

The Neighbours day event hosted by City Centre Residents Group on 23 March provided an opportunity to come together for a shared lunch at Ellen Melville Centre. It was especially significant to hear from Imam Wajahat Khan as the centre hosts the Muslim community every Friday for prayers. Local Board member Richard Northey and I were both invited to speak (in the photo right:  Auckland Street Choir singing at this event).

Love Aotearoa Hate Racism hosted Kia Kaha: Stand Against Racism in Victoria Park on 24 March and on 29 March I attended Kotahitanga Together – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch at Eden Park with around 2,000 Aucklanders in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch mosques attack.

The afternoon’s line-up included Dave Dobbyn, Lizzie Marvelly and children from Islamic schools across Auckland singing the national anthem, and a haka and waiata from children of Kowhai Intermediate.

The Mayor, FIANZ President Br. Mustafa Farouk and Sonny Bill Williams, were among the guest speakers, and the event MC was broadcaster Miriama Kamo.

Climate Change Symposium

“On Friday morning (15 March) we heard the global call from 1.5 million young people to act to save our planet. By Friday afternoon, New Zealand quickly realised that we needed to act to save ourselves – from discrimination, intolerance and racism. Today as we gather to discuss action on climate change, I call on you all to use this same sentiment to act for good in every aspect of our society. To be resolute to act to create a better future for our children, for Auckland and New Zealand.” – Cr Penny Hulse opening the Auckland Climate Symposium on 18 March organised by Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro and team.

The day started with Otene Reweti‘s poignant mihi whakatau providing an opportunity to reflect on the words of the national anthem.

The symposium brought people and sectors together to build cross-sector momentum on climate action and feed directly into the development of Auckland’s Climate Action Plan.

As summed up by MC Rod Oram the first imperative is to give expression to who we are as the fourth most diverse city in the world. The response to climate change must be about a wider purpose of addressing social justice, structural inequality and poverty.

There were a lot of really great presentations and panel discussions on the day I attended with the resounding takeaway that we know what we need to do, we just need to get on with it – with urgency.  Ngarimu Blair stepped aside from his presentation to allow the rangatahi of Para Kore ki Tamaki Makaurau to speak (Photo credit David Galler). They powerfully reminded decision makers and us all that we have a duty to youth, those inheriting this world. “We are generation now. Our voices will be heard.”

Annual Budget 19/20 consultation

Council’s annual budget consultation finished on 17 March.  The local board ended our engagement with a formal hearing on 14 March. We heard 13 presentations in total from a range of groups and individuals. Thanks to everyone who has given feedback. We are listening and always keen to seek out the views of the community.

In the photo Adam Parkinson is presenting to board members at the hearing on behalf of the Auckland City Centre Residents’ Group – CCRG.

Good Citizen Awards

 Nominations for the Waitematā Local Board Good Citizens’ Awards opened on 18 March.  We immensely value community-led work and our Good Citizens’ Awards is one of the ways we celebrate and give recognition to those who make Waitematā a great place to live. We are seeking nominations for individuals or community-led organisations working within the Waitematā Local Board area until 14 April (Our Auckland Attachment 2).

 Western Springs Lakeside Park update

I have been providing updates on Western Springs following complaints about the water quality of the lake and maintenance of the park.

I received the following update from Community Facilities on 1 April.

There has been a significant amount of work going on at Western Springs lately. Treescape have been through and done a lot of tidying up from last year’s storms as well as taking out some significant additional dead or dying trees.  The bins and handrails are all newly painted and the playground toilets are up and running including a minor revamp to the electrical equipment. The water quality is being closely monitored by Healthy Waters and they are regularly removing rubbish and tree branches from the lake and clearing out the weirs weekly, a recent bathymetric survey was undertaken with sediment levels measured and lake depth mapped.

Any deterioration of the park assets such as paths and playground will be addressed by the Western Springs Lakeside Park Development Plan (coming to the board’s May business meeting).

The park is audited weekly and complying with contract specs, apart from the goose poo on one section of path, which I believe is what people are perceiving as a lack of maintenance. I have asked the contractors to increase the level of cleaning of the section of path on the northern side that is bombarded by geese, which will be waterblasted daily if required.

Wildlands have been asked to prepare a report on our options for Geese management for discussion with the local board.

In other park news, the Meola Reef Reserve Te Tokaroa Development Plan which provides a 10-20year holistic vision for the area is now online.

