Maiden Speech 2019

As one of four new Auckland Council councillors elected for the 2019-2022 term I had the opportunity to give a maiden speech to the inaugural governing body meeting on 5 November 2019:

Tēnā koutou e ngā rau Rangatira mā e huihui mai nei

E ngā mate, moe mai, moe mai

Ka hoki ki tēnēi ao

E te Whare e tū nei,

E te wāhi taonga nei nā Ngāti Whātua,

E ngā Mana Whenua me ngā Matāwaka,

E te Koromatua,

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e nga hau e whā

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou

Ko te kaupapa o tenei rā

Ka mihi whānui ki a koutou katoa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Greetings to everyone gathered today.  I acknowledge mana whenua and the land we stand on.  I acknowledge this house of democracy.  I acknowledge the founders of Auckland from the earliest times and remember those who have passed.   I acknowledge the Mayor and all my councillor colleagues, friends, family, staff of the council whanau and those tuning in on the live stream.   A big huge warm mihi to you all.

It is a great honour to give a maiden speech as the newly elected Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf ward representing the beating heart of Tāmaki Makarau and the stunning gulf islands.  An area contributing 20% of Auckland’s GDP, of tremendous population growth, increasing diversity, major cultural institutions, world class places of learning with residents who experience everything from dense urban vertical living to off grid rural lifestyles.

I acknowledge my predecessor Mike Lee, long serving councillor and former Chair of the ARC.  Among many achievements he was instrumental in the renaissance of the Auckland’s public transport and expansion of the regional parks network.   Passing the torch graciously is not always easy and I wish him and Jenny well.

It’s a privilege to have been part of Auckland Council right from the exciting, but at times daunting, beginning in 2010. I acknowledge Auckland’s first Mayor Len Brown for his massive contribution that has yet to be written – and for also making those early days fun.  I pay tribute to my many colleagues over the years who have tried hard to make the super city experiment work for the best interests of our communities. It is very timely for the CCO review announced by the Mayor to examine the part of the governance model that was deliberately set up to corporatize Auckland and remove democratic decision-making.

I come to the governing body with the experience of nine years on the Waitematā local board working for, what can be summed up as, inclusive, accessible, safe, healthy, connected, sustainable, resilient communities for everyone to enjoy.  It has been a challenging but immensely satisfying and enjoyable time. I’d like to think that I bring to the big table the ability to get stuff done, make the most of modest budgets, work alongside community and business organisations always with a commitment to genuine partnership with mana whenua.  There is still much to learn, and I thank everyone who has supported me on that journey.

Former Chair Shale Chambers contribution to establishing the Waitematā Local Board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated.  Remarkably as the chair and deputy chair combo over 9 years we never once had a bust up.  I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for Auckland being a great place to cycle even though you will never see him on a bike.

It was easy to let go knowing the Waitematā Local Board is in good hands under new chair Richard Northey and with an impressive team.  A shout out too to the wonderful, committed local board staff who support the board so professionally and effectively.

It goes with the territory to be on the receiving end of nasty comments and the odd insult.  Supposedly this includes “I get on well with bureaucrats and management”.   I think that means you Mr Town and your team!   Absolutely I will continue to value positive working relationships and collaboration with everyone who is committed to working for and serving the best interests of Auckland.  My role is to ask the difficult questions and to know when to challenge advice but I make a commitment to always do that with kindness, empathy and respect.  (just warning everyone I have a naturally resting bitch face that I can help!)

I acknowledge my fellow class of 2019 – Angela, Tracey and Shane. As former board chairs I believe we will bring to this table an approach of collaboration, cheerfulness and working together that we have experienced at the Chairs forum.  I know we are all here to bring our A game.  Actually forget A’s and B’s –  I am calling it now that I am on team C – Team collaboration!

Like everyone around this table I was elected independently.  What I do hold as a badge of pride is that I am part of the City Vision whanau and join Cathy Casey as a City Vision councillor.  Like Cathy I don’t belong to a political party and just to put the record straight there is no party master (at least I am yet to meet him or her or find the so called back room where the deals are meant to be taking place).   We are a progressive coalition with shared values of social justice, commitment to the Living Wage, outstanding public transport, environmental restoration, action on climate change, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities. We are upfront about what we stand for because we believe our role is far more than about us as individuals.

I respect that around this table we all come from different political traditions of the legacy councils.  But the reality is that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for being part of City Vision.  It was the only way for progressives to break the C&R stronghold over the old Auckland City Council.  I acknowledge and thank all those who have supported my election.  Robert Gallagher Chair of City Vision, Jeremy Greenbrook-Held, my campaign manager,  the wider support team of volunteers including on Waiheke and the great team of candidates I stood alongside.

In many ways my path here started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. Like 39% of Aucklanders I was born overseas.   I was born in London and raised in a post war new town called Hemel Hempstead where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.

My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14.  Surprisingly for that difficult teenage period it was a move I embraced (in my version of the family history it was actually my idea to immigrate here and thank god we did).   I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. It is also where my north London accent was beaten out of me! I acknowledge Miss Pountney my principal at AGGS who is here and who I am now allowed to call Charmaine and is a neighbour in Grey Lynn.

In 5th form I was a founding member of Auckland City Youth Council established under then Mayor Dame Cath Tizard.   Many of the issues then we sought to bring a youth voice to continue to this day but now with increased urgency led by school strike for climate.

I was fortunate to spend my last year of school as an AFS student in Peru and to have completed a law degree at Otago University.  I first experienced what it was like to be brutally defeated in an election when I came second to last for the OUSA exec well behind now Mayor of Whangerei Hamish McDouall.

My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.   It was awesome to be mentored along the way by John Edwards who gave me my first legal job and is now the Privacy Commissioner and Una Jagose my manager at the Ministry of Fisheries in Wellington who is now the Solicitor General.

During this time my dad Mel Coom was killed in a car crash at the age of 49. Many years later, and now as Vision Zero campaigner, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so vital. I applaud Auckland Transport for moving ahead with the slower speeds bylaw work and I will continue to be a tireless advocate for road safety and transport choice.

It was redundancy from an inhouse legal job at Vector over 10 years ago that really kick started my political career.  It allowed me to pursue my passions and to throw myself into community busybody-ness, cycling advocacy, sustainability as chair of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market and Trustee of Grey Lynn 2030, and organiser of major climate action events.    I am still working with many of the fabulous people that I met through that time and I give thanks for all the encouragement I received to pursue politics in particular from Suzanne Kendrick and Barb Cuthbert.

The challenge for this term of council cannot be overstated.   Bold leadership is needed like never before.  There can be no more business as usual.  Our agreed 1.5°c target requires urgent climate action in the next 10 years.  Everything has to be seen through the lens of the climate emergency and climate action must be at the heart of all our decision-making. I’m honoured to have the deputy chair role on the Environment and Climate Change committee working with Cr Hills as chair.   We have big shoes to fill to continue the work led by Penny Hulse.  I thank her also for her tremendous support to become councillor.

All of us as councillors need to be focused and prepared for the challenge ahead.

Decisions must be made for the long term, not just the short term

We must recognise the inter-relations between issues –  climate, water, coastal risks, public transport, the central city transformation, economic development- and the broad benefits we can deliver for all communities across Auckland if we take an integrated approach.

We must ensure we are not locked into future pathway that could increase our emissions and decrease our resilience to climate impacts.

Every community will be impacted by climate change so regardless of personal viewpoints around the table, everyone has an important role to play in terms of preparing our communities for the impacts and transitions to come.  We must ensure the inevitable transition is just.

It’s not just about a central city response, but from Rodney to Franklin, South Auckland and West Auckland. We need everyone around the council table reaching into their communities to help articulate the challenge ahead and also bring back the knowledge, insights, concerns and priorities to help craft community-specific responses to the climate emergency.  This is why we must all be team collaboration.

I know you have indulged me extra time for this speech.  But there are a few important acknowledgements I would like to end with.  I’d like to acknowledge the Mayor, our koromatua.  He is a good man with a warm heart who works incredibly hard for us all.  I’d just love him not to drive so much (even if it is an e-car) and have more time for experiencing our communities on foot or bike.   I think it is hugely symbolic that both the Mayor and councillor Fletcher have both spoken publicly about having grandchildren born in the week after the election.  There’s been a reset on a fresh start this term to work together for future generations.

My partner Paul, also known as the Dennis Thatcher of Auckland politics, is here. You won’t see him at much but he is a constant support behind the scenes (please forgive me for always having an excuse not to do housework).  Paul’s lack of interest in being my plus one is great news for my wonderful mum Barbara Grace who is always up for everything. Thank you to you both, my family and my wider urban whanau.

In the last week I’ve had the opportunity to attend the inaugural meetings of the local boards in my ward – Aotea Great Barrier, Waitematā and Waiheke (I have to fess up to missing the plane to Aotea and arriving late!) I look forward to building strong relationships with the three local boards, serving my entire ward and working hard to fulfil the aspirations of all Aucklanders.

There is a lot of work to get on with and I am here for it!

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

Watch the maiden speeches here

Chair’s report: Reflections on the 2016-2019 term

This is my final report after nine years on the Waitematā Local Board.  I have reported monthly throughout my time on the local board.  This month I take the opportunity to provide my reflections on the 2016- 2019 term and to give thanks and acknowledgements. ( It is on the agenda for the final local board meeting for the term on 17 September 2019)

Since the local board’s establishment in 2010, for the first two terms under the leadership of Shale Chambers, we have put in place a clear direction for being an accessible, connected, sustainable, inclusive, vibrant local board area.  We have built a reputation for being an effective, collaborative, hardworking local board that takes our local responsibilities seriously, but always considers the bigger strategic picture.

The “Super City” governance structure was imposed on Aucklanders and came with ongoing concerns about what it would mean for local decision making and identity.  We have focused on making Auckland Council, together with the CCO’s, work properly and deliver for the community.  We can see the impact we have made across our responsibilities for local parks, events, arts and recreational services and facilities, community facilities, libraries, and environmental management. A key role of the local board is also place making and shaping responsibilities, which has required active involvement in wider transport and heritage, urban design and planning issues affecting the local level.

At times far too much energy has gone into “educating” all the parts of the council family about the governance structure and the role of local boards.  After nine years we have seen huge improvements but there is still more to do.  I welcome a proposed review of the Council Controlled Organisations next term.

It has been a real honour to Chair the local board for the 2016-2019 term and a privilege to represent the city centre and central suburbs of Auckland. We are the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau, the economic engine room of the region, and home to outstanding cultural, educational and arts institutions, and major events. It is an exciting place to live, visit, work, play and study. Our local board area is the front door for international visitors and increasingly the place to experience Māori culture in Auckland. It is home to vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods and a growing city centre population who are embracing urban living.

This report seeks to cover some of the highlights of what we have achieved this term. Shale, in his report, has comprehensively covered the 2010- 2013 and 2013- 2016 terms.  I’ve tried my best to capture as much as possible and to acknowledge everyone who has provided a huge amount of support and encouragement.  Apologies in advance if I have missed anything significant – at a certain point I had to bring to a close what was becoming a very long report!

A local board of firsts

Living Wage celebration with Mayor Goff who moved all council employees to a living wage on 1 September 2019

As a progressive board we are committed to social justice and have been willing to take risks and adopt policy often before any other part of council.  We are the first local board to approve an Accessibility Plan and a Low Carbon Community Action Plan.  We led the way in committing to a City for Peace, Smokefree parks and playgrounds, the Living Wage, to Auckland becoming a Fairtrade City and CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women).

And if agreed at our final meeting we will be the first local board to adopt a localised urban ngahere action plan, which is intended to deliver on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

We are fortunate to have very active, engaged community members.  Over nine years it has been a pleasure to build relationships, work with a wide range of community leaders and to seek out new ways of engaging and consulting to reach our diverse and growing residential populations. I made a point of reading every piece of feedback received by the board through the many consultation processes.

