Chairperson address to the Waitematā Local Board 2016-19 inaugural meeting

Making the Chair's declaration with friends and family in support
Making the Chair’s declaration with friends and family in support

Kia ora huihui mai tātau

E te iwi tēnā koutou, mihi mai,  

E ngā mana, e ngā reo e ngā hau e whā

E te rangatira o Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, tēnā koe

E te iwi o Tāmaki Makau rau tēnā koutou katoa

E te whare, tēnā koe,

E te hapori kua tai mai  tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Nau mai piki mai, haere mai

inaugural-meeting-mike-lee-and-shale-chambers
With Cr Mike Lee and Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers

On behalf of the board I would like to welcome all our distinguished guests including family and friends who have come along in support. Thank you Matt Maihi and Aunty Margaret from Ngāti Whātua o Orākei for your mihi whakatau and Otene Reweti for responding on our behalf.

Thank you Barry Potter for officiating and our local board services team for their work supporting the inaugural meeting.

Greetings and welcome to Councillor Mike Lee who has been returned for the third time as representative for Waitematā and Gulf ward.  We’re very fortunate to have you here as a strong advocate for the community and look forward to working with you.

The new Mayor Phil Goff gives his apologies but has our full support as he works to build trust and confidence in Council, and tackles the huge challenges facing Auckland. Greetings also to Richard Hills newly elected Councillor for the North Shore Ward who will be working with Mayor Phil to take the city forward.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the founders, all those who have come before us to create and build Tāmaki Makarau and more recently the people who took on the daunting task of establishing the super city and making it work.  An incredible amount has happened over the last 6 years so that, despite many challenges,  Auckland is undoubtedly a better place.

One of the people who has played a significant role over that time has been the inaugural chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Shale Chambers. He has done an outstanding job setting a strong foundation not just for our board but for the governance of Auckland. I’d like to acknowledge his tireless work for the Board in steering a progressive agenda that has achieved results. There is a great deal that Shale can be very proud of making happen with the support of the board including some significant projects like the extensive Myers Park upgrade, securing the funding for the complete refurbishment of the Ellen Melville Centre that is going to create a much needed community hub for the city centre,  and securing resource consent for the Weona-Westmere coastal walkway. He has also been instrument behind the scenes on making things happen. For example securing a venue for the successful Pop Up Globe  and gaining support for a major upgrade of Karanagahape Road from the city centre targeted rate.  In the best tradition of Ken Livingstone he has no wish to ever ride a bicycle but he gets why Auckland should be a bike friendly city.  

He has also been amazingly courageous at times in knowing the time to act and not take the easy path.  I feel particularly proud of the support he gave to the name change of lower Khartoum Place to Te Hā o Hine Place in honour of the suffrage memorial.

I thank him for the opportunity to now lead the board.  It is a huge privilege and I acknowledge the trust, responsibilities and confidence that is being placed in me.  I’ve committed to being collaborative, transparent and to continuing building on the relationships across the community, with our iwi partners and at all levels of the Auckland Council whanau. 

Together with all other previous board members  I’m proud of our many achievements and also to have been part of a Waitematā Local Board that has stood up for social justice, adopted the Living wage, committed to being accessible to everyone, stood up for public transport, for environmental and heritage protection, for public ownership of strategic assets, and for local communities to have a real say.  I’d like to acknowledge all the board members who have previously served for their significant contribution in particular Deborah and Christopher who retired at the end of last term and Greg Moyle for his service to local government. 

Shale, me and Rob are now officially the old timers of the board returned for our third terms.  It is a shock to me to realise that I am now in the senior section of the board!  

I am really delighted that Vernon has been returned for his second term and that we are joined by experienced government veteran Richard Northey, dynamic social entrepreneur and lecturer Adriana Avendano Christie  and planner and business owner Mark Davey.  They, together with the old timers, make up an impressive, talented team who I look forward to working with. We are all committed to working together with effective governance and responsible financial management for the good of Waitematā.

Looking ahead we have much to do over the next three years. We have community assets to enhance and services to maintain including our precious libraries, playgrounds to upgrade, we’re committed to the goals of a smoke free and zero waste Auckland with the establishment of a community resource recovery centre in conjunction with the Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

We wish to continue the upgrade of Symonds Street cemetery, plant street trees, and the ecological restoration of our native bush and historic streams.  We recognise our role as place makers who can contribute to local economic development in partnership with our 7 business associations.  We value & support the arts, events and culture. We’re determined to connect with our North shore neighbours by finally getting Skypath built (something Shale committed to in his inaugural speech in 2010!)

We also recognise our role to contribute to the wider well-being of  all Aucklanders in creating opportunities for everyone, ending homelessness, providing families with access to quality affordable housing and delivering on real transport choices.

We know that the only way Auckland will truly be the best place in the world to live and a leading international city is if we take care of our people and environment.  We wish to be an age friendly and child friendly local board area that takes local action to meet one of the biggest challenges of our time by becoming a low carbon community.

In thinking about our role as local board members there is one particular aspect I wish to highlight by quoting Jeff Speck the author of Walkable Cities and a supporter of 8-80 cities

The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.

This requires a commitment to slower speeds, people friendly infrastructure, public transport, bikeable streets and public spaces – all very achievable in compact Waitematā with the right political support.  

In finishing I reflect on what it means to serve our citizens and to provide leadership that achieves the aspirations of the community.  I’m committed to celebrating and embracing diversity and providing space for creative innovation and design thinking.   This requires new ways of operating by the Board and Council so all the people of Waitematā (including the growing inner city population) feel that local government matters and that they wish to participate. I look forward to putting this into action with a fantastic team of board members and officers as we start on the term ahead.

So behalf of the Board I’d like  thank everyone for attending today and sharing in the spirit of this very special occasion.  We are committed to working with you to create a strong, enriching, diverse, healthy, safe Waitematā in the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Nō reira

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

A street tree planting policy for Auckland

Notice of Motion: Auckland Transport Street Tree Planting Policy

A notice of motion is a useful tool available to elected representatives to get action on an issue when the organisation fails to respond by other means.  As lead of the transport porfolio for the Waitemata Local Board I have a particular interest in what goes on in the road corridor managed by Auckland Transport. I want our streets to be safe, vibrant, well connected and beautifully designed for everyone to enjoy.  I’ve come to appreciate how much trees benefit our urban environment and can enhance every transport-led project (not to mention act to reduce GHG emissions).

However what I have come up against time and time again is the lack of a standard practice or policy to ensure Auckland Transport plants street trees. Many oppportunities are being missed to add trees to the city streetscape.   Individual project managers are doing their best but the budget arrangements between AT and Auckland Council parks are a block to trees being incorporated into street designs and renewal projects. I’ve set out these issues and examples below by way of background to my Notice of Motion.

At the Waitemata Local Board meeting last night (14 June 2016) my recommendations were unanimously passed (seconded by Member Dempsey).  We all recognise the huge value of street trees and would like to help Auckland Transport progress a tree planting policy for Auckland.

Recommendation

a)      That the Notice of Motion be received.

b)      That the Waitematā Local Board:

i) notes the benefits of urban street trees and the Auckland Plan, City Centre Master Plan and Waitematā Local Board Plan 2014 commitment to plant street trees;

ii) requests Auckland Transport in association with Auckland Council Parks develop:

  • A street tree planting policy; and
  • A strategy to meet the City Centre Masterplan street tree target of a 25% increase by 2021;

iii) requests Auckland Transport allocate budget (capex and opex) for funding new street trees as part of streetscape projects and footpath renewals;

iii) requests that this Notice of Motion is circulated to all Local Boards, the Parks, Recreation and Sports Committee, Auckland Development Committee, Auckland Transport Board and Chief Executive and Auckland Council Policy and Bylaws team

Background

Auckland Council, with the support of the Waitematā Local Board, has made a clear commitment to plant street trees in the urban environment.

