Councillor report June 2020

General update

This is my Councillor report covering the period from 21 April until 5 June.  It has been prepared for the Waitematā Board business meeting to be held on 16 June.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local board regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee

Summary

  • Auckland Council lockdown activity

    In my previous written report to the local board, I reported on Auckland Council’s response as the pandemic unfolded and through the lockdown period.

  • As NZ moved from Alert Level 3 to 2 council facilities and venues opened up and planning was well underway for the post Covid-19 recovery.
  • The Emergency Committee was established as an ad hoc committee of the whole of the Governing Body due to the pandemic.  The final Emergency Committee meeting was held on 28 May. Workshops and Committees of the whole have recommenced meeting again from the beginning of June.
  • Following advice from Watercare, mandatory water restrictions came into effect on 16 May due to the ongoing drought
  • The first co-chaired Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting was held on 25 May
  • Consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 started on 29 May

Governing Body meetings

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.

On 23 April the Emergency Committee approved the levy for funding Auckland’s regional amenities for the next financial year, appointed Phil Wilson as the Group Recovery Manager for COVID-19 and received its regular Auckland Emergency Management update.

Watercare Chief Executive Raveen Jaduram also provided an update on Auckland’s water shortage situation and the requirements for stage one water restrictions.

On 30 April the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.

The committee approved the total levy applied for by the Museum of Transport and Technology of $14,890,578 for 2020/2021 and made appointments to the District Licensing Committee.  A governing body meeting was also held to approve Bylaw Panel recommendations on the proposed new Food Safety Information Bylaw 2020 and approve procedural plan changes.

On 7 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.

Upper Nihotupu Dam, Waitakere Feb 7 vs May 8

In response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, the committee voted unanimously to introduce mandatory water restrictions, which will come into effect across the region from Saturday 16 May.

Auckland Council’s submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport was approved and the committee endorsed Auckland Transport’s applications to the first tranche of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People pilot fund. It also approved the process for developing a recommended package of projects for the second funding round closing on 3 July 2020, which will include Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Panuku Development Auckland projects.

On 14 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.

The committee unanimously endorsed the rationale, scope, and proposed process for updating the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2020 and its terms of reference.  Within the terms of reference, it was agreed to propose an additional objective for the shared government and council priorities for transport in Auckland to improve the resilience and sustainability of Auckland’s transport system and significantly reduce greenhouse gases.  The refresh will consider a number of emerging issues including the impact of Covid-19 on funding, any government economic stimulus packages, the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) of transport investment in Auckland, climate change, mode shift and emerging brownfield and greenfield priorities.

The committee considered the reappointment of three directors of the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC).  Of the directors on the board, Auckland Council and the government appoint one director each and the remaining directors are jointly appointed by both the government and the council.  With the terms of three of the current directors ending soon decisions need to be made about appointments to those positions.

On 21 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.

The committee received Local Board feedback on the first round of public consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 for consideration when decisions are made.

The committee agreed to consult alongside the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 on the addition to the Rates remission and postponement policy of a COVID-19 Rates postponement scheme.

The committee agreed unanimously to publicly consult on a Covid-19 rates postponement scheme alongside the consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021. Under the proposed scheme rates postponement will be available to all residential and business ratepayers financially stressed because of Covid-19.

The council consulted with Aucklanders on the Annual Budget 2020/2021 from mid-February to mid-March this year. However, due to the impact of Covid-19 the council is proposing to consult on further matters for the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.The committee made a recommendation to the council’s Governing Body to endorse a recommended engagement approach for further consultation on the Emergency Budget to take place from 29 May 2020 to 19 June 2020.

On 28 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.

The committee endorsed the Water Supply and Wastewater Network Bylaw 2015 Review findings report. A further options report will be brought to the Regulatory Committee in June.

The Governing Body meeting on 28 May minor changes to rating policy and some fees for inclusion in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 and amendments to the council’s Revenue and Financing Policy were adoped. These changes were publicly consulted on in February and March this year and some of the changes recommended are subject to the consideration of further feedback.

The Governing Body endorsed the engagement approach for public consultation on the Emergency Budget following a recommendation from the Emergency Committee. To adhere to Covid-19 health and safety requirements a digitally led engagement approach is recommended, including the use of online webinar events, with feedback options through written, telephone and digital channels.

