This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during March 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.
Bikes in Schools: opening of a new bike track at Freemans Bay School
One of the highlights of the month was attending the bike track opening at Freemans Bay School on 20 March. This is the first bike track in the Waitematā area supported by the Bikes in Schools Trust. It was wonderful to see how excited the kids are to ride a bike. For many of the kids at the school who live in the city centre the track offers them the only safe opportunity to cycle.
Portfolio Report: Transport
All local boards and key stakeholders were given the opportunity to present to an Auckland Transport hearings panel on the draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2015 -2025 (RLTP) as part of the consultation process.
I presented with the Chair on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board on 10 March (Presentation attached as Attachment B). As I mentioned in my introduction to the presentation it was a slightly bizarre process to present before the end of the public consultation period and before we had finalised our submission. A copy of the Board’s final submission submitted on 16 March is attached to the April agenda.
Auckland Transport presented the feedback on the proposed Franklin road upgrade design and the revised options developed on the back of that feedback at a meeting with Franklin Road residents on 9 March.
Overall the residents at the meeting were positive about the new designs but were strongly opposed to cycle lanes due to safety concerns. These concerns were outlined in a presentation to the Local Board public forum at the March business meeting on 10 March. Auckland Transport undertook to do a safety audit to ensure the final design is safe and is able to cater for all users.
Intersection of Curran St & Sarsfield St
For many years residents near to the intersection of Curran St and Sarsfield St have been seeking improvements to slow down drivers who speed up on the approach to the Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately it took a serious crash in February for Auckland Transport to respond.
I arranged a site meeting on 2 March with residents and Auckland Transport representatives to discuss the various concerns about the intersection. On 30 March Auckland Transport responded at a follow-up meeting with a concept design which was positively received. Once the feedback from the meeting has been collated by the Herne Bay Residents Association the design will be finalised by AT for formal consultation.
Portfolio report: Community Development
Empowered Communities Approach
A whole new way for Council to work called “Empowered Communities Approach” is currently being tested with the Community Development and Safety Team.
Local Board members have been briefed and workshops held with the community (I attended the workshop for ethnic migrants) to explain the details and the opportunities arising from this approach. As it is a major shift for Council I have included the following key messages about the new approach in my report:
Why we are doing this:
Supporting community-led development.
- Working with communities to develop leadership, skills and capacity is a priority for Auckland Council under the Strengthen Communities goals of the Auckland Plan.
- Mayor Len Brown proposed under the Long-Term Plan (2015-2025) to change how Auckland Council works around community development.
- Much research and community consultation has been done by Auckland Council around empowering communities – the ECA is building on this work to bring it to life.
- While we are developing a ‘whole of council approach’ Community Development and Safety are the first team to have this approach applied.
Purpose of engaging with communities:
- You know what you need and want and, in turn, we need to hear that from you.
- We would like to hear what you feel about the direction the ECP is taking and what it means for your communities.
- Every community is different – a one-size-fits-all approach will not work across Auckland.
- Council needs to be more responsive and flexible around community needs and priorities.
- Resources and capacity varies across Auckland and council needs to ensure that each community has the same opportunities and platforms for empowerment.
- There are benefits from empowering communities including: more responsive to community need; more flexibility and opportunity to change what may not be working; less bureaucracy; and, more opportunity for the communities to show innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
- Auckland Council is committing to a new, innovative way of working. It recognises that for the ECA to be successful it has to change both the way it works, and how it works, to benefit Aucklanders.
Empowered Communities Approach:
- ‘Empowered Communities: Enabling Council’ is an approached underpinned by a two-way relationship.
- A description rather than a definition is being used to ensure there is room for us all to see ourselves.
What is an empowered community?
- An empowered community is one where individuals, whanau and communities have the power and ability to influence decisions, take action and make change happen in their lives and communities. This includes communities of place, interest and identity.
- Community empowerment is about providing real opportunities for people to participate and fostering the conditions that support this.
- An empowered communities approach is ‘a way of working’ that empowers people to play a more active role in the decisions that affect their communities’.
- A ‘whole of council’ shift is required to:
- Provide a gateway / portal into council resources and information
- Provide more support for local boards and other areas of council to work together in joined-up ways with local communities
- Facilitating and embedding the ECA across council
- Developing and implement creative new engagement and participation practices
- Support the devolution of resources / functions / control to communities.
- Currently we are exploring ways to operationalise the Community Development and Safety team functions with a new focus on ways of working.
Feedback is currently being sought from community groups about what needs to change for Council to be “an enabling council” and communities to be called “empowered communities”.