 Meetings and workshops: 13 March until 9 April

  • Transport portfolio meeting on 13 March
  • Leys Institute Library drop-in on for the Annual Budget consultation on 13 March
  • Briefing on the Walking and Cycling work programme by Auckland Transport’s CEO on 13 March
  • Communications meeting on 13 March
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meeting on 14 March
  • Annual Budget 19/20 local board hearing on 14 March
  • Meeting on 14 March to discuss Auckland Transport’s safety review of car transporters on Great North Road with John Strawbridge, Group Manager Parking services and compliance and Melanie Alexander, Traffic Operations Manager
  • Attended the Climate Change Symposium on 18 March at GRID AKL (photo right one of the panel discussions)
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 19 March
  • Attended the Albert- Eden Local Board workshop on 20 March to discuss possibility of jointly delivering a Greenway on Meola Road
  • Speed Limit consultation drop-in organised by Auckland Transport in the Atrium, Britomart
  • Meeting with Taj Pabari, Founder & Chief Executive Officer / Fiftysix Creations (Business Camp Academy)
  • Meeting with representatives of Westfield to discuss a Newmarket wayfinding project
  • Auckland Climate Change Symposium closing session on 20 March (photo right Cr Penny Hulse closing the conference)
  • Ports of Auckland Community Reference Group meeting on 20 March
  • LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 22 March
  • Weekly chairs catch-up held on 25 March, 1 April and 8 April
  • Auckland Transport quarterly briefing on 25 March
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 26 March, 2 and 9 April
  • TRAFINZ executive meeting on 27 March
  • Wynyard Quarter Neighbour Forum and America’s Cup 38 Community Liaison meeting held at ASB on 28 March
  • Supported board member Vernon Tava presentation on 28 March to the Hearing Commissioners considering Auckland Transport’s application to construct six new ferry berths on Queens Wharf.  We raised concerns about; the lack of integrated planning, the impact on public space on the “people’s wharf”, the adequacy of the infrastructure for passengers and objected to plans for buses to circulate on the wharf. We also confirmed our opposition to the Dolphin mooring extension
  • Meeting with Kelmarna Gardens Trustees on 28 March
  • Site visit on 29 March at the Auckland Domain to discuss the location of footpaths to be funded by the Local Board (the photo right highlights how poor the walking environment is in the Domain with parked cars dominating the entrance to Auckland Museum)
  • Meeting with businesses impacted by CRL construction on 3 April at the invite of Sunny Kaushal (owner of the Shakespeare Hotel).  It was very concerning to hear about their very stressful situations.  I’ve been following up with CRL to find out what has happened to the development response that was meant to have been put in place as well as activation of the street to encourage more foot traffic.
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop at AUT on 4 April
  • Local Board Chairs Forum on 8 April

Events and functions:  13 March until 8 April

  • Spoke at the Parnell Business Association monthly networking event on 13 March regarding the Annual Budget 19/20
  • Launch of the Writers Festival on 13 March at Aotea Centre
  • Auckland Arts Festival performance Silk Road at the Auckland Town Hall at the invitation of the University of Auckland on 14 March
  • Climate Strike in Aotea Square on 15 March
  • Safe Speeds Panel discussion organised by Auckland Transport on 15 March
  • Backbone performed at Aotea Centre at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
  • Vigil for the victims of the Christchurch Mosque Massacre in Aotea Square on 16 March
  • Toku Reo Waiata at the Auckland Town Hall on 16 March at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
  • Astroman opening night at Q Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 17 March
  • BfM radio interview on 15 and 29 March
  • Neighbours Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 23 March organised by City Centre Residents Association (photo above cutting the Love Your Neighbour cake)
  • Splice Neighbours Day event “Check it out” Human library on Lorne Street
  • Dog Day Afternoon at Silo Park on 23 March
  • Kia kaha Aotearoa: Stand against racism rally on 24 March
  • Presided at the Citizenship ceremony on 25 March at the Auckland Town Hall. The Citizenship ceremony took on extra special significance. One of the commitments of citizenship is to foster and support the close relationships between New Zealanders of all ethnicities and faiths. It was an honour to preside and welcome over 400 new New Zealanders from 49 countries along with Kaumatua Bob Hawke, local board members David Wong, Rosalind Rundle, Bob Upchurch and Cr Josephine Bartley. ( Photo credit: Paul Victor Pu’a)
  • Kai at Merge afternoon tea at the invite of Lifewise
  • Kotahitanga Together – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch at Eden Park on 29 March
  • Aloha Night at Grey Lynn School on 29 March
  • Opening of Korean Day festival on 30 March (photo below)
  • Red Alert radio interview on 4 April
  • Announcement of the National Erebus Memorial design – Te Paerangi Ataata- Sky Song-  by the Prime Minister and Mayor on 5 April with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in Sir Dove Myer Robinson Park. I attended with Deputy Chair Shale Chambers. Kathryn Carter (photo right) spoke beautifully about the significance of the design. She was one of two family representatives on the selection panel who chose the design for the way it touches the land lightly leading into the sky (with many thoughtful features). Importantly all the victims are acknowledged as well as the responders and Justice Mahon who found the truth about what happened.
  • Relationship Agreement Signing Ceremony Waikato-Tainui and Auckland Council at the Kiingitanga Exhibition – Auckland War Memorial Museum on 8 April