On 4 June the Planning Committee approved Auckland Transport and Auckland Council’s proposed list of projects for further development and assessment prior to submission to the second application round of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Innovating Streets for People pilot fund closing on 3 July 2020.

The Planning Committee endorsed Auckland Council’s draft submission on the proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality: Particulate Matter and Mercury Emissions (included as Attachment A of the agenda report).

The Planning Committee delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee, Chair of the Regulatory Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve the council’s submission on the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill and requested that staff forward the draft submission to the Planning Committee and Local Board chairs for high-level feedback.

The committee also support a Notice of Motion from Cr Walker seeking a joint water conservation campaign with Watercare and the development of a water climate-resilient strategy for Auckland (The strategy is being progressed by the Environment and Climate Change Committee).

Other meetings and events

In the period 21 April to 5 June I attended:

  • A virtual service observed with neighbours joining from their bubble for Stand at Dawn on Anzac Day
  • Hauraki Gulf Forum drop in with the co-chairs for forum members on 4 and 5 May and meetings with the forum’s Executive Officer in preparation for the meeting on 25 May
  • The weekly meeting with the Mayor for Chairs and Deputies of the committees
  • The LGNZ metro sector meeting on 8 May as alternate for the Mayor and the Infrastructure Commission briefing to local government representatives. I also attended the National Council board meeting on 15 May and the meeting on 5 June to meet the new CEO of LGNZ.
  • On 27 May I attended the Central Government and Local Government annual Forum hosted by the Prime Minister
  • Online Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 April and 27 May, the Waitematā Local Board meetings on 5 and 19 May the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 12 May
  • I was invited to speak to the National Council of Women Auckland Branch meeting on 11 May
  • High Street footpath extension. Photo credit Kent Lundberg

    The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 27 May (High St pilot project is one of the projects supported by ACCAB in the City Centre. Attachment 1 Our Auckland More space for pedestrians on High Street)

  • Appointments and Performance Review committee CEO interviews on 18 May
  • The Governing Body and Independent Maori Statutory Board Joint meeting on 19 May
  • Finance and Performance Committee workshops regarding the Emergency Budget
  • Meetings relevant to the work programme of the Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Auckland Festival of Photography exhibition opening on 4 June at the Grey Gallery (first function in real life since Alert level 3 prior to lockdown)

Other matters

Emergency Budget 2020/2021 consultation

Auckland Council has produced an Emergency Budget to address the $525m shortfall in revenue due to Covid-19 and in so doing has to make some tough decisions about where to find significant savings and what to prioritise.

In response to a “rates freeze” campaign and many emails from constituents seeking a zero rates rise I provided the following information (prior to consultation starting on 29 May):

The draft 2020-21 annual budget that was consulted on prior to the lockdown proposed a 3.5% rates increase.  We now need a new “emergency” budget that responds to these extraordinary times.  We are in incredibly challenging times dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to continue hitting hard across our businesses and communities.

At the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April Councillors were unanimous that the council needs to take decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. There will be another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rise to 2.5%.   For the average ratepayer, a 2.5 % increase would be equivalent to an extra $1.35 per week, while a 3.5 % increase would be $1.83 per week.

The final details of the Emergency Budget 20/21 including rates will not be voted on until July.

In considering the options it is clear that cutting rates will end up costing ratepayers more and will slow down Auckland’s recovery.  It is important to note:

  • There is going to be a substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession, some projects and services will need to be cut or postponed to reduce expenditure. Development Contributions and fees make up 53% of council’s income.  Potential reductions in cash revenue of $350-650m for 20/21 depending on the length of disruption caused by Covid-19
  • The credit rating agencies have allocated Auckland Council an AA/Aa2 rating. This enables council to borrow for capital projects at attractive interest rates, for longer time periods, and means there is no shortage of those wishing to invest. Our financial policy is to limit our debt to revenue ratio to 270%, although internally we manage to a 265% ratio to give ourselves a buffer. Lowering income could potentially put this at risk. The outcome would be higher interest rates, reduced funding abilities and shorter timelines for debt renewals. All these add up to very real costs which would be to the detriment of ratepayers, both now and well into the future. A 1% increase in rates equals $17 million in additional income. 3.5% equates to $59 million net. A 1% increase in interest rates equates to around $100 million of additional interest costs. A single notch credit rating downgrade would cost council approximately $15 million every year in additional interest costs.
  • Even at a 3.5% rates rise there will be substantial cuts to the infrastructure projects, maintenance and services provided by the Council.  This work is already underway with many temp or contracted staff having been given notice.
  • At the same time, council has already driven savings of $270 million in operational expenses. $62 million of additional savings are budgeted for this year.  All opportunities to cut spending still need to be reviewed from across the council group.
  • The CEO and senior executives have voluntarily agreed to pay cuts
  • The Emergency Committee agreed to consult on targeted measures including suspending the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate and the broadening of council’s rates postponement policy. We also announced more help to ratepayers and business who may be struggling to pay their rates in the financial year to 30 June.