Directive 8.2 of the Auckland Plan is to protect, enhance and increase Auckland’s green infrastructure networks. Auckland Council is committed to increasing the number of trees on reserves and streets. Council has committed to valuing natural heritage and ‘greening’ Auckland’s expanding network of open public spaces which provides for a more attractive city, while reducing GHG emissions and improving community resilience to the effects of climate change and resource scarcity and by supporting local food production.

As outlined in the Waitematā Local Board Plan, the board supports “increasing the number of native plants and trees in our parks and streets to help restore biodiversity”  (Local Board Plan 2014, page 32).

In the Becoming a Local Carbon Community Action Plan (August 2015) we have committed to an Action Area of Enhancing the Urban Forest and Biodiversity.

As part of the Urban Forest Mapping Project Report for Waitematā we committed $2500 to draw up a tree inventory and to collect data in order to analyse the urban forest layer in the local board area. This work will assist us in assessing the need and timing for the replacement of trees.

In February 2016 the City Centre Masterplan targets were reviewed and revised targets approved by the Auckland Development Committee.  The Local Board supports Outcome 8: An exceptional natural environment and leading environmental performer and the revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25% by 2021.   

Street trees provide a range of benefits in the urban environment including:[1]

  • Improve pedestrian safety by slowing traffic
  • Good for business by increasing foot traffic in town centres
  • Reduce crime
  • Improve the health and wellbeing of neighbourhoods by increasing the attractiveness and security of walking
  • Reduce the need for drainage infrastructure
  • Provide shade
  • Provide oxygen and sequester carbon

Long live the treesIn the photo left Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road saved from road widening with the support of the Waitematā Local Board for future generations to enjoy.

Auckland Transport is responsible for planting trees in the road corridor on behalf of Auckland Council. The responsibility for the ongoing care and maintenance of streets sits with Auckland Council Parks.

Despite the clear benefits of street trees and the Auckland Council commitment to increase street trees, Auckland Transport doesn’t have a policy to ensure street trees are planted in the urban environment. Auckland Transport also doesn’t have a strategy to meet the City Centre Masterplan street tree target.  The responsibility to consider the addition of street trees is left with individual project managers on a case-by-case basis.

Auckland Transport has confirmed that street trees will only be included in a project if a specific budget is identified for the planting and for the ongoing water/maintenance cost.  If there is no budget for ongoing maintenance (for at least 1 year) Auckland Council Parks will not agree to take on the responsibility for new trees.

Auckland Council Parks have provided the following response:[2]

Parks advocate for the inclusion of new tree assets in the road corridor where private development impacts on public open space and where AT is delivering renewals and streetscape upgrades. However, Parks only plays an advisory role (ie we are asked to comment on designs) in the majority of instances. If council is to deliver positive outcomes at all opportunity Auckland Transport and the consenting arm of council need to incorporate conditions around additional tree planting and which for the following reasons may be difficult to do or will require additional funding:

  • New tree planting in the road corridor or within public open space is not a requirement of private development and there are no rules requiring resource consent applicants to plant anything unless they are seeking approval to remove existing vegetation or regulatory consider there are adverse visual effects from the development that need mitigating
  • Footpath renewal budgets do not come with additional budget to plant new trees.
  • Tree planter boxes, or in ground planters, can only be funded by new projects through CAPEX and Community Facilities only accept them from a maintenance perspective when there are funds put aside for their ongoing maintenance. The same would apply to private development projects in the road corridor / public open space.

Parks will of course continue to advocate, with the relevant stakeholders and partners, for the urban forest and support tree planting wherever it is practical (ie accounting for in ground services, footpath widths, AT design requirements etc), but local board involvement may help provide a more focused approach across the relevant departments / organisations either by escalation or a board workshop to which key officers / managers from Parks (Community Services and Facilities), AT and regulatory are invited.

Currently, the only two funding sources that have been identified to cover the additional consequential opex costs associated with a new street trees (or planters) are either that it is Auckland Transport provided or, if the project was initiated by the Local Board, Locally Driven Initiative (LDI) funded.

The Local Board should not have to fund maintenance costs for new street trees that are associated with non-Board projects. As an Auckland-wide commitment, new street trees  should be funded as an asset from a governing body controlled budget.  

The following examples illustrate the various situations in which Auckland Transport is failing to take up opportunities to plant street trees.

  1. Graham Street footpath renewal
    Graham Street footpath renewal

       Footpath maintenance and footpath renewals

The footpaths on Graham Street were recently renewed on a like-for-like basis following completion of a new development. The Local Board was not informed in advance and no consideration was given to the inclusion of street trees.

  1.    Streetscape upgrades or footpath works associated with private developments

Works associated with the new Countdown development on Williamson Ave included street trees and the closing of Rose Road to create a pedestrian plaza.  Unfortunately, only the street trees on the southern side of Williamson Ave alongside the supermarket were included in the resource consent conditions. With the agreement of Auckland Transport, Countdown contractor re-configured Rose Road with an expanded footpath but no steps were taken to include trees (photo right).

Williamson Ave Rose RoadSince this issue was raised by the Local Board, Auckland Transport agreed in March 2016 to include three new tree pits.   These tree pits will now have to be retrospectively installed into the footpath at Auckland Transport’s expense.

  1. New streetscape upgrades

When Auckland Transport undertook the upgrade of the Scotland Street/College Hill intersection as a safety project, the Local Board requested that the project include a street tree or appropriate greening.

Scotland streetAuckland Transport supported a planter and had funds to pay for it but Auckland Council Parks did not support it because of the lack of funding for the ongoing maintenance.

Auckland Council Parks supported a street tree but Auckland Transport was not willing to include a tree pit in the design because of underground utilities.

Since the photo left was taken two car parks have been reinstated but the Board is still waiting for a resolution with regards to the inclusion of some kind of greening.

 

 

[1] Burden, D., Walkable Comunities, Inc., Glatting Jackson. (2006) Urban Street Trees: 22 Benefits, Specific Applications. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/22_benefits_208084_7.pdf

[2] Email from David Barker | Environment and Programmes, Parks, Community Services.

Related reading

Transport benefits of street trees 

In Praise of City Trees – Patrick Reynolds

Waitemata Good Citizen Awards 2015

Good Citizen Awards 2013
Good Citizen Awards 2013

The Waitemata Local Board inaugural Good Citizens Awards were held in 2013 with the intention of it becoming a bi-annual event.

Nominations are open until Wednesday 20th May for the 2015 awards.

This is great opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding volunteers in our community. Categories cover:

  • Individual Award: For individual contribution through voluntary work.
  • Children and Young People Award (24 years of age and under): For children and young people who have contributed their time to make a positive
    difference in the community through voluntary work.
  •  Community Group Award:For contributions made by local groups through their voluntary

More on the criteria and information about the awards here
The nomination form is super quick and easy to use. An awards ceremony will be held on 17 June

Monthly Board Report May 2015

My board report this month is a selection of photos covering April events in the Waitematā Local Board area.

Police on bikes at open Streets

The Open Streets event on 12 April opened up Quay street for people to play, socialise, walk and cycle. The Auckland Transport hosted and Waitemata Local Board supported event attracted over 30,000 people.

Photo left with Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s new walking & cycling manager and Auckland’s bike riding police officers.

 

 

St James opening

The St James lobby opened with a celebration on 10 April hosted by the Auckland Notable Properties Trust.  The Trust and the St James Suite development group are working to restore the St James Theatre.