Speed Limits Bylaw Hearing

In March Auckland Transport consulted on the introduction of a new bylaw to set new speed limits, including lower speed limits for approximately 10% of Auckland’s local roads. Hearings are currently underway to present to a hearings panel made up of AT Board Chair, Mark Gilbert, AT Board member Sir Michael Cullen,  Exec GM Service Delivery Andrew Allen,  and another AT exec member.  Here is my presentation on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board.

Speed Limits Bylaw Hearing

Thank you for the opportunity to present today.I am here as Chair of the Waitemata Local Board representing the city centre and central suburbs of Tamaki Makaurau.  I’ve been transport lead for the board for almost 9 years and I’m also an Executive committee member of Trafinz the NZ road safety institute representing Auckland Council.  I was part of the team that launched the Auckland Vision Zero campaign in July 2016 along with Brake – the road safety charity, Cycling Advocates Network , Walk Auckland and NZ School Speeds calling for Government and local authorities to adopt a Vision Zero approach to road safety – aiming for zero road deaths and injuries.

Tragically since that time the number of road fatalities and serious injuries has continued to increase.  We’ve just had an horrific 10 days on NZ’s roads with 28 people losing their lives.  Just in the last 24 hours 2 people have been critically injured in Auckland . In Waitemata a pedestrian was seriously injured last week just near here on Quay Street.

We as politicians, governors, decision makers, enforcement officials need to take responsibility for the fact we have overseen a 78% increase in DSIs over a 5 year period on our watch.

This is clearly unacceptable.  I’d like to thank CEO Shane  Ellison and the AT board for their leadership in confronting this crisis head on and for taking the first serious steps in Auckland to make our streets safer.

As you are all well aware, 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

There is of course a heap of evidence that backs up why implementing safe and appropriate speeds works.     I will leave that to the experts but I was really pleased to hear AT Board chair Lester state at the launch of the consultation that the final decision would be based on the evidence.  An evidence based approach is essential as we navigate through a highly emotive topic .

With regards to the Local Board position I would like to highlight our key initiatives from our local board plan, our on going advocacy and our feedback on the consultation that supports Auckland Transport taking forward the proposed speed limit changes and moving on to the next stage as soon as possible.

We were the first local board to adopt Vision Zero.

In the Local board Plan 2017  Outcome 5: “An accessible, connected and safe transport network with well-designed streets” we have an Objective  to “Improve safety for all road users” including the following Key Initiatives:

  • Work with Auckland Transport (AT) to implement slow traffic speed zones in the city centre and residential areas, and through town centres.
  • Advocate to AT to adopt a target of zero serious injuries or deaths on our roads as part of a comprehensive approach to road safety.
  • Advocate to the NZ Transport Agency to change the give way rule at side street crossings to favour pedestrians.

We are now currently in the process of updating our annual advocacy positions to Auckland Transport. These will be agreed to as part of our Annual Local Board Agreement 19/20) but are proposed:

  • Safer Streets – Auckland Transport to adopt a target of zero serious injuries or deaths on our roads as part of a comprehensive safe systems approach to road safety including safe road design, enforcement, safer speeds and driver education.
  • Safe and appropriate speeds – Support slower speeds that are safe and appropriate in residential areas, through villages town centres and in the city centre

We are taking this approach with the support of our communities who have consistently told us they want safer streets – where kids can walk to school, streets that are healthier, and attractive, and streets are destinations.  Slower speeds will bring a range of additional benefits – it is good for business, reduces pollution and makes for a kinder more caring community.   Slower speeds will also help the city welcome small wheeled mobility like e-scooters without introducing more conflict on our crowded footpaths that need to be prioritised for pedestrians.