I believe we have taken a principle-based approach with a strong commitment to financial prudence and sustainability. An austerity budget based on zero rates rise will hit our most vulnerable communities hardest and limit council’s ability to play a key role in working with Government to promote economic recovery.  I think targeted assistance to ratepayers suffering financial stress is preferable.

Consultation on the Emergency Budget 20/21 budget started on 29 May for three weeks.   The consultation material provides a clear explanation of what each rating option will mean for council services and infrastructure. Please take the time to review the information and provide feedback. (Attachment 1 Emergency Budget decisions will impact Waitematā and Gulf says Councillor)

Hauraki Gulf Forum

I have been working with the Executive Officer and Tangata Whenua co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, Nicola MacDonald to develop a work plan and governance statement.  We hosted two co-chair drop-in sessions via Skype to provide Forum members the opportunity to give feedback ahead of the Forum meeting held on 25 May. On 14 May a media release went out about the new governance arrangements for the Forum (Attachment 3: Our Auckland: Co-Chairs to lead Hauraki Gulf Forum)

On 25 May the Hauraki Gulf Forum adopted the new work plan with an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf:

  • At least 30 per cent marine protection (*up from the 20 per cent goal established in 2019)
  • 1000sqkm of shellfish-bed and reef restoration
  • Riparian planting of the Gulf’s catchment (new goal)
  • An end to marine dumping in or near to the Gulf (new goal).

We also adopted (i) a new Governance Statement reflecting the Forum’s recent move to a co-governance leadership model, and (ii) a 2020-2021 budget which delivers total savings to members of around 25 per cent for the year ahead – reflecting the difficult financial situation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (Attachment 4: Our Auckland Ambitious goals for ailing Hauraki Gulf).

Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chairs

In the photo right with co-chair Nicola MacDonald wearing pake (capes) commissioned by Nicola for the co-Chairs to symbolise our enduring relationship and stewardship to protect our taonga tuku iho. These kahu korari will pass from co-Chairs to successive co-Chairs and serve to remind us of our duty to look after Te Moananui o Toi and Tikapa Moana

I am wearing a kahu korari beautifully made by master weaver Meleta Bennett, Te Arawa, named Tipaka Moana, a name gifted by the Hauraki tangata whenua members.

Nicola’s kahu korari is called Te Moananui o Toi the name was gifted by Ngāti Wai Tangata Whenua members and was woven by master weaver Maakere Taane no Ngai Tahu.

Innovating Streets

I supported Auckland Transport rolling out a set of initiatives on 20 roads and popular walkways across Auckland to assist with safe physical distancing during Covid-19 Alert Level 3 (Attachment 5: Our Auckland Improved facilities for people walking and cycling across Auckland)

These emergency measures were reviewed going into Alert Level 2. I agreed at that point with the removal of the temporary measures on Ponsonby Road because I didn’t think the scheme was strong enough to withstand a significant increase in traffic.  (photo right of the additional space on Ponsonby Road during Alert Level 3).

However, the temporary measures provided a valuable opportunity to re-image how Ponsonby Road could be made far more people friendly and has directly contributed to a Ponsonby Road pilot being included as an application in the second round of the Innovating Streets Funding considered by the Planning Committee on 3 June.

Photo credit: Kent Lundberg

The temporary works on Queen St installed for Alert Level 3  are intended to transition into an Innovating Streets pilot if the NZTA funding application is successful

Councillor Report March 2020

General update

  • My Councillor report, covering the period from 31 January until 29 February 2020, is prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ March business meeting agendas.
  • The purpose of my report is to share key information with the local boards including governing body activities, attendance at events, conferences and meetings, regional consultations, media activities and ward issues I have been following up on. I also declare all gifts in my report regardless of value.

Governing Body and Committee meetings*

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website here.