Photo with the Deputy Mayor and Jhun Si, General Manager, St James Suites

 

 

Nelson St blessingA dawn blessing was held on 23 April to mark the start of work on the Nelson Street cycle route.Kaumatua from Ngati Whatua o Orakei, Te Aki Tai, Ngati Paoa and Te Kawerau a Maki led the blessing which took place on the disused Nelson Street off-ramp.

The Nelson Street Cycle Route will link Upper Queen Street to Quay Street via the disused off-ramp and connect to the north-western and Grafton Gully cycleways.

 

 

Western park consultation

I attended the draft Western Park  development plan open day at Studio One. The consultation deadline has been extended until 14 May.

 

Photo left: Board member Vernon Tava talks to a Freemans Bay resident

 

 

 

LTP presentation 29 April 2015Long Term Plan presentation to the Governing Body by Shale Chambers with Board members in support

(photo credit: Cathy Casey)

 

 

 

 

Tour of the refurbished Lysaght building, Wynyard Quarter hosted by Waterfront Auckland (new home of GridAKL)

Tour of the refurbished Lysaght building, Wynyard Quarter hosted by Waterfront Auckland (new home of GridAKL)

 

 

 

Charles Montgomery Happy City

Auckland Conversations: Charles Montgomery author of Happy City

“A happy city is healthy sustainable, resilient and social”

“Walking is the magic of our cities”

“Nothing matters more to happiness than social ties”

“Socially connected people live, on average, 15 years longer than socially disconnected people”

“Walking saves society $1.08, bus saves $0.16, cars cost society $2.78”
Unveiling of the Art of remembrance memorial project by the Friends of St David on 24 April.

Art of rememberance St DavidsA monumental, site-specific Max Gimblett art installation
cloaks the historic St David’s Church – The Soldiers’ Memorial–
to commemorate the 100,000 New Zealanders who served overseas in WWI.

 

Monthly Board Report April 2015

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during March 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

Hon Nikki Kaye cuts the ribbon with Freemans Bays school students
Hon Nikki Kaye cuts the ribbon with Freemans Bays school students

Bikes in Schools: opening of a new bike track at Freemans Bay School

One of the highlights of the month was attending the bike track opening at Freemans Bay School on 20 March. This is the first bike track in the Waitematā area supported by the Bikes in Schools Trust. It was wonderful to see how excited the kids are to ride a bike. For many of the kids at the school who live in the city centre the track offers them the only safe opportunity to cycle.

Portfolio Report: Transport

RLTP Presentation

All local boards and key stakeholders were given the opportunity to present to an Auckland Transport hearings panel on the draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2015 -2025 (RLTP) as part of the consultation process.

I presented with the Chair on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board on 10 March (Presentation attached as Attachment B). As I mentioned in my introduction to the presentation it was a slightly bizarre process to present before the end of the public consultation period and before we had finalised our submission. A copy of the Board’s final submission submitted on 16 March is attached to the April agenda.

Franklin-Road-revised-plan-option-A-birds-eye-viewFranklin Road

Auckland Transport presented the feedback on the proposed Franklin road upgrade design and the revised options  developed on the back of that feedback at a meeting with Franklin Road residents on 9 March.

Overall the residents at the meeting were positive about the new designs but were strongly opposed to cycle lanes due to safety concerns.   These Franklin-Road-revised-plan-option-B-birds-eye-viewconcerns were outlined in a presentation to the Local Board public forum at the March business meeting on 10 March.   Auckland Transport undertook to do a safety audit to ensure the final design is safe and is able to cater for all users.

Intersection of Curran St & Sarsfield St

For many years residents near to the intersection of Curran St and Sarsfield St have been seeking improvements to slow down drivers who speed up on the approach to the Harbour Bridge.  Unfortunately it took a serious crash in February for Auckland Transport to respond.

Curran St intersectionI arranged a site meeting on 2 March with residents and Auckland Transport representatives to discuss the various concerns about the intersection. On 30 March Auckland Transport responded at a follow-up meeting with a concept design which was positively received. Once the feedback from the meeting has been collated by the Herne Bay Residents Association the design will be finalised by AT for formal consultation.

Portfolio report: Community Development

Empowered Communities Approach

A whole new way for Council to work called “Empowered Communities Approach” is currently being tested with the Community Development and Safety Team.

Local Board members have been briefed and workshops held with the community (I attended the workshop for ethnic migrants) to explain the details and the opportunities arising from this approach.  As it is a major shift for Council I have included the following key messages about the new approach in my report:

Why we are doing this:

Supporting community-led development.

  • Working with communities to develop leadership, skills and capacity is a priority for Auckland Council under the Strengthen Communities goals of the Auckland Plan.
  • Mayor Len Brown proposed under the Long-Term Plan (2015-2025) to change how Auckland Council works around community development.
  • Much research and community consultation has been done by Auckland Council around empowering communities – the ECA is building on this work to bring it to life.
  • While we are developing a ‘whole of council approach’ Community Development and Safety are the first team to have this approach applied.

Purpose of engaging with communities:

  • You know what you need and want and, in turn, we need to hear that from you.
  • We would like to hear what you feel about the direction the ECP is taking and what it means for your communities.
  • Every community is different – a one-size-fits-all approach will not work across Auckland.
  • Council needs to be more responsive and flexible around community needs and priorities.
  • Resources and capacity varies across Auckland and council needs to ensure that each community has the same opportunities and platforms for empowerment.
  • There are benefits from empowering communities including: more responsive to community need; more flexibility and opportunity to change what may not be working; less bureaucracy; and, more opportunity for the communities to show innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
  • Auckland Council is committing to a new, innovative way of working. It recognises that for the ECA to be successful it has to change both the way it works, and how it works, to benefit Aucklanders.

Empowered Communities Approach:

  • ‘Empowered Communities: Enabling Council’ is an approached underpinned by a two-way relationship.
  • A description rather than a definition is being used to ensure there is room for us all to see ourselves.

What is an empowered community?

  • An empowered community is one where individuals, whanau and communities have the power and ability to influence decisions, take action and make change happen in their lives and communities. This includes communities of place, interest and identity.
  • Community empowerment is about providing real opportunities for people to participate and fostering the conditions that support this.
  • An empowered communities approach is ‘a way of working’ that empowers people to play a more active role in the decisions that affect their communities’.
  • A ‘whole of council’ shift is required to:
    • Provide a gateway / portal into council resources and information
    • Provide more support for local boards and other areas of council to work together in joined-up ways with local communities
    • Facilitating and embedding the ECA across council
    • Developing and implement creative new engagement and participation practices
    • Support the devolution of resources / functions / control to communities.
  • Currently we are exploring ways to operationalise the Community Development and Safety team functions with a new focus on ways of working.

Feedback is currently being sought from community groups about what needs to change for Council to be “an enabling council” and communities to be called “empowered communities”.

Long Term Plan consultation

Have your say event March 2015Consultation on the Auckland Council’s 10 year budget (LTP) closed on 16 March. 27,383 submissions were received in total with 1097 coming from the Waitematā Local Board area.  It was the first consultation process under Auckland Council’s new Significance and Engagement Policy that is required by the Local Government Act 2002.  Instead of hearings, submitters were invited to attend Have your Say events where all comments received were recorded as official feedback (Photo right – the Waitematā Have your say Event)

Personally I did not think the Have your Say events were an adequate alternative to Local Board hearings as there was limited ability to meaningfully engage and discuss issues with submitters.

Professional development

In March I started semester one at AUT University as I continue learning Te Reo Maori ( I completed two stage 1 papers in 2014).  I attend classes twice a week.