Our Local Board Plans 2011, 2014 and now 2017 have provided an opportunity to sweep up the community’s projects and initiatives to deliver on the priorities we have been told are important.  I have enjoyed taking an active role in the process of developing each plan.

A few highlights of our approaches to engagement include:

    • Beating the bounds a walk of the local board boundary at the beginning of each term (first initiated by myself and Andy Smith of Walk Auckland in 2011)
    • A one-off Pecha Kucha Town Hall edition that launched our 2014 local board plan
    • Taking part in Auckland Council’s first Facebook live engagement event with board member Adriana Christie as part of the Annual Budget consultation 2019/2020 (photo right)
    • Hearings style feedback sessions – we are one of the few boards to continue with this format
    • Taking consultation events into the community with co-hosted public meetings, library pop-ins and info stands at events

There is still more to improve engaging with the hard to reach particularly with city centre residents, residents with English as a second language and young people.

Kelmarna Gardens spring festival

Our partnerships have continued to flourish this term with established organisations and emerging ones.  As a former Trustee of Kelmarna Gardens I’m pleased to see how the board’s support has provided stability and allowed the organic farm to become more sustainable.

I’ve maintained close relationships with our well-run community centres – Parnell, Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and regularly attended the lively and informative Central City Community Network meetings funded by the local board.

Planning for the future

The drafting, consultation on and approval of development plans covering all our major parks and town centres has been a major focus of the board first initiated by Shale Chambers.  The plans guide renewals and planning to avoid ad hoc projects and investment.

Western Park news stairs opening

The value of development plans can be seen in places such as Western Park where we have ticked off nearly every project listed in the implementation plan as budget has become available including new lighting, new paths, upgrade playground, new boardwalk and stairs down from Hopetoun Street, new toilet block and new fitness equipment.  Further work is underway on a tree management plan.

Plans completed or underway include:

    • Meola Reef Development Plan
    • Western Springs Lakeside Park (to be signed off by the incoming board in February 2020)
    • Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan
    • Point Resolution Taurarua Development Plan
    • Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
    • New paths in Symonds St cemetery

      Symonds Street Cemetery development plan (photo right: new paths in the cemetery)

    • Newmarket Laneways Plan
    • Karangahape Road Plan 2014-2044
    • Newton Eden Terrace Plan (2016-2046)
    • Ponsonby Road Plan 2014-2044
    • Parnell Plan

We were also only the second local board to develop a City Fringe Economic Development Action Plan in 2014 that was then further revised in 2017.

Iwi relationships and working with Māori

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke

Delivering on Council’s commitment to Māori at a local level is a priority for the local board.  I’ve worked to strengthen our iwi relationships.  I’ve particularly valued the constant presence during my time on the local board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke and Matt Maihi who have led us through many significant opening and blessings.

For 2019/2020 we have allocated funding to a new programme called Te Kete Rukuruku, which aims to showcase the Māori history and stories of Tāmaki Makaurau. One element is to add names significant to Māori to local parks.

It was with great sadness that we heard the news that Dean Martin, Principal Advisor, Māori and Te Tiriti Relationships and Governance, Te Waka Anga Mua ki Uta passed away suddenly in April.  Dean provided steady guidance to the local board, led our visit to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae early in the term and wrote my mihi for the opening of Ellen Melville Centre.

The bigger picture

The local board has taken every opportunity to take a strategic view of national and regional issues. We are able to sustain a substantial output of work thanks to the portfolio structure (established under Shale’s leadership) that has allowed local board members to take responsibility for specific areas of interest.   In this term we have provided input into the following policies, bylaws proposals and plans:

    • QEII Square Private Plan Change
    • Auckland Plan Refresh
    • Urban Development Authorities Discussion Document
    • Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2016 local authority elections
    • Tākaro – Investing in Play discussion document
    • Governance Framework Review
    • Four Wellbeings Bill
    • Dog Bylaw and Policy
    • Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags
    • Residential Tenancies Act 1986
    • Healthy Home Standards
    • Low emissions economy draft report
    • Regional Pest Management Plan
    • Presenting on a submission to the governing body with Shale Chambers and Richard Northey

      Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018

    • Draft 2018-2028 Regional Land Transport Plan
    • draft Regional Fuel Tax proposal
    • draft Contributions Policy
    • Rates Remission and Postponement Policy
    • Child and Youth Wellness Strategy
    • Natural Environment Targeted Rate
    • Draft Facility Partnership Policy
    • Auckland Water Strategy
    • Regional Public Transport Plan
    • Sports Investment Plan 2019 – 2039
    • Productivity Commission Issues Paper – Local Government Funding and Financing
    • Freedom Camping in Vehicles Bylaw
    • Department of Conservation’s proposed revocation of certain delegations to Territorial Authorise under the Reserves Act 1977
    • Trade Waste Bylaw 2013
    • The Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill
    • Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
    • Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015
    • Moving light vehicle fleet to low-emissions: discussion paper on Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount
    • Road to Zero: A New Road Safety Strategy for NZ
    • Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines
    • Proposed biodiversity strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand

I would particularly like to acknowledge board member Richard Northey who always takes the time to review and comment on every local board submission (even when not within his portfolio areas) and has drafted many pieces of feedback directly.

Community-led Development

The local board has embraced the opportunities to fund, facilitate and encourage community-led development and empowerment.  I am particularly proud of the role I played in initiating the Ponsonby Park design through a community-led process.

In 2006 the former Auckland City Council purchased a site on Ponsonby Road to create a civic space. In 2011 Shale Chambers identified this as a project for inclusion in the first Waitematā Local Board plan. Consultation on options for the site followed in the Ponsonby Road masterplan led by me and former local board member Tricia Reade.

As the feedback was split between three options and as, following further consultation, we had reached an impasse I suggested we kick off a community-led process (inspired by Jim Diers community building presentation on his visit to Auckland) but never tried before on such a large project.

Seed funding from the local board led to the establishment of the Ponsonby Park working group. After lots of work and community engagement a winning design by Landlab became the board’s priority project for delivery (in Council speak known as an OLI – One Local Initiative).

It was fantastic news for the project in August when the Finance and Performance Committee agreed to fund the project from the sale of 200 Victoria Street (in addition to funding secured through the OLI process). If all goes to plan sod turning on “Ponsonby Park” will take place towards the end of next year.

We’ve also been open to innovative and creative approaches to achieving community outcomes.

Following determined advocacy of the Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee we developed a Parnell Plan through a community working group process.

Other community-led projects that are flourishing include the Grey Lynn Pumptrack, Pollinator Path at Hakanoa Reserve, new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park, Kelmarna Gardens, and OMG Organic Market Garden.

The launch and celebration of a Local Living Compost Hub at O.M.G – Organic Market Garden funded by the Ministry of Environment (photo above) shows how there is workable alternative using urban farms and localised collection points that is far better for the environment and healthy communities.

Sarah Smuts-Kennedy is the vision holder who has done an amazing job leading the way with a fabulous team. The transformation of a piece of dirt on Symonds Street is super impressive.

Stream restoration, natural environment and water quality

Restoring and caring for the environment has been a core part of the local board’s kaupapa.  For many years we have allocated $70,000 to top up of the council’s ecological restoration contracts to control pest plants and improve reserves like Jaggers Bush, Meola and Lemmington.

Other projects include:

    • Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery

      Waipapa Stream: community-led project funded by the local board over many years. If it wasn’t for Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Heritage this stream would have ended up piped and lost for ever

    • Newmarket stream: community-led restoration and planting project (known as “off the Deck” in partnership with the Gecko Trust) co-funded with the Ōrākei Local Board
    • Restoration of Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery

I would have liked to have seen the restoration of Western Springs Native Bush get underway in partnership with the community this term (a project I have been involved in since 2011 when I first walked the bush area with officers to assess the potential for native tree planting and track renewals after the zoo had tried to take the area for walking an elephant herd). However, the project is currently held up by the appeal of the Council’s resource consent to remove the remaining pine trees to make way for planting.

More on how targeted rates are being put to use for the environment and waterways across Waitematā (Attachment 1 Our Auckland Waitematā environment enhanced and protected by targeted rates).

Vibrant, local, zero waste events and support for the arts

We are host to a multitude of events and support the delivery of many more through event grant funding including:

    • Festival Italiano
    • Buskers Festival
    • Lightpath Festival held in 2017 and 2018
    • Santa Parade
    • Franklin Road Christmas lights
    • West End Tennis Cup
    • Art Week
    • Fringe Festival

We also directly deliver the popular Myers Park Medley (photo above with AK Samba) and Parnell Festival of Roses.  Through our advocacy and leverage with funding we’ve been successful in pushing events towards zero waste and promoting active travel.

We have committed to supporting our creative community, professional artists and arts organisations through the delivery of arts programmes.

A few firsts in the 2019/2020 budget include a $85,000 grant to TAPAC and the establishment of an Arts Space coordinator.

I was delighted to see that Walking in Trees is back in Albert Park – a project the local board first funded through the POP programme in 2014 (photo right with artist Richard Orjis).

The Rainbow Machine  was eventually delivered earlier this year as a regionally funded project, but first came to life as a local board initiative to create pop up child friendly play spaces (eg swings in bus stops) but morphed into a major art project picked up by the Public Art Team.

Progress on maintenance and renewals

A major restructuring a couple of years ago saw a new “Community Facilities” department take over all project delivery and maintenance for all Council assets. For local boards this was a source of frustration as local knowledge disappeared and local boards lost direct points of contact especially for Park projects.

In 2017 Ventia became the contractor covering the Waitematā Local Board.  There were notable teething issues to start with but recently we have seen huge improvements in maintenance.

Albert Park (photo right) is an example of where a big push has been made to improve the levels of service to maintain it as a premier park.  Ventia also took over street and town centre cleaning from Auckland Transport on 1 July 2019.  This has led to a noticeable improvement and areas being cleaned for the first time especially in the city centre.   The maintenance in four city parks is being done without any agrichemical sprays thanks to funding from the local board.

Before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel

We’ve also made a lot of progress in the organisation’s approach to renewals.   We’ve pushed to ensure that every renewal is an opportunity to enhance a community asset rather than done on a like for like basis.  This has resulted in wider park paths, new seating, and enhanced community facilities (photo right: before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel).

Other changes at Community Facilities have resulted in more streamlined project delivery and a dedicated point of contact for the local board.  Rod Sheridan, General Manager, Community Facilities was thanked at the August Chairs’ Forum for the success of Project Streetscapes, the many improvements and hard work that has been seen across all local boards.

New and improved playgrounds and parks

The local board has been responsible for upgrading and improving play opportunities across Waitematā, including new playground equipment at:

    • Myers Park
    • Vermont Reserve
    • Ireland Street Reserve
    • Grey Lynn Park
    • Coxs Bay Reserve
    • Sackville Reserve
    • Tirotai Reserve
    • Western Park
    • Old Mill Road
    • Francis Reserve

New playgrounds are also about to get underway at Western Springs, Outhwaite Park, and Home Reserve (indicative image right).

We’ve identified gaps in the play network in Newmarket especially for young people and in the city centre.  There is also the need to improve shade at our playgrounds.

A long running initiative of the local board has been to install drinking fountains into every park and streetscape upgrade. We’ve also installed three on-street drinking stations via Local Board Capex Transport Funding.   The locations of all the city centre drinking fountains are about to go live on the Project AKL website.

Following extensive consultation on the Te Wai Ōrea Western Springs Development Plan and feedback from bird experts we have recently confirmed a new local board policy that feeding the birds at Western Springs park will now be “actively discouraged” due to disease and environmental risks, with new signage and on-site education.  Attachment 3:  Bird feeding at park “actively discouraged” amid fowl and public health concerns.

I’m really pleased that long-standing project to build new changing rooms in Grey Lynn Park that will be available for use by the Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club is about to start construction.

Action on homelessness

Homelessness has become a growing issue and one that traditionally local government didn’t get involved with.  Fortunately, the Mayor has embraced Housing First with the support of the local board. The City Centre Targeted rate provided $2 million of funding for a major restoration of James Liston Hostel emergency accommodation and more recently $600,000 for outreach services.