We are responding to fundamental changes to the way the city is growing.  The City Centre population is almost at 60,000 – it is no longer a CBD.

We are host to the region with hundred of thousands of people coming into the city centre every day for work, study and play and as tourists and visitors. There are now 118,000 City Centre employees.

We are yet to see the AT feedback report for Waitemata  so I am not in a position to give specific feedback on each proposal but we know there is general support for safe and appropriate speeds and in fact for more extensive changes.  For example the Freemans Bay School parents who are asking for the inclusion of Wellington and Hepburn Streets in the Freemans Bay zone.  Residents on John Street have questioned why they are not part of a Ponsonby slow speed zone.

We know there is push back on streets that are designed like motorways such as Hobson/Nelson Street that encourage speeding. However, this is now the most dense residential area in Aotearoa so we have to re-imagine how these streets function and who is prioritised.

The speed needs to come down but as part of a much broader package of safety improvements such as removing motorway style signage, pedestrian focused treatments and road diets.  In the long term the local board supports Hobson and Nelson being restored to two way streets.

A hearts and minds campaign is also needed to bring Aucklanders along on a shared understanding that slower  speeds are pro-community, pro- business, pro children. It will make our streets more accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities.

In concluding I’d like to acknowledge the AT staff who have fronted the consultation and are doing the mahi.  I know it has not always been easy but this is important work.

And finally but not least to acknowledge the victims of the road safety crisis and the loved ones they have left behind. If we are serious about reducing road trauma the speed limit must be reduced.

Chair’s monthly report March 2019

This report covers the period 12 February until 12 March 2019. It is on the agenda for the Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 19 March 2019.

The Ellen Melville Centre acknowledged International Women’s Day on 8 March with this wonderful mural (picture below) celebrating Ellen Melville and each of the women who have rooms named after them at the centre.

Annual Budget 19/20 consultation

Council’s annual budget consultation started on 17 February and continues until 17 March.  This is the community’s opportunity to give feedback on whether we have got our local board priorities right.  We’re not proposing major changes to the existing work programme for 2019/2020 as we continue to deliver the projects identified in the 2017 Waitematā Local Board Plan.

Summary of what we propose to do (from the consultation material available online)

  • Developing 254 Ponsonby Road as a civic space remains our major local initiative.
  • Activating, improving and renewing our parks, guided by our Park Development Plans, will continue to be a focus.
  • We will improve the playgrounds at Western Springs Lakeside Park and Home Street Reserve, provide pathways in Basque Park and commence building the Grey Lynn Park changing rooms.
  • Our waterway restoration projects will continue, and we will seek opportunities to implement initiatives to enhance the Western Springs-Meola-Three Kings Aquifer.
  • Through our grants programme, we will support community and arts groups and local events, as well as stage our two flagship events; Parnell Festival of Roses and Myers Park Medley.
  • We are funding an arts partnership with TAPAC and increased library hours at Grey Lynn Library and the Central City Library.
  • We will also continue investigating opportunities to reduce agrichemical use, including advocating to the Governing Body to take a regional approach to agrichemical-free park maintenance.

Chair’s message from the consultation material Attachment 1.

We have held an extensive range of engagement events including, for the first time, a Facebook live session hosted by myself and local board member Adriana Christie (photo right).  As at 11 March the video has been viewed over 4,400 times.

Safe and appropriate speeds consultation

Consultation started on 28 February on Auckland Transport’s proposals to reduce speeds on 10 per cent of Auckland’s roads (including the city centre and residential streets in Freemans Bay). All the evidence shows that safe and appropriate speed limits save lives regardless of the cause of a crash.

I joined AT CEO Shane Ellison, AT Board Chair Dr Lester Levy, Councillor Chris Darby and Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston for the media announcement at Auckland Transport.  (Auckland Transport’s media release Attachment 2).  Feedback is open until 31 March. 

 Western Springs Water Quality

 At the local board February business meeting we received a presentation on Western Springs Lake water quality. This follows on from a range of complaints regarding maintenance and the condition of the park.   Weekly inspections are now underway with the contractor Ventia regarding maintenance improvements

In response we also received the following update from Community Facilities regarding water quality.  Thirty-five barley bales were installed at Western Springs by 8 October 2018. A proactive inspection regime to remove or rescue dead and sick birds began on 18 October. The shorelines are inspected each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, commencing  18 October and continuing through summer. To 22 February 2019 six dead birds and six dead fish were located and removed. Three sick birds were seen but were unable to be caught. The dead and sick birds were located during inspections; no reports from members of the public have been received for sick or dead birds, and only one report of a dead fish (which is included in the total of six) at Western Springs. Contractors completed a scoop of built-up algae and debris at the water’s edge on 12 February and are attending each Friday to inspect and remove the algae and debris as needed (the inspection includes the two weirs). A large volume of fallen branches and general litter had accumulated below water contractors completed removal on 21 February.