I have also appreciated the opportunity to take part in the training series “Making an Impact with Maori” provided by Council’s advisors.  On 25 March I joined councillors and local board members at Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chev for an immersive learning experience, designed to take elected members through the protocols and principles involved with entering a marae.

Workshops and meetings

UCF webinarDuring March I attended:

  • Street meeting on 2 March of Herne Bay residents and Auckland Transport to discuss the Curran St/Sarsfield St intersection speeding and safety issues
  • One of the presenters of the LGNZ webinar on 3 March in Wellington: Planning and Investment Opportunities for Cycling (Urban Cycleways Investment Programme) Photo right: delivering the Webinar with Cynthia Bowers, Deputy Mayor, Hawkes Bay District Council
  • Attended Long Term Plan – 10 year budget consultation events: Have your Say event at the Town Hall on 4 March,  the Grey Lynn community meeting on 11 March  (co-hosted with the Arch Hill and Grey Lynn Residents Association) and the Fix Our City: A Discussion with the Mayor co-hosted with Generation Zero at Auckland University
  • Meeting to discuss RLTP feedback on 5 March
  • HBDI Test result discussion with Board members (HBDI survey provided insight into thinking style preferences)
  • Friends of St David meeting on Sunday 8 March
  • Auckland Transport’s meeting on 9 March with Franklin Road residents to discuss the consultation feedback analysis and the revised options developed for the upgrade of Franklin Road
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 10  March
  • Meeting to discuss the community grants template
  • RLTP presentation to Auckland Transport
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 10 March
  • Cycle Advisory Group meeting on 11 March
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 12  March
  • Meeting on 12 March to discuss the development of a Youth HUB in the City Centre
  • Street meeting Waima StSite visit on Waima Street on 16 March organised by Arch Hill residents with representatives of Auckland Transport, NZTA, NZ Police, the Prostitutes Collective, and Newton School. David Shearer, MP also attended (photo right)
  • Grey Lynn community meeting on 17 March to discuss concerns arising from Auckland Transport’s proposals to remove parking at the Grey Lynn shops
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  18 March
  • Meeting with Albert-Eden and Puketapapa Local Boards to discuss progress on the Central Community Recycling Facility
  • Empowered Communities approach discussion with Local Boards on 20 March
  • Community Place-making champions group meeting on 23 March
  • Meeting to discuss the community grants policy and template
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 24 March
  • Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor
  • Making an Impact with Maori – Training for Elected Members. Visit to Te Mahurehure Marae for all local board members and councillors
  • Local Board Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 26 March
  • Urban Cycling Investment Panel – meeting 3 in Christchurch  on 27 March
  • Cycle Advocates Network cycling summit in Christchurch on 28 and 29 March (Attachment C)
  • Central Local Board cluster briefing on the Auckland Development Agency proposal on 30 March
  • Briefing on the action plan arising from the Elected Member Survey undertaken in September 2014
  • Empowered Communities Approach workshop for ethnic migrants at the Fickling Centre on 30 March
  • Local Board workshop on 31 March
  • Meeting with Herne Bay residents for Auckland Transport to present recommendations on safety improvements to the Curran St/Sarsfield St intersection

Events and functions

Between Tides 2015During March I attended:

  • Between Tides art show on Westmere beach on 1 March (photo right)
  • Fixing Auckland’s Transport panel discussion on 2 March
  • Auckland Arts Festival 4 – 22 March I attended various performances and the opening night drinks in the Festival Gardens (at the invitation of the AAF Trust)
  • Little Day Out at the Mt Eden Village Centre on 7 March
  • International Women’s Day event in Khartoum Place on 9 March
  • Presented the 95bfm Green Desk on 10, 17 and 24 March
  • Grey Power meeting on 12 March at the Fickling Centre as part of a presentation on the LTP (I was invited to present on transport issues in the LTP)
  • Wet Hot beauties Judges BayWet Hot Beauties performance in Judges Bay on 14 March
  • White Nights on 14 March
  • Bike track opening at Freemans Bay School on 20 March

Gifts:

  • Auckland Arts Festival tickets to the following shows:
  • Hikoi
  • Group F: Skin of Fire
  • Macbeth
  • I AM
  • Otello: the Remix
  • Bravo Figaro

Fixing the traffic in a successful city

Fixing Auckland's transportThe Council’s consultation on the 10 year budget (Long Term Plan) has been a catalyst for a wide-ranging conversation about our city’s transport priorities and investment.  “Fixing Transport” is highlighted as one of the 4 key issues facing Auckland.

The Mayor has led the way in asking Aucklanders to consider the choices.  Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more to get the advanced transport programme set out in the 30-year vision for our region known as the Auckland Plan. The Auckland Plan transport network includes the new roads, rail, ferries, busways and cycleways our city desperately needs. (From Council’s consultation material)

I was on the panel for the Auckland Conversation event  Fixing Auckland’s Transport – the 10 year budget  (as a local board member and member of the Urban Cycling Investment panel) to discuss the transport options. 

The MC Fran O’Sullivan asked panelists to consider a few points that we wished to get across. Here are mine in a bit more detail than discussed on the night . I’ve also referenced the quotes that I referred to.

What do we really mean by “Fixing” Auckland’s transport.

  •  Brent Toderian (Vancouver’s former Chief Planner and an Auckland Conversations presenter ) says “you can’t fix traffic in a successful city – you have to change it”.
  •  “fixing” is unlikely to result in “getting the traffic moving” for all trips ie there will always be congestion at peak for single occupancy private vehicles.  
  •  in order to fix transport we need to re-think mobility and provide transport choice  (As Florian Lennert presented at the the Velo city conference last year – the future of transport is “multi-modal sustainable mobility” ). If people are provided safe, effective transport choices it will create more space on the road for the vehicles that need to be there which benefits everyone. 

Efficient & smart investment

  •  The presentation of 2 stark choices has been great for forcing the debate about much needed transport investment (and I applaud the Mayor for leading that debate) but I think we have been provided with a Hobson’s choice on the 2 plans.  All the benefits for active transport/PT are locked up in the Advanced transport programme (that also included low value roading projects)
  • Either alternative funding option is going to take at least 2 years to implement so we have to get the “basic” plan right in the meantime to meet Local Board priorities.  Can’t have a basic plan that doesn’t provide for “basic” community needs. Eg There is no cycling investment in the first 3 years of the basic plan – this is unacceptable ( feedback so far shows strongest support for AT to focus more on cycling)
  • Also if cycling investment not included in the final transport programme Auckland cannot leverage off the Urban Cycling Investment Fund established last year by the Govt- there is $90m available over the next 3 years with up to 50% ear marked for Auckland if a local contribution is available
  • There is huge demand for transport choices to include cycling and there has never been a better time to invest in cycling but the current AT investment proposal in draft RLTP means Auckland is going to miss out on the funds available

The investment model

  • I agree we need funding for transport investment other than from rates but we are letting the Government off the hook. The Government needs to bring forward their contribution on the CRL and fund PT investment in the same way as state highways – this would be a game changer for the transport budget and the level of alternative funding required
  • I accept that there is a transport investment funding gap that can not be met out of rates. I support that gap being met from fuel tax as the most preferred option. From a local board perspective motorway tolling is not desirable because of the administration cost, impact on low income households and the negative impact on local roads.

