Monthly Board Report February 2015

This is my first report for 2015 covering highlights from December 2014 and January 2015.

Welcome Queens WharfOpening up the city centre to people

Despite the transport messaging that the Central City was “closed” the streets of Lower Queen St and Quay St were very much full and open to people over Auckland anniversary weekend.

I enjoyed the impressive 3 days of events for Auckland 175th birthday that included the Waitematā Local Board supported International Buskers Festival and the Story of Auckland in Shed 10 (I attended the launch of both). It was great see so many people enjoying the waterfront and finding time to give feedback about improving the city centre.

The weekend really showed the huge potential for improving downtown by re-prioritising road space.

Saving the Pohutukawa 6

I have provided regular updates on the Board’s opposition to Auckland Transport’s proposal to remove 6 mature Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road. The latest update is attached (ATTACHMENT A) following on from the Commissioners decision on 17 December to recommend removal.

Cycling & walking investment

I am really delighted to have been appointed to the Urban Cycling Investment Panel by the Transport Minister on the recommendation of LGNZ.  The launch of the urban cycling programme was held on 30 January 2015 on the old Nelson St motorway off- ramp (ATTACHMENT B). I attended the first meeting of the panel in Wellington on 8 December.

causeway opening group2015 is going to be the year to celebrate new cycling infrastructure in Auckland starting on 20 January when I joined the Albert- Eden community, Cycle Action, David Shearer MP and NZTA to celebrate the opening of the new causeway bridge on the NW cycleway.

The much anticipated and beautifully constructed Westhaven Promenade opened at the end of January. It is perfect for cycling with children in a safe, attractive environment but still needs to be connected to all the way to Silo Park. Auckland Transport announced on 30 January that Westhaven promenade January 2015construction of the final leg of the shared path on Westhaven Drive continuing along Beaumont Street is starting in February with a completion date in March (the shared path is intended as an interim measure).

Over the summer break I enjoyed one of the many cycling adventures now possible in Auckland (ATTACHMENT C)

Speed enforcement

In response to the many unjustified and ill-informed attacks over the summer on the NZ Police in response to speed limit enforcement I decided to write up my personal experience that influences my personal support for the safer systems approach to road safety (ATTACHMENT D). On the positive side I think there is a growing demand for slower speeds especially on residential streets and in the city centre.

Kelmarna Community Gardens

I attended the Kelmarna Community Gardens Trust public meeting on 29 January that gathered people together to reflect on their connections to the garden and to help plan the future now that Framework has withdrawn as a tenant.

It was an incredibly positive, well attended meeting demonstrating a huge amount of support for the gardens to continue as an organic farm with a place for everyone.  The Trust, with the assistance from Council officers, is considering options for managing the gardens going forward.

Everyday is your chance to make this city a little betterPlacemaking

The January Inner City Network meeting was hosted by Waterfront Auckland. Frith Walker gave an excellent presentation on placemaking that inspired the many people who attended to consider what it is possible to achieve in Auckland with clear vision and creativity.

Way finding

Street signage has been a topical local issue over the summer in response to Auckland Transport’s trial new signs on city streets (so far mainly in the Fort St no exitAlbert- Eden area). The Board has not yet been asked to give formal feedback on the design.  In the meantime I continue to push for way finding signage for pedestrians and cyclists on streets that are only NO EXIT for vehicles (such as on Fort St).

I was impressed to see the new way finding signs that have gone up in Myers Park. They are clear and well-designed providing a best practice template for future way finding designs.

Berm planting

At the Board’s December meeting we passed the following resolution in an attempt to progress Auckland Transport’s draft guidelines to encourage responsible plantings on grass verges. In the meantime “happy berms” have appeared over the summer.

Some of the events I attended during December and January

Grey Lynn library cake cuttingThe centenaries of Parnell Pool and the Tepid Baths were celebrated in December and the Grey Lynn Library’s 90th birthday.

Mayoral Reception on the occasion of the Battle of the River Plate 75th anniversary commemoration with the remaining 5 survivors.

The final Citizenship Ceremonies of 2014 were held on 1 December at the Town Hall (I was in the official party for the afternoon ceremony)

Auckland put on a beautiful morning for the Ironman 70.3 on the waterfront. I attended the welcome function on 16 January.

I attended the Breakers game on Friday 23rd January as a guest of the Mayor

It was sad to farewell Chris Davidson at the end of January as the CEO, Parnell Trust but he leaves the Trust in great shape.

 

Media release: Pohutukawa savers

Sunday 18 January 2015

Pohutukawa Savers to Attend Public Meeting

Pohutukawa Savers will be out in force at the SH16 St Lukes Interchange Upgrade community liaison meeting on Tuesday evening, 20th January, to highlight the imminent threat to six heritage pohutukawa opposite MOTAT, five of which are at least 80 years old.

A growing alliance of concerned residents from all walks of life and from across the region, the Pohutukawa Savers invite key decision-makers from Auckland Transport to front up and listen to community concerns. The meeting will be held at 6pm in the Western Springs Community Garden Hall – ironically, just down the road from the trees the group aims to save.