 Queens Wharf Extension Dolphin Mooring

Panuku Development Auckland has applied to the Auckland Council for resource consent (coastal permit) to carry out upgrades to the eastern Queens Wharf cruise ship berth to provide for the mooring of cruise ships up to 362 metres (Oasis-class vessels), involving construction of two new cruise ship mooring dolphins located at distances of 49 metres and 82 metres (to the centres of the dolphins) north of the northern end of the wharf, a gangway connection including hydraulic retractable gangway and security gates, strengthening of the southern end of the wharf, seven new additional wharf bollards on the eastern side of the southern end of wharf, and additional fender clusters on the eastern side at the north end.

The local board was originally supportive of a temporary mooring “dolphin”.  However, we reviewed the submissions and the Final Report by the planning consultant that opposes the application and decided to make a presentation to the Hearing Panel (Attachment 3)

Deputy Chair Shale Chambers and I presented at the hearing to oppose the application on the basis that the board wishes to see Captain Cook Wharf developed as the primary cruise ship terminal.

I was also invited to speak at the “Stop Stealing our Harbour” protest rally on 10 March.

Freedom Camping

As a matter of principle the Waitematā Local Board doesn’t support freedom camping in central Auckland’s parks and reserves. However, the Freedom Camping Act doesn’t allow us to make a blanket ban so three locations went out for consultation until 18 February (photo right Coxs Bay reserve).

I presented at the Freedom Camping hearing on behalf of the local board (Attachment 2) highlighting three key points:

  1.  to reconfirm our general view expressed in June 2018, that freedom camping opportunities should be limited in the city centre and central suburbs and we should be taking a more strategic approach to the facilities provided for visitors.  For example using and promoting the existing certified self-contained camping facility in Westhaven managed by Panuku.  This facility was built with ratepayer funding for the Rugby World Cup 2011
  2. recommending to the panel that Fred Ambler Lookout on Gladstone Road and Cox’s Bay Esplanade be removed from Schedule B and included on the schedule of prohibited sites in the bylaw
  3.  to reconfirm our original recommendation for Newmarket Park to not be scheduled in the bylaw and continue to apply the default position under the Reserves Act.

Meetings and workshops: 12 February until 12 March

  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 12 and 26 February and 5 and 12 March
  • Introduction to the new Senior Maintenance Delivery Coordinator for Waitematā on 12 February
  • Western Bays Pest Coordinators meeting on 13 February
  • Communications meeting on 13 and 27 February
  • Meeting to discuss Good Citizen Awards 2019 criteria and format
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meeting on 14 February
  • Meeting with Panuku to discuss proposed mooring dolphin on Queens Wharf
  • Monthly catch up with representative of City Centre Residents Group on 14 February
  • Catch up with Newmarket Business Association GM on 15 February
  • Engagement meeting on 18 February with Productivity Commission on the Local government funding and financing inquiry with Councillors, Senior Staff, IMBS representatives and Local Board Chairs (myself and Manurewa Local Board Chair Angela Dalton)
  • Weekly chairs catch-up held on 18, 25 February and 4 March
  • Meeting on 19 February with Lauren Mentjox, Public Affairs Manager, Lime Scooters
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 19 February
  • Waitematā Local Board input to Queens Wharf Dolphin Mooring resource consent hearing on 20 February
  • Introduction to Martin Sheldon, new General Manager of America’s Cup Events on 20 February
  • Erebus Memorial project meetings with a parks adviser on 21 February and 4 March to discuss local board comments on the shortlisted designs (delegated to myself and Deputy Chair Shale Chambers)
  • Auckland Domain Committee workshop and business meeting on 21 February
  • Presentation on 27 February on behalf of the local board to the Freedom Camping in Vehicles Bylaw Hearings Panel (Attachment 3)
  • Meeting with representatives of the Herne Bay Petanque Club at the local board office on 27 February to discuss the Salisbury Reserve entrance improvements
  • Attended the Media briefing – Safe Speeds Bylaw at Auckland Transport on 27 February
  • Joint Governing Body / Local Board Chairs Meeting on 27 February
  • City Centre network meeting at the Ellen Melville Centre on 28 February
  • Hosted a Facebook live Have your say event with board member Adriana Avendaño Christie on 28 February
  • LGNZ Zone 1 meeting in Orewa on 1 March
  • Catch up with K Rd business association GM on 4 March
  • Catch up with Chairs of Herne Bay Residents Association and St Marys Association on 4 March
  • Western Bays Community Group AGM on 4 March
  • Tūpuna Maunga Authority: 2019 Local Board Chairs’ hui on 11 March
  • Chairs Forum 11 March
  • Local Board Chairs Cluster Meeting on 11 March with Ian Maxwell, Director Community Services
  • Erebus Memorial site visit with Ministry of Culture staff, representatives of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and design panel members on 12 March

