There’s no doubt this year has been a tough one. I could never have imagined what we were going to face as a city in my first year as a Councillor. Here’s a bit of a run through the challenges we’ve confronted on Auckland Council and some of the highlights.
At the start of the first level 4 lockdown in March, a temporary Emergency Committee of the whole of the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors) was established in response to the pandemic. One of the first steps of this committee was to put in place a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic. Council stepped up to provide support across the community including library staff making welfare calls.
Auckland Council’s 2020/2021 annual budget that was consulted on in March had to be thrown out once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Aucklanders were then asked to have their say on a second proposed ‘emergency budget’ in response to a massive budget hole.
In July the Governing Body adopted the Emergency Budget 2020/21, along with a rate increase of 3.5 per cent and a rates postponement scheme to assist ratepayers facing financial hardship. We had to make tough calls in the budget to continue providing essential services and respond to the challenges of the pandemic and drought. The focus more recently has been on putting together the priorities for Council’s 10 year budget that will go out for consultation in February.
Late in 2019 an independent panel was appointed to undertake a review of the 5 CCOs (council controlled organisations). The new council CEO Jim Stabback, appointed by the Governing Body for a 5 year term in September, is leading the implementation of all 64 recommendations presented by the panel including the merger of two CCOs—Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development into a single entity now called Auckland Unlimited.
In May, in response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, the Emergency Committee voted to introduce mandatory water restrictions. In June we agreed to waive resource consent fees for residential rainwater tank installation. Savings are up to 40 million litres of water a day, with Watercare on track to boost supply by another 40 million litres a day by December.
The downtown programme of works is continuing at pace and new spaces are already opening up in the city centre and waterfront after many months of construction. I was fortunate to speak at the opening by Panuku of the final stage of the Westhaven promenade.
A personal highlight, as Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, was the unanimous adoption in July of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan. It provides a bold response to drive climate action working together across Tāmaki Makaurau. In another positive decision by the committee we unanimously agreed to support standardising the weed management budget across Auckland (rather than standardising methodology as recommended which would have increased glyphosate use in some areas), provided for local decision-making on preferred methodologies, and re-confirmed our support for the Weed Management Policy goals to minimise agri-chemical usage.
In September the Governing Body approved an independent review into health and safety at Ports of Auckland. I have been one of a group of Councillors supporting the Mayor to launch a review to take a close look at the workplace culture at the Port and systemic failings that have led to a number of tragic deaths.
Another personal highlight was my appointment in February as Co-Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum under a new co-governance structure. As a forum we have signed off more ambitious goals and are committed to the preservation and restoration of the Hauraki Gulf Tipaka Moana Te Moananui-a-Toi.
I’ve enjoyed a close working relationship with the three local boards in my ward over the year even though for a big chunk of it we were only able to meet online. I was fortunate to be on Waiheke recently for the launch of 5 new electric buses and visited Aotea Great Barrier in November for the first time since lockdown. I end the year feeling very privileged to represent the beating heart of Auckland and the stunning gulf islands.
Ngā mihi o te wā and best wishes for the year ahead.
Through the disruption, anxiety and uncertainty thrown up by the coronavirus, the lockdowns have provided the opportunity to reconnect with nature, to listen, to stop and observe. I’m particularly interested in the impact on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park because earlier in the year I was elected co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum alongside Nicola MacDonald, the tangata whenua co-chair.
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is New Zealand’s first marine park. It’s a big park, stretching from Te Arai in the north to Waihi in the south. At 1.2 million hectares, or 20 times the size of Lake Taupō, it includes the Waitematā Harbour, Gulf Islands, Firth of Thames and the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is the seabird capital of the world, and a whale superhighway. Many will feel a close affinity with the Gulf as Auckland’s playground.
The State of the Gulf report published to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park made for grim reading and put a spotlight on the ongoing environmental degradation. The park is suffering from the decimation of shellfish beds, decreasing fish stocks, a seabed littered with plastics, sediment issues and increased pressure from development and tourism. The key point from the report is we need much more protection, and we need it fast.
During the first lockdown there was an immediate and observable effect of noise reduction on our marine and bird life from the significant decline in the number of vessel movements resulting in a much quieter and less pressured marine environment. There were sightings of birdlife where we haven’t seen them for some time. Ultimately the positive impact was not ongoing and not particularly ecologically or environmentally significant given that we are fighting decades of degradation.
In May the Forum adopted an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf including ending marine dumping in or near the marine park and protecting at least 30 per cent of our moana in a way that respects biodiversity and habitats. Less than half a percent of the area is currently protected in marine reserves.
