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

A street tree planting policy for Auckland

Notice of Motion: Auckland Transport Street Tree Planting Policy

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

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

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

Recommendation

a)      That the Notice of Motion be received.

b)      That the Waitematā Local Board:

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Graham Street footpath renewal
    Graham Street footpath renewal

       Footpath maintenance and footpath renewals

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

  1.    Streetscape upgrades or footpath works associated with private developments

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

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

  1. New streetscape upgrades

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Related reading

Transport benefits of street trees 

In Praise of City Trees – Patrick Reynolds

Monthly board report April 2016

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 1 March – 31 March 2016 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Waitemata LB office opening local board services teamLocal Board “Democracy shop” – open for business

On 2 March the Board officially moved into our new offices at 52 Swanson Street just off St Patricks Square.  The offices are a huge improvement on our location at Graham St and provide a much better working environment for our hard working Local Board services team (photo right) and space for board members. I like to think we now have a “democracy shop”- a front door to our community that is easily accessible and welcoming.

Community Grants

 The Waitematā Local Board grants committee met on March to discuss the grant application to the Quick Response Fund and the Local Grant fund. In total we had $70,330.58 remaining  to distribute from the 15/16 financial year with one Quick Response Grant round to go (currently open until 6 May for grants up to $3000).

The grants committee minutes and recommendations for the Local Grant Fund are attached to the April agenda.

Community consultation – Annual budget 2016/17

Consultation on the Council’s Annual Budget 2016/17 and local board priorities took place until 24 March.  Community meetings in Ponsonby, Grafton Parnell and Grey Lynn were well attended but the official Have your Say consultation meeting at the Town Hall attracted only 4 members of the public.  The low attendance may partly be due to the number of events on that evening but I think the problem is mainly with the format which is very unsatisfactory for groups that wish to present feedback.  The Board’s public hearings style meeting held on 10 March provided a much more effective forum for presentations to the Board.

Cycling improvements consultation

inner west auckland cycle network During March Auckland Transport consulted on the network of cycling routes in the inner west area (map right) and asked for feedback on cycling improvements to make riding a bike for local trips safer.  The feedback period was extended to 5 April.

I attended the consultation events in Grey Lynn Park on 13 and 20 March.

This is the first time that Auckland Transport has consulted on the actual routes that make up the Auckland Cycle Network and support the routes in our Greenways plan.

Pippa Coom and Christopher Dempsey Lightpath Te ara i whiti / Lightpath

The electronic counter doesn’t lie!  The aphorism “Build it and they will come” proved ever so true when it comes to the amazing magenta adventure.

Christopher and I were very happy to celebrate the 100,000 trip over Lightpath since opening day on 3 December 2015.  Almost 1,000 people a day are riding the route.

There are also huge numbers of people enjoying Lightpath on foot at all times of day and night. Unfortunately the walking counter has not been working so Auckland Transport is unable to provide exact data at the moment.

Lantern Festival – transport planning

valet bike parking Lantern FestivalThe Lantern Festival, held for the first time in the Domain in February was the first Auckland Council funded evening event to promote active transport. The valet parking provided at the venue was a big success working to encourage people to give cycling ago – many bringing along children. However the overall communication and coordination regarding transport to the event was not well managed by Auckland Transport and there were a lot of lessons for next time.  I have sent the following email to the CEO of ATEED and the Manager Event Design who responded that it would be included in the mix for their debrief.

Congratulations to everyone involved on the success of the Lantern Festival (if the numbers attending are the best indicator of success!). I really enjoyed attending on the Friday and Sunday evenings.