Attended the following Have Your Say events (in full or part of the time)

  • Parnell Library drop in on Wednesday 20 February, 11.30am – 1.30pm
  • Local Board stalls at Parnell Farmers Market on Saturday 23 February, 8.00am – 12.00noon
  • Local Board Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sunday 3 March, 8.30am – 12.00noon
  • Central City library drop in on Monday 4 March, 11.00am – 1.00pm (photo right)
  • Central City Library drop in on Sunday 10 March, 3.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Annual Budget/Water Strategy event: Westhaven Have Your Say at Ponsonby Cruising Club on 11 March

Events and functions:  12 February until 12 March

  • Parnell Business Association monthly networking event on 12 February
  • Lantern Festival opening on 14 February
  • Pride Festival event: Mika book talk at Ellen Melville Centre on 16 February (photo right with Mika and author Sharon Mazer)
  • Ponsonby Road Festival on 16 February
  • Myers Park Medley on 17 February (photo right with board members Denise Roche, Richard Northey and Adriana Christie)
  • Jessica Phuang celebration to her promotion as NZ Police’s Ethnic Responsiveness Manager Tāmaki Makaurau at the Flicking Centre on 18 February (photo below)
  • Member of the official party at the citizenship ceremony on 18 February at Eden Park
  • Auckland Conversations: Our Water Future: putting water at the centre of our city on 21 February
  • Jazz and beanbags at Western Park on 21 February
  • Joined a panel discussion at the Elect Women workshop organised by Women in Urbanism on 23 February at Central City Library (photo right: Elected members who spoke at the event together with Emma McInnes, organizer).
  • Organic Market Garden (OMG) celebration on 25 February
  • A conversation with Auckland Transport CEO, Shane Ellison to talk about a 30km city centre organised by Heart of the City at the Mercure Hotel on 26 February
  • Fringe Festival show: That’s what Friends are for by the Hobson Street Theatre Company at Basement Theatre at the invitation of University of Auckland on 26 February (I paid for my ticket as a koha to HSTC)
  • RFA function for local board representatives at the Maritime Museum on 27 February
  • Attended Little Day Out at Mt Eden Village Hall on 2 March
  • Japan Day festival opening event at Eden Park on 3 March (photo right my nephew Tomu really unimpressed to meet Mayor Phil Goff and Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore)
  • Launch of Phil Goff’s Mayoral Campaign at the Mt Albert Memorial Hall on 3 March
  • Alumni Awards dinner hosted by the University of Auckland at Old Government House on 8 March
  • Freemans Bay School rebuild celebration (in the photo right with Tama Davis, Chair of the BOT and Lucia Davis)
  • Spoke at the Stop Stealing our Harbour protest rally opposing the dolphin mooring extension on Queens Wharf on 10 March
  • POP pop-up art projects in public spaces, bringing creativity and surprise to central Auckland started 21 February and ran until 12 March including Pop Ping Pong in Freyberg Square and Pop poetry on K’rd (Attachment 5 Our Auckland: Pop Poetry lifts words off the page with music)

 

 

Chair’s monthly report February 2019

This is my first report for 2019 covering the period 12 December 2018 until 11 February 2019.

I’m really fortunate to have fantastic colleagues on the Waitematā Local Board supported by an outstanding team. After our final workshop of the year it has become a tradition to have lunch together and for board members to be presented with a surprise Christmas card. For the 2018 card we took on superpower characters that will no doubt take us into 2019 full of energy!

In the photo right with superheroes Shale Chambers, Adriana Avendaño Christie, Richard Northey, Vernon Tava, Rob Thomas and Denise Roche.

The following provides a summary of activities and highlights from the end of 2018 and over the summer break.  Local Board weekly workshops resumed on 5 February.

