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Monthly Chair’s report December 2018

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

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

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

Achievements Report 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018

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

TAPAC arts partnership

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

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

Erebus National Memorial

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

The resolution of the board:

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

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

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

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

254 Ponsonby Road – a civic space

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Auckland story  New Ponsonby civic space reaches a significant milestone

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

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

This year Waitematā Local Board advocated for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning Committee presentation – City Centre Masterplan refresh

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

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

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

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

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

Playground openings

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

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

Parnell station walkway open

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

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

Waitematā Safe Routes Projects- update

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

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

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

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

Ian McKinnnon Drive cycleway extension

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

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

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

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

Auckland Domain Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Board supported and funded events

25th annual Parnell Festival of Roses

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

Lightpath Festival

Photo credit: Tina Plunkett

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

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

Grey Lynn Park Festival

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

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

Franklin Road Lights opening

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

Santa Parade

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

Roll out of residential parking

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

Events and functions:  12 November until 11 December

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

 

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