 Auckland Transport claims the trees must go to make space for its preferred intersection design that creates a second turning lane into St Lukes Road. The Pohutukawa Savers believe the trees can be retained via an improved design that also satisfies traffic requirements. They intend to vigorously appeal Auckland Transport’s decision to the Environment Court.

Pohutukawa Savers spokesperson Jolisa Gracewood says, “These grand old trees are a vital element of the area’s history and living heritage. They were planted in 1934 as part of a continuous avenue of pohutukawa along Great North Road, to beautify the newly created public greenspace as a gift to the citizens of Auckland. As such, they belong to all Aucklanders, and are located on open park land under the responsibility of the Waitematā Local Board.”

“These trees form a spectacular streetscape that welcomes visitors to the Western Springs parks precinct. Trees of this stature are crucial to the urban ecosystem, providing shade, air-filtering and stormwater dispersal, as well as a habitat for native birds. People all over Auckland, and beyond, are aghast at their proposed destruction. The spontaneous joy with which people have decorated the trees since hearing about their possible fate shows how valued they are.”

“Sacrificing these healthy, monumental trees would be a hasty, irreversible loss for little demonstrable gain. We know Auckland Transport has workable alternatives to this ‘either/or scenario’, and we believe that smart design can solve the traffic questions while preserving the historic and visual integrity of the space. We are asking Auckland Transport to recognise the value of these trees to Aucklanders of yesterday, today and tomorrow — and to help create a more liveable city by embracing a 21st century design that saves the trees.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 20 January at 6pm at the Western Springs Community Garden Hall, Great North Road. All who wish to support the trees are encouraged to attend.

Comment:

Jolisa Gracewood ph 027 513 5923

Christine Rose ph 021 056 3784

The Pohutukawa Savers are an alliance of residents, arborists, engineers, lawyers, and tree-lovers. They administer a Facebook page (2425 likes as of 18 January 2015) at www.facebook.com/savethepohutukawa6/, a Twitter account at @pohutukawa6 with 468 followers, and an online petition which has gathered 1912 signatures from across the country (as of 18 Jan 2015): https://www.change.org/p/auckland-transport-save-the-6-pohutukawa-trees-on-the-corner-of-st-lukes-rd-and-great-north-rd

Saving the Pohutukawa 6

Pohutukawa 6

Updated on 26 January 2015

Over the Christmas – New Year break the “Pohutukawa Savers” have been busy drawing attention to the plight of the majestic trees Auckland Transport wants to chop down at 820 Great North Road opposite MOTAT. The Pohutukawa 6 are up against the motorway widening juggernaut but there is still time to save them for the benefit of future generations.

Here is an update on the process so far and what steps are available to put a stop to Auckland Transport’s tree destruction agenda.

Back in August 2013 Auckland Transport’s presented “final” plans to the Waitematā Local Board for widening Great North Road as part of NZTA’s St Lukes interchange project to provide for an additional turning lane onto SH16 via a reconstructed St Lukes bridge. AT’s plans included improved cycling facilities and an Leave these treesextended bus lane but also required the removal of six 80 year old Pohutukawa trees. As the trees are on Auckland Council owned open space land zoned for car parking Auckland Transport needed the Board’s consent to go ahead with the intended works.

After many months of reviewing draft plans and discussing the options with the Board (and our Park’s advisors) Auckland Transport’s army of consultants were confident the Board’s sign off was a mere formality. However the Board remained unconvinced with Auckland Transport’s assessment that the only option was for the road to be widened and the trees removed so we refused to grant consent. I reported on the Board’s position at the time.  

A couple of months later Auckland Transport took a different tack by successfully obtaining resource consent for stage 1 works for a single turning lane from Great North Road on to the new bridge.  As landowners the We heart these trees bannerBoard gave approval for the trees to be pruned so the turning lane could be raised to meet the height of the new bridge-subject to a range of conditions. 

However in Febuary 2014 Auckland Transport informed the Board that instead of going ahead with stage 1 as consented AT intended to seek to vary the resource consent and obtain a Notice of Requirement (NOR) to remove the trees.  The application was publicly notified on 6 June 2014 and 65 submissions were received, the majority of which opposed the removal of the trees (frustratingly due to a clerical error 54 of these submissions were disqualified from the process – an absurd situation that undermined the AT wants to kill ushearing – Jolisa Gracewood has documented the experience here) . The Waitematā Local Board was one of the submitters in opposition to the NOR suggesting an alternative design which would have seen the trees retained without defeating Auckland Transport’s transport objectives.  

A public hearing on the NOR was heard in early November over 2 days.  The Waitematā Local Board engaged its own lawyer (the excellent Nick Whittington from Meredith Connell) and expert witnesses to strongly oppose Auckland Transport’s application at the hearing as outlined in the Board Chair’s  statement.