Planning Committee on 4 February 2020

  • Approved Auckland Council’s submission on the Land Transport (Rail) legislation bill
  • Approved approach to the Auckland Council’s submission on the Urban Development Bill

Governing Body on 12 and 27 February 2020

  • Adopted the Draft Tūpuna Maunga Operational Plan 2020/2021
  • Adopted the consultation material and supporting documentation for Annual Budget 2020/2021
  • Adopted the amendments to the Revenue and Financing Policy
  • Approved the draft submission to the Justice Committee’s inquiry into the 2019 Local Elections and Liquor Licensing Trust Elections, and Recent Energy Trust Elections
  • Approved the submission on funding options for Fire and Emergency New Zealand

CCO Oversight Committee on 18 February

Received the updated report on the CCO Review work programme and requested the report be circulated to local boards

Auckland Domain Committee on 25 February

  • Requested staff explore costs and possible funding to implement recommendations in the master plan
  • Requested staff investigate options to meet the shortfall for the Accessible Improvement Programme (aiming to improve walking and cycling in the Domain)

*Note: This is not intended to be a complete summary of all governing body and committee meetings. Refer Auckland Council’s website for full details

Hauraki Gulf Forum

  •  The Hauraki Gulf Forum is a statutory body, which promotes and facilitates integrated management and the protection and enhancement of the Hauraki Gulf, under the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000.
  • Hauraki Gulf Forum members are representatives of the Ministers of Conservation, Fisheries and Māori Development, elected representatives of Auckland Council (7 in total including representatives from Waiheke Local Board and Aotea Great Barrier), Waikato Regional Council, Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Councils and 6 representatives of the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands appointed by the Minister of Conservation.
  • At the first Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting of the term on 17 February the historic decision was made to adopt a co-governance model with co-chairs (one elected by all forum members and one co-chair recommended by the tangata whenua representatives). I was delighted to be elected one of the co-chairs.
  • The ‘State of our Gulf 2020’ report released on 27 February by the Hauraki Gulf Forum puts a spotlight on the ongoing environmental degradation facing the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. (Attachment 1: Media Release from the Hauraki Gulf Forum: The Hauraki Gulf is hurting and needs our help)

Events and other meetings

  • Attended a range of meetings with the Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair in my role as Deputy Chair
  • First Mayor and Councillors catch up of the year held on 3 February

    I attend a weekly chairs’ catch up with the Mayor and a fortnightly Mayor and Councillors catch up

  • I have a fortnightly meeting for transport updates relating to ward issues
  • Attended the LGNZ National Council meeting on 10 February and the Metro Sector meeting (as alternate to the Mayor) on 14 February
  • Attended the Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 February to give my Councillor’s update
  • Met with the Chair of the Environment and Climate Change committee to finalise the Council’s submission on the Reducing waste: A more effective landfill levy paper
  • On Friday 21 February I hosted a Councillor “clinic” on Waiheke with booked appointment times including meeting Cycle Action Waiheke (photo below), caught up with the Waiheke Community Art Gallery Director, enjoyed a delicious Kai Conscious Cafe lunch, got taken on a site visit to the WWII lookout and historic buildings, popped by the Whitaker’s music museum (gate crashed MP Nikki Kaye’s meeting!) and wrapped up the day meeting local board chair Cath Handley.
  • The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting on 26 February confirmed Heart of the City’s CEO Viv Beck as chair
  • Met with the CCO Review panel on 28 February
  • Throughout the month I meet constituents on request and request a range of meetings to follow up on issues raised with me.

I also attended the following events:

  • Official Opening on 4 February of Te Ipu Kōrero o Maungawhau and Whau Cafe on Maungawhau / Mount Eden hosted by the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority (photo right with Councillors Bartley, Filipaina and Casey and members of the Authority)
  • Waitangi Day ki Ōkahu 2020 festival hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
  • Farewell reception for Stephen Jacobi from New Zealand China Council at the Northern Club on 10 February
  • Scales to Tails dinner hosted by Peter Gordon at the invite of The Sugar Club and Ōra King
  • Whales Tales Auckland 2021 launch at the Auckland Art Gallery on 11 February
  • Wynyard Quarter Celebration hosted by Willis Bond & Co on 12 February
  • Opening by the PM on 13 February of Te Whare Hīnātore, City Mission’s new transitional housing programme, assisting wāhine experiencing homelessness
  • Minister of Transport Phil Twyford, the Mayor and elected representatives