Salisbury Reserve entranceway

Land purchased to create an entrance way to Salisbury Reserve

 At the December Business Meeting the Local Board made the decision to progress with a new entrance way at Salisbury Reserve (Attachment 1). The Masonic Lodge, off Argyle St, was purchased from an Open Space budget by the former Auckland City Council to create an entranceway into the Reserve.

The Local Board consulted on two options – with and without parking. A healthy majority of submitters (68 per cent) supported the entranceway option with no car parks. We delayed our final (unanimous) decision to undertake a survey of the on-street parking availability on busy days at the clubrooms. It shows there is ample parking within a 200m walk of the clubroom (on the Argyle St end rather than Salisbury St). The on-street parking is the same distance to the clubroom entrance as the location of car parking in the Reserve proposed in one of the options.
The reserve is a neighbourhood park. It provides valuable green space. It is very unusual to have parking in a neighbourhood park and is not consistent with Council’s policies. Submitters put forward a range of reasons for creating an entranceway without parking including that it is safer for children and all users of the park.

The Local Board is supportive of the Herne Bay Petanque Club and Probus who use the clubrooms for meetings. Members currently make informal use of the old Masonic lodge carpark (there is no official parking in the reserve).  We appreciate that they would like this arrangement to continue. We have asked Auckland Transport to install on-street mobility car parks. We are also looking at how to improve accessibility into clubrooms.

Annual Budget 2019/20 consultation

As I reported in the February Ponsonby News, the Council’s annual budget consultation is coming up from 17 February.  This is the opportunity to give feedback on whether we have got our local board priorities right.  We’re not proposing major changes to the existing work programme for 2019/2020 as we continue to deliver the projects identified in the 2017 Waitematā Local Board Plan.

Developing 254 Ponsonby Road as a civic space remains our major local initiative.  Activating, improving and renewing our parks, guided by our Park Development Plans, will continue to be a focus.  There is budget earmarked to upgrade the playgrounds at Western Springs Lakeside Park and Home Street Reserve (above the draft concept design), provide pathways in Basque Park and commence building of the Grey Lynn Park changing rooms.

Our stream restoration projects will continue, and we’ve got a new project underway to enhance the Western Springs-Meola-Three Kings Aquifer. Through our grants programme, we’ll support community and arts groups and local events, as well as stage our two flagship events, Parnell Festival of Roses and Myers Park Medley (a family friendly free event on Sunday 17 February). We’re funding a new arts partnership with TAPAC and increased library hours at Grey Lynn Library and the Central City Library.

We’ll also continue investigating opportunities to reduce agrichemical use, including advocating to the Governing Body to take a regional approach to agrichemical-free park maintenance.

For information on the Annual Budget 19/20 consultation and engagement events visit the Auckland Council website.

Air Quality in the City Centre

Pedestrians and workers in Queen Street are being exposed to high levels of “black carbon” associated with a number of health problems. The key way of reducing air pollution in the city centre is to reduce emissions from buses and trucks. Councillors Chris Darby, Penny Hulse, Alf Filipaina, Richard Hills and I, on behalf of the Local Board, wrote to AT’s CEO on 17 December asking for “immediate action to alleviate the risk of more premature deaths, contributed to by atrocious air quality on our busiest street” (Attachment 3 to my report).

 Te Hā o Hine interpretation sign

 On 12 December a new interpretation signage at Te Hā o Hine Place was unveiled by Ngāti Whātua Orākei, alongside our board and National Council of Women representatives (photo right).

Te Hā o Hine is derived from the whakatauki (proverb) Me aro koe ki te Hā o Hine-ahu-one, that can be taken as meaning ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’.

The name was a gift from Ngāti Whātua Orākei in recognition of the Woman’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial located in Te Hā o Hine Place.

Western Park steps and boardwalk opening

On 12 December the Local Board members joined with local residents to celebrate the new stairs that connect Hopetoun Street with Western Park.

The stairs have new handrails to improve accessibility and the viewing platform on Hopetoun Street has been re-decked.

Feedback on the upgrade has been overwhelmingly positive.

Western Springs Lakeside Park

 Western Springs Lakeside Park featured on TVNZ One News on 21 January about plans the Local Board has to improve water quality and the work underway to keep paths clear of bird poo and the geese numbers under control (attachment 4).

At the same time the removal of pine trees at risk of failure was in the news.  I will report with an update on Westerns Springs Bush Restoration project next month once we know the outcome of the resource consent process and discussions with neighbours.