Auckland Transport's planting schedule
Auckland Transport’s planting schedule

Just before Christmas, Council received  the independent commissioners recommendation unfortunately confirming the NOR as lodged, i.e. with the removal of the trees, with the addition of the landscaping plan (photo right) submitted at the hearing.

Next Steps

  • Auckland Transport formally received Council’s (through the Hearing Panel) recommendation on 18 December 2014 and has 30 working days to make their decision on whether or not they accept the Hearing Panel’s recommendation.   They can now make that decision any time up until 20 February 2015. (For the purposes of the RMA, “working day” does not include the period commencing 20 December to 10 January).
  • Save these treesOnce Auckland Transport advises Council of their decision, Council has 15 working days to advise submitters of the decision.
  • Auckland Council (as the Territorial Authority) and/or the submitters may appeal the decision within 15 working days of receiving notice of Auckland Transport’s (the Requiring Authority’s) decision
  • The appeal period runs for 15 working days from Auckland Council’s notification of Auckland Transport’s decision.
  • AT cannot do any of the works under the NOR (which includes the removal of trees) until such time as the appeal period has ended and any appeals resolved.
  • Once the appeal process has been exhausted and if Auckland Transport has permission to remove the trees, Auckland Transport has to seek land owner consent to enter the land. Auckland Council is the landowner. The Waitematā Local Board are the delegated decision makers. If the Board refuses to give consent AT will then have to use the Public Works Act.  At the Community Group Liaison Meeting on 20 January (reported on by Transport Blog’s Patrick Reynolds) Board Chair Shale Chambers said that he would take the decision to a Board meeting so that there would be another opportunity for public input.

historic photo of GNR PohutukawasThe fight to save the trees

The appeal process is likely to mean that Auckland Transport cannot take any steps to remove the trees until well into the year. In the meantime campaigning is underway to put pressure on Auckland Transport to re-look at the options.

Action Station: use this handy link to send an email to David Warburton, CEO Auckland Transport (over 500 have used it already)

Follow and support the campaign on Facebook (Save the Western Springs Pohutukawa)

The Pohutukawa 6 on Twitter

Auckland Council logo facing the chop by Auckland TransportJoin the campaign:a Pohutukawa Savers group is using Loomio to plan the protest action. The history of the trees is also being collated by Jolisa Gracewood . It looks highly likely the Pohutukawas that form a boulevard along Great North Road were planted deliberately on Arbor Day in 1934 for the enjoyment of future generations as part of the formation of Chamberlain Golf Course

Media 

Interview on Checkpoint 17 December

NZTA’s motorway plans affect pohutukawas 

Backyard battler – Patrick Reynolds talks on video about the trees

Pohutukawa tree battle heats up 23 January, Auckland City Harbour News

Brian Rudman’s column 

Push to save 80 year old Pohutukawa trees, 20 January, Radio NZ

Why the Pohutukawa 6 has got people so passionate, 26 January, Transport Blog

 

 

 

 

Monthly Board Report December 2014

Child Fund NZ's Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf
Child Fund NZ’s Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during November 2014 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 and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.

I was acting chair for the week of 17th November.

This is my final report for 2014 and also brings to an end the first year of this term of Auckland Council.

Many thanks to all those who have supported the Board’s work during 2014. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy festive season & summer solstice (photo right: Child Fund NZ’s brilliant Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf)

Recommended resolution:

a)     That the report be received.

b)     That the Waitemata Local Board

i) Supports encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable

ii) Supports the development of berm-planting guidelines, which would include:

  •    Benefits of appropriate berm planting
  •    Safe depths to dig to
  •    Ideal plants in a number of categories – natives, food, trees
  •    Maintenance expectations, including in regard to safety eg height
  • Role of Local Boards in acting as a key conduit for Auckland Transport to have community relationships around berm planting
  • Working with neighbours

iii) Requests Auckland Transport develop berm planting guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards

iv)  Requests Auckland Transport report on progress to the Board’s February meeting.

Portfolio reports:  Transport

Parking – Amendment to Road Users Rules to allow residents to park over their own driveways

At the Waitematā Local Board November meeting Trevor Lund, a member of the Freemans Bay Residents Association, presented in public forum seeking a letter of support from the Board requesting NZTA amend clause 6.9 of the Road Users Rule to allow Road Controlling Authorities (in this case Auckland Transport) to exempt residents with a permit, and allow them to park across their own driveways (parallel to the kerb, not over the footpath).

The proposal has the potential to create additional parking spaces in areas where there is high demand for on-road parking. In the response to Mr Lund’s presentation the Board passed the following resolution.