    Sod turning for the portal where the boring machine will launch to build the City Rail Link tunnels connecting Mt Eden Station to the new Aotea Station (photo right)

  • Opening night of Roger Hall’s play Winding Up at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 13 February
  • Sod turning for the start of the Tamaki Drive cycleway on 16 February (photo right the Mayor and Minister of Transport Phil Twyford with the spades)
  • Waitematā Local Board’s Myers Park Medley festival on 16 February
  • Opening of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2020 on 17 February at Caluzzi Cabaret
  • Launch by the Mayor of City Hop’s EV vehicles at the Crowne Plaza on 20 February
  • Auckland Museum Medals on 26 February
  • Media briefing for the release of the State of the Gulf report by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage MP and two of the authors. The report is a major piece of work led by the former Hauraki Gulf Chair John Meeuwsen and Deputy Chair Moana Tamaariki-Pohe.
  • Participated on the panel of the Auckland Conversations “Gift of the Gulf” at the RNZYC on 27 February (photo right)
  • A walk of the Waitematā Local Board boundary on 29 February with Living Streets Aotearoa’s Andy Smith, continuing the tradition of starting the new term with Beating the Bounds – a walk of the boundary to ensure neighbouring local boards haven’t “encroached” over the last three years and to check out projects along the way. I walked with local board members until the point on Newton Road (photo right) where my ward boundary diverges and then walking the shared Ōrākei boundary with Cr Desley Simpson to Tamaki Drive
  • Ponsonby Road Street Festival on 29 February
  • Mayor Phil Goff, Sir Bob Harvey, Covert Theatre Trustee Mike Hutchinson and founder Wade Jackson at the opening of Covert Theatre, Ponsonby

    Opening Covert Theatre at the invitation of The Yes and Trust

Regional grants

The Regional Event Fund and the Regional Community Development Grants were allocated at the Parks, Arts, Community and Events committee on 13 February.

Regional consultation topics

  • The Annual Budget 2020/21 consultation started on 21 February and will continue until 22 March. Have your save events are being held across the region.
  • The independent panel appointed to review how well Auckland Council’s CCOs are working is hosting drop-in sessions across the region so Aucklanders can provide their feedback into the review. Consultation on the review closes on 22 March.
  • The engagement and consultation documents are available at akhaveyoursay.

Significant issues and ward issues (as at 29 February)

Leys Institute Library Building

  • In response to a planned “save the Leys Institute building” protest on 26 February I provided this update:

I appreciate the considerable concerns regarding the sudden closure of the much-loved Leys Institute buildings and the desire to see the restoration happen as fast as possible and library services resumed.

I am not able to attend the protest but want to provide a reassurance that I am not aware of any part of council that considers demolition to be a viable or desirable option for a class A scheduled building (even if it were possible under the Leys bequest) .

The report on the options will be going to the local board in June.  I am absolutely committed to the restoration of the building and the return of library services (temporary services are due to open in mid-March at 14 Jervois Road).  My role is to work with the local board to ensure the project secures what is likely to be a considerable budge, from the governing body (Councillors and Mayor).

On-going water issues during the dry weather

  • The lack of rainfall over summer has been particularly hard for Aucklanders on tank water. Updates have been provided regularly on the support available during the dry weather.
  • Watercare is monitoring water levels and reports that, with nearly 65 per cent storage in its dams, the municipal water supply is stable. It is running a campaign to remind customers to be waterwise during dry periods when demand is high.
  • An advice brochure for tank owners is being distributed via council’s community networks and is available to download from OurAuckland.

 COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

The Mayor has been in regular contact with the Director General of Health and is providing regular updates. Since the first case arrived in New Zealand the main message is that Aucklanders should be prepared but should not panic – they should take sensible measures and contact health officials if they are worried:

    • There is no reason for people to change the way they go about their daily lives
    • The first case is being well managed, and the patient is in a stable condition
    • Ministry of Health and the airport are moving to meet everyone coming off flights to give people information on what to do should they feel unwell

Transport

Together with the Local Board transport portfolio lead Graeme Gunthorp I have been following up on a number of transport issues that I would like to see Auckland Transport resolve including:

  • Car transporters unloading illegally on Great North Road
  • Enforcement of car parking on berms and on footpaths. I dispute AT’s position on this issue and do not agree that signage is required before AT can take enforcement action.
  • East bound bus lanes on Customs Street that are needed as a result of the ongoing closure of Lower Albert Street.

