This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during May 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.
Community- led development: 254 Ponsonby Road
At Auckland Council we have been talking a lot about community-led development and empowered communities over the last 4 years (I reported in April on the empowering communities approach currently underway) . We’ve been introduced to the concepts through excellent visiting speakers such as Milenko Matanovic and Jim Diers. We have a community-led development champions group convened by Roger Blakely, Chief Planner of which I am a member. We have many community groups participating in shaping local services and placemaking but we don’t have many positive examples of Council putting community-led development into practice.
At the April business meeting we agreed that the Waitematā Local Board:
i) Notes the feedback on the three concept plan options for 254 Ponsonby Road that were subject to public consultation from September to December 2014.
ii) Further notes that subsequent to the start of the consultation period that budget for the delivery of any of the three concept plan options is no longer available.
iii) Further notes the majority of submitters support option 3 providing for full use of the site as open space.
iv) Agrees to include an advocacy position to the Governing Body seeking a capex budget to develop the site consistent with option 3.
v) Agrees to build on the consultation feedback to work in partnership with the community to develop a solution within the available resources for 254 Ponsonby Road.
vi) Agrees to reallocate $10,000 from the Heritage Planning budget 2014/2015 to support the community partnership approach to developing a solution.
vii) Requests clarification from ACPL on whether the amendment to the Council’s Revenue and Financing Policy, which now allows for sales proceeds resulting from optimisation of service property assets to be reinvested into eligible local projects, applies to 254 Ponsonby Road that was purchased to provide civic space for future generations.
viii) Agrees that submitters to the consultation on the three concept plan options are provided a summary of the feedback received.
Work has since got underway by Council officers to develop the steps involved in the process. It is going to be challenge to all involved to attempt a new model for delivering an outcome that is widely supported by the community but hopefully “254 Ponsonby Road” ends up being an exemplar for an empowered community development project.
For the last four years I have been a member of the Central Joint Funding Committee made up of representatives from the Local Boards in the old Auckland City Council area. The Committee has continued to distribute legacy ACC grants (Accommodation Support Fund, Community Group Assistance Fund, Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund) totalling approx. $1.2m. The final committee meeting was in April and the Governing Body has decided that from 1 July these grants, and all other legacy grants from the across the region will no longer exist.
The Auckland -wide community grant budget of $3,249,441 has been allocated equally to all 21 local Boards. Unfortunately this means a big drop in the funding available for community groups that are based in Waitematā but provide a regional service (eg Youthline).
Starting with the next round of funding (due to open in August) community groups will be directed to apply to Local Board community funding. As Waitematā Local Board grants are for a maximum of $6k (rather than $25k under the legacy central grants) there is inevitably going to be a difficult transition period for community groups who are likely to see a big decrease in funding available from Council.
At the community development portfolio meeting in May we asked that the fact that there are new arrangements and that there will be a major impact on organisations should be clearly communicated in advertising for the community funding workshops coming up (to be held on 10 June for Waitemata groups).
Ponsonby Road resurfacing
The Transport portfolio has consistently challenged Auckland Transport to consider every renewal or maintenance project in terms of what can be achieved to maximize the transport budget to provide for all transport modes (this was reflected in our feedback on the RLTP). For example maintenance projects provide an opportunity for arterials to be relooked at with new layouts that include bus lanes and cycle lanes, remove cycle pinch points and add better pedestrian crossings.
Ponsonby Road was scheduled by AT to be resurfaced in May on a like for like basis. The good news is that following Local Board advocacy and input from stakeholders, Auckland Transport has agreed to make minor but critical safety improvements when the surface is re-marked (the remarking will take place once the new surface has sufficiently hardened).
Auckland Transport’s Parking Strategy
On 27 May Auckland Transport briefed Local Boards, key stakeholders and the media on the new parking strategy that has been adopted which will mean a consistent approach for the first time for parking across the region. The strategy was developed following public consultation with AT receiving 5,500 submissions. A quarter of submissions were about the overall management of demand parking, 18% were about parking on residential streets and on park and rides and 11% were about parking on arterial roads. Half the submissions came from central Auckland or from City Centre fringe suburbs such as Parnell, Ponsonby and Newton.
The document allows for a case by case approach to parking taking into account local issues and the views of local boards and the community. As advocated by the Board, consultation with the community will continue as parking measures are introduced.