9.2 Public Forum – Trevor Lund, Freemans Bay Resident
Resolution number WTM/2014/215MOVED by Chairperson S Chambers, seconded by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom:

  1. a)      That Trevor Lund be thanked for his attendance and presentation to the Board.
  2. b)      That the proposal be referred to Auckland Transport and the Transport portfolio holders for further consideration and that this be reported back to the Board meeting on 8 December 2014

Parking on Garnet RoadThe proposal was discussed at the transport portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November.  We considered the benefits of the proposal for areas like Freemans Bay where on street parking is at capacity due to all day commuter parking.  We noted a number of points

  •  Currently where a resident parks across their driveway (parallel to the kerb or facing the driveway as in the photo right but not over the footpath) Auckland Transport will not enforce the rule unless there is a complaint.   The rule gives Auckland Transport the ability to act where there is a dispute over access or safety issues.
  •  There are benefits to all residents of keeping driveways clear for example driveways provide safer crossing points for pedestrians particularly with pushchairs. A  street with no gaps in the on- street parking could also create hazards for wheelchair users and mobility scooters.
  • The resident parking zone that Auckland Transport is going to consult on early next year is intended alleviate much of the parking pressure on Freemans Bay.
  •  Many residents may wish to see occupancy rates reduce on residential streets once the parking zone is installed and not wish to encourage additional parking across driveways.
  • There are administrative issues for Auckland Transport to consider for example how to identify the legitimate home owner’s car and how to enforce complaints. There are also costs associated with a permit scheme (and residents may query why a permit should be necessary for an activity that is currently “permitted”).

Overall the transport portfolio concluded that while we wish to support proposals that will address the very serious parking issues currently experienced in Freemans Bay we think there are a number of down-sides to a rule change.  Also in practice it is likely to make very little difference to the parking available because residents already park across their own driveways when necessary.

However we will continue to discuss the options with the Freemans Bay Residents Association and Auckland Transport and support Auckland Transport undertaking a trial of the proposal. We also recommend the Board re-consider providing a letter of support to NZTA once the residents parking zone has been implemented and the impact assessed.

Notice of Requirement hearing – removal of 6 mature pohutukawa trees on Great North Road

Auckland Transport's planting schedule
Auckland Transport’s planting schedule

I attended the Notice of Requirement hearing on 5 and 6 November in support of the Board’s objection to Auckland Transport’s proposal to remove 6 mature Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road. The Board’s lawyer Nick Whittington did a fantastic job at the hearing arguing that the adverse impact of removing the trees on GNR would be “significant” and “enduring” and outlined why Auckland Transport evidence was  “back-filling, self-serving and cursory”.  We have asked AT to consider an alternative option (referred to in the hearing as option 6).

Disappointingly Auckland Transport has stuck to their position that there is no alternative but to remove these notable trees (probably planted on Arbor Day in 1934) for road widening to provide for two lanes turning from Great North Road on to a new St Lukes bridge.   At the hearing AT represented their proposed planting plan to replace the trees. (photo right)

An aspect of the hearing that was particularly preposterous was the 54 submissions out of 64  that all had wrong submission numbers were found to be “invalid” due to clerical error.  One submitter Jolisa Gracewood has written here about the experience of being so terribly let down by the process.

Fortunately she still chose to speak and put forward her very well considered points, as she said “Auckland Transport’s plan prioritises car movement at all costs: no creative thought for how to safely move everyone else”

The Commissioners are due to release their decision on 17 December.

Cycling improvements

Great North Road feeder lane before afterI was really thrilled to see the greening of new feeder lanes on Great North Road and K’rd at the end of November. As previously reported the issues with the Great North Road intersection were logged with Auckland Transport four years ago (one of the first safety issues I raised with AT after first getting elected). Due to the narrow lanes cyclists were forced to either navigate 3 lanes of traffic or mount the kerb to avoid getting squashed by buses and cars. AT’s original response was to say the feeder was not possible without the widening of the road by removing heritage buildings. Fortunately after persistent advocacy from the Board and Cycle Action Auckland someone clever at AT got on to the job earlier this year and came up with a solution not only on the Great North Road side of the intersection but also the K’rd approach (feeder lanes for the Ponsonby Road and Newton Road sections are also about to be installed)

Monthly transport update

A monthly update with Auckland Transport took place on 26 November.  Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Portfolio reports:  Community

Berm planting guidelines

Hepburn StreetIn July 2013 Auckland Transport standardised the urban berm moving service so that generally all owners and occupiers adjacent to road side grass verges (berms) are responsible for maintenance. Auckland Transport has provided various exceptions such as on road corridors through town centres and on steep sections.

Following an increase in residents informally planting on the berms Auckland Transport undertook in February 2014 to draft guidelines. These guidelines have not yet been forthcoming, even in draft form, although the Community Placemaking Champions group of Local Board members (of which I am a member)  was recently briefed that “private” berm guidelines will be released for consultation in 2015.  “Private” applies to people who wish to plant a berm that is adjacent to their existing property, and will not cover community groups or gardening collectives who may wish to plant on berms.

The champions group has recognised that the guidelines provide an opportunity to support the “placemaking” function of berms and to foster the many benefits.   For example – litter reduction, storm water management, streetscape amenity values, community development and the promotion of bio-diversity.  Guidelines can provide a best practice framework for street planting while minimising the impact on the road corridor. For example the City of Sydney Footpath Gardening Policy  allows residents and businesses to put planter boxes on the footpath and/or carry out gardening on footpath verges outside their properties under certain conditions.