The positive resolution by Auckland Transport of issues I have raised on behalf of constituents includes:

  • confirmation that traffic calming on Clifton Road is going ahead as part of the Herne Bay walking and cycling project
  • the installation of new safety barriers on the Westerns Springs Shared path (photo right)

Media

  • I was quoted in the Hauraki Gulf Forum media release: The Hauraki Gulf is hurting and needs our help
  • My regular Ponsonby News column was published in the March edition
  • I wrote an OpEd for the NZ Herald about the positive side of seeing so many orange road cones in Auckland. Humble orange cone means the future is coming  (Our Auckland version)

Disclosures

There are no gift disclosures this month.  Invitations to events are all noted above.

 

Chair’s monthly report September 2017

Report (on the September business meeting agenda) covering the period 7 August until 10 September 2017.

Highlights

Local Board plan hearing

Consultation on the draft Waitematā Local Board Plan 2017 concluded with a hearing held on 8 August.  15 submitters presented to the board on a range of topics.

At the hearing meeting we also received all the submissions and a high level overview of all the data gathered through the public consultation process.  In total 158 submissions were received on the draft Plan 2017. In addition, 34 people provided feedback at the ‘Have your Say’ engagement events and there were 11 pieces of feedback gathered through Facebook.

80 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with this question “are we on the right track with our proposed local board plan?”, while 16 per cent neither agreed or disagreed and 4 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

We are in the process of revising the draft based on the feedback and will sign off the final plan at the Board’s October business meeting.

Draft Meola Reef Te Tokaroa Development Plan consultation

In August the Board signed off the draft Meola Reef Te Tokaroa Development Plan plan for consultation.    Consultation on the draft is now open until 29 September.  The following introduction to the plan is provided on the Shape Auckland website.

  • The purpose of the development plan is to coordinate development of Meola Reef Reserve Te Tokaroa, in the short, medium and long term (10+ years).
  • Such a long-term plan provides guidance for any changes to the area:
    • maintain and enhance the reserve’s ecological outcomes
    • respond to needs, concerns and desires of Mana Whenua, key stakeholders and the community; and
    • plan for future demand and needs.
  • Meola Reef is a lava reef formation that reaches over two kilometres into the Waitematā harbour.  A landfill was developed on the reef from 1930 to 1976.  After closure of the landfill and capping, the reserve informally developed as a dog walking destination.  The Reserve is now known as one of Auckland’s primary off and on-leash dog parks.
  • Management and mitigation of the closed landfill which underlies the reserve, is outside of the scope of the development plan.  However, any development of the park requires any landfill management works to be completed before park development works.
  • The development plan actions are unfunded at this stage.  The development plan will inform funding decisions.

Link to the draft plan and feedback form here

Pest Management

I worked with board member Rob Thomas to finalise the Board’s feedback on Auckland Regional Pest Management Plan Review (Attached to the agenda).

I attended the launch of Predator Free Grey Lynn at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market with Grey Lynn local, Jesse Mulligan (photo right) with support from Predator Free New Zealand Trust and Kiwibank. We also heard from Kelmarna Gardens for plans for Predator Free Ponsonby.

The importance of pest eradication in the survival of seabirds was highlighted at the excellent Hauraki Gulf Seminar Taking Flight I attended on 6 September at Auckland Museum.

Coxs Bay playground

The opening of the new Coxs Bay playground went ahead on 9 September despite forecast downpours. The playground is based on a theme of natural play and the fact that the area used to be a seasonal iwi harvesting place. New planting and natural play features such as boulders and climbing rocks were included in the design.  A playground celebration will be held on 12 October.

The renewal budget for the project was $370,000.

Western Springs Outer Fields bush tracks

I have been following up on the poor condition of the Western Springs Outer Fields bush tracks. Maintenance of the area had fallen between Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) and Council’s Community Facilities with no maintenance undertaken for some time.

RFA recently reported securing sufficient budget (quoted by City Parks as $28,752) to undertake the remedial works, as scoped by City Parks.  RFA now needs to complete the requisite procurement process and is seeking to complete the required physical work once we have improved weather conditions so the track will be fully functional for the upcoming summer.

Waima Street Pedestrian bridge

 For some time I have also been following up about the condition of the Waima Street pedestrian bridge that provides a walking and cycling connection between Arch Hill and the NW cycleway. At a meeting with the NZTA’s Director Regional Relationships for the Upper North Island, Pete Clarke we heard that NZTA has now secured a budget to undertake maintenance on the bridge (photo right – Albert Eden Local Board side of the bridge).