Adoption of the strategy means that Auckland Transport can now move forward on implementing critically needed residential parking zones for central suburbs based on the successful St Marys Bay trial. Auckland Transport has met with the Board and Freemans Bay Residents Association to discuss details of the Freemans Bay scheme which will be consulted on in June.
I facilitated the May inner city network stakeholders meeting on the theme of transport hosted at GridAKL on 28 May with presentations from Priscilla Steel on Auckland Transport’s work programme; Carol Greensmith AT’s Communications Manager on the City Rail Link; Kathryn King, AT’s Cycling/Walking manager and Ellie Craft on Generation Zero’s transport campaigns.
Transport is seen as a priority for the network stakeholders so the presentations were well received.
Workshops and meetings
During May I attended:
- The Albert-Eden Community Development Portfolio team hosted meeting on 1 May of the central boards’ Community Development portfolio leads to share ideas and issues, and opportunities for collaboration and professional development.
- Volunteer Centre Network of Aotearoa National Hui opening with the Deputy Mayor and Lee Corrick from Albert-Eden Local Board on 4 May
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 May
- Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor
- Briefing discussion on kindergarten multi-premises lease on 6 May
- Meeting Freemans Bay Residents’ Association and Auckland Transport to discuss progress on implementing the residents parking zone
- Meeting to discuss the urban cycleways programme with Kathryn King (AT’s walking and cycling manager) and the Mayor’s office
- Presentation by Sarah Clark Director of Office of Senior Citizens and Blair McCarthy on the Positive Ageing Strategy hosted by Joan Lardner-Rivlin on 12 May
- Meeting to discuss freedom camping in local parks and Council’s strategy
- Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 12 May
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 13 May
- Catch up with the NBA’s General Manager
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 14 May
- Urban Cycleway Investment panel all day meeting in Auckland on 15 May (this was the final meeting of the panel)
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 19 May
- Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor on 19 May
- 254 Ponsonby Road – Community Empowered Approach Next Steps discussion on 19 May
- ATEED economic development update meeting with the Board on 20 May
- Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 20 May
- Attended the Governing Body Finance and Performance Committee meeting on 21 May when the accelerated transport programme funded by a transport level was discussed and approved.
- Community Place-making champions group meeting on 25 May
- Follow up meeting regarding Waima Street issues organised by Arch Hill residents with representatives of Auckland Council, NZ Police, and Newton School.
- Presentation of the preliminary results of the Auckland’s Public Life Survey, in collaboration with Gehl Architects
- Site visit to new local board offices on Swanson street
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 26 May
- Auckland Transport’s presentation of final approved Parking Strategy for Local Boards on 27 May
- Community development portfolio monthly meeting on 27 May
- Inner City Network meeting on Transport hosted at GridAKL
- Good Citizen Awards selection panel meeting on 28 May
Events and functions
- During May I attended:
- Lisa Reihana In Pursuit of Venus [infected] opening at the Auckland Art Gallery on 1 May
- TEDx Auckland on 2 May
- The Dolls House at the Maidment on 2 May at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 2 May
- Save our Harbour protest on 3 May
- Art Ache at Golden Dawn
- First Thursdays on K’rd on 7 May
- Sugar Tree apartments stage 1 opening at La Zeppa
Associates breakfast – urban design, cycling and transport discussion on 7 May at the Auckland Art Gallery
- Frocks on Bikes mothers day bike ride
- Opening of University of Auckland’s Newmarket campus on 13 May
- GLBA monthly drinks on 14 May
- Auckland Writers Festival Designing Auckland panel discussion on 16 May
- Auckland Women’s Centre Charity Art Auction preview hosted by Hair Works on 16 May
- Fairtrade morning tea hosted by All Good Bananas in support of Oxfam and celebrating 5 years of fairtrade bananas
- Bike Rave on 22 May (photo with members Tava and Dempsey)
- Future of Transport meeting hosted by the Auckland Labour Isthmus hub on 23 May
- Citizenship ceremony at the Town Hall on 26 May
- Taku Tamaki: Auckland Stories opening at the Auckland Museum on 28 May
- Attended a two day Wānanga Reo at AUT over Queens Birthday weekend to further my understanding of te reo Maori
Photos: In my report I’ve included photos of the Waitematā Local Board funded Pop programme. I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing the Pop ping pong tables in action at Aotea Square.
Gifts registered: Auckland Theatre Company tickets to opening night productions