Long Term Plan consultation
Consultation on the Auckland Council’s 10 year budget (LTP) closed on 16 March. 27,383 submissions were received in total with 1097 coming from the Waitematā Local Board area. It was the first consultation process under Auckland Council’s new Significance and Engagement Policy that is required by the Local Government Act 2002. Instead of hearings, submitters were invited to attend Have your Say events where all comments received were recorded as official feedback (Photo right – the Waitematā Have your say Event)
Personally I did not think the Have your Say events were an adequate alternative to Local Board hearings as there was limited ability to meaningfully engage and discuss issues with submitters.
In March I started semester one at AUT University as I continue learning Te Reo Maori ( I completed two stage 1 papers in 2014). I attend classes twice a week.
I have also appreciated the opportunity to take part in the training series “Making an Impact with Maori” provided by Council’s advisors. On 25 March I joined councillors and local board members at Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chev for an immersive learning experience, designed to take elected members through the protocols and principles involved with entering a marae.
Workshops and meetings
- Street meeting on 2 March of Herne Bay residents and Auckland Transport to discuss the Curran St/Sarsfield St intersection speeding and safety issues
- One of the presenters of the LGNZ webinar on 3 March in Wellington: Planning and Investment Opportunities for Cycling (Urban Cycleways Investment Programme) Photo right: delivering the Webinar with Cynthia Bowers, Deputy Mayor, Hawkes Bay District Council
- Attended Long Term Plan – 10 year budget consultation events: Have your Say event at the Town Hall on 4 March, the Grey Lynn community meeting on 11 March (co-hosted with the Arch Hill and Grey Lynn Residents Association) and the Fix Our City: A Discussion with the Mayor co-hosted with Generation Zero at Auckland University
- Meeting to discuss RLTP feedback on 5 March
- HBDI Test result discussion with Board members (HBDI survey provided insight into thinking style preferences)
- Friends of St David meeting on Sunday 8 March
- Auckland Transport’s meeting on 9 March with Franklin Road residents to discuss the consultation feedback analysis and the revised options developed for the upgrade of Franklin Road
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 10 March
- Meeting to discuss the community grants template
- RLTP presentation to Auckland Transport
- Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 10 March
- Cycle Advisory Group meeting on 11 March
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 12 March
- Meeting on 12 March to discuss the development of a Youth HUB in the City Centre
- Site visit on Waima Street on 16 March organised by Arch Hill residents with representatives of Auckland Transport, NZTA, NZ Police, the Prostitutes Collective, and Newton School. David Shearer, MP also attended (photo right)
- Grey Lynn community meeting on 17 March to discuss concerns arising from Auckland Transport’s proposals to remove parking at the Grey Lynn shops
- Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 18 March
- Meeting with Albert-Eden and Puketapapa Local Boards to discuss progress on the Central Community Recycling Facility
- Empowered Communities approach discussion with Local Boards on 20 March
- Community Place-making champions group meeting on 23 March
- Meeting to discuss the community grants policy and template
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 24 March
- Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor
- Making an Impact with Maori – Training for Elected Members. Visit to Te Mahurehure Marae for all local board members and councillors
- Local Board Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 26 March
- Urban Cycling Investment Panel – meeting 3 in Christchurch on 27 March
- Cycle Advocates Network cycling summit in Christchurch on 28 and 29 March (Attachment C)
- Central Local Board cluster briefing on the Auckland Development Agency proposal on 30 March
- Briefing on the action plan arising from the Elected Member Survey undertaken in September 2014
- Empowered Communities Approach workshop for ethnic migrants at the Fickling Centre on 30 March
- Local Board workshop on 31 March
- Meeting with Herne Bay residents for Auckland Transport to present recommendations on safety improvements to the Curran St/Sarsfield St intersection
Events and functions
- Between Tides art show on Westmere beach on 1 March (photo right)
- Fixing Auckland’s Transport panel discussion on 2 March
- Auckland Arts Festival 4 – 22 March I attended various performances and the opening night drinks in the Festival Gardens (at the invitation of the AAF Trust)
- Little Day Out at the Mt Eden Village Centre on 7 March
- International Women’s Day event in Khartoum Place on 9 March
- Presented the 95bfm Green Desk on 10, 17 and 24 March
- Grey Power meeting on 12 March at the Fickling Centre as part of a presentation on the LTP (I was invited to present on transport issues in the LTP)
- Wet Hot Beauties performance in Judges Bay on 14 March
- White Nights on 14 March
- Bike track opening at Freemans Bay School on 20 March
- Auckland Arts Festival tickets to the following shows:
- Group F: Skin of Fire
- I AM
- Otello: the Remix
- Bravo Figaro