I’m sure there will be a big exercise underway with Auckland Transport to look at the transport management plan and the messaging for the event next year. I just wanted to give some feedback while it is still fresh in my mind:

  • Although the map handed out on site was not intended as a travel map it was clearly being used for that purpose  – it needs to clearly show all the walking and cycling connections  (especially as people were arriving up hill at Grafton Station and able to walk down hill back to town but as previously mentioned the map showed the Domain as an island )
  • Creating a “Lantern Trail” in the same style as the RWC Fan trail (suggested route from Britomart via Beach Road, Churchhill street, and up Lovers Lane) – a few people have mentioned this idea to me
  • Improve the lighting on Lovers Lane – if felt too dark to use safety but is the logical connection to the Domain from the city
  • Close Grafton bridge to cars and only open to buses and ambulances – implement bus priority lanes
  • Provide wayfinding signage from all directions but particularly for those walking from different points in the city centre (the Wellesley St – Grafton Gully route particularly needs signage as previously mentioned but hopefully by next year AT will have finally got that sorted)
  • The valet bike parking was brilliant and I loved using it (of course!) but difficult to access so lots of bikes were parked all over the place (there was no signage to the bike parking)
  • Security guards were directing cyclists to dismount but did not know where the bike parking was located
  • Online information needs to spell out all the transport options including the location of car parks (I estimate there are at least 15 car parks in walking distance to the Domain but the online information just said “ the Domain is a 10 minute drive from the city centre” !!!).
  • Wayfinding signage needed throughout the entire site

Auckland Conversations: Climate Solutions: Cities in Action, Mark Watts, Executive Director C40 cities

Mark Watts C40Auckland has become the newest member of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. Auckland will be working with more than 80 of the world’s greatest cities, representing more than 550 million people and one quarter of the global economy. Sharing research, experiences and ideas, C40 is helping to find and implement innovative solutions to urban climate issues such as transport, energy, buildings and waste.

At the Auckland Conversations on  15 March Mark Watts talked about the initiatives that cities around the globe are putting in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.

Cities are central to delivering greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets (Auckland’s target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in 2040) through a focus on land use planning, transport and buildings. Every city needs to aim to get to 1.5 tons per person per year if we have any chance of avoiding dangerous levels of climate warming. Auckland is currently at about 7.2 tons (US cities are on 16.5 tpp).

The good news from Mark is that we know what we need to do create successful, prosperous, healthy cities. No city will be successful in the future unless it is low carbon. He made comments in relation to three key areas:

1 Compact City

Sprawl is the enemy, density is the friend. 6% of growth in energy consumption is urban sprawl.  For example Copenhagen spends 4% of GDP on transport whereas Houston spends 16%.

2. Connected Cities

‘Return of the bike the most important tool in urban transport’

There are now 700 cities with bike share. 40% cycle to work in one of the richest cities.

Benefits from health care cost savings, cuts in air pollution and economic benefits

C40 consider that road pricing is inevitable in most big cities. In London as a result most people are not driving.  Stockholm has seen a 35% fall in emissions and 40% growth

3. Co-ordinated cities

Successful cities will run on data. Benchmarking is a catalyst to change. For example in NYC they are looking for a 30% GHG emissions reduction from buildings between 2005 and 2017.

 Mark ended by asking what if Mayor’s ruled the world?  Political leadership is being shown by mayors from around the world.

The Waitematā Local Board received a special mention at the event for having a Low Carbon Community Action plan and a low carbon community network.

Greenways

Hakanoa greenway routeLocal board members came together on 31 March to hear an update on the work that has been underway to progress Greenways across Auckland. Simon Randall, Chair, Maungakiekie- Tamaki Local Board is the local board representative on a Greenways Leadership group set up by Stephen Town CEO, Auckland Council. That group has been looking at how best to deliver a connected Auckland through active transport.

We heard about the work underway to create a Greenways identity, an overview of a Greenways Design Guide and the potential level of investment in Greenways.

It is great to see the enthusiasm for Greenways from Local Boards and the commitment to making Auckland the world’s best city for cycling where Greenways are embraced.

In Waitematā we have recently made progress on the Grey Lynn greenways route with the widening of the Hakanoa reserve pathway (photo right). The design of the on-road sections of the route is in the process of being finalised by Auckland Transport and will shortly be available for public input.

neighbours day carlos and tanaNeighbours Day in the City Centre

Member Deborah Yates and I, with officer support, organised a Waitematā Local Board display at the Neighbours Day event in Freyberg Square and Ellen Melville Hall as part of Neighbours Day Aotearoa.  The event was aimed at inner city residents and involved a wide range of community organisations. Thanks to Splice, ADCOSS, Heart of the City and everyone who made the celebration of the city centre happen.

