This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 1 March – 31 March 2016 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.
On 2 March the Board officially moved into our new offices at 52 Swanson Street just off St Patricks Square. The offices are a huge improvement on our location at Graham St and provide a much better working environment for our hard working Local Board services team (photo right) and space for board members. I like to think we now have a “democracy shop”- a front door to our community that is easily accessible and welcoming.
The Waitematā Local Board grants committee met on March to discuss the grant application to the Quick Response Fund and the Local Grant fund. In total we had $70,330.58 remaining to distribute from the 15/16 financial year with one Quick Response Grant round to go (currently open until 6 May for grants up to $3000).
The grants committee minutes and recommendations for the Local Grant Fund are attached to the April agenda.
Community consultation – Annual budget 2016/17
Consultation on the Council’s Annual Budget 2016/17 and local board priorities took place until 24 March. Community meetings in Ponsonby, Grafton Parnell and Grey Lynn were well attended but the official Have your Say consultation meeting at the Town Hall attracted only 4 members of the public. The low attendance may partly be due to the number of events on that evening but I think the problem is mainly with the format which is very unsatisfactory for groups that wish to present feedback. The Board’s public hearings style meeting held on 10 March provided a much more effective forum for presentations to the Board.
Cycling improvements consultation
During March Auckland Transport consulted on the network of cycling routes in the inner west area (map right) and asked for feedback on cycling improvements to make riding a bike for local trips safer. The feedback period was extended to 5 April.
I attended the consultation events in Grey Lynn Park on 13 and 20 March.
This is the first time that Auckland Transport has consulted on the actual routes that make up the Auckland Cycle Network and support the routes in our Greenways plan.
The electronic counter doesn’t lie! The aphorism “Build it and they will come” proved ever so true when it comes to the amazing magenta adventure.
Christopher and I were very happy to celebrate the 100,000 trip over Lightpath since opening day on 3 December 2015. Almost 1,000 people a day are riding the route.
There are also huge numbers of people enjoying Lightpath on foot at all times of day and night. Unfortunately the walking counter has not been working so Auckland Transport is unable to provide exact data at the moment.
Lantern Festival – transport planning
The Lantern Festival, held for the first time in the Domain in February was the first Auckland Council funded evening event to promote active transport. The valet parking provided at the venue was a big success working to encourage people to give cycling ago – many bringing along children. However the overall communication and coordination regarding transport to the event was not well managed by Auckland Transport and there were a lot of lessons for next time. I have sent the following email to the CEO of ATEED and the Manager Event Design who responded that it would be included in the mix for their debrief.
Congratulations to everyone involved on the success of the Lantern Festival (if the numbers attending are the best indicator of success!). I really enjoyed attending on the Friday and Sunday evenings.
I’m sure there will be a big exercise underway with Auckland Transport to look at the transport management plan and the messaging for the event next year. I just wanted to give some feedback while it is still fresh in my mind:
- Although the map handed out on site was not intended as a travel map it was clearly being used for that purpose – it needs to clearly show all the walking and cycling connections (especially as people were arriving up hill at Grafton Station and able to walk down hill back to town but as previously mentioned the map showed the Domain as an island )
- Creating a “Lantern Trail” in the same style as the RWC Fan trail (suggested route from Britomart via Beach Road, Churchhill street, and up Lovers Lane) – a few people have mentioned this idea to me
- Improve the lighting on Lovers Lane – if felt too dark to use safety but is the logical connection to the Domain from the city
- Close Grafton bridge to cars and only open to buses and ambulances – implement bus priority lanes
- Provide wayfinding signage from all directions but particularly for those walking from different points in the city centre (the Wellesley St – Grafton Gully route particularly needs signage as previously mentioned but hopefully by next year AT will have finally got that sorted)
- The valet bike parking was brilliant and I loved using it (of course!) but difficult to access so lots of bikes were parked all over the place (there was no signage to the bike parking)
- Security guards were directing cyclists to dismount but did not know where the bike parking was located
- Online information needs to spell out all the transport options including the location of car parks (I estimate there are at least 15 car parks in walking distance to the Domain but the online information just said “ the Domain is a 10 minute drive from the city centre” !!!).
- Wayfinding signage needed throughout the entire site
Auckland Conversations: Climate Solutions: Cities in Action, Mark Watts, Executive Director C40 cities
Auckland has become the newest member of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. Auckland will be working with more than 80 of the world’s greatest cities, representing more than 550 million people and one quarter of the global economy. Sharing research, experiences and ideas, C40 is helping to find and implement innovative solutions to urban climate issues such as transport, energy, buildings and waste.
At the Auckland Conversations on 15 March Mark Watts talked about the initiatives that cities around the globe are putting in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.
Cities are central to delivering greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets (Auckland’s target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in 2040) through a focus on land use planning, transport and buildings. Every city needs to aim to get to 1.5 tons per person per year if we have any chance of avoiding dangerous levels of climate warming. Auckland is currently at about 7.2 tons (US cities are on 16.5 tpp).
The good news from Mark is that we know what we need to do create successful, prosperous, healthy cities. No city will be successful in the future unless it is low carbon. He made comments in relation to three key areas:
1 Compact City
Sprawl is the enemy, density is the friend. 6% of growth in energy consumption is urban sprawl. For example Copenhagen spends 4% of GDP on transport whereas Houston spends 16%.