Auckland Transport’s approach to the guidelines (including advice currently on AT’s website which incorrectly states berm planting is prohibited) suggests that the draft guidelines are not being approached from a placemaking perspective but mainly to identify what is not allowed in the road corridor for safety reasons.

Local Boards are best placed to develop the guidelines with Auckland Transport and to assist with the smooth implementation.  I therefore recommend that the Board confirms support for encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable and directs Auckland Transport to develop appropriate guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards.

Community grants

The Community Grants Committee met in November to consider applications to the second round.  We received applications totalling $$104,731 from the available $$69,153.

The committee’s recommendations are on the December agenda. Applications to the third and final community grant round for 14/15 can be made until 6 March 2015 (for a decision in April).

I also attended the Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November to consider applications to Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund. We confirmed funding for 5 projects totally $23,322.93 including assistance to St Joseph’s Church, Grey Lynn (leadwork maintenance) and St Patricks Cathedral (restoration work) within the Waitematā Local Board area.  $26,677.07 remains for the final round from this fund (which will cease to exist once the new funding policy is implemented for 15/16)

Community Gardens

Te Maara Community Garden blessing
Te Maara Community Garden blessing

One of the Board’s priorities is to support community gardens so I was particularly pleased to attend the blessing of Te Māra  (the Grey Lynn Community Garden).   Redevelopment of this garden at St Columba Church under the guidance of a new vicar Brent Swann was made possible with a community grant from the Board

Also during November a new initiative has been launched called Kai Auckland   – a movement for all Aucklanders that offers a cohesive and integrated approach to creating connection and nourishment through food. Groups such as community gardens, food coops and farmers markets are encouraged to register on the site.

Kelmarna Community Gardens

Framework Trust confirmed during November that they are no longer in a position to sub-lease Kelmarna Community gardens. This has been a distressing time for the clients and Framework employees who work at the gardens.  Fortunately Kelmarna Community Gardens Trust has confirmed that they would like to continue with the lease (which is about to be renewed) and are keen to explore options with the Board for continuing the management of the gardens. A meeting has been arranged with the Trustees, relevant Community Development officers and the community portfolio members to discuss options going forward.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 November – 30 November I attended:

  • Ponsonby Community Centre management committee meeting on 3 November
  • Local Board Workshop on 4 November
  • Attended the Notice of Requirement hearing remove 6 Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road on 5 and 6 November
  • Meet Ponsonby Business Association GM on 6 November
  • Communications catch up on  10 November
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 10 November
  • Auckland’s Resource Recovery Network – Workshop for Local Board Members on 10 November The purpose of this workshop is to update you on the RRN and discuss the opportunities that resource recovery facilities can provide local boards to progress community, economic development and environmental objectives. Presentations from Xtreme Waste Raglan and the new Waiuku Recovery Centre
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 November
  • City Centre activation programme
  • Te Reo Māori exam on 11 November
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 11 November
  • Attended presentation to Ponsonby Business Association members on 254 Ponsonby Road options on 12 November
  • Meeting  on 13 November with  Auckland Transport regarding the prioritisation of transport projects for the Long Term Plan
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 13 November
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Maungawhai on 14 November
  • Workshop  on 18 November with governing body members on options for the Aotea Square/Civic Administration Building
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 18 November
  • Meeting up of community group representatives organised by Auckland Transport to discuss plans for an “open streets” even on Quay St in April 2015
  • Joint Governing Body and Local Board Chairs meeting on 19 November (A regular meeting offering the opportunity for the two arms of Auckland Council’s governance to discuss and debate key issues)
  • Meeting with local resident regarding resource consent issues
  • Community Grants briefing on 20 November
  • Local Board Chairs Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 24 November
  • Community Grants Committee meeting on 24 November
  • Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland
    Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland

    Meeting with Shinagawa Peace Delegation hosted by Cr Cathy Casey (This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Nuclear-free Peaceful City Shinagawa Declaration.  As part of the commemorations, a peace delegation from Shinagawa will be visiting Auckland from the 24th to the 26th November.   The purpose of the visit is to exchange information about peace initiatives that are part of the wider ‘Cities for Peace’ movement, of which Auckland Council became a part in 2011.  The delegation will also meet with the Peace Council and staff members from the Peace Foundation while they are in Auckland.)