Ponsonby Road improvements

Fresh Kermit Ponsonby RoadFresh Kermit!  New feeder lanes and advance stop boxes on Ponsonby Road included as part of recent re-surfacing at the Board’s request are small but significant safety improvements for all road users.

Update on the Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience is reported on our agenda by Auckland Transport.

IPENZ transportation group conference

I attended the IPENZ transportation group conference 7-9 March with funding from the Board’s professional development budget.

The report back from the conference is attached to my monthly report (item 22).

 Workshops and meetings

From 1 March – 31 March  2016 I attended:

  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 1 March
  • Tamaki Drive Cycle Route Preferred Option/s Workshop hosted by Beca on behalf of Auckland Transport on 2 March
  • Have your say event for the Annual Budget 16/17 consultation at the Auckland Town Hall on 3 March
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 8 March at our new offices on Swanson St
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 9 March
  • Waitematā Local Board Annual Budget 2016/17 Hearing on 10 March
  • Met with Mik Smellie from the Residents Advisory Group on 10 March
  • Grafton Residents Association meeting to discuss the Annual budget and local board priorities on 14 March
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on  15 March
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 16 March
  • ADCOSS Forum on 17 March at Western Springs Community Hall: Towards an Age-friendly Auckland: The missing links
  • Elected Members Professional Development Programme – Social Media Forum on 18 March
  • Local Board Briefing on the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 on 18 March
  • Elected Members – Local Government Excellence Programme LGNZ Briefing on 21 March
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 22 March
  • Monthly media catch up on 22 March
  • Meeting organised by Auckland Transport to discuss the “Open Streets” event planned for 1 May on K’rd
  • Community portfolio meeting on 24 March
  • Grants Committee meeting on 30 March
  • Meeting to discuss the Ponsonby Cruising Club lease with Panuku Development Agency
  • Newmarket Lanesways project working group meeting to discuss progress to date
  • Local Board briefing on the Greenways project on 31 March

Events and functions

From 1 March – 31 March 2016 I attended:

  • Waitematā Local Board – official office opening on 2 March
  • IPENZ transportation group conference 7 -9 March (see Attachment A for my conference report back)
  • The James Play reception Steve MillerAuckland Arts Festival shows at the invitation of the AAF Trust (I have declared these tickets as gifts in accordance with Auckland Council’s code of practice)
    • Te Po
    • Cucina dell’ arte
    • St James Play: Part 1 (photo right at the opening night reception with Steven Miller who plays James I)
    • Carabosse Fire Garden at the Auckland Domain
  • Little Day Out at the Mt Eden Village Centre on 5 March
  • Music in Parks at Western Park (free music in parks event) on 5 March
  • Pasifika Festival Saturday 12 March
  • Ponsonby Market Day on Saturday 12 March
  • White Nights. Making Light performance by the Velociteers on Lightpath on 12 March
  • St Patricks Day parade along Ponsonby Road on 13 March
  • Learn to ride and consultation event in Grey Lynn Park on 13 and 20 March
  • Auckland Conversations on 15 March
  • Zoo opening with the PM March 2016One Planet Living launch at Unitec on 17 March
  • Grey Lynn school Aloha night on 18 March
  • Neighbours day city centre event on 19 March
  • David Haigh’s farewell from the Grafton Residents Association
  • Member of the official party at the Citizenship ceremony in the Town Hall on 22 March
  • Official opening of the Auckland Zoo’s new African savannah development by the Prime Minister, the Rt.Hon. John Key on 24 March 2016  (photo right)
  • Celebration of Lightpath with free ice cream on 30 March provided by Auckland Transport for the 100,000 trip since opening day on 3 December
  • Regional Facilities hosted local board function at Auckland Zoo on 30 March