Efficient & smart investment

  • Even if we agree on alternative funding I think we have been provided with a Hobson’s choice on the 2 plans.  All the benefits for active transport/PT are locked up in the alternative funding plan
  • Either alternative funding option is going to take at least 2 years to implement so we have to get the “basic” plan right in the meantime.  Can’t have a basic plan that doesn’t provide for “basic” community needs. Eg There is no cycling investment in the first 3 years of the basic plan – this is unacceptable ( feedback so far shows strongest support for AT to focus more on cycling)
  • Also if cycling investment not included in the basic plan Auckland cannot leverage off the Urban Cycling Investment Fund established last year by the Govt- there is $90m available this financial year with up to 50% ear marked for Auckland if a local contribution is available
  • Key point – there is huge demand for transport choices to include cycling and there has never been a better time to invest in cycling but the current AT investment proposal in draft RLTP means Auckland is going to miss out on the funds available

In my concluding comments I mentioned that the Waitemata Local Board has committed to being a UNICEF accredited child- friendly area. At the heart of the initiative is controlling speed and creating an environment where kids are invited to sit, play and walk.  I quoted Rodney Tolley who said at a recent Child Friendly Waitemata workshop that “a walking city is a paradise for kids” 

I think we often forget who we are building a city for and our focus should be on making the city a great place for children (so far we have let traffic engineers design it to the detriment of everyone). 

More on the transport discussion

Transport Blog – Is PT, Walking and Cycling Advocacy “Leftist” 

Submit for an essential budget 

Council’s online submission form 

Open letter to a car addicted city – Brent Toderian’s letter to Perth (but equally relevant to Auckland)

Monthly Board Report March 2015

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during February 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

Highlights

Victory for a liveable city

Save the trees Barbara at AT Board meetingPeople power and common sense won the day on February 20th when the Auckland Transport Board went against officer advice in deciding not to go ahead with the planned widening of Great North Road that would have required the removal of six heritage Pohutukawa trees. A well organised campaign challenged an Auckland Transport and NZTA culture that was only willing to consider one option for over 3 years.

It was an important win not just for saving 6 trees but for forcing a rethink about the design of all roading projects.  It was also a win for trees in general by raising awareness about the huge range of benefits that a magnificent stand of trees can provide the community and the landscape.

I was proud to be part of the Waitematā Local Board that stood with the community and that has consistently told Auckland Transport the plans needed to be re-considered.

Child friendly Waitematā

The Waitematā Local Board has recently become the first of Auckland’s local boards to be nominated and registered as ‘child friendly’ through the international UNICEF ‘Child Friendly Cities’ accreditation process.  UNICEF defines a child friendly city as “a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights.  It is a city where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions. It is, as a result, a city that is fit for all”.

Claire Stewart, Community Development Facilitator, organised a workshop in February for participants to find out about the work already being done to make Waitematā child friendly, to share their own work and to support the journey towards Waitematā’s child friendly status

Dr. Rodney Tolley, Conference Director of Walk21 and experienced consultant in the field of active, sustainable transport gave a presentation to the workshop.  Rodney has a focus on public space and transport and is passionate about equality of opportunity for children. As he points out children are a great indicator of the liveability of a city. Some of the key points from his presentation about growing a child-friendly city:

  • Loss of ubiquitous play space – children should be able to play everywhere but there has been a societal change and a change in the function of streets. He quotes from a study that found the failure of an urban environment can be measured by the % of playgrounds.
  •  Management of risk – risk of a child being abducted by a strange 1 in x (infinitesimal) if use active travel. If don’t use active travel 100% risk that child will have poorer coordination; less likely to be cooperative; have health issues etc
  • More car travel diminishes physical health. Only 11% of Kiwi kids meet daily activity guidelines – 10% obese.
Rodney Tolley "child friendly" workshop walkabout on Queen St
Rodney Tolley “child friendly” workshop walkabout on Queen St

The presentation considered what’s being done, for example:

  • Safe routes to school “if not safe make it safe”
  • At heart of initiatives – controlling speeds. Highlighted the benefits to children in overseas cities eg 75% of NYC now 20mph; Paris all streets 30kmph

Conclusion – cultural or physical changes needed? A walking city is a paradise for children. A city where kids invited to sit, play and walk. There are co-benefits in getting it right for kids gets it right for everyone.

The workshop included a discussion on what we are doing for children in different parts of Council and a walk around to explore parts of the city from a child’s point of view. The group I walked with along High St and Queen St (including Rodney) found the city centre to be empty of children under 10 and a very unwelcoming place.

 Myers Park Centenary

Myers Park kids The brief to the event team responsible for the Centenary celebrations was to take a community development approach so that it involved local groups for the benefit of city centre residents (the community portfolio was involved in the early discussion on the centenary)

Congratulations to the organising team who did such a great job. The centenary event on 15th Feb was child- focused, organic and non- commercial.  I thought it was a really successful celebration, attracting local residents and all on a tight budget. I would be very supportive of the centenary event being a template for an annual Myers Park kids festival.

Community Development conference

The Unitec hosted conference brought to together practitioners, academics and students to share their knowledge, research and stories about community development. Major themes included placemaking, community economic development, diverse communities and re-claiming democracy. My conference registration of $270 was paid for from the Local Board professional development budget (I cycled to and from the venue).

I enjoyed the conference as a networking opportunity and a chance to hear about the evolution of the practice of Community Development over the last 25 years and to reflect on the role of Local Government.

Key points mentioned by a variety of speakers:

  • Community Development has to connect most closely with Local Government. LG is the natural unit of CD.
  • Auckland has suffered from politicians without vision (No social housing; Lack of community centres)
  • Community Development and Economic development  need to merge– not flip sides
  • Community development is an indirect art
  • Most important thing that local government can do: Treat people as citizens and not as customers; Stop doing things to people or for them

Long Term Plan consultation

Consultation on the Auckland Council’s 10 year budget (LTP) got under way at the end of January and continues through February until 16 March. The Local Board held 2 community engagement events in February in the City Centre and Parnell (co-hosted with Parnell Community Committee)

Richmond Road feeder laneAs at 1 March Auckland Council had received 6320 written submissions, 427 eligible digital submissions (374 pieces of feedback had been received from the Waitematā Local Board area) and 423 Aucklanders have attended a “Have Your Say “event.

All LTP information and upcoming events are on  Shapeauckland.co.nz

 Richmond Road safety improvements 

After many years fighting for road safety improvements Richmond Rd School can finally enjoy a signalised crossing and traffic calming treatments. The Transport portfolio were responsible for ensuring a feeder lane was incorporated into the design (as a first step towards cycling lanes for the length of Richmond Road)

Bob, Paul and LenWesthaven Promenade

The much anticipated and beautifully built Westhaven promenade was officially opened on 16 February.

My partner Paul Shortland (Deputy Chair of Cycle Action Auckland) had the honour of cutting the ribbon on the invitation of Sir Bob and the Mayor.

I have received only positive feedback about the promenade especially from locals using it with children.

Congratulations to the Waterfront Auckland team responsible for the promenade.

 Ponsonby Road walk aboutWalk About on Ponsonby Road with the Ponsonby Business Association

Following a serious injury suffered by a visitor to Ponsonby Rd, who tripped on the footpath, the Ponsonby Business Association General Manager & Deputy Chair invited representatives from the Board, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to take part in a walk round. The purpose of the walk was to identify urgent repairs and to discuss options for a full upgrade of the footpath as anticipated in the Ponsonby Plan finalised in 2013.