Walking and cycling improvements

In my September Ponsonby News update  I provided an overview of the major package of walking and cycling improvements that are either underway or about to start.  I’ve been attending the regular meetings organised by West Lynn business owners concerned about the loss of parking, location of bus stops and the construction disruption.

 Tamaki Drive cycleway route

In June Auckland Transport consulted on the Tamaki Drive Cycleway proposal from Quay Street to Ngapipi Road.  Auckland Transport’s options for the route where overwhelmingly rejected through the public feedback.  A revised design is now under investigation.   As transport portfolio lead I provided the following initial feedback on behalf of the Board:

The Waitematā Local Board is pleased that Auckland Transport has listened to the feedback received through the public consultation and is investigating a bi-directional cycle route on Tamaki Drive to the Ngapipi intersection. The Board supports this option with general traffic lanes that are as wide as possible to increase the safety of road riders.

 The Board does not support the section between Solent Street and the Strand remaining as a shared path for the following reasons:

  • The investment over the entire route is degraded by maintaining a lower level of service for this section.
  • It is not fit for purpose for the future numbers estimated to use this route once it is fully connected to the network
  • A shared path with high levels of users is not safe especially for people walking, running, skating etc alongside a traffic lane with high vehicles volumes
  • The proposed width of the shared path is not best practice

 The Board seeks a continuous connection from Quay St along Tamaki Drive with a consistent level of service. The Board therefore requests that AT work with NZTA to investigate the continuation of the bi-directional cycle route through the Solent St to the Strand section by re-allocating road space

 The Board also requests that

  • The bi-directional cycle route continues through the Solent Street intersection and that this intersection is re-designed to prioritise the safety of pedestrians and people on bikes
  • A safe, separated connection is provided to the Gladstone Road cycle route through the Strand intersection
  • Auckland Transport investigate opportunities for sustainable urban drainage/water sensitive design and opportunities to plant new street trees along the route

Auckland Transport will undertake further public consultation on the revised design.

 Ponsonby Road pedestrian improvements project

This project has caused a lot of headaches with delays and construction issues. The project is now back on track on due to be completed by mid-November.  The latest update from Auckland Transport (as at 8 September)

  • Both the Anglesea and Brown Street intersection works are progressing as planned. The drainage work on Anglesea Street is now complete and work has begun on the kerb build-outs.
  • The remaining work at Pollen Street intersection is expected to be complete before mid-November 2017.

Meetings and workshops: 7 August until 10 September

  • Weekly Chair’s meeting every Monday morning
  • Meeting with NZTA representatives on 7 August to discuss transport issues in Waitematā
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 8, 22, 29 August and 5 September
  • Waitematā Local Board Plan hearing on 8 August
  • Planning Committee waterfront briefing on 9 August
  • Meeting to discuss Auckland Transport’s temporary installations on K’rd for the introduction of double decker buses
  • Meetings with West Lynn business owners on 9, 16 August and 8 September to discuss cycleway construction works planned by Auckland Transport
  • Meeting on 10 August to discuss Ellen Melville Centre opening and planned Community Open Day
  • Meeting with Council planners to discuss the development of a Parnell precinct plan
  • Chair’s draft recommendations run through on 12 August
  • Interview panel member on 12 August for the CEO position at Auckland Transport
  • Monthly Local Board Chairs’ Forum on 15 August
  • Catch up with the Waitematā Youth Collective representatives on 16 August
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 August
  • Monthly comms meeting on 16 August
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 17 August
  • Meeting with Council officers and the Principal of Auckland Girls’ Grammar School on 17 August to discuss possible options for developing in partnership the swimming pool and gym at the school
  • Use of social media by Council discussion with comms officers on 17 August
  • Meeting on 18 August with Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club representatives and Auckland Council staff to discuss development of multipurpose facility and new clubrooms in Grey Lynn Park
  • Judging for the NZTA cycle friendly awards on 18 August at the offices of the AA
  • Local Boards sub-regional workshop on 21 August
  • Newmarket level crossing community liaison meeting hosted by Auckland Transport at Jubilee Hall on 21 August
  • Environment portfolio meeting on 24 August
  • Engagement adviser catch up
  • Meeting with representatives from Kelmarna Gardens
  • Site Visit on 24 August to discuss tree planting project on St Marys Road with Chair, SMBA, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council arborist
  • Meeting on 25 August with Auckland Transport representatives and K’rd Business Association GM to discuss poor process and communication regarding the installation of temporary safety treatments on K’rd for the double decker bus project
  • Planning committee joint workshop on 29 August: waterfront and city centre planning
  • Franklin Road community liaison meeting hosted by Auckland Transport on 30 August
  • Domain Committee meeting on 31 August
  • Waitematā Local Board member “Behind the Scenes” tour of Auckland’s War Memorial Museum on 1 September to show the diverse work currently being carried out in order to meet the needs of our growing and diverse city.   The tour included the Pacific Collections Access Project (PCAP) – connecting with communities, Digital lab – collections on line and Basement storage – kaitiaki
  • Meeting on 1 September with the Sustainability squad at Parnell School to discuss their plans for a waste reduction project
  • Met with Sara Stace  a city shaper and architect focused on cycle planning visiting from Australia
  • City Centre and Waterfront Planning Refresh Local Board Input on 5 September
  • Attended the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar 2017 – Taking Flight at Auckland Museum on 6 September
  • Catch up with General Manager, Newmarket Business Association on 7 September
  • Finance Committee 10 year budget joint workshop with governing body members and local board chairs on 7 September
  • Meeting with Mayor Goff on 8 September to discuss opening of Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place
  • Communication and Engagement Expo on 8 September to find out what department does (covering Public Affairs – media relations, internal, corporate and local communications, Marketing & publicity, Citizen engagements and Insights, Brand & Channel – content, channels, design, Strategic Planning & Performance)

