In March I started learning beginners te reo Māori at AUT University as part of my professional development on the Board. The free course covering Te Kākano I is held over 10 weeks on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm. I highly recommend the course.
Portfolio Report: Community
A Community and Teaching Gardens tour in March organised for community development officers and board members was a great learning opportunity about the different types of gardens, the benefits and challenges and the potential role Council can play in developing and fostering community gardens.
The Old Station Reserve teaching garden is particularly impressive. This garden is on Council land and was originally set up in 2009 with the support of the then Manukau City Council Parks department. They have a philosophy of recycling everything and an open door policy for anyone who wants to work and share the produce. The garden is particularly popular with elders of the Chinese community.
The Community Grants Committee meeting was held on 24 March for applications to the third round of funding for the 13/14 year. The committee is recommending that the Board support applications to a total of $33,254.70.
If the Committee’s recommendations are accepted $28,459.56 remains for the fourth and final round of funding. Applications close on 25 April 2014.
Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio
A range of meetings were attended during March relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.
Portfolio report: Transport
Progress for cycling (posted as a separate item here)
Grafton Gully Cycleway Connections
At our March Board meeting I reported on concerns that Auckland Transport and Auckland Council were failing to meet the deadlines for constructing the connections at Beach Road and Upper Queen Street to the Grafton Gully Cycle way that is due to open in September by NZTA.
I am therefore pleased to report that significant progress has been achieved over the last month with efforts to bring the project governance under one structure. In addition:
- $1m additional City Transformation funding has been allocated to the Beach Road project to ensure quality public realm outcomes, as well as a cycleway.
- Auckland Transport is working to achieve connections from Grafton Gully to Beach Road by September this year
- City Transformation have developed a concept design for the urban design and landscape enhancements to Upper Queen Street bridge (funded from a $900k budget) and the team is currently working through a funding agreement with NZTA, who have agreed in principle to contribute $250k to the Auckland Council Upper Queen Street project..
It is very exciting to see the Grafton Gully project progress.
The transport portfolio has long advocated for ATEED, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to provide bike parking at events. It was therefore great to experience ‘valet’ bike parking at the Pasifika festival. Over the 2 days of the festival the service was heavily used. There is a lot further potential to promote active transport to events during the summer months.
Richmond Road School safety plan
The Richmond Road school community have long been advocating for safety improvements on Richmond Road. During March a parent raised three outstanding major issues:
- There has been a notable and significant increase in traffic density on Richmond Road particularly in the mornings, even over the last twelve months. This may be partly due to the high level of renovation in the area around the school at present.
- Driver distractability and irritability seems to be far greater. It is routine to see cars on Ponsonby and Richmond roads running red lights, texting and talking on phones, and I have personally witnessed a number of occasions when cars have driven across the pedestrian crossings outside Richmond Rd School when the children are putting the stop signs out.
- The speed of cars is well over the 40kph limit.
The Chair of Auckland Transport, Lester Levy has responded directly to these concerns and promised to undertake a site visit.
In the meantime I have confirmed that the Waitematā Local Board initiated the Richmond Road Safety Plan (of which safety improvements around the school are part) as a result of the school’s advocacy going back over many years and to address the safety concerns along the entire length of Richmond Road. This plan is one of our many advocacy areas to Auckland Transport in our annual agreement (part of the annual plan)
At our March Board meeting Auckland Transport reported that a number of safety improvements are under investigation:
- Cockburn Street and Chamberlain Streets intersections (about to start)
- West Lynn shops
- Countdown/Farro Fresh intersection (also part of our Greenways project connecting Coxs Bay with Grey Lynn Park)
Peel Street/Richmond Road intersection is also being looked at with a roundabout as a possible option.
We very much want to see a “complete” street approach by Auckland Transport to slow the traffic over the entire length and for works to happen as soon possible with the area around the school prioritised for safety improvements.
Monthly transport update
Our regular monthly transport update was postponed this month however 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
Annual Plan hearings
We had a very positive day of annual plan hearings with Cr Darby and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse joining the Board. One strong theme that emerged is the need for art groups to receive guaranteed annual funding from Auckland Council.
The Local Board Agreement (budget and activities for 14/15) will be finalised in June as part of the Annual Plan.
Local Board Plan
Community engagement on the Board’s next local board plan has continued in March with stakeholder workshops.
I attended a session for the disability sector led by Christopher Dempsey on 24 March in Parnell. The participants were unanimous in their positive feedback about the value of the session and the Board providing an opportunity to discuss issues of concern to those who are differently abled.