Workshops and meetings

During February I attended:

  •  Meeting with the organisers of Art in the Dark, ATEED reps and events portfolio on 2 February
  • Ponsonby Community Centre Management Committee meeting on 2 February
  • Meeting with volunteers from community group Plastic Diet
  • LTP Consultation briefing on key issues for local board members on 3 February
  • Local Board Workshop on 3 February
  • Community portfolio meeting with Youth Advisory Panel representative to handover from Isabella Lenihan-Ikin (before she departed for Otago) to Alex Johnston
  • Transport Portfolio meeting on 4 February
  • Central Local Board cluster briefing on draft Corporate Sponsorship Operational Guidelines on 9 February
  • St Lukes Intersection design/ Pohutukawa Trees discussion with Auckland Transport on 9 February
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 10  February
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 10 February
  • Briefing on the New Zealand International Convention Centre on 11 February
  • Meeting with Matthew Luxton, Envision to discuss social enterprise in Waitemata
  • Briefing on Trading and Events Bylaw: Communication to businesses
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 12  February
  • Richelle tour guide Orakei Trust BoardPonsonby Road Walk About with representatives of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the Ponsonby Business Association to discuss the disrepair of the footpaths
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Reserves Board meeting and induction – 16 February – The purpose of the hui was to provide an in-depth insight into the history, current projects and aspirations in respect to the Whenua Rangatira and Pourewa Creek Recreation Reserve (photo right of Richelle Kahui- McConnell leading the tour)
  • St Lukes Intersection design (Pohutukawa tree removal) – follow up meeting with Auckland Transport and NZTA
  • Community Development Conference (opening Powhiri at Unitec Marae and one day at Unitec, Henderson)
  • Urban Cycling Investment Panel – meeting 2 in Wellington on 20 February
  • Local Board Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 23 February
  • Cycling Action Group and Urban Cycling Investment update presented to the Local Boards Forum on 23 February
  • Rodney Tolley – Child Friendly Cities workshop at Pioneer Womens Hall
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 24 February
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 25 February
  • Long Term Plan – 10 year budget community engagement events on 25 February (City Centre) and 26 February (co-hosted with the Parnell Community Committee)
  • Meeting to discuss RLTP feedback on 25 February
  • Central Boards cluster meeting: BIDs and service delivery and policy review
  • Attended the Auckland Development Committed extraordinary meeting on 26 February
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  26 February
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Auckland on 27 February

Events and functions

During February I attended:

  • Bike Market at Silo Park on 1 February
  • Friends of the Festival lunch at Q Theatre on 3 February
  • Screening with Nga Tāonga – Sound & Vision of two documentaries at Auckland Museum on 5 February to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi. Pita Turei, director of Waka: The Awakening Dream, presented at Q&A session following the screening.
  • Tour of the Light Show exhibition with Rhana Devenport, Director Auckland Art Gallery (organised for local board members and Councillors) on 5 February
  • Waitangi Day powhiri at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae
  •  Waitangi on the bins with ChristopherZero Waste Volunteer with Christopher Dempsey at Takaparawhau (Bastion Pt) for the Waitangi Day Festival organised by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
  • Big Gay Out, Coyle Park
  • Green Desk interview on 10 February (as occasional host of the Green Desk, 95bfm) with Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, Waitemata Youth Advisory Panel representative
  • Dropped by the NZTA/Auckland Transport Nelson Street cyclelane open day at Tukutai Square on 10 February
  • Go by bike day pit stop on the Grafton Gully Cycle way on 11 February (free coffee provided by Auckland Transport)
  • Opening Night Party of Auckland Fringe and X0X Pride at the Box, Aotea Square on 11 February
  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 12 February
  • Launch and Blessing of Twist & Thief by Tanja McMillian (Misery)  on K’rd
  • ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – Opening of Fanzone at Tukutai Square by the Mayor on 14 February
  • Valentine’s Day bike ride and afternoon tea with Frocks on Bikes
  • Myers Park Centennial Celebration on 15 February
  • Blessing and official opening of the Westhaven Promenade on 16 February
  • Kelsey Montague AngelWith the Deputy Mayor visited the Angel by Kelsey Montague sponsored by the Ponsonby Business Association on the Brown St wall of Ponsonby Central (photo right)
  • Regional Arts Trust Awards at Q Theatre (congratulations to Shona McCullagh, Hynds Creative Entrepreneur 2015 Award winner)
  • Auckland Conversations – Shaping Resilient and Collaborative Communities – Milenko Matanovic,  Founder & Executive Director The Pomegranate Centre Washington USA
  • Save our Harbour rally on Queens Wharf (photo below)
  • Regional Facilities Auckland – refreshments with the Board and senior management at the Aotea Centre
  • Finns at the Zoo on 27 February (at the invitation of Auckland Zoo)
  • Grey Lynn RSC commemorative mural blessing (funding provided by the Local Board)
  • Art in One Day prize giving (event sponsored with a Community Grant)
  • Save our harbour rally

Pohutukawa 6 saved – a victory for a liveable city

Save the trees banner  AT Board meetingPeople power and common sense won the day on February 20th when the Auckland Transport Board went against officer advice in deciding not to go ahead with the planned widening of Great North Road that would have required the removal of six heritage Pohutukawa trees. A well organised campaign challenged an Auckland Transport and NZTA culture that was only willing to consider one option for over 3 years.

It was an important win not just for saving 6 trees but for forcing a rethink about the design of all roading projects.  It was also a win for trees in general by raising awareness about the huge range of benefits that a magnificent stand of trees can provide the community and the landscape.

Long live the treesI was proud to be part of the Waitematā Local Board that stood with the community and that has consistently told Auckland Transport the plans needed to be re-considered.

Much has been written during the campaign about the process, plans and final outcome. Here are some highlights:

Central Auckland Pohutukawa can stay 

Transport Blog – Pohutukawa saved (with links to previous posts)

Chair Shale Chambers’ presentation to the Auckland Transport Board on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board

Metro Magazine – Auckland Debates: Should we keep the Pohutukawa 6?

 

 

 

Berm planting guidelines

Berm firth roadAt the Waitematā Local Board’s December meeting the Board unanimously passed the following resolution:

b)     That the Waitematā Local Board

i) Supports encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable

ii) Supports the development of berm-planting guidelines, which would include:

  •    Benefits of appropriate berm planting
  •    Safe depths to dig to
  •    Ideal plants in a number of categories – natives, food, trees
  •    Maintenance expectations, including in regard to safety eg height
  • Role of Local Boards in acting as a key conduit for Auckland Transport to have community relationships around berm planting
  • Working with neighbours

iii) Requests Auckland Transport develop berm planting guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards

iv)  Requests Auckland Transport report on progress to the Board’s February meeting

Herne BayBackground

In July 2013 Auckland Transport standardised the urban berm moving service so that generally all owners and occupiers adjacent to road side grass verges (berms) are responsible for maintenance. Auckland Transport has provided various exceptions such as on road corridors through town centres and on steep sections.

Following an increase in residents informally planting on the berms Auckland Transport undertook in February 2014 to draft guidelines. These guidelines have not yet been forthcoming, even in draft form, although the Community Placemaking Champions group of Local Board members (of which I am a member)  was recently briefed that “private” berm guidelines will be released for consultation in 2015.  “Private” applies to people who wish to plant a berm that is adjacent to their existing property, and will not cover community groups or gardening collectives who may wish to plant on berms.

The champions group has recognised that the guidelines provide an opportunity to support the “placemaking” function of berms and to foster the many benefits.   For example – litter reduction, storm water management, streetscape amenity values, community development and the promotion of bio-diversity.  Guidelines can provide a best practice framework for street planting while minimising the impact on the road corridor. For example the City of Sydney Footpath Gardening Policy  allows residents and businesses to put planter boxes on the footpath and/or carry out gardening on footpath verges outside their properties under certain conditions.

Hepburn StreetAuckland Transport’s approach to the guidelines (including advice currently on AT’s website which incorrectly states berm planting is prohibited) suggests that the draft guidelines are not being approached from a placemaking perspective but mainly to identify what is not allowed in the road corridor for safety reasons.

Local Boards are best placed to develop the guidelines with Auckland Transport and to assist with the smooth implementation.  I therefore recommend that the Board confirms support for encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable and directs Auckland Transport to develop appropriate guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards.