Events and functions:  7 August until 10 September  

  • Auckland Foundation event with guest speaker Julie Nelson of Housing First at Gus Fisher Gallery on 8 August
  • LATE at the Museum on 9 August at the invitation of Auckland Museum
  • Eat Albert Street (link to video of the event) on 10 August (Photo below: Free kai provided by Everybody eats at Griffith Gardens)
  • Vintage Austin Register – Auckland Branch AGM on 13 August
  • Splice cuppa event at Scarecrow Café on 15 August
  • Opening night of Nell Gywnn at Waterfront Theatre on 17 August at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
  • Presided at the Citizenship ceremony at Auckland Town Hall on 17 August (photo below with Kaumatua Bob Hawke, Waitemata Local Board member Richard Northey and Chair of Maungakiekie- Tamaki Local Board Josephine Bartley)
  • Margaret Mary’s farewell from TAPAC on 18 August
  • Funeral of Graham (Rocky) McGlynn, RSC President at the Grey Lynn RSC on 19 August
  • Labour’s Election Launch at the Auckland Town Hall on Sunday 20 August
  • PSA’s book launch on 21 August: Progressive Thinking: Ten Perspectives on Housing with panel discussion facilitated by Simon Wilson
  • Opening night of Matilda at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of ATEED on 24 August
  • Modelled on the Project Glow wear runway show on 26 August
  • Launch of Predator Free Grey Lynn at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on 27 August
  • Lela Jacobs and Jimmy D Fashion Week shows at the invitation of the K’rd Business Association
  • Leaving function for Brett O’Reilly, ATEED CEO at GRID AKL on 31 August (Photo right with Brett)
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day on 1 September organised by Splice ( I dropped by the Splice team below handing out free pots of honey on K’rd)
  • Took part in a tactical urbanism event with Walk Auckland’s Andy Smith to mark the 8th Anniversary of the 40km speed limit on Ponsonby Road (photo right with our “speed gun” hairdryers)
  • Opening of the Corsini Collection at the Auckland Art Gallery on 2 September
  • Attended Merchant Navy Day Auckland Remembrance Service on 3 September at the Maritime Museum  (Photo below with Councillors Daniel Newman and Mike Lee)
  • Meet the candidates meeting for Auckland Central at St Matthews organised by the Auckland City Centre Residents Group on 7 September
  • Parnell Heritage AGM on 7 September
  • Open Day West End Lawn Tennis Club
  • 8th anniversary of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on 10 September

Gift Declarations

  • Tickets x 2 Nell Gwynn at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
  • Tickets x 2 Matilda at the invitation of ATEED
  • Ticket to LATE at the Museum at the invitation of Auckland Museum
  • Lela Jacobs and Jimmy D Fashion Week shows at the invitation of K’rd Business Association