  • Meeting with Sustainable Coastlines to discuss their Waterfront training centre and resource recovery park concept to be built at Wynyard Quarter
  • Stakeholders consultation meeting on the Newmarket Laneways Plan on 24 November
  • Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 24 November
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 25 November
  • Communications catch up on 25 November
  • Meeting to discuss LTP 2015 consultation events with the Board’s engagement adviser
  • Civil Defence Community Response Group meeting hosted by Grey Lynn Neighbourhood support
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  26 November
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November
  • Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November – Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund Applications

Events and functions

In the period 1 November – 30 November 2014 I attended:

  • Blessing of Te Māra – St Columba Community Gardens – He Timatanga Hou Project on 1 November
  • Beach Road stage II consultation open day at Britomart Market on 1 November
  • Reuse to reduce market at Auckland Zoo for conservation week
  • ATC’s Jesus Christ Superstar opening night production at Q Theatre on 1 November at the invitation of ATC
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM on 2 November (I was re-elected Chair of the management committee)
  • Blend with the BruntlettsBlend with the Bluntletts ride on 2 November organised by Generation Zero, Transportblog, Blend Store and the Frockers at Frocks on Bikes – Auckland (photo right published in the Auckland City Harbour News)
  • Green Desk interview with blogger and writer Melissa Bruntlett, who lives life on two wheels in Vancouver, about Van Cycle Chic – Observations from an Emerging Bike Culture.
  • Auckland Conversations on 4 November Vancouver Cycle Chic: Observations from emerging bike culture Chris & Melissa Bruntlett ( report back on their presentation)
  • Silo Theatre’s Blind Date at Basement Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 5 November
  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 6 November
  • Light Show at the Auckland Art Gallery (I couldn’t make it to the opening night but enjoyed going with friends)
  • The Official Launch of Federal Street on 7 November
  • Franklin Road upgrade Open Day – Community Information Session on 8 November hosted by Auckland Transport
  • Sustainable Coastlines the Love Project at Silo Six
  • Armistice Day CommemorationArmistice Day Commemoration at Auckland Museum
  • Art in the Dark launch on 12 November and attended Art in the Dark at Western Park on 2 of the 4 nights (one of the four nights was cancelled)
  • Parnell Festival of Roses opening speech and helped at the Board’s stand to consult on the Pt Resolution plan
  • Launch of the ATEED innovation plan at GRID AKL
  • Creative Communities Showcase hosted by Auckland Council
  • World of Wearable Art Exhibition Launch at the Auckland Museum
  • Opening of the Outside Art Fair hosted by Toi Ora Art Trust on 21 November
  • Nuffield Street, Newmarket Christmas Festival on 22 November
  • Glenn Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway open day hosted by Auckland Transport on 22 November
  • Picnic with board members Christopher Dempsey and Deborah Yates for the Daldy Street opening Party Saturday 22 November
  • Auckland Conversation – Affordable Housing Panel Discussion on 24 November
  • Blessing of Myers Park new playground on 26 November
  • Spring Fling event in Takapuna hosted by Auckland Transport and Frocks on Bikes on 26 November
  • Daldy Street Picnic
    Daldy Street Picnic

    Consultation and Engagement Awards 2014 at the Town Hall on 28 November  (Since 2011, the Consultation and Engagement Awards have recognised excellence, and encouraged quality and innovation in public participation. The awards are a chance to celebrate and have pride in the high standard of community consultation that happens across Auckland, ensuring sustainable decisions can be made and ultimately creating the world’s most liveable city while delivering Aucklanders great value for money. Congratulations to the Local Board Services Team who won the “involve” category and the People’s choice award for the 21 Local Board Plan)

  • Lighting up of the Child Fund NZ Tree of Bikes on Queens Wharf on 28 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival and helped out on the Waitemata Local Board stand consulting on the draft Grey Lynn Park Development Plan on 29 November
  • Santa Parade on 30 November at the invitation of ATEED
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)

Gifts:

Book gifted by the author: Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest by Mike D Wilcox

Monthly Board Report May 2014

ANZAC day 2014This report covers my Board activities during April 2014 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 and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.

Portfolio Reports: Community 

Community Grants

The Central Joint Funding Committee made up of members from Orakei, Albert-Eden, Puketapapa and Waitematā Local Boards met on 15 April to allocate funding from round two of the Community Group Assistance Fund (this is a legacy Auckland City Council fund). In total we allocated $210,093.50 to groups in the central board area including in the Waitemata Local Board area Circability Trust ($25,000), Toi Ora ($25,000), Artist Alliance ($3,888), TAPAC ($13,685), Triangle TV ($18,000), Youthline ($8,050) and Volunteering Auckland ($7000). The minutes of the meeting are available on the Council website.

Community centres

The Community portfolio has been assisting community centres over the last month with funding issues. The Community Facilities team have confirmed that funding grants available for the centres have been rolled over for 14/15 at the same levels as 13/14. This is creating concerns for centres who are trying to improve facilities and programming.

A report should be on our agenda this month seeking a decision on approximately $20,000 available as additional grant funding.  We have encouraged centres to consider proposals focused on sustainability (such as waste minimisation) and accessibility.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings were attended during April relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Portfolio report:  Transport

 Travel to work census dataShaping Auckland’s transport

 The CEO of Auckland Transport led a workshop on 14 April with Central Local Board’s regarding Transport Plans for the 2015- 25 period. The workshop was an opportunity to discuss issues of interest in our area directly with AT senior management to ensure Auckland Transport better understands Local Board priorities before transport plans are developed.