Selbourne St

Monthly Board Report December 2014

Child Fund NZ's Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf
Child Fund NZ’s Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during November 2014 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.

I was acting chair for the week of 17th November.

This is my final report for 2014 and also brings to an end the first year of this term of Auckland Council.

Many thanks to all those who have supported the Board’s work during 2014. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy festive season & summer solstice (photo right: Child Fund NZ’s brilliant Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf)

Recommended resolution:

a)     That the report be received.

b)     That the Waitemata Local Board

i) Supports encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable

ii) Supports the development of berm-planting guidelines, which would include:

  •    Benefits of appropriate berm planting
  •    Safe depths to dig to
  •    Ideal plants in a number of categories – natives, food, trees
  •    Maintenance expectations, including in regard to safety eg height
  • Role of Local Boards in acting as a key conduit for Auckland Transport to have community relationships around berm planting
  • Working with neighbours

iii) Requests Auckland Transport develop berm planting guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards

iv)  Requests Auckland Transport report on progress to the Board’s February meeting.

Portfolio reports:  Transport

Parking – Amendment to Road Users Rules to allow residents to park over their own driveways

At the Waitematā Local Board November meeting Trevor Lund, a member of the Freemans Bay Residents Association, presented in public forum seeking a letter of support from the Board requesting NZTA amend clause 6.9 of the Road Users Rule to allow Road Controlling Authorities (in this case Auckland Transport) to exempt residents with a permit, and allow them to park across their own driveways (parallel to the kerb, not over the footpath).

The proposal has the potential to create additional parking spaces in areas where there is high demand for on-road parking. In the response to Mr Lund’s presentation the Board passed the following resolution.

9.2 Public Forum – Trevor Lund, Freemans Bay Resident
Resolution number WTM/2014/215MOVED by Chairperson S Chambers, seconded by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom:

  1. a)      That Trevor Lund be thanked for his attendance and presentation to the Board.
  2. b)      That the proposal be referred to Auckland Transport and the Transport portfolio holders for further consideration and that this be reported back to the Board meeting on 8 December 2014

Parking on Garnet RoadThe proposal was discussed at the transport portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November.  We considered the benefits of the proposal for areas like Freemans Bay where on street parking is at capacity due to all day commuter parking.  We noted a number of points

  •  Currently where a resident parks across their driveway (parallel to the kerb or facing the driveway as in the photo right but not over the footpath) Auckland Transport will not enforce the rule unless there is a complaint.   The rule gives Auckland Transport the ability to act where there is a dispute over access or safety issues.
  •  There are benefits to all residents of keeping driveways clear for example driveways provide safer crossing points for pedestrians particularly with pushchairs. A  street with no gaps in the on- street parking could also create hazards for wheelchair users and mobility scooters.
  • The resident parking zone that Auckland Transport is going to consult on early next year is intended alleviate much of the parking pressure on Freemans Bay.
  •  Many residents may wish to see occupancy rates reduce on residential streets once the parking zone is installed and not wish to encourage additional parking across driveways.
  • There are administrative issues for Auckland Transport to consider for example how to identify the legitimate home owner’s car and how to enforce complaints. There are also costs associated with a permit scheme (and residents may query why a permit should be necessary for an activity that is currently “permitted”).

Overall the transport portfolio concluded that while we wish to support proposals that will address the very serious parking issues currently experienced in Freemans Bay we think there are a number of down-sides to a rule change.  Also in practice it is likely to make very little difference to the parking available because residents already park across their own driveways when necessary.

However we will continue to discuss the options with the Freemans Bay Residents Association and Auckland Transport and support Auckland Transport undertaking a trial of the proposal. We also recommend the Board re-consider providing a letter of support to NZTA once the residents parking zone has been implemented and the impact assessed.

Notice of Requirement hearing – removal of 6 mature pohutukawa trees on Great North Road

Auckland Transport's planting schedule
Auckland Transport’s planting schedule

I attended the Notice of Requirement hearing on 5 and 6 November in support of the Board’s objection to Auckland Transport’s proposal to remove 6 mature Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road. The Board’s lawyer Nick Whittington did a fantastic job at the hearing arguing that the adverse impact of removing the trees on GNR would be “significant” and “enduring” and outlined why Auckland Transport evidence was  “back-filling, self-serving and cursory”.  We have asked AT to consider an alternative option (referred to in the hearing as option 6).

Disappointingly Auckland Transport has stuck to their position that there is no alternative but to remove these notable trees (probably planted on Arbor Day in 1934) for road widening to provide for two lanes turning from Great North Road on to a new St Lukes bridge.   At the hearing AT represented their proposed planting plan to replace the trees. (photo right)

An aspect of the hearing that was particularly preposterous was the 54 submissions out of 64  that all had wrong submission numbers were found to be “invalid” due to clerical error.  One submitter Jolisa Gracewood has written here about the experience of being so terribly let down by the process.

Fortunately she still chose to speak and put forward her very well considered points, as she said “Auckland Transport’s plan prioritises car movement at all costs: no creative thought for how to safely move everyone else”

The Commissioners are due to release their decision on 17 December.

Cycling improvements

Great North Road feeder lane before afterI was really thrilled to see the greening of new feeder lanes on Great North Road and K’rd at the end of November. As previously reported the issues with the Great North Road intersection were logged with Auckland Transport four years ago (one of the first safety issues I raised with AT after first getting elected). Due to the narrow lanes cyclists were forced to either navigate 3 lanes of traffic or mount the kerb to avoid getting squashed by buses and cars. AT’s original response was to say the feeder was not possible without the widening of the road by removing heritage buildings. Fortunately after persistent advocacy from the Board and Cycle Action Auckland someone clever at AT got on to the job earlier this year and came up with a solution not only on the Great North Road side of the intersection but also the K’rd approach (feeder lanes for the Ponsonby Road and Newton Road sections are also about to be installed)

Monthly transport update

A monthly update with Auckland Transport took place on 26 November.  Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Portfolio reports:  Community

Berm planting guidelines

Hepburn StreetIn July 2013 Auckland Transport standardised the urban berm moving service so that generally all owners and occupiers adjacent to road side grass verges (berms) are responsible for maintenance. Auckland Transport has provided various exceptions such as on road corridors through town centres and on steep sections.

Following an increase in residents informally planting on the berms Auckland Transport undertook in February 2014 to draft guidelines. These guidelines have not yet been forthcoming, even in draft form, although the Community Placemaking Champions group of Local Board members (of which I am a member)  was recently briefed that “private” berm guidelines will be released for consultation in 2015.  “Private” applies to people who wish to plant a berm that is adjacent to their existing property, and will not cover community groups or gardening collectives who may wish to plant on berms.

The champions group has recognised that the guidelines provide an opportunity to support the “placemaking” function of berms and to foster the many benefits.   For example – litter reduction, storm water management, streetscape amenity values, community development and the promotion of bio-diversity.  Guidelines can provide a best practice framework for street planting while minimising the impact on the road corridor. For example the City of Sydney Footpath Gardening Policy  allows residents and businesses to put planter boxes on the footpath and/or carry out gardening on footpath verges outside their properties under certain conditions.

Auckland Transport’s approach to the guidelines (including advice currently on AT’s website which incorrectly states berm planting is prohibited) suggests that the draft guidelines are not being approached from a placemaking perspective but mainly to identify what is not allowed in the road corridor for safety reasons.

Local Boards are best placed to develop the guidelines with Auckland Transport and to assist with the smooth implementation.  I therefore recommend that the Board confirms support for encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable and directs Auckland Transport to develop appropriate guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards.