We’re the only local board to support the wider regional strategy by allocating $20,000 last year and this year to support homelessness solutions.

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board member Maria Meredith is one of the volunteers at Sunday Blessings

We also opened up Outhwaite Hall for outreach services while James Liston Hostel was being upgraded and have supported groups through our community grants including a trial of showers at Ellen Melville Centre, support for Lifewise Merge Café, St Columba for their community lunch and Sunday Blessings for their weekly dinner outside Central Library .

I was able to play a role helping the City Mission navigate Council processes to secure a $5million grant for the HomeGround housing and social services project.

 Support for Local Business

We have focused on initiatives that bring prosperity to our town centres, empower start-ups and social enterprise and underpin the important work done by the seven business associations in Waitematā.  We provide funding to the Young Enterprise Scheme to reach students from all secondary schools in the area.

I have been on the Ponsonby Business Association for six years and am really pleased to see the organisation is going from strength to strength under new leadership.  I’ve enjoyed regular catch ups with Newmarket Business Association’s Mark Knoff-Thomas, Parnell’s Cheryl Adamson and Karangahape Road Business Association’s Michael Richardson. It is a pleasure to work with all the General Managers who are determined, focused and passionate on behalf of their members.  More recently I have been working more directly with Viv Beck, General Manager of Heart of the City in her role as Chair of Auckland City Centre Advisory Board, since I replaced Shale as the Board’s representative earlier in the year.

As a foundation committee member of the Grey Lynn Business Association I was particularly pleased to hear a recent presentation to the local board covering a range of activities and the difference an annual grant of $10,000 from the local board has made to the volunteer-led association.

Looking ahead the Newmarket Business Association has brought a proposal to the local board to investigate the possibility of a targeted rate to fund improvements that were identified in Newmarket Laneways Plan (building on the upgrade of Teed Street completed in 2018). At our August board meeting we confirmed our support in principle and referred the matter to Financial Strategy and Planning to provide advice on the process, governance and feasibility of introducing a new targeted rate for Newmarket.

Through the City Rail Link (CRL) project we have seen how important a Development Response package is to assist businesses.  Barbara Holloway in the Auckland Design Office has done some great work on the template involving a package of support such as business advice, mentoring, activation around projects, signage, and communications.

A Development Response package was trialled initially for CRL on Albert Street by CRL Ltd (the organisation responsible) but it took my intervention and Heart of the City for it to be properly rolled out.  I’ve also escalated issues for the Karangahape Business Association to ensure the Development Response is effectively in place during the enhancement project and City Rail Link construction.  The ongoing issue of how our severely impacted businesses will be supported during the civil works, for example through a hardship fund, is yet to be resolved.

As part of Auckland’s City Fringe Economic Development Plan implementation, we’ve allocated $57,000 for a web branding ap that can be skinned by each individual Business Association. At our August meeting we heard an update on how the project is progressively positively.

Placemaking and tactical urbanism

One of the roles of the local board I enjoy the most is placemaking to create inviting people-focused places.  As a progressive local board we’ve enabled and promoted innovative approaches to placemaking and encouraged the organisation to embrace tactical urbanism and the use of trials.   One of the first trials I helped make happen was the installation of a bike parking corral on Ponsonby Road.  I’ve also played a role in the removal of parked cars from the Eastern Viaduct (photo right) for a public plaza.

A local board responsibility that is often overlooked is the naming of streets and public spaces.  I’m proud that we’ve been very receptive to adopting names recommended by mana whenua such as the new Tīramarama Way and recognised the civic contribution of women with two new names Amey Daldy Park and Freda Barnes Plaza soon to open at Wynyard Quarter.

The renaming of lower Khartoum Place as Te Hā o Hine Place (photo right with Ngāti Whātua representatives who gifted the name and National Council of Women) was a project I initiated following the upgrade of the stairs and successful fight to retain the suffrage memorial located there.

Transport

From the outset the local board has made it a priority to provide accessible, connected, safe transport networks with well-designed streets.  As the transport portfolio lead for nine years (this term with co-portfolio holder Vernon Tava) I have been involved in many projects that have made a contribution to better public transport, safer streets and increased numbers giving cycling a go.  A few highlights include:

    • Franklin Road:  This project took years to get underway due to it being in the too hard basket.  We kept the pressure on resulting in a $21million transformation including new lighting, storm water separation, undergrounding, traffic calming, cycle lanes and new tree pits.
    • Opening of Parnell Station March 2017:  The local board was instrumental in helping to make this happen by funding a new pathway connection between the station and Carlaw Park
    • Opening the Grey Lynn Greenway 2017

      Grey Lynn Greenway opened June 2017.

    • Ponsonby Road pedestrian safety project completed in 2018 part funded by the local board. The side street raised tables on Ponsonby Road and as part of the Franklin Road are as a result of the local board’s advocacy.
    • Victoria Park lighting improvements currently underway will create a safe pathway between Franklin Road and Wynyard Quarter.  Securing the budget took a lot of wrangling.
    • Freyberg Place pedestrian mall:  Thanks to the local board advocacy AT went ahead with re-classifying the road as a “pedestrian mall” well in advance of the agreed timeframe that was originally negotiated.  In the end there was very little objection.
    • Return of the bus service to Williamson Ave:  A win for people power.
    • New and improved pedestrian crossings: My heart sings when I see kids able to get to school safely because of a new crossing.
    • Cycleway openings:  There haven’t been enough, but every one has been cause to celebrate including Grafton Gully, Ian McKinnon Drive, Quay Street, Beach Road and Te ara I whiti/ Lightpath (see below).  After five years of debate and planning I am delighted that the Karangahape Road enhancement project including cycle paths in the design got underway in July.
    • Renewals:  As with the renewal of community assets (covered above) we have aimed to ensure that every Auckland Transport renewal is leveraged to provide a better outcome for the community for example through the inclusion of street trees or safety improvements.  The local board often has funding to contribute.  Recently we have made significant progress with the renewals team to ensure we don’t get any more “like for like” renewals.
    • Proposed quick win contra flow on Crummer Road

      Quick wins:  A cultural shift at Auckland Transport has opened up the way for more willingness to consider “quick wins” to improve safety for active transport.  I’ve suggested a number of ideas including a contra-flow on Crummer Road (image right) and a dedicated cycling route from Queen Street to the Domain.

I’ve particularly appreciated the support I have received from all local board members to take a leadership role on safe speeds, vision zero, pedestrian safety, effective parking management, removal of slip lanes, wayfinding, route optimisation for active transport and cycle infrastructure.

A couple of issues that remain unresolved that I am determined not to give up on with Auckland Transport include the current non-enforcement of berm parking that is causing damage and is unsafe and the unacceptable practice of unsafe and illegal unloading from car transporters on Great North Road.

Effective parking management

We’ve provided consistent support for effective parking management that provides access to parking for residents, businesses and short-term visitors.  During the Unitary Plan process I organised a “good for business” seminar about the economic and wider benefits of removing parking minimums.

It was through our advocacy that AT was able to trial the first residential parking zone in St Marys Bay in 2014 and push ahead with zones for all the city fringe suburbs.

Wayfinding

One of my pet projects over nine years has been to improve the wayfinding experience of people travelling around on foot or by bike.  After sustained advocacy there is finally wayfinding on the North-Western Cycleway and the local board is funding new signage for all vehicle no exit streets (if approved at our September meeting).

Cycleways

When I was first elected in 2010 riding a bike was considered to be a fringe activity and not taken very seriously.  Since then there has been a massive increase in people cycling especially where there are connected, safe cycle paths.

Lightpath Te ara i whiti opening 2015

Through numerous consultations and surveys we know that the majority of Aucklanders own a bike and would like to cycle if they felt safe.  The local board has been a strong advocate for transport choice including increasing opportunities for walking and cycling.  We’ve celebrated the opening of Te ara I whiti / Lightpath, the Quay Street cycleway, Grafton Gully shared path, Ian McKinnon Drive and new greenway connections but overall the rate of progress has been incredibly slow. No new work has been started in Waitematā for over a year.

I never imagined when I became a member of the Urban Cycling Investment Panel in 2014 that allocated $100 million New Zealand wide for urban cycling infrastructure that so much would remain undelivered by 2019.  The original 2018 delivery date has now been pushed out to 2021.

Unfortunately, the mistakes AT made over the West Lynn and Garnet Road/Surrey Crescent project has contributed to the delay to the programme as well as the increasing costs of meeting community expectations to deliver a whole range of streetscape improvements beyond just cycle lanes. Following further consultation regarding fixes to the design at the West Lynn shops AT is looking to progress with improvements to the crossing (image right of the preferred design following consultation with the local businesses and affected residents).

AT has a target of only 10km of new cycleways a year across Auckland – a significant chunk of which has been funded and delivered by the local board. However, I am hopeful that going forward, AT will take a new focus on safety to push ahead with a connected network with temporary designs and solutions where possible. This is absolutely essential work especially with the explosion of micro-mobility and the need to prioritise footpaths for people on foot.

School Safety

At the Waitematā Local Board’s August meeting we voted on a package of safety improvements from a one-off $1.4m community safety fund. The fund was launched following the introduction of the fuel tax. I’ve worked with my co-transport portfolio holder Vernon Tava on putting together the recommendations of what should be prioritised based on community feedback.

The following safety improvements will be made across the local board area:

    • A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn

      A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the West End Lawn Tennis Club in Westmere

    • Hopetoun Street in Freemans Bay will see various additional safety improvements as part of a wider footpath renewal project
    • Pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and Domain Drive in the Auckland Domain will be formalised
    • A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced outside ACG Parnell College on Davis Crescent next to Olympic Reserve in Newmarket
    • A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn.
Western Springs College students presenting a petition seeking a pedestrian crossing

We also received a petition from Western Springs College students seeking a pedestrian crossing on Meola Road that Auckland Transport has reassured the local board will be delivered as part of the Pt Chev cycleway project.

Attachment 2 Our Auckland: Road safety improvements on the way in Waitematā

Vision Zero – safer speeds

The Waitematā Local Board was the first to adopt Vision Zero as an advocacy position and three years ago I was part of a coalition – Brake New Zealand, Living Streets Aotearoa, NZ School Speeds, Cycling Action Network- that launched Vision Zero NZ.

At the Auckland Transport Board September meeting we achieved a truly significant milestone with the announcement that Auckland is now a Vision Zero region – under the Tāmaki-Makaurau Road Safety Governance Group’s new safety strategy. For the first time there’s a goal, backed by a partnership of agencies, of no deaths or serious injuries on our transport network by 2050.

Many thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this strategy together to save many lives.

Auckland Domain Committee

The local board, under Shale’s leadership was instrumental in initiating the Domain Masterplan (2015) and the setting up of a joint governance committee. I have been the Deputy Chair of the Domain Committee this term.  I would have liked to have seen much quicker progress on making the Domain more accessible and safe.  It is currently dominated by the 600 car parks that are predominately used by commuters and there is a lack of continuous footpath around the Domain.

Officers have been able to progress some exciting new projects such as refurbishment of the Wintergarden, a new path Te Ara Oranga to the museum, a new natural play area, and the Kari commons that is about to be built (multi-sport area with part to be used by the University while their gym is rebuilt).

Other projects that have progressed thanks to the local board coming to the party with over $1.5 million in new funding including for signage, new footpaths and car parking improvements (to allow for on road car parks to be removed on shared paths).

The final Auckland Domain Committee of this term of Council voted to remove 40 car parks from in front of Auckland Museum to improve safety and open up views to an iconic building and war memorial. This is an important step towards improving accessibility in one of our premier parks. The Museum is right behind it and doing their own bit by increasing public car parks at the southern entrance and reducing fees in their car park.

Auckland’s City Centre

We’ve seen major changes to the city centre since 2010 when the residential population was approximately 20,000. It is now almost 60,000.  The majority of commuters arrive other than in private cars, and vehicles entering the city centre continue to decline.