Feedback on the draft RPTP

I worked on the Local Board’s feedback on the draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) with the Local Board’s Senior Adviser.  This was submitted on 18 January following consideration of the public’s feedback in response to a consultation process held by Auckland Transport at the end of 2018. (attached as an agenda item)

The Local Board supports the overall direction of the draft RPTP, the vision for public transport and how Auckland Transport proposes to meet the identified challenges for the next 10 years. We are generally supportive of the steps to increase public transport services but would like to see a clear statement of intent to increase mode-share of public transport.

In the feedback we outlined what the Local Board supports to consolidate and build on the rapid increase in public transport boardings from 79 million in June 2015 to 92 million in June 2018.  We also outline what improvements we would like to see to public transport services (including the reinstatement of a service on Williamson Ave) and infrastructure and specific feedback on the four focus areas in the draft.

 Kelmarna Gardens entranceway

 At the end of last year the entranceway to Kelmarna Organic Community Gardens and City Farm was given a makeover helped with a modest grant from the Local Board (Our Auckland: Kelmarna Gardens)

As described by Kelmarna (via their FB page) “The installation of the curved seat (designed by Carl Pickens Landscape Architect), new bike parking and wheel stops, shaping and edging of the gardens, smoothing of the drive and creation of a circle for our leafcutter bee box has been made possible by the generosity, sweat and toil of Norm and team at Landscape Solutions, Omid and team at Ventia, the Waitematā Local Board and Auckland Council, all in the last weeks before Christmas. Once planted with pollinator-attracting plants by our friend Andrea Reid from Pollinator Paths, visitors will be able to come, rest and absorb the sensory garden full of bees and butterflies”.

Events and functions:  12 December until 12 February

  • Western Park Boardwalk opening on 12 December
  • Exhibition opening at Toi Ora on 12 December
  • Vigil for Grace on Federal Street on 12 December
  • Te Hā o Hine Place signage unveiling on 13 December
  • Tour of the City Rail Link tunnels for board members on 14 December (photo right) and community stakeholders thank you gathering on 13 December hosted by CRL Ltd.
  • Ports of Auckland community liaison meeting and Christmas gathering on 12 December
  • Rainbow Youth sponsors breakfast
  • Love Food, Hate Waste Christmas lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 14 December (photo right)
  • Christmas in Western Park event hosted by the Ponsonby Business Association on 14 December
  • Launch of Cr Mike Lee’s book Navigators & Naturalists on 16 December
  • Final workshop of the year on 18 December followed by Christmas lunch for local board members and local board staff
  • Heart of the City’s Late Night Christmas event in the city centre on 20 December
  • On 23 December invited to Sunday Blessings’ Christmas dinner for the homeless community served by volunteers at the Central Library.  Also there in support were The Auckland Street Choir and Orange Sky New Zealand.
  • Invited by Holy Trinty Cathedral to read the Third Lesson at the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols (photo right)
  • Attended the ASB Classic on 4 January at the invitation of Tennis Auckland
  • Invited by Fiftysix Creations to be a Guest Mentor at Business Camp on 16 January for students aged 5 to 15 who came together over the school holidays to identify a community based problem
  • Opening of the Buskers Festival at the invitation of Crackerjack Productions
  • Over anniversary weekend enjoyed the See Port Festival fireworks put on by Ports of Auckland and checked out the Rainbow Machine at Silo Park (modelled in the photo right by Luna, Ruby and the White Face Crew). This amazing creation originated as a Local Board child friendly pop up play spaces project which got picked up by the regional art team. Artists: Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Patrick Loo and Sarosh Mulla
  • Waitangi Day started with a small gathering organized by Cr Mike Lee and Terry Dunleavy to acknowledge Governor William Hobson at his grave in Symonds St cemetery. Niamh McMahon, honorary consul general of the Republic of Ireland attended and recited a poem. I then enjoyed the Waitangi Day Festival hosted by Ngāti Whātua at Okahu Bay
  • LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 8 February. In the photo right with Mayor of Dunedin and LGNZ President Dave Cull and Deputy Mayor of Oamaru and Young Elected Member rep, Melanie Tavendale
  • Tom Scott’s Daylight Atheist at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of ATC
  • Big Gay Out at Coyle Park on 10 February (photo below with Albert-Eden Local Board member Jessica Rose and a friend Kirstin Jones)
  • Leaving function for Lester McGrath from Auckland Theatre Company on 11 February

Chair’s monthly 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.