Community grants

The Community Grants Committee met in November to consider applications to the second round.  We received applications totalling $$104,731 from the available $$69,153.

The committee’s recommendations are on the December agenda. Applications to the third and final community grant round for 14/15 can be made until 6 March 2015 (for a decision in April).

I also attended the Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November to consider applications to Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund. We confirmed funding for 5 projects totally $23,322.93 including assistance to St Joseph’s Church, Grey Lynn (leadwork maintenance) and St Patricks Cathedral (restoration work) within the Waitematā Local Board area.  $26,677.07 remains for the final round from this fund (which will cease to exist once the new funding policy is implemented for 15/16)

Community Gardens

Te Maara Community Garden blessing
Te Maara Community Garden blessing

One of the Board’s priorities is to support community gardens so I was particularly pleased to attend the blessing of Te Māra  (the Grey Lynn Community Garden).   Redevelopment of this garden at St Columba Church under the guidance of a new vicar Brent Swann was made possible with a community grant from the Board

Also during November a new initiative has been launched called Kai Auckland   – a movement for all Aucklanders that offers a cohesive and integrated approach to creating connection and nourishment through food. Groups such as community gardens, food coops and farmers markets are encouraged to register on the site.

Kelmarna Community Gardens

Framework Trust confirmed during November that they are no longer in a position to sub-lease Kelmarna Community gardens. This has been a distressing time for the clients and Framework employees who work at the gardens.  Fortunately Kelmarna Community Gardens Trust has confirmed that they would like to continue with the lease (which is about to be renewed) and are keen to explore options with the Board for continuing the management of the gardens. A meeting has been arranged with the Trustees, relevant Community Development officers and the community portfolio members to discuss options going forward.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 November – 30 November I attended:

  • Ponsonby Community Centre management committee meeting on 3 November
  • Local Board Workshop on 4 November
  • Attended the Notice of Requirement hearing remove 6 Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road on 5 and 6 November
  • Meet Ponsonby Business Association GM on 6 November
  • Communications catch up on  10 November
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 10 November
  • Auckland’s Resource Recovery Network – Workshop for Local Board Members on 10 November The purpose of this workshop is to update you on the RRN and discuss the opportunities that resource recovery facilities can provide local boards to progress community, economic development and environmental objectives. Presentations from Xtreme Waste Raglan and the new Waiuku Recovery Centre
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 November
  • City Centre activation programme
  • Te Reo Māori exam on 11 November
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 11 November
  • Attended presentation to Ponsonby Business Association members on 254 Ponsonby Road options on 12 November
  • Meeting  on 13 November with  Auckland Transport regarding the prioritisation of transport projects for the Long Term Plan
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 13 November
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Maungawhai on 14 November
  • Workshop  on 18 November with governing body members on options for the Aotea Square/Civic Administration Building
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 18 November
  • Meeting up of community group representatives organised by Auckland Transport to discuss plans for an “open streets” even on Quay St in April 2015
  • Joint Governing Body and Local Board Chairs meeting on 19 November (A regular meeting offering the opportunity for the two arms of Auckland Council’s governance to discuss and debate key issues)
  • Meeting with local resident regarding resource consent issues
  • Community Grants briefing on 20 November
  • Local Board Chairs Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 24 November
  • Community Grants Committee meeting on 24 November
  • Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland
    Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland

    Meeting with Shinagawa Peace Delegation hosted by Cr Cathy Casey (This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Nuclear-free Peaceful City Shinagawa Declaration.  As part of the commemorations, a peace delegation from Shinagawa will be visiting Auckland from the 24th to the 26th November.   The purpose of the visit is to exchange information about peace initiatives that are part of the wider ‘Cities for Peace’ movement, of which Auckland Council became a part in 2011.  The delegation will also meet with the Peace Council and staff members from the Peace Foundation while they are in Auckland.)

  • Meeting with Sustainable Coastlines to discuss their Waterfront training centre and resource recovery park concept to be built at Wynyard Quarter
  • Stakeholders consultation meeting on the Newmarket Laneways Plan on 24 November
  • Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 24 November
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 25 November
  • Communications catch up on 25 November
  • Meeting to discuss LTP 2015 consultation events with the Board’s engagement adviser
  • Civil Defence Community Response Group meeting hosted by Grey Lynn Neighbourhood support
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  26 November
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November
  • Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November – Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund Applications

Events and functions

In the period 1 November – 30 November 2014 I attended:

  • Blessing of Te Māra – St Columba Community Gardens – He Timatanga Hou Project on 1 November
  • Beach Road stage II consultation open day at Britomart Market on 1 November
  • Reuse to reduce market at Auckland Zoo for conservation week
  • ATC’s Jesus Christ Superstar opening night production at Q Theatre on 1 November at the invitation of ATC
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM on 2 November (I was re-elected Chair of the management committee)
  • Blend with the BruntlettsBlend with the Bluntletts ride on 2 November organised by Generation Zero, Transportblog, Blend Store and the Frockers at Frocks on Bikes – Auckland (photo right published in the Auckland City Harbour News)
  • Green Desk interview with blogger and writer Melissa Bruntlett, who lives life on two wheels in Vancouver, about Van Cycle Chic – Observations from an Emerging Bike Culture.
  • Auckland Conversations on 4 November Vancouver Cycle Chic: Observations from emerging bike culture Chris & Melissa Bruntlett ( report back on their presentation)
  • Silo Theatre’s Blind Date at Basement Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 5 November
  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 6 November
  • Light Show at the Auckland Art Gallery (I couldn’t make it to the opening night but enjoyed going with friends)
  • The Official Launch of Federal Street on 7 November
  • Franklin Road upgrade Open Day – Community Information Session on 8 November hosted by Auckland Transport
  • Sustainable Coastlines the Love Project at Silo Six
  • Armistice Day CommemorationArmistice Day Commemoration at Auckland Museum
  • Art in the Dark launch on 12 November and attended Art in the Dark at Western Park on 2 of the 4 nights (one of the four nights was cancelled)
  • Parnell Festival of Roses opening speech and helped at the Board’s stand to consult on the Pt Resolution plan
  • Launch of the ATEED innovation plan at GRID AKL
  • Creative Communities Showcase hosted by Auckland Council
  • World of Wearable Art Exhibition Launch at the Auckland Museum
  • Opening of the Outside Art Fair hosted by Toi Ora Art Trust on 21 November
  • Nuffield Street, Newmarket Christmas Festival on 22 November
  • Glenn Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway open day hosted by Auckland Transport on 22 November
  • Picnic with board members Christopher Dempsey and Deborah Yates for the Daldy Street opening Party Saturday 22 November
  • Auckland Conversation – Affordable Housing Panel Discussion on 24 November
  • Blessing of Myers Park new playground on 26 November
  • Spring Fling event in Takapuna hosted by Auckland Transport and Frocks on Bikes on 26 November
  • Daldy Street Picnic
    Daldy Street Picnic

    Consultation and Engagement Awards 2014 at the Town Hall on 28 November  (Since 2011, the Consultation and Engagement Awards have recognised excellence, and encouraged quality and innovation in public participation. The awards are a chance to celebrate and have pride in the high standard of community consultation that happens across Auckland, ensuring sustainable decisions can be made and ultimately creating the world’s most liveable city while delivering Aucklanders great value for money. Congratulations to the Local Board Services Team who won the “involve” category and the People’s choice award for the 21 Local Board Plan)

  • Lighting up of the Child Fund NZ Tree of Bikes on Queens Wharf on 28 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival and helped out on the Waitemata Local Board stand consulting on the draft Grey Lynn Park Development Plan on 29 November
  • Santa Parade on 30 November at the invitation of ATEED
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)

Gifts:

Book gifted by the author: Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest by Mike D Wilcox