Opening of the restored Ellen Melville Centre with Mayor Phil Goff, Kaumatua Bob Hawke, amd members of the Melville family

In anticipation of the growth and the needs of the city centre residents, the refurbished Ellen Melville Centre was opened in 2017 as a vibrant community centre (photo right).  Programming at the centre is becoming more focused on the needs of residents.  We have also allocated funds so that the Central Library can open for an extra hour on weekends.

We’ve adopted the role of toilet “champions” by advocating for a full review of amenities in the city centre and the identification of gaps in the available toilets and information about locations. We’ve taken up the issue of the need for the new CRL train stations to have toilets available other than behind ticket barriers.

We’ve worked with Auckland Transport to identify locations for new toilet blocks that include drinking fountains and bus driver facilities (photo right: new toilet on Victoria Street).

The local board contributed to the development of the 2012 City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) and Waterfront Plan.  We’ve been supportive of the CCMP refresh that presents a vision of a city centre that is more family-friendly, more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally-friendly.

The CCMP has recently gone out for consultation with eight place-specific transformational moves that will unlock the potential of the city centre.

Climate Action

Waitematā Local Board welcomed the decision in June by the Environment and Community Committee to declare a climate emergency. This followed a resolution passed by the local board a week prior calling on Auckland Council’s Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region.

We have funded for a number of years low carbon initiatives projects aligning with the Live Lightly themes: Eat, Move, Shop, Grow, Talk and Energy including:

    • Low carbon lifestyles project – behaviour change actions such as reducing shower times implemented at 165 households resulting in savings of 19,356kg of CO2
    • Low carbon Multi-unit Dwellings – energy and carbon assessments resulting in savings of $27,000 and 37,178kg of CO2. Three more apartment blocks will be assessed in 2019/2020 to move towards a tool available to property managers
    • Waitematā Low Carbon Network – a platform to connect individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to empower and enable local climate champions to meet the Local board’s respective carbon emissions reduction targets. The network members were instrumental in taking the Climate Emergency declaration to Council
    • And a business food waste initiative

Going forward the aim of just “low carbon” is looking woefully inadequate. Auckland Council’s new goal is to achieve a zero net emissions by 2050, but bold moves will need to come out of the Climate Action Framework currently out for consultation until the end of September if we are going to have any chance of limiting temperature rises to the IPCC recommended 1.5 degrees.  (photo right with the School Strike for Climate student organisers).

A model of the proposed community recycling centre at Western Springs

Another important goal that we have consistently supported is to achieve Zero Waste by 2040.  Following strong community support through our first local board plan consultation we identified the need for a local Community-led resource recovery centre as part of a regional network that developed into the Western Springs joint project with Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

It is fully funded with plans ready to go for consent but unfortunately the project has been held up by the Horticultural Society wanting to remain in the main building and not shift to a repurposed Western Springs community hall (image right: a model of the proposed centre at Western Springs)

Civic Duties

Richmond Road School assembly

I have really enjoyed all the civic duties that come with being Chair especially officiating at citizenship ceremonies, delivering the Anzac Day address at the Grey Lynn RSC service and attending events and school assemblies.

Most recently I attended the Richmond Road School assembly on behalf of the Mayor. Anna and Daneka (photo right) wrote to him with their concerns about so much plastic going into the ocean. The assembly was led by the school’s Mua I Malae (the Samoan bi-lingual unit) and celebrated Tongan language week as well as the students’ environmental projects.

Local Government New Zealand

Auckland Council’s Local Board chairs 2019

It has been a privilege to serve on National Council, LGNZ, as an ex-officio member since May 2018 representing local boards with the support of all the local board chairs.

Next term a local board representative will be voted on to National Council following a rule change at the LGNZ conference in July.  The rule change is the accumulation of many years of advocacy seeking appropriate local board representation and recognition and was made possible with the support of LGNZ CEO Malcolm Alexander who works tirelessly for the sector.

I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to attend the annual LGNZ conference when all of local government comes together to network and share ideas and information (I have reported back on every conference I have attended).

Looking ahead

There are a number of key projects that I’m excited about but it will be for the incoming Chair to lead including:

  • the refurbishment of the Plunket building in Heard Park
  • the Waipapa Valley Greenway connecting Newmarket to Parnell via the old Parnell train tunnel (image right)
  • Myers Park underpass
  • upgrade of Hobson Bay walkway
  • Myers Park Cottage restoration
  • Meola Reef improvements including new pathways, improved off leash area, restoration work and closing the end of the reserve to dogs
  • New paths and playground in Basque Park
  • Bi-lingual park naming
  • Accessibility Plan refresh
  • Rose Road Plaza (a project identified in the Ponsonby Road masterplan- indicative image right)
  • Establishment of the community-led resource recovery centre at Western Springs

In addition to the many transport projects and issues that are currently underway (Attachment 4 – to be tabled).

There are also regionally significant projects supported by the local board that I would like to have seen delivered by now, but I hope to stick around to see them through including:

    • Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway (Skypath)
    • Restoration St James Theatre
    • Removal of the Dominion Road flyover
    • Grafton Gully Boulevard (first supported in principle by the local board in 2016 and now part of the City Centre masterplan refresh)
    • Major corridor enhancements including Hobson/Nelson streets, Broadway and Ponsonby Road
    • Implementation of slower speeds in the city centre.

Acknowledgements and Thank Yous

We are fortunate to be supported by an amazing Local Board Services team.  I would like to thank them all for their support, quality advice and good humour.

Thanks to those who have been part of my term as Chair: Relationship Managers: Kathryn Martin (on secondment) and Trina Thompson; Senior Local Board Advisor: Simon Tattersfield; Local Board Advisors: Corina Claps, Caroline Teh and Heather Skinner; Democracy Advisors:  Sybil Mandow and more recently Liz Clemm. Engagement Advisors: Carlos Rahman, Maria Hernandez-Curry and Zigi Yates. PA Supports; Tammy Hendricks and Priscila Firmo (photo right with some of the team on a visit to Ellen Melville Centre).

We have always been able to rely on the support of Dee Sims, David Kemeys and Cathy McIntosh as our Communications Advisor; Shamila Unka, our Strategic Broker, and Pramod Nair and Mark Purdie as our Finance Advisors.

Karl Beaufort and Jacqui Thompson Fell are doing a tremendous job on behalf of the local board in Community Facilities.  Ben Halliwell as our Auckland Transport Liaison has been instrumental in ensuring so many of our transport projects have progressed. I’m also thankful for the constant support and guidance provided to me personally by Otene Reweti, Senior Advisor Maori Relationships.

Across the council family I’m impressed by the dedication and hard work of the many people who are all committed to making Auckland a better place.

I’m grateful to be Chair of a local board with members who are positive, skilled, constructive and focused on achieving results. My heartfelt thanks to Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, Richard Northey and Adriana Christie, who are both standing again, and Vernon Tava, Denise Roche and Rob Thomas.

In my latest Ponsonby News update  I acknowledge all the retiring board members.   All board members have embraced taking on responsibilities through portfolios, are passionate about serving Waitematā and work hard for the community.

A special thanks to Vernon Tava, my co-portfolio holder for transport and portfolio lead for Planning and Heritage with me as he co-portfolio holder.  I’m grateful that in practice he does all the planning work for the board leaving me to focus on my role as chair.  Vernon has been a huge asset to the board, he is smart, focused and super-efficient at reviewing and reporting on the substantial number of resource consent applications (far more than any other board).  Among his many achievements, that he has detailed in his own report reflecting on his time on the board over six years, is the mapping of all the amenities in the city centre long before council got on to the task.

Throughout this report I have highlighted Shale Chambers’ leadership in a range of areas. His contribution to establishing the local board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated.  His ability to work tirelessly and make difficult decisions at crucial times has achieved impressive results for Waitematā.  As the Chair and Deputy Chair combo over nine years I have been fortunate to have learned a huge amount from Shale.  I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for making Auckland a great place to cycle even though he has no wish to ride a bike!  I wish Shale and all the board members the best for the future

Chair’s monthly report August 2019

This is my penultimate monthly report after almost 9 years on the Waitematā Local Board.

It covers the highlights for the period 9 July until 12 August 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 20 August 2019.

Achievements report

Every financial year the Waitematā Local Board produces a summary of achievements from the year. Thanks to Shale Chambers initiating an Achievements Report in 2011 we are the only Local Board to have published a report each year.

The Achievements Report contains summaries of projects and initiatives completed over the past year with the help and support of a wider range of community members, stakeholders, iwi partners, staff and volunteers. The 2018/19 report has been printed and is now online.  

LGNZ conference report back

New Zealand’s Mayors and Chairs

I attended the annual Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in Wellington 7-9 July as a LGNZ National Council member representing local boards and as one of four Auckland Council delegates to the AGM.

The 2019 conference theme “Riding the localism wave: Putting communities in charge” was focused on communities and empowering them to take charge of their social, economic, environmental and culture well-being through localism.

My conference report back at Attachment 1 to my report. 

High Street pedestrianisation

Supporting the Mayor’s announcement with Cr Chris Darby.

The Waitematā Local Board has been a long time champion for the pedestrianisation of Queen St. It is an advocacy position in the Local Board Plan 2017.  It has also been prioritised in the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board supported work programme funded by the targeted rate.

On July 26 Mayor Goff announced that High St is moving towards pedestrianisation with the start of “tactical urbanism” trials like pocket parks before construction gets underway.

As the Federal St contra flow cycle lane has shown (marked out with planter boxes and paint) we know that tactical urbansim works. With the massive growth in users of e-bikes and e-scooters and ever congested footpaths that must be prioritized for feet we just need to get on with more trials and temporary bike lanes to create a safe network for everyone.

Plastic Free July

Drinking station at Grey Lynn shops

Plastic Free July heralded in some lasting changes that are going to have an impact including the Local Board supported ban on single use plastic bags.

One of my favs is making use of refill stations. Auckland Council has joined the ‘refillution’ with selected libraries and all pools and leisure centres registering as official ‘RefillNZ Stations’. In Waitematā we’ve also been working on installing drinking fountains at playgrounds and in plazasso it is never necessary to buy plastic water bottles.

Transport updates

Parking on berms

As I reported last month, I spoke at the Local Government New Zealand AGM  in support of a remit seeking a change to the berm parking rules.

The kerbed area of the footpath sitting between the pavement and road that is often planted with grass and trees is known as the “berm”.  In the urban areas of Auckland it is a long standing custom that this area is not for parking vehicles except in emergencies.  It is a recognised as an extension of the paved footpath where kids walk to school in bare feet on hot days.  Parking on the berm can cause damage to underground utilities,  damage to trees and creates safety issues for pedestrians and drivers.

Unfortunately Auckland Transport has taken the position that berm parking is not an enforceable offence unless “no parking” signage is in place.  This is non-sensical when applied to the hundreds of kilometres of urban roads with berms that need to be kept clear for pedestrians.  Nor is it desirable or cost effective to install signage especially in areas where the berm is a long-accepted part of the footpath.

Until recently I have supported Auckland Transport’s recommendation that a rule change is required to remove the requirement for signage.  However more recently I have reviewed the relevant provisions myself. I’ve come to the view that all the necessary rules are already in place and it is just a matter of Auckland Transport taking a firm position that berm parking is not acceptable where the berm is clearly part of the footpath.  I am not proposing a sweeping berm parking “ban”. I would just like Auckland Transport to act on complaints, under the existing rules, where parking on the berm is happening to avoid on street parking charges, causing a safety issue or damaging public property.

 Return of a bus service to Williamson Ave

Thanks to a campaign led by Sophia Fiossetti and with the support of Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has agreed to re-instate a bus service on Williamson Ave from 18 August 2019.

I’ve organised an event with Sophia to celebrate the first No.134 bus from Henderson to be re-routed from Great North Road.