I also led a well-attended session for representatives of the migrant community in Parnell. The discussion was again very positive with many universal themes emerging from the engagement.
The Board was part of an Auckland Council engagement stand at Pasifika on 8 March and further consultation continues in April with resident groups.
The draft local board plan will go out for formal consultation in July 2014.
Out and about in Waitemata (posted as a separate item here)
Workshops and meetings
In the period 1 March – 31 March I attended:
- Local Board Plan public engagement sessions on 1 March in Grey Lynn
- Fortnightly communications catch up on 3 March
- Meeting organised by the GLBA to discuss with Auckland Transport the development of the Great North Road Corridor Management Plan on 3 March
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 4 March
- Briefing on progress on the Greenways Project
- Meeting on 5 March to discuss scope for Herne Bay Walkway Project
- Presentation to the stage 2 Urban Planning: Urban Policy Analysis class at Auckland University as a guest speaker of Joel Cayford “Policy setting process: the political journey”
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 March
- Waitemata Local Board monthly business meeting on 11 March in Grey Lynn
- Attended the Infrastructure Committee Meeting at the Town Hall on 12 March
- Auckland Council Investments presentation by Gary Swift (CE – ACIL) (Albert-Eden, Puketapapa, Waitemata)
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 13 March
- Meeting with Ponsonby Business Association to discuss the local economic development plan feedback
- Meeting to meet the new communications adviser and discuss photos for the draft Local Board plan on 14 March
- Waterfront Auckland up date to the Transport Portfolio on the Westhaven promenade and cycleway on 14 March
- Community Facilities Network Plan and Community Grants Policy workshops on 17 March at the Flicking Centre
- Resource Recovery Centre meeting with Albert-Eden/Puketapapa/Waitemata Local Boards on 17 March
- Waitemata Local Board Annual Plan Hearing
- Meeting on 19 March to provide the Board with an update on concept design, costing, timing, etc for Freyberg Place and the connections with Melville Hall.
- Local Economic Overview for Waitemata by Jonathan Sudworth, Economic Development
- Community Facilities Fees & Charges meeting on 20 March
- Waitemata Local Board Grants Committee Meeting on 24 March
- Community Garden Tour on 24 March
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 25 March
- Meeting to discuss the community facility work programme
- Ponsonby Community Centre Monthly meeting
- Local Board Plan Stakeholder Meeting with Disability Groups in Parnell on 26 March
- Brent Toderian lunchtime talk in Takapuna – Balancing heritage protection with city intensification
- Meeting to discuss Local Board funding policy
- Migrant Communities Local Board plan Engagement in Parnell on 27 March
- Meeting regarding the Local Board plan on 31 March
- Meeting with O’Neill Street residents on 31 March to discuss parking issues
Events and functions
- Cycle Action Auckland’s Associates Breakfast at the Auckland Art Gallery on 6 March
- Celebration of International Women’s Day 2014 on 7 March at Freyberg Place
- Joined the Mayoral walkabout at Pasifika Festival on 8 March
- The Olympic Pool 75th Jubilee in Newmarket on 12 March
- Transport Blog movie fundraiser on 12 March
- Grey Lynn Business Association Networking drinks at Malt Bar on 13 March
- Opening of Andy Tolhurst and Mauricio Benega’s ‘Energia’ exhibition at Artstation on 19 March
- Otago Law Students Alumni Function at Chapman Tripp on 20 March
- Liveable City Art Auction to raise funds for the Arch Hill residents fight against the Bunnings big box retail development on Great North Road
- Grey Lynn School Aloha Night on 21 March
- Cat walk in the street event hosted by the Newmarket Business Association on 22 March
- Pecha Kucha and the showing of the Human Scale at Silo Park on 28 March
- Neighbour’s Day – Grow in the city at Myers Park on 29 March part of Waitemata Pop Project between March and June, 2014. Pop has an overarching theme of urban ecology, includes mini projects such as “bee hotels”, “walking among the trees”, hanging gardens, neighbours day pop out gardens and workshops to engage various communities.
- Newton School Fia Fia fundraising day on 29 March
- Surrey Cres Street Party hosted by the Grey Lynn Business Association in celebration of Neighbours Day Aotearoa (I volunteered on a resource recovery station to reduce the rubbish going into the street bins)
- Opening of the Auckland International Cultural Festival in Mt Roskill War Memorial Park
- Between the Tides sculpture event at Westmere Beach on 30 March