2. Connected Cities
‘Return of the bike the most important tool in urban transport’
There are now 700 cities with bike share. 40% cycle to work in one of the richest cities.
Benefits from health care cost savings, cuts in air pollution and economic benefits
C40 consider that road pricing is inevitable in most big cities. In London as a result most people are not driving. Stockholm has seen a 35% fall in emissions and 40% growth
3. Co-ordinated cities
Successful cities will run on data. Benchmarking is a catalyst to change. For example in NYC they are looking for a 30% GHG emissions reduction from buildings between 2005 and 2017.
Mark ended by asking what if Mayor’s ruled the world? Political leadership is being shown by mayors from around the world.
The Waitematā Local Board received a special mention at the event for having a Low Carbon Community Action plan and a low carbon community network.
Local board members came together on 31 March to hear an update on the work that has been underway to progress Greenways across Auckland. Simon Randall, Chair, Maungakiekie- Tamaki Local Board is the local board representative on a Greenways Leadership group set up by Stephen Town CEO, Auckland Council. That group has been looking at how best to deliver a connected Auckland through active transport.
We heard about the work underway to create a Greenways identity, an overview of a Greenways Design Guide and the potential level of investment in Greenways.
It is great to see the enthusiasm for Greenways from Local Boards and the commitment to making Auckland the world’s best city for cycling where Greenways are embraced.
In Waitematā we have recently made progress on the Grey Lynn greenways route with the widening of the Hakanoa reserve pathway (photo right). The design of the on-road sections of the route is in the process of being finalised by Auckland Transport and will shortly be available for public input.
Member Deborah Yates and I, with officer support, organised a Waitematā Local Board display at the Neighbours Day event in Freyberg Square and Ellen Melville Hall as part of Neighbours Day Aotearoa. The event was aimed at inner city residents and involved a wide range of community organisations. Thanks to Splice, ADCOSS, Heart of the City and everyone who made the celebration of the city centre happen.
Ponsonby Road improvements
Update on the Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience is reported on our agenda by Auckland Transport.
IPENZ transportation group conference
I attended the IPENZ transportation group conference 7-9 March with funding from the Board’s professional development budget.
The report back from the conference is attached to my monthly report (item 22).
Workshops and meetings
From 1 March – 31 March 2016 I attended:
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 1 March
- Tamaki Drive Cycle Route Preferred Option/s Workshop hosted by Beca on behalf of Auckland Transport on 2 March
- Have your say event for the Annual Budget 16/17 consultation at the Auckland Town Hall on 3 March
- Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 8 March at our new offices on Swanson St
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 9 March
- Waitematā Local Board Annual Budget 2016/17 Hearing on 10 March
- Met with Mik Smellie from the Residents Advisory Group on 10 March
- Grafton Residents Association meeting to discuss the Annual budget and local board priorities on 14 March
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 15 March
- Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 16 March
- ADCOSS Forum on 17 March at Western Springs Community Hall: Towards an Age-friendly Auckland: The missing links
- Elected Members Professional Development Programme – Social Media Forum on 18 March
- Local Board Briefing on the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 on 18 March
- Elected Members – Local Government Excellence Programme LGNZ Briefing on 21 March
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 22 March
- Monthly media catch up on 22 March
- Meeting organised by Auckland Transport to discuss the “Open Streets” event planned for 1 May on K’rd
- Community portfolio meeting on 24 March
- Grants Committee meeting on 30 March
- Meeting to discuss the Ponsonby Cruising Club lease with Panuku Development Agency
- Newmarket Lanesways project working group meeting to discuss progress to date
- Local Board briefing on the Greenways project on 31 March
Events and functions
From 1 March – 31 March 2016 I attended:
- Waitematā Local Board – official office opening on 2 March
- IPENZ transportation group conference 7 -9 March (see Attachment A for my conference report back)
- Auckland Arts Festival shows at the invitation of the AAF Trust (I have declared these tickets as gifts in accordance with Auckland Council’s code of practice)
- Te Po
- Cucina dell’ arte
- St James Play: Part 1 (photo right at the opening night reception with Steven Miller who plays James I)
- Carabosse Fire Garden at the Auckland Domain
- Little Day Out at the Mt Eden Village Centre on 5 March
- Music in Parks at Western Park (free music in parks event) on 5 March
- Pasifika Festival Saturday 12 March
- Ponsonby Market Day on Saturday 12 March
- White Nights. Making Light performance by the Velociteers on Lightpath on 12 March
- St Patricks Day parade along Ponsonby Road on 13 March
- Learn to ride and consultation event in Grey Lynn Park on 13 and 20 March
- Auckland Conversations on 15 March
- One Planet Living launch at Unitec on 17 March
- Grey Lynn school Aloha night on 18 March
- Neighbours day city centre event on 19 March
- David Haigh’s farewell from the Grafton Residents Association
- Member of the official party at the Citizenship ceremony in the Town Hall on 22 March
- Official opening of the Auckland Zoo’s new African savannah development by the Prime Minister, the Rt.Hon. John Key on 24 March 2016 (photo right)
- Celebration of Lightpath with free ice cream on 30 March provided by Auckland Transport for the 100,000 trip since opening day on 3 December
- Regional Facilities hosted local board function at Auckland Zoo on 30 March