Victoria Park underpass light installation

Victoria park underpass on a bike ride with NY’s Janette Sadik Khan Photo credit: Bike Auckland

Lighting is coming to the Victoria Park underpass. This is a project I’ve been working away at for some time so really delighted that we’ve finally secured the budget and the installation is underway. Once the Daldy St upgrade opens we’ll have a safe, smooth and attractive pathway from Ponsonby Road to Wynyard Quarter via Franklin Road.

Karangahape Road enhancement project 

Karangahape Road Enhancement project underway

Work on the Karangahape Road Enhancements project got underway on 29 July.  It coincided with the release of the annual cycling data showing that cycling numbers have grow. by 8.9 per cent in a year. 3.77 million cycle movements were recorded for the year of July 2018 to June 2019, an increase of 8.9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The winter weather is also not stopping people riding.  Across 26 Auckland Transport cycle counters, 272,000 cycle movements were recorded in June 2019, an increase of 16.7 per cent when compared to June 2018.

School safety

In November 2018 I was invited by a Marist Primary mum on the school run to see just how tricky it was to walk, scoot and cycle to school because of the lack of a safe crossing. Thanks to her lobbying, support from the school and the Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has installed a zebra crossing outside the school gate.

I was invited back again on the morning of 4 August to see what a difference the new crossing on Kelmarna Ave has made to ensuring a safe journey to school.

 Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park

This community-led project is transforming the newly named Waiatarau Freemans Bay park.

An enthusiastic group of locals showed up at a community planting day on 10 August organised by park designers Mark van Kaahoven and Tony Murrell and the Freemans Bay Residents Association.

Symonds St Cemetery

New paths in the Catholic section of the cemetery funded by the local board are almost complete including new steps to the Grafton Gully shared path.

Myers Park stage two – Mayoral Drive

 At our July business meeting the Waitematā Local Board endorsed the  preferred concept design for stage two of the Myers Park project – Mayoral Drive underpass, which maintains above ground storage of stormwater, to progress to the developed design phase.

The allocation of $1.85 million additional funding from the city centre targeted rate to the Myers Park stage two project was supported by the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board to enable this long standing project to move forward.   The local board has been working to improve the underpass and open up the connection to Myers Park since before the Rugby World Cup 2011 when it was on the Fan Trail route so it is great to see progress.

Waitematā Local Events Development Fund allocation 2019/2020

The Franklin Road Christmas Lights, the Farmers Santa Parade and Auckland International Buskers Festival will all receive support from the local board to carry out their events this year.  At the Local Board meeting in July we allocated a total of $73,813.09 for community events. Our Auckland reported on Community events get support from Waitemata Local Board Another recent article covered other Local Board priorities for 19/20 Parks, arts and community prioritised by the Waitemata Local Board. 

Meetings and workshops: 10 July until 13 August 2019

  • Recess week for the local board 8 – 12 July
  • Meeting with the new Director of the Auckland Art Gallery on 10 July
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 10 July
  • Auckland Transport quarterly briefing with local boards on 15 July
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 15, 22, 29 July and 5 and 12 August
  • Meeting with mana whenua representatives regarding the draft Te Wai Ōrea Western Park Development Plan on 16 July
  • Auckland Transport stakeholder meeting on 16 July
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 July
  • Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
  • Regular catch up with the GM, Newmarket Business Association on 18 July
  • Introductory meeting with reporter Ripu Bhatia, Stuff Auckland Reporter on 19 July
  • Meeting on 22 July to hear about the Blind Foundation / Generus Living Group proposal – Parnell Road
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 23 and 30 July, 6 and 13 August
  • Wynyard Quarter Traffic Management Association board meeting on 24 July
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 24 July
  • Presented to the Hearings Panel on the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw with Richard Northey on 26 July
  • Trafinz Exec meeting on 31 July
  • Meeting with Deborah James, Head of Diversity and Inclusion on 31 July to discuss speaking on behalf of Auckland Council at the International Women’s Caucus on 13 August
  • Heads up meeting with ATEED representatives to discuss the significant filming coming to Auckland
  • Catch up with Heart of the City CEO on 1 August
  • Meeting with Isthmus group and the Chair of the Domain Committee regarding the Design Concept for Court of Honour, Auckland Domain
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport’s Exec GM Risk and Assurance on 5 August to discuss AT’s berm parking position
  • Meeting with RFA’s Head of Strategy to discuss the Aotea Square masterplan process
  • City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 5 August
  • Meeting with 254 Ponsonby Park group and the project team on next steps for delivering the project on 7 August
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 8 August
  • Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 8 August
  • Chairs Forum on 12 August
  • Local Board cluster “wha” catch up on 12 August

Events and functions:  10 July until 13 August 2019

  • Spoke at the Low Carbon Network meeting at Sustainable Coastlines on 10 July
  • Campaign for Better Transport AGM on 16 July
  • Auckland Conversations: The Future of Auckland: Is density a dirty word? on 17 July
  • Auckland International Film Festival opening night at the Civic on 18 July at the invitation of ATEED
  • Interview on bFM on 19 July with local board member Adriana Christie
  • Pollinator Path working bee on 20 July organised by Andrea Reid . Photo right of the group of awesome volunteers who had fun tidying up and adding a few more plants at Hakanoa Reserve, the first pathway of the Pollinator Paths (I popped by in support)
  • Nga Puke on 24 July at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live and WAITĪ Productions
  • Presentation to Parnell Rotary on 24 July Parnell Rotary on the new Parnell Plan and city transformations including a proposed boulevard for The Strand. It was a great opportunity to share the positive changes happening in central Auckland and lovely to see former Waitematā Youth Collective member Nurain Ayesha Janah there.
  • Destination AKL – One Year On presentation organised by ATEED at Ellerslie Racecourse on 25 July
  • Turama Festival in Albert Park on 28 July
  • AKL Street Talks event on 30 July at the Central Library about that most contested of spaces – the humble footpath with a panel of perspectives.
  • Urbanerds AUCKLAND meet up on 31 July
  • Bike Auckland’s Bike Breakfast supported by the K’Rd Business Association on 1 August
  • GLBA networking function on 1 August at the Surrey Hotel
  • Celebration for Kaumatua Matt Maihi on 2 August at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae.  It was very special to join the celebrations for Kaumatua Matt Maihi. He has dedicated years of service to his marae, iwi and community. Matt has been a big part of numerous Council significant events.
  • New Zealand’s “Fittest Cities” launch by AIA Vitality on 5 August
  • Art unveiling in the Historic South British Building lobby on 5 August
  • Dawn karakia for the 8th anniversary of the opening of Wynyard Quarter on 10 August (photo right of the “originals” who were there on opening day 2011)
  • Waiatarau Freemans Bay community planting on 10 August
  • Joined the official party for the final Citizenship ceremony of this term at the Town Hall on 12 August
  • Spoke at Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae at the first International Women’s Caucus meeting to be held in Auckland on Auckland Council’s commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In the photo with host Denise Ewe, President Pacific Women’s Watch and Head of Diversity & Inclusion Deborah James who put together my presentation (Attachment 4)
  • Attended the Auckland Foundation’s first lunchtime seminar at the Northern Club with speakers John Hynds and Sir Stephen Tindall on 13 August
  • Te Tuhi artists collective open evening at Parnell Station
  • Opening night of PINAY at Basement Theatre (the the Waitematā Local Board allocated a quick response grant to the production)

 

 

 

Chair’s monthly report June 2019

This report covers the period 15 May until 11 June 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 18 June.

Climate Emergency Declaration

Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makaurau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action. Photo credit: Cr Richard Hills

At the local board meeting on 4 June we supported member Denise Roche’s Notice of Motion calling for an Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.

Notice of Motion – Member D Roche – Ecological and Climate Emergency Declaration

MOVED by Member DR Roche, seconded by Member A Avendano Christie:

That the Waitematā Local Board:

a)                  note its concerns about the ecological and climate crisis

b)                  support any Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region

c)         urge the Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region

d)         note that the Governing Body will shortly be consulting on Auckland’s Climate Action Plan

e)         forward these resolutions to the Environment and Community Committee, all local boards and to Auckland Transport for their consideration and immediate action.

Denise spoke at the Environment and Community Committee on 11 June on behalf of the local board.  The Committee voted unanimously to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognised the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.

“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the committee.

Photo credit right Cr Richard Hills: Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makau Rau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action.

Attachment 1:  Our Auckland article Waitematā Local Board welcomes Climate Emergency

Transport

The local board is committed to road safety and street design which delivers “slower traffic speeds, safer intersections and footpaths and cycle lanes built to international best practice” (Local Board Plan 2017).   The transport portfolio has been working on a number of safety related projects.

Solent St intersection

We have supported AT removing the slip lanes at Solent Street intersection design as part of the Tamaki Drive cycleway project (photo right: a truck using the slip lane at speed).

In a very surprising and disappointing letter the Ports of Auckland CEO has outlined why he opposes the removal of the slip lanes. Auckland Transport has provided a response robustly outlining why the preferred design has been chosen,

Attachment 2: Correspondence with Ports of Auckland.

Pedestrian crossings

We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians.  This has resulted in improved crossings on Parnell Road (photo right).

The local board has also successfully advocated for new crossings on Kelmarna Ave by Marist School and College Hill by St Mary’s College.

Community Safety Fund

Local Boards have been allocated a share of a new one-off Community Safety Fund. This fund is $20 million split over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial Years and is designed to address safety issues raised by local communities, that don’t meet Auckland Transport’s regional prioritisation for funding. The fund is divided between the 21 local board areas using the area’s numbers of Deaths and Serious Injuries, as a major component of the funding formula.

Waitematā Local Board has been allocated approx. $1.4m from the fund.  A decision on which projects to progress to the next stage (AT preparation of rough order of costs) will be made at the business meeting on 18 June.  Attachment 3 ( Item 24 ) outlines the projects considered for funding from the Community Safety Fund and additional projects the transport portfolio would like AT to progress.

Tactical Urbanism

Auckland Transport is working NZTA on a new Innovating streets toolkit to allow for quicker interventions that promote healthy and safe roads.

I have asked AT to consider the following projects for the quick win/tactical urbanism approach.

  • Midtown to the Domain route needing minor physical changes and wayfinding: Wellesley St cycle lane connection to the Princes St slip lane alongside Wellesley St up to Symonds St Bridge (cycle crossing phase at the intersection Wellesley/Princes St) crossing to Whitaker Place with ped crossing phase via Grafton Gully cycleway to Grafton Road “shared path” on northern side to the Domain
  • Painted cycle lane connection to the current feeder lane on Williamson Ave at Ponsonby Road. Eg connection to start at MacKelvie St intersection alongside the service station through Pollen St intersection (markings already exist as an oversize vehicle lane and no parking has to be removed)- this will create visibility of people on bikes as currently a safety issue with number of vehicle crossings into service station
  • Alex Evans Drive connection between Symonds St and Upper Queen St bridge/start of Ian McKinnnon cycleway – plans were developed about four years ago by AT
  • Crummer Road contra flow at Scanlan St – currently blocked to through traffic but ideal to create a cut through for people on bikes (currently used informally) – first logged with AT in 2011

Western Springs shared path

Local board advocacy has resulted in construction of the Western Springs shared path on Great North Road.  NZTA and AT first undertook to progress this work in 2013 as part of the St Lukes interchange project.  I escalated the unacceptable delay to the project after a cyclist was seriously injured in a crash with a driver coming off the motorway.

We are however disappointed that the final design doesn’t include raised tables on the off ramps as recommended by AT.  NZTA has advised as follows:

We have been working with AT but we are finding it challenging to find a solution that keeps all our vulnerable uses (cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclist) safe. The issue is that there is a lack of a policy position on raised tables at motorway interchanges. We have recognised this as an issue and we are working as quickly as possible to form a view. We are very cognisant that the world is changing and that we need to work with our partners (AT and stakeholders) to ensure our policies keep up with urban form and urban development.