As part of the scene- setting for the workshop Auckland Transport presented the 2013 Census data for each local Board. In Waitemata there were 42, 882 employed adults (people aged 15 years and over) out of a total population count of 77,136. Of the 16,182 who commuted on census day 49% made the trip to work by car, 1% by motorbike, 16% by public transport, 31% walked and 3% cycled. The Auckland average for travel by car is 83% and only 5% average for walking.

The census data strongly shows the benefits of investment in PT and active transport to provide transport choice.

Great North Road intersection Great North Road resurfacing

The resurfacing of Great North Road between Western Springs and K’rd got underway in April.  We raised with Auckland Transport that this could have been a great opportunity to better use existing infrastructure through improvements for all modes not just locking in the current deficiencies as planned.

One win from the maintenance work is that Auckland Transport is installing a feeder lane at the approach to K’rd/Great North Road intersection.  This pinch point on the network was first logged with Auckland Transport by the transport portfolio over three years ago and is a priority project in our Local Board agreement.

Design for a feeder lane and advance stop box on Great North Road

Great North Road feeder lane

Skypath open day display Vernon Tava and Shale Chambers

Skypath

An open day organised by the Auckland Harbour Bridge Skypath Trust was held on 12 April to give residents the opportunity to view new designs for the pathway and landings.

All the St Mary’s Bay residents I have spoken to are strongly in support of the project and can see the many benefits it will bring to locals.

The Trust intends to apply for resource consent in June. It is great to see this transformational project progressing.

Grafton Gully Cycleway

Grafton gully Cycleway progress April 2014Progress at Wellesley Street underpass April 2014As these photos show NZTA is making great progress on the Grafton Gully Cycleway. Auckland Transport continue to give assurances that the connection to the cycleway at Beach Road is on track to be completed by September this year between Churchill Street and Quay Street via Mahuhu Crescent (in line with NZTA’s proposed finish to the Grafton Gully Cycleway).  We are monitoring this closely and also progress on the Upper Queen Street connection which is being progressed by Auckland Council’s city transformation team.

Monthly transport update

We’ve attended two transport catch up during April. Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Other board activities

Franklin RoadAnnual Plan Local Board hearings

Every year each of the 21 Local Boards has an opportunity to present to the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors of Auckland Council) on their activities, advocacy areas and budget requests that the Board wants included in the Annual Plan.

On 29 April the Waitemata Local Board, led by Shale Chambers, had our turn to outline our priorities for 14/15.  I spoke to our transport advocacy areas (attachment A).

Local Board Plan

In early April we completed our early engagement on our Local Board plan with a series of meetings with resident groups. During April we have been working on our draft plan which will be going to our June Board meeting for approval to go out for consultation

Out and about in Waitematā

Newly painted electrical boxes on Picton street just off Ponsonby Road (photo left)

The Central Library has a newly refurbished children’s area which is bright and fun. It was officially opened in April with member Yates representing the Board. (photo centre)

Te Whānau Whāriki from Richmond Road School has adopted the Rose Road Gully in Grey Lynn Park for a restoration project. On their first morning they collected 200 bags of tradescantia and 10 bags of rubbish. (photo right)

Progress on major projects:  

Federal Street upgrade progress April 2014Sky City can thank the Waitemata Local Board for opposing the overbridge development proposed in 2011 for Federal Street. It would have created a dark oppressive road.  Instead the street has received a shared space over haul which is nearly complete.

The new steps and upgrade of Khartoum Place is progressing (photo above). The transport portfolio has raised with the project team the need to slow down the traffic on Kitchener Street to provide for an improved pedestrian connection to the Art Gallery

Bus lane on Fanshawe StreetThank you Generation Zero and Transport Blog for getting Auckland Transport to take action on the Fanshawe Street bus lanes. Only four months from the original proposal to installation! It really shows that Auckland Transport can act quickly and decisively as a CCO when there is clear leadership.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 April – 31 April  I attended:

  • Local Board workshop on 1 April
  • Local Board Plan engagement meeting with Freemans Bay Residents on 1 April and with Grey Lynn Residents Associations on 3 April
  • Local Board Plan Breakfast meeting with Parnell Community Committee and eastern stakeholders on 2 April
  • Monthly transport portfolio meeting on 2 April
  • Monthly Community Development portfolio meeting on 2 April
  • Meeting to discuss feedback on Draft Auckland Energy Resilience and Low Carbon Action Plan
  • Community Portfolio meeting with Libraries for Geoff Chamberlain (retiring) to introduce Mirla Edmundson (new Manager Local Libraries North & West)
  • Briefing meeting with Ponsonby Cruising Club Inc regarding leasing issues
  • Briefing on Community Facility Fees and Charges on 3 April
  • Meeting with John MacDonald, Minister at large (Splice coordinator)
  • Orakei & Waitemata Local Boards meeting  on 7 April to discuss Greenways connections
  • Central Joint Funding Committee workshop on 7 April
  • Waitemata Local Board monthly business meeting on 7 April at Graham Street
  • Ponsonby Road masterplan catch up
  • Site meeting with Transport Portfolio and the Chair to discuss pedestrian improvements at Anglesea Street
  • Financial scenario information for LTP presentation by the Council’s CFO to Local Boards on 8 April
  • Meeting to discuss proposed concepts for 254 Ponsonby Rd
  • Briefing of the Auckland Development Committee and Waitemata Local Board by Precinct Property Ltd on its proposed redevelopment of the Downtown Shopping centre.
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 10 April
  • Myers Park Centenary event – initial meeting
  • Meeting with Ponsonby Business Association and Chris Rupe SPQR to discuss the draft Ponsonby Masterplan
  • Early Engagement on Transport Planning – Workshop with AT Senior Management
  • Meeting with Grey Lynn Community Centre on 14 April
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 15 April
  • Central Joint Funding Committee meeting on 15 April
  • Catch up with Ponsonby Business Association on 16 April
  • Joint briefing for Orakei and Waitemata Local Boards on the proposed stormwater ports of Auckland project on 16 April
  • Ponsonby Road masterplan meeting on 16 April
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 22 April
  • Community Development portfolio meeting on 23 April
  • Extraordinary Workshop to discuss the Local Board Plan on 28 April
  • Arch Hill Residents Meeting on 28 April
  • Presentation to the Governing Body Annual Plan Local Board Hearings
  • Popped in to a CAB catch up at the Central Library (meeting organised by Deborah Yates)
  • Ponsonby Community Centre Meeting
  • Transport portfolio monthly catch up 30 April
  • Deputised for the Chair at the Governing Body (Budget Committee)/Local Board Chairs Annual Plan discussion on 30 April

Events and functions

Anzac wreath laying 2014In the period 1 April – 30 April  2014 I attended:

  • Cycle Action Auckland’s Associates Breakfast at the Auckland Art Gallery on 3 April
  • My Bed my Universe – Massive Company and NZ Trio collaboration
  • Ponsonby Community Centre Open day on Saturday 5 April
  • Richmond Road School Gala on Saturday 5 April (congratulations to the school on organising a Zero Waste event)
  • Barry Coates farewell from Oxfam on 9 April
  • After 5 networking event organised by the Uptown Business Association on 10 April
  • Launch of K’rd and Newton Plans on 10 April
  • Newmarket Business Association Business Excellence Awards on 11 April with John Kirwan as guest speakerJohn Kirwan at Newmarket business excellence awards April 2014
  • Skypath Open Day at Westhaven on Saturday 12 April
  • Ponsonby Bike corral video shoot with Auckland Transport
  • At Risk preview at Whitespace on 22 April
  • ANZAC day ceremony hosted by the Grey Lynn RSC
  • Launch of the electric train from Britomart Station on 27 April (photos here)
  • Walking in the Trees in Albert Park  part of Waitemata Pop Project between March and June, 2014.
  • Guest Judge and attendance at Awards ceremony for Roots Pollinate. The Roots, Albert Park Project” consisted of The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs working with year 12 and 13 students.  Working in four groups they designed and built “Pollen Hotels” from recycled materials – hanging baskets with plants that will provide food for our local bees during the winter. I received an Eco Store gift box for being a judge.

Photo of  “Flow” the winning team 

Roots pollinate winning team

Removal of trees on Great North Road for SH16 widening

St lukes intersection Great North RoadI provided this update in my September Board report to our the Waitemata Local Board meeting on 10 September

Auckand Transport and NZTA are seeking the Board’s land owner consent to remove 6 large pohutakawa trees at the intersection of Great North Road and St Lukes Road (opposite MOTAT) to provide for an additional lane for traffic approaching the west bound SH16 onramp.

At an all of Board workshop in August 2013 attended by officials from NZTA, Auckland Transport, Council parks officers and consultants to the project we discussed the reasons for widening the road and the proposed mitigation (the photo shows the trees currently and the same area in 5 years time).

My personal view is that the case for the widening has not been made. The modelling by NZTA and AT suggests the intersection will reach capacity by 2026 with delays of 7 minutes at the peak. However I am not satisfied that they are using the new EEM (economic modelling manual) from NZTA that states default traffic growth assumptions are no longer to be used and real evidence for their predictions must be produced.

“Discontinuation of a default traffic growth rate (travel demand predictions) – The current ‘default’ travel growth rates (1-3%) generally do not accurately reflect the current situation in New Zealand and we are discontinuing these. Funding applications will therefore be required to provide evidence that any assumption of the future growth is realistic.”

It is most likely that the 2026 numbers used to justify destroying the trees are based on an assumption that the traffic is going to grow. There are options available to NZTA and AT to provide the lanes required within the current road width which need to be pursued. The other option is to wait to see if the predictions are correct.

I am also not satisfied with the cycling facilities that have been proposed for the intersection. There are some improvements with an off road shared path across St Lukes bridge however the cycle lanes are not continuous nor safely connected to the existing network.