To confirm where we are at:

  • The Transport Agency is happy with the off-ramp realignment, where the curve has been straightened
  • The Transport Agency is happy with the on-ramp alignment, although we would prefer that it is re-aligned to reduce entry speed
  • The Transport Agency has not made a decision on raised tables at motorway interchanges at this point. The AT proposal sets significant precedence and the lack of an Agency policy position has serious implications on other projects in Auckland and wider New Zealand
  • Until a policy can be confirmed we are advising that the Agency is not in support of raised table junctions at these locations
  • We have engaged with parties internal to the Agency to establish a path forward so we can have a clear direction going forward
  • This has been escalated to the highest point in our organisations and they are aware of the issue (Tier 2 in NZTA and CEO at AT)

As mentioned our safety team is working as quickly as possible to establish a path forward. It has been suggested that the works could be completed without raised tables, which could be retrofitted at a later date should it become policy.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path

On 22 May NZTA announced a preferred design for the Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path (formally known as SkyPath). The local board has been advocating for this project for many years.

NZTA is currently analysing the current consent and conditions and working to see if the preferred design fits within it.  A variation is a possibility. A detailed business case is being currently being developed.  Best case scenario is a Dec 2020 construction start.

A drop-in session is planned for 4 July between 4-8pm at Ponsonby Cruising Club, 141-151 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven. NZTA has reaffirmed this project is a priority for the Government.

https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/auckland-harbour-bridge-shared-path/

Western Springs resource consent – next steps

On 4 June the Waitematā Local Board received a briefing on the outcomes of the resource consent hearing for the removal of pine trees at Te Wai Orea – Western Springs Lakeside Park and received recommendations on the next steps in order to progress the local board’s native forest restoration project. The resource consent has been granted for the removal of 200+ pine trees with a set of conditions.

The local board has accepted the advice of officers to proceed with the project. We considered the additional conditions and noted as follows:

  • The independent commissioners reviewed all the evidence presented and determined that removal of the pines in one operation as now proposed is a practicable approach to enhancing the indigenous biodiversity values of the SEA and providing for the appreciation of the park as an urban forest (para 145 of the decision)
  • The commissioners accepted that removal is required due to ongoing and increasing health and safety concerns in relation to the trees continuing decline and failure (para 117)
  • The alternative option of allowing the pines to fall and the indigenous vegetation to continue to develop was considered, but rejected as this would require the closure of the pine tree area and involve no access and no pest control. This will lead to the proliferation of pest plants and hinder the regeneration of the indigenous vegetation (para 119).
  • The methodology has been revised to focus on the aim of restoring and enhancing the park’s SEA values. The access track will only be to the width of the digger (up to 4m wide is consented, but likely to be less) and for 200m (50 per cent less area than originally proposed).
  • Removal of tree trunks will be limited and most will be mulched on site.
  • An independent ecologist will provide oversight to limit the damage to the understory. This will be minimised as much as possible – at the most extreme there could be up to 50 per cent damage to low level plants but due to the change in methodology damage is likely to be a lot less. Soil erosion and silt run off will also be minimised.
  • An independent arborist is required to oversee the works and will work closely with the independent ecologist to minimise damage from the tree felling
  • Planting will be from a “species palette” consistent with the SEA values. Up to 15,000 plants are available, but with the reduction in the plantable area (due to the trunks remaining in situ) there is likely to be space for approximately 10,000 plants
  • As part of the conditions Council will appoint a community liaison person to be available 12 hours per day; updates will be provided every second day on a purpose-built webpage

The next window for pine removal is now Feb/March 2020 (to avoid bird roosting season, wet weather etc). The whole operation including planting will take approximately 6 weeks.  There will then be the opportunity for community engagement and involvement to determine the management going forward and potential track upgrades.

Officers have advised that unfortunately it is not possible to open the walking track in the interim. A buffer zone would need to be created alongside the track and as the trees are over 60m tall nearly all would need to be removed.

The commissioner’s decision can still be appealed.  This will further delay the restoration project and limit the park’s use for public access and recreational purposes.

Western Springs Lakeside Park update

I have been providing a regular update on path cleaning and other maintenance matters at Westerns Springs Lakeside Park.  Following my Ponsonby News update in May I received a complaint about the park and the accuracy of my reporting.  I provided the following response (published in the June Ponsonby News):

I have visited the park and followed up with Mr Hay to confirm that what I reported in my Ponsonby News update is correct. I agree that we want Western Springs Lakeside Park to be well maintained but the huge amount of geese poo is an ongoing issue.  Here is a summary from Council’s Senior Maintenance Delivery Coordinator about the action being taken:  cleaning of the pathway is being completed a minimum of five times a week. The contractor has been instructed to check the path every day and if cleaning is required it is to be completed that day. The contractor has been using a combination of a sweeping vehicle and water blasting to clear the path. Recently Community Facilities has also been trialling some methods to keep the geese from congregating on the path. The most recent trial involves a low level temporary fence. It has been successful at keeping the geese off a portion but unfortunately the geese just move on to another area of the path and cause the same issues. Council’s long-term solution to reduce the number of geese will greatly improve the situation and at this stage we are aiming to begin control in late June.

The water quality and sediment issues that Mr Hay referred to have been forwarded on to Council’s Healthy Waters department. The rubbish floating at the water’s edge should be removed by the contractors as loose litter. A recent inspection has confirmed that the bins that should be in place are in place. There are still park benches that require replacement following last year’s storm.

City Centre amenities

The local board is championing the provision of public toilets in the city centre. Work is currently underway on a City Centre Amenities strategic review following the local board raising concerns that the public toilets at the new CRL stations  will be located behind gate barriers with no plans to install accessible facilities and no part of council responsible for mapping the location of public toilets (the most up to date resource has been created by board member Vernon Tava on his personal website).

In the meantime Auckland Transport is rolling out a Bus Driver Exeloo Programme in the City Centre that also provides a public toilet in a number of locations.  The programme includes a Exeloo on Lower Albert St that was installed last year and a new Exeloo opened on Victoria St at the beginning of June (photo right).  The local board provided input into the locations and suggested including drinking fountains.

AT has provided the following update on other locations:

Quay Street (seaside 120m east of Tapora Street):     This site supports bus layovers for some 24 buses opposite Vector Arena.  The unit will sit between the new cycle path and the old footpath with access from the footpath side only.  Because of the cycle traffic through this area, AT will also be installing a drinking fountain (with dog drinking bowl) to the specification requested by the LB.

City Works Depot:  AT could not find a suitable site on Nelson (Wellesley St or Cook Street) and City Works Deport did not want an Exeloo on their Sale St frontage which they are developing.  So we again approached CWD with a lease proposal.  The agreement is to build a bespoke, secure keypad access, single-unit toilet within the CWD site, next to customer toilets in the Nelson St retaining wall.  Drivers will access the toilet via the spiral stairs from Nelson Street.     The agreement sees CWD designing, constructing, cleaning and maintaining the toilet for the exclusive use by bus drivers in exchange for an annual lease fee; ultimately the asset will pass to CWD once permanent bus layover facilities are created in the CBD.

FY19/20 Forward Plan:  FY19/20 funding has yet to be confirmed, however AT Metro Service Delivery have approved a project mandate to investigate further Exeloo sites as follows:

  • Bus Driver Exeloo sites: Mayoral Drive (near AUT); Nuffield Street Newmarket; Hobson Street (between Wolfe & Wyndam St) Avondale Terminus (Copsey Place); Waikowhai Terminus
  • Rail Exeloo Sites: Parnell Station; Grafton Station; Ellerslie Station; Glenn Innes Station; Papatoetoe Station; Middlemore Station

Auckland Domain

We’re fortunate to have an excellent maintenance manager for Waitematā. Karl (photo right) is passionately on the case sorting out issues in our parks.

On June he was happy to meet me for a site visit at the Domain (along with his boss) to look at a few maintenance issues that have been logged with me.  Lots of work is underway to make the Domain a world class premier park.

For the first time Auckland Museum has an accessible (very grand and beautifully landscaped) pathway to the front door. On 27 May, the Mayor announced the new official name Te Ara Oranga (Attachment 4: Our Auckland Domain Pathway Officially Opened)

At the Domain Committee meeting on 5 June four new paths funded by the local board were approved (details on the agenda under Item 24).

In another milestone for the Domain the new Wintergarden nursery glasshouses were blessed on 11 June by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.  Cr Mike Lee spoke at the opening.

Homelessness initiatives

We’re continuing to look at ways to fund small initiatives that complement Housing First Auckland and other regional projects that address homelessness. From a $20,000 allocation Lifewise Auckland will receive a $10,000 grant to support the initial scoping of an Auckland Housing Help Centre; an $8,000 grant will go to Heart of the City to support their Street Guardians Programme, and $2,000 will go towards volunteer training facilitated by the Auckland City Mission.  (Attachment 5: Our Auckland Homeless Community shown support in Waitemata)

The city centre targeted rate paid by businesses and residents contributed $2million to the upgrade of James Liston Hostel in Freemans Bay. On 5 June the Mayor, joined by Minister Phil Twyford opened the newly revamped facility providing 55 emergency beds with wrap around services. It has been a tremendous effort by the Hostel Trust team led Dame Diane Robertson and supported by Lifewise and the City Mission.

Enhancing Auckland’s tree cover

On 2 June Stuff journalist Charlie Mitchell reported on The Aotearoa Chainsaw Massacre.  In 2013 the former National-led government removed general tree protection rules leading to the loss of many urban trees. Here’s what the local board has been doing to enhance and protect tree cover:

  • opposed the RMA changes and have continued to advocate for tree protection
  • worked to identify trees to be scheduled in the Unitary Plan – this was work led by former board member Tricia Reade
  • included as many trees as possible in our projects (eg Teed St upgrade) and have pushed AT to identify new opportunities for tree pits
  • supported the revised City Centre Masterplan revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25 per cent by 2021.
  • support Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy and the Mayor’s 1 million trees project
  • working to develop a local urban ngahere implementation plan
  • funding tree planting for Arbor Day (Photo right: planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June)
  • funding volunteer plantings and regeneration projects
  • allocated a grant the Urban Tree Alliance for an Adopt a Tree event in Western Park
  •  funded the LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) data mapping to calculate the “canopy cover” of Waitemata
  • part of the team that helped Save the Western Springs Pohutukawas
  • planted fruit trees in Grey Lynn Park
  • Deputy Chair Shale Chambers was part of the City Centre Advisory Board working group who have successfully secured agreement from AT to include more street trees in the Albert St upgrade design
  • And at Western Springs up to 15,000 new trees will be planted as part of a native bush regeneration project.

Annual Budget 19/20

At a business meeting on 4 June we approved the Waitemata local content for the Annual Budget 2019/2020 which includes a Local Board Agreement, a message from the chair, local board advocacy, and a local fees and charges schedule for 2019/2020. Each financial year, Auckland Council must have a Local Board Agreement between the Governing Body and each local board, for each local board area. On 20 June 2019, the Governing Body will meet to adopt Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2019/2020, including 21 local board agreements.

Attachment 6: Our Auckland Youth leadership developed with spoken word poetry (funding provided from the local board community grant fund 18/19)

Meetings and workshops: 15 May until 11 June

  •  Planning Committee workshop on 15 May
  • Meeting to discuss SBN’s GulfX project on 15 May
  • Meeting with University of Auckland healthy homes researchers on 16 May
  • LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 17 May (photo right with Mayor Justin Lester who recently announced his intention to make Lambton Quay car free)
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 20 May, 27 May and 10 June
  • Meeting on 20 May hosted by Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, local board representatives and Auckland Transport to discuss the speed bylaw implementation
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 21 May
  • Monthly catch up with the GM of the K’rd Business Association on 22 May
  • Communications meeting on 22 May
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 22 May
  • Meeting on 23 May with Civic Events and Regional Facilities Auckland to discuss the organisation of citizenship ceremonies at the Town Hall
  • LGNZ Zone 1 meeting on 24 May
  • Meeting with the Pop Up Globe team on 24 May
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 28 May, 4 and 11 June
  • Transport portfolio meeting on 29 May
  • Joint Governing Body/Local Board Chairs meeting on 29 May
  • Meeting with Trevor Dunn and Boud Hammelburg, Advisors to Westhaven Forum Trust at Royal NZ Yacht Club on 31 May
  • Meeting with Community Facilities managers on 5 June to discuss Victoria Park car park driveway renewal
  • Domain Committee workshop and business meeting on 5 June
  • Meeting with Newmarket Business Association GM on 1 May
  • Domain Committee meeting on 5 June
  • Meeting with GM Parnell Business Association on 6 June
  • Attended meeting on 6 June organised by Hon Nikki Kaye with businesses impacted by CRL works
  • Meeting with Parnell Business Association GM on 5 June
  • Informal catch up with the Chair, Waiheke Local Board on 6 June
  • Local Board Chairs Monthly Forum on 10 June

Events and functions:  15 May until 11 June

  • Good Citizens Awards ceremony on 16 May (Attachment 7 Our Auckland and featured in Ponsonby News June update Attachment 8)
  • Auckland Writers Festival opening night party on 16 May
  • Literally Lorne, Auckland Writers Festival free event on 17 May
  • Te reo with Scottie Morrison, Auckland Writers Festival on 18 May
  • Spoke at Trash to Trade event organised by Grey Lynn 2030 on 19 May
  • Tripartite 2019 (An economic alliance of LA, Guangzhou and Auckland coinciding with Tech Week) Welcome Reception for our international delegates and speakers on Sunday 19 May and attended an Innovation Showcase for Tripartite 2019 followed by lunch 20 May. I was interested to hear from Stephen Cheung, President World Trade Centre, LA  about Los Angeles’ Clean Air Action Plan based on data and innovation to force changes to deal with the pollution and health implications of dirty bunker fuel. He was part of a panel on new trends in public and private sector data sharing.
  • With Tapata Wehi, founder The Haka Experience at the Go with Tourism Expo

    Auckland Museum stakeholder breakfast on 23 May

  • Joined the community of St Matthew-in-the-City for a Powhiri and reception on 23 May to welcome our overseas guests who belong to an international network of inner city churches
  • Opened the Go with Tourism Expo on 24 May at Auckland Showgrounds
  • HiTech gala dinner on 24 May at the invitation of ATEED
  • Opening of the new walkway Te ara Oranga connecting Auckland Museum on 27 May
  • Pride Pledge launch on 28 May at Coco’s cantina at the invitation of Krd Business Association
  • Officiated at the Town Hall Citizenship Ceremony on 28 May
  • Attended Friends of Sustainable Coastlines event on 28 May
  • Opening of the Doc Edge Festival at Q Theatre on 29 May
  • New citizen Constable Pavee from Thailand and Karem Colmenares, Event organiser

    Join the Dante Auckland at Winger Maserati to celebrate the Italian Republic Day on 2 June

  • Attended Open Iftar (dinner) 2019 hosted by New Zealand Eid Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 June
  • Mt Albert Electorate community morning tea with the PM on 5 June
  • Opening of James Liston Hostel by the Mayor on 5 June
  • China Business Awards dinner at Shed 10 on 6 June at the invitation of NZ China Council
  • Newmarket Business Association awards dinner on 7 June
  • Arbor Day tree planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June
  • Attended the opening of the Wintergarden nursery glasshouses at Auckland Domain on 11 June
  • Again Again co-founders Melissa Firth and Nada Piatek and Sustainable Business Network, CEO Rachel Brown

    Spoke at the launch of Again Again, reusable cups as a service system, at The Store, Quay Street on 11 June

  • Delicious Oblivion, Cabaret Season Launch on 11 June at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live

Pippa Coom:  Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward

Pippa CoomPippa Coom:  Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward

After almost nine years on the Waitematā Local Board, currently serving as Chair, I am delighted to be City Vision’s candidate for councillor for the Waitematā and Gulf ward.

It has been a privilege to serve the communities of Waitematā and to lead a local board that has built a reputation for being brave, adventurous and effective. Among its achievements have been the transformation of the Ellen Melville Centre into a vibrant community hub , the development of the Weona-Westmere coastal walk and other new pathways, and improved playgrounds. Your board has also been instrumental in getting major projects off the ground, including the Franklin Road upgrade, a planned new civic space on Ponsonby Road, new sports grounds at Seddon Fields, new changing rooms in Grey Lynn park and the upgrade of Teed St in Newmarket.  We also helped secure a $5 million Council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing and social services project.

My focus on the local board has been transport. I’ve led the local board in being the first to adopt “Vision Zero” and one of the first to put in place a Greenways Plan. Our investment in placemaking and safe, welcoming streets is paying off for businesses and for the health of the community.

What can you expect from me as a councillor?  I will build on extensive experience in governance, a network of community relationships, and an understanding of the issues that matter to Aucklanders. My leadership style is inclusive and respectful, I seek consensus rather than division, and I value teamwork and open communication. I will be a councillor who is available and accessible, and I will be there in person for community events, big and small.    

I’m also transparent, maintaining a full public  declaration of interests and monthly reports on my activities.

Representing the people of Waitemata and the Gulf is a seven days a week commitment, and I am 100% up for it.

My background

My path into local government started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. I was born and raised in England where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.

My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. At Otago University, where I completed a law degree (hons) in 1991, I volunteered at the community law centre, taught English as a second language, and was secretary of the Otago Law Students Association.  

My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.

During this time my dad was killed in a car crash. He was 49. Incidentally, my partner Paul and I have lived since 2006 in the Grey Lynn house dad bought over 30 years ago. Many years later, and now with a role on the Waitematā Local Board advocating for road safety, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so necessary.

An e-bike is my main form of transport but I do own a working 1934 Austin 7 inherited from my dad and am a member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ.

In 2009, I became a full-time volunteer in the community involved with cycling advocacy, community development and sustainability. I’ve been a trustee of the Kelmarna Organic City Farm, Grey Lynn 2030 and Connected Media, the coordinator of Frocks on Bikes, membership secretary of Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and organiser of climate action events.  

I was named Sustainability Champion at the 2011 Sustainable Business Network awards for my cycling advocacy and involvement with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, which I served for five years as chair of the management committee.

In 2010 I was elected to the Waitematā Local Board in the first Super City election.  In 2013 and 2016 I was the highest polling candidate.

What I stand for

I’m a progressive aligned with City Vision, a coalition of Labour, the Greens and community independents like myself, but my primary allegiance is to the community.  I value City Vision’s shared commitment to social justice, outstanding public transport, environmental restoration, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities.

Here’s what I stand for:

  • Transport choices: Healthy, safe, connected and accessible streets that encourage kids to walk, scoot and bike to school; an efficient, reliable public transport system with affordable, integrated fares covering all parts of Auckland including the Gulf Islands.
  • Climate Action:  A just transition to a low-emissions and climate-ready city; every decision of Auckland Council must contribute to fighting the climate and ecological crisis.
  • Environmental sustainability:  Cleaning up our waterways and harbours; protecting the qualities that make the Gulf Islands and Hauraki Gulf special; effective and sustainable recycling and composting services.
  • Strong local boards and local decision making.  I will meet regularly with the three local board chairs, attend local board meetings and effectively advocate for local issues.
  • A city with a heart:  Continuing with the revitalisation of downtown with a Quay Street boulevard, new public spaces and people-friendly streets. Slower speeds and the Access for Everyone project will be good for business and make the city centre more liveable for the growing residential population
  • Housing: Ending homelessness through support for initiatives such as Housing First.  Quality, affordable housing developments and effective use of brownfield sites.   
  • Good governance:Holding the Council Controlled Organisations such as Auckland Transport to account and ensuring value for money, council efficiencies and getting the basics right. As local board chair I have met community priorities within budget through careful financial management

There is much more to do building  safe, vibrant, inclusive, accessible and resilient communities. I am passionate and completely committed to serving on the governing body, fulfilling the aspirations of all Aucklanders and representing Waitematā and Gulf ward.

Chairs monthly report May 2019

This report covers the period 10 April until 14 May 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 21 May.

Anzac Day

Speaking on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board at the Grey Lynn RSC Anzac Day service (Photo credit: Roscoe Thorby)

After attending the very moving Dawn Service at Auckland Museum I had the honour of speaking at the Grey Lynn RSC Anzac Day service on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board (photo right).  The board assists the RSC with funding for the event.  (My speech here).

The club does a great job bringing the community together for this national day of commemoration.

I received a heartfelt thank you from the President and Manager of the Grey Lynn RSC (Attachment 2)

Annual Budget 19/20 consultation

Presenting to the Finance and Performance Committee with Shale Chambers and Adriana Christie

At the local board business meeting we received a report on the Annual Budget 19/20 feedback and resolved on advocacy priorities (Attachment 3).   A total of 223 submissions were received for the Waitematā Local Board area. The majority of submitters either supported (45 per cent) or partially supported (43 per cent) the Waitematā Local Board’s priorities.    I read all the submissions over Easter and was pleased to note the strong support for our overall direction and priorities.  Concerns raised tended to be about regional issues such as stormwater separation.

On 8 May Shale Chambers and I presented to the Finance and Performance committee with the support of board member Adriana Christie on our key advocacy iniatives that we wished to bring to the governing body’s attention (Presentation: Attachment 4)

Dog Bylaw consultation

Photo from the Change Petition: Make Basque Park On leash

Public consultation on Auckland’s dog rules closed on 10 May.  Auckland Council sought views on proposed changes to dog time and season rules to see more consistency across the region, as well as proposed improvements to dog management in Auckland.

Local board Chairs raised concerns with the Mayor about the bylaw process for local board input and the undermining of the shared governance model (Attachment 5).   Following a deputation of chairs meeting with the Mayor we received a positive response (Attachment 6) and agreement that local boards will be given an opportunity to provide their feedback to the hearing panel after the submissions and hearing report have been made public.

Looking forward, staff will continue to work with local boards on the Governance Framework Review and consider how future policy and strategy processes can provide for local board review of submissions and feedback. Staff will also progress the idea of a policy calendar through this review.

Through the consultation we heard feedback on the need for an off-leash dog area in Basque Park .  We have responded that this will be looked at following the completion of the dog rule consultation (Our Auckland: Changes on the way for Basque Park )

Renewals: Victoria park entranceway

Since the earliest days of the Waitematā Local Board we have taken the approach that every renewal is an opportunity to improve on assets to deliver on community outcomes and best practice design.  We have LDI budget (Locally Driven initiatives discretionary budget) available for this purpose. We have consistently reinforced to officers that there is no such thing as a “like for like” renewal as standards have changed over time and every project needs to be considered in the context of current council strategies and plans.  This is a view I believe shared by all local boards.

The Council approach to renewals was recently highlighted when we were advised that “like for like” work was about to start on the entranceway to Victoria Park.  Despite several workshop discussions about the issues the local board wanted addressed such as safety we were not given the opportunity to have any input into the plans and only “notified” when the works were about to begin (photo above).

I raised concerns about the inadequate thought given to the current purpose and function of the entrance and access “road” that is an integral part of the park path network for recreational purposes and is an important commuter route (with numbers increasing as Wynyard Quarter expands and it becomes more and more difficult to walk along Fanshawe Street due to the numbers waiting for buses).

In response I was assured by Community Facilities that a renewal is not considered a like-for-like exercise and that discussions should be taking place with the Local Board regarding opportunities to leverage its asset base to deliver a better community outcome and that Community Facilities is focussed on place-based delivery.

With regards to Victoria Park, Community Facilities have agreed to install signage (photo right) and to consider design options for the resurfaced areas and are taking forward the Halsey Street footpath to park standard.

We’ve raised similar issues with Auckland Transport, in particular like for like footpath renewals that are not brought to the local board in advance for input. As a result AT has agreed to trial a new approach.

Safe Speeds consultation

Auckland Transport speed hearing panel

 On 18 April I presented to the Auckland Transport Speed Limits Bylaw hearings on behalf of Waitematā Local Board. I spoke about why we support safe speeds as the evidence shows reducing speed limits works and delivers a range of benefits beyond road safety. Slower speeds are pro-community, pro-business, pro children. It will make our streets more accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Slower speeds are also needed in the city centre to respond to massive changes that have taken place there. It is no longer a CBD but home to almost 60,000 residents.

AT received 30,000 feedback points through the consultation process.  The decision on the Speed Limits Bylaw will be made by the AT Board in July.

 Road Safety Week 2019  6- 12 May

 The 2019 theme for Road Safety Week was Save Lives #speakup. New Zealand is experiencing a crisis of road deaths and serious injuries. April was the worst month for road danger for over a decade. From listening to road safety experts over the last few years that I have been campaigning for a new Vision Zero approach, I’ve learned the following:

  • Every crash involves a vehicle, the road and a driver. It is not possible to reduce or eliminate crashes by focusing on just one factor.
  • There are a range of complex reasons why NZ’s road safety performance is declining – but many of the reasons are the direct result of the former government’s transport policies such as big cuts to police enforcement, more trucks on the road, failure to reduce speeds, investment in a few big roading projects rather than safety changes to roads where crashes happen, acceptance of vehicles with poor safety ratings and declining driver education.
  • In a “Safe System”, crashes are inevitable, but death and serious injury is not. The Safe System aims to strengthen all parts of the system: roads and roadsides, speeds, vehicles, and people – so that if one part fails, other parts will still protect those involved. ie you are not killed if someone stuffs up.
  • Politicians, traffic engineers, management, enforcement officials etc all need to take responsibility for the crisis. We must adopt the ethical imperative of Vision Zero. This means:

– safe and appropriate speeds
– safety must be prioritised in road design
– improvements to the safety of vehicles on the road
– enforcement particularly for speeding, red light running
– driver education

I took this photo (right) for Road Safety Week.

There is currently $10 billion of private construction underway in Auckland plus work on major utilities infrastructure. I’m grateful to all the traffic management workers like Albert who are keeping us safe around these projects. I’ve got to know Albert as he’s working on a new apartment building near the local board office. He gets a lot of grief from drivers trying to get around his controls in St Patrick’s Square but always keeps his cool.

Auckland Cycling Programme Update

On 8 March 2019 Cr Darby and I wrote to the Auckland Transport CEO expressing grave concerns over the status of the cycling programme.  The programme is currently three years behind schedule.  No new cycleway work has got underway this year and the walking and cycling team has been disestablished.

On 30 April we received a response confirming that AT remains absolutely committed to delivering the funded cycling programme and delivering on the specific focus area of the Auckland Plan – ‘Make walking, cycling and public transport preferred choices for many more Aucklanders’ but providing reasons why there have been delivery challenges.  (Both letters are attached to my report on the local board agenda)

Downtown Infrastructure Development Projects

On 10 May I attended the Dawn Ceremony for the Downtown Infrastructure Development projects. Ngāti Whātua Orākei led proceedings on behalf of mana whenua.

Cr Darby reported “that it was great to share the morning with people who have been instrumental in directing the waterfront transformation in recent years” – Cr Richard Hills, Viv Beck (Heart of the City GM), Noelene Buckland (Chair, City Centre Residents Group) and Pippa Coom. Cr Paul Young got up early too to join us”. (photo right)

The design for a new Square on lower Queen Street

The ceremony marked the commencement of the major works to deliver:

  • Downtown ferry basin redevelopment.
  • Lower Albert St bus interchange.
  • Downtown public water edge public space
  • Lower Queen St public space (image right)
  • Historic Quay St wall strengthening and utilities relocation.
  • Britomart east bus interchange.
  • Quay St enhancement

The work to deliver seven interrelated projects in time for Americas Cup 36 is hugely complex but I believe will be worth the temporary disruption as Downtown becomes a stunning pedestrian friendly area.

Parnell Plan

A visualisation of the proposed Waipapa Greenway via the old Parnell railway tunnel was first revealed at a public meeting hosted by Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee on 7 May that I attended.

This image created by Jasmax is in the new Parnell Plan (about to be published).

A Karuhiruhi pied shag catches an eel at Western Springs Photo Credit Cathy Casey

 Western Springs Lakeside Park update

I have been providing regular updates on Western Springs following complaints about the water quality of the lake and maintenance of the park. In my May Ponsonby News update covered the maintenance work underway (Attachment 10)

Meetings and workshops: 9 April until 14 May

  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 9 and 30 April, 7 and 14 May
  • Meeting on 10 April with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Cr Hulse to discuss LGNZ remits
  • Elected Member briefing regarding ANZAC Day Commemorations on 10 April
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meetings on 11 April and 2 May
  • Meeting with Parnell Business Association GM on 11 April
  • Meeting with Community Facilities managers on 11 April to discuss Victoria Park car park driveway renewal
  • Monthly catch ups with Auckland City Centre Residents Group representative on 11 April and 9 May
  • Meeting on 12 April to finalise the Parnell Plan
  • Transport portfolio meeting on 15 April and 1 May
  • Weekly chairs catchup held on 15 April, 29 April and 6 May
  • Meeting with the Mayor and a delegation of Local Board Chairs on 15 April to discuss the process for local board input into bylaw processes
  • Presented to the Auckland Transport safe speeds hearings panel on 15 April
  • Good Citizen Awards selection panel meeting on 16 April
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 April
  • Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association meeting on 17 April
  • Meeting with Dave Allen to provide feedback on Auckland Plan, Strategy and Research’s (APSR) work for the local board as part of shaping a fit-for-purpose strategy and research unit.
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 17 April
  • Meeting with the local board relationship manager on 18 April
  • Meeting with representatives of the Friends of Fukuoka Gardens on 18 April
  • Meeting with car transporter and car dealer representatives and Auckland Transport on 18 April to discuss operations on Great North Road
  • Eco matters bike hub

    The board had a recess week following the Easter break. I took the opportunity to visit EcoMatters Environment Trust Bike Hub in New Lynn. They’re doing brilliant work supporting the community to experience the joy and fun of riding. The hub provides assistance with learning basic bike maintenance skills, rescues bikes and on sells them at low cost. It is also a pit stop to hang out with good people happy to tinker on bikes.

  • Meeting on 29 April initiated by Bevan Woodward with Auckland Transport to discuss opportunities for tactical urbanism as part of the new Innovating Streets for People toolkit being developed by NZTA
  • Meeting with Newmarket Business Association GM on 1 May
  • Central City Network meeting at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 May
  • Mt Albert Electorate office catch up on 3 May
  • Grafton Residents Association AGM on 5 May
  • “Turning the Tide – from Cars to Active Transport report briefing at the Otago University centre on 6 May
  • Meeting to discuss the local board’s presentation to the Finance and Performance committee
  • Trafinz executive meeting on 8 May
  • Presentation to the Finance and Performance committee on the Local Board Annual Budget advocacy on 8 May
  • Domain Committee pre-agenda meeting on 8 May
  • Communications meeting on 8 May
  • Ponsonby Road walkover on 9 May with Auckland Transport representative to identify any issues with the Ponsonby Pedestrian experience project delivery
  • Meeting with Big Street bikers on 9 May
  • Meeting with John Palino (Mayoral candidate) on 10 May
  • Meeting on 13 May at Newton School with Auckland Transport to discuss safety improvements (photo right with the Principal Riki Teteina and Auckland Transport’s Claire Dixon)
  • Local Board Chairs Forum on 13 May

Events and functions:  9 April until 14 May

  • Presentation by Niels Hoe, NZTA’s new System Design Lead for Urban Mobility at MR Cagney on 9 April
  • Auckland Conversations: Future proofing Auckland – is building a sustainable city really possible? On 10 April at the Millennium Hotel
  • Newhub facebook live with host Finn Hogan
  • Community working bee organised by the Freemans Bay Residents Association on 13 April at the new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park (Photo right)
  • Nepal Festival

    I was invited to speak at the opening celebration of the Nepalese New Year on 14 April at the Freemans Bay Community centre at the invitation of the New Zealand Nepal Society

  • Art of Remembrance at St David’s church on 24 April
  • Anzac Day Dawn Service at Auckland Museum
  • Grey Lynn RSC memorial Anzac Day parade and service
  • Here and Now Festival of plays at Waterfront Theatre on 26 April
  • Presentation on 29 April by Jacquelyn Collins on the gendered issues of play spaces. Hosted by Women in Urbanism Aotearoa x MR Cagney
  • Auckland Arts Fair opening night at the Cloud
  • Auckland Jewish Community Holocaust Memorial Service on 1 May at the Auckland Hebrew Congregation Community Hall
  • Function on 2 May at the Northern Club to celebrate the expansion of Bankside Chambers
  • Comedy Festival Gala at the Civic at the invitation of ATEED
  • Auckland Alumni Otago University 150th anniversary celebration Gala at Auckland Museum on 3 May
  • Carlile House, Grey Lynn

    Urban Walking Festival- Jane’s Walk Grey Lynn on 4 May Alex Bonham led us today on a Jane’s Walk * exploring Grey Lynn as part of the Urban Walking Festival. We ended up at historic Carlile House. Recently it was looking promising that the building was about to be saved but unfortunately it has recently been report that the deal has now fallen through (* It is called Jane’s walk in memory of Jane Jacobs the North American urban activist who wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Walks are held on her birthday anniversary)

  • Public meeting hosted by Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee on 7 May
  • Dawn Ceremony for Downtown Infrastructure Development Projects on 10 May
  • The Audience at Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of ATC on 10 May
  • Bright Lights at the Viaduct on 10 May
  • Clayworks Potters Market at St Columba’s church community hall on 11 May
  • Reception for British economist and writer Kate Raworth at the Auckland Writers Festival on 13 May and invitation from ATEED to attend her talk MC’d by Rod Oram
  • Ockham NZ Book awards ceremony on 14 May

 

 

Chairs Monthly report April 2019

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

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

Christchurch Mosque Massacre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate Change Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

Annual Budget 19/20 consultation

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

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

Good Citizen Awards

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

 Western Springs Lakeside Park update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Meetings and workshops: 13 March until 9 April

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

Events and functions:  13 March until 8 April

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

Chair’s monthly report February 2019

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

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

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

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

Salisbury Reserve entranceway

Land purchased to create an entrance way to Salisbury Reserve

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

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

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

Annual Budget 2019/20 consultation

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

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

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

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

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

Air Quality in the City Centre

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

 Te Hā o Hine interpretation sign

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

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

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

Western Park steps and boardwalk opening

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

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

Feedback on the upgrade has been overwhelmingly positive.

Western Springs Lakeside Park

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

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

Feedback on the draft RPTP

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

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

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

 Kelmarna Gardens entranceway

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

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

Events and functions:  12 December until 12 February

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

Chair’s monthly report December 2018

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

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

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

Achievements Report 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018

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

TAPAC arts partnership

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

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

Erebus National Memorial

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

The resolution of the board:

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

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

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

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

254 Ponsonby Road – a civic space

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Auckland story  New Ponsonby civic space reaches a significant milestone

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

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

This year Waitematā Local Board advocated for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning Committee presentation – City Centre Masterplan refresh

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

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

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

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

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

Playground openings

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

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

Parnell station walkway open

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

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

Waitematā Safe Routes Projects- update

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

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

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

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

Ian McKinnnon Drive cycleway extension

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

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

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

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

Auckland Domain Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Board supported and funded events

25th annual Parnell Festival of Roses

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

Lightpath Festival

Photo credit: Tina Plunkett

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

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

Grey Lynn Park Festival

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

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

Franklin Road Lights opening

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

Santa Parade

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

Roll out of residential parking

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

Events and functions:  12 November until 11 December

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

 

Auckland City Centre buzzing to the sound of people

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

i)     Māori Outcomes

ii)    Grafton Gully Boulevard

iii)    Access for Everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Related reading

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