The Minister of Conservation Eugene Sage supports implementing significant marine protection. As she has said “We have to get beyond asserting our rights to thinking about our responsibilities for the domain of Tangaroa, because we all share an interest in having a healthy gulf with abundant fisheries and marine life. It means putting aside our assertion of rights. We’d really like to see some ambitious vision, with the fishing industry offering to stop bottom trawling and other bottom-damaging methods – to take that step to inspire other action.”
What marine protection does go ahead will be in the hands of the incoming government. The government’s response strategy to Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari, the marine spatial plan for the park designed to secure a healthy, productive and sustainable future, will be critical. Adoption of a strategy has the potential to transform the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
It was a brief reprieve during lockdown but the tide may be starting to turn for the health of Hauraki Gulf Tipaka Moana Te Moananui-a-Toi.
This is my first Councillor report for 2020 prepared for the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards’ February business meeting agendas.
It covers the period from 25 November 2019 until 31 January including the summer break.
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*
Governing Body committee met on 26 November and 12 December (photo right of Councillors at the Aotea Square Christmas tree on our way to the final business meeting of the year at the Town Hall). Highlights include:
agreed the terms of reference for the Council Controlled Organisations Review
approved allocation of the Auckland Council governance remuneration pool
approved terms of reference for the Joint Governance Working Party and Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Working Party
adopted the GB meeting schedule from 2020 -2022
agreed process for appointing the next Auckland Council CEO (appointment to be made by end of 2020)
Unanimous support for an extraordinary item regarding the bus drivers dispute (reported on below)
The first Environment and Climate Change committee met on 29 November
approved the grant allocations for the 2019/2020 Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant programme funding round
allocations for the 2019/2020 Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund, September 2019 funding were considered in confidential
The first Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee met on 12 December to receive the first quarter reports of the substantive council-controlled organisations and approve the proposed content for inclusion in their 2020/21 letters of expectation.
A minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of our Finance and Performance Committee led by Cr Desley Simpson on 10 December to pay tribute to all those affected by the awful tragedy on Whakaari /White Island.
A range of briefings have continued for the Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair and Deputy Chair
In my role as committee Deputy Chair 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
On Friday 29 November I hosted my first Councillor “clinic” on Aotea Great Barrier with booked appointments times
Meeting on 6 December with councillors Barley and Casey and First Union to discuss the bus drivers dispute.
MUNZ meeting on 9 December with the automation working group of the International Transport Workers Federation
Cr Hills and I met with Milag San Jose-Ballesteros, Regional Director For Southeast Asia And Oceania, C40 to discuss climate change action on 21 January. C40 Cities is an organisation working with 96 City Councils across the world to work on positive opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and protect our communities.
Meeting on 22 January convened by the Mayor regarding Fuller Ferry cancellations (reported on below)
City Centre network meeting at the Ellen Melville Centre on 23 January
Tour of Aotea Great Barrier (north part of island) with the local board on 27 January (photos right)
Waiheke Local Board business meeting on 28 January
Environment and Climate Change Committee: Political Working Group meetings to finalise Council’s submission on the Reducing waste: A more effective landfill levy paper
I also attended the following events:
Vision Zero celebration at Auckland Transport on 25 November
100 years of Zonta International celebration dinner on 25 November hosted by the Zonta Club of Auckland at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron. Zonta’s mission is empowering powering women through service and advocacy.
Friends of Sustainable Coastlines celebration on 27 November
Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum 90th birthday celebrations on 27 November.
Ceremony for the 40th anniversary of the Erebus accident at Government House hosted by the Governor General where the PM and the Chair of Air NZ gave a wholehearted apology to the families for the actions of the government and airline following the disaster that claimed 247 lives. I’m sure that nothing can fully heal the loss from the tragedy for the families and those impacted by Operation Overdue but this apology is long overdue. I hope now we can also move ahead on a fitting Erebus Memorial.
NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards gala dinner on 28 November at the invitation of Waste Solutions. Auckland Council, TROW and Green Way won the Partnering for Good category for the demolition of the Masonic Lodge in Salisbury Reserve (a project initiated by the Waitematā Local Board)
Met with the Inspirasi Indonesian Young Leaders delegation (photo right with Cr Hills and Laila Harre) and spoke on the topic of the Role of Local Government and how to engage communities to be sustainably resilient
Visited Great Barrier on 29 November to hold a Councillor clinic to meet locals, did an interview with Aotea FM (photo right with Toni and Tony from Aotea FM) and meet with local board members
Raise up Leadership grad dinner at Eden Park on 30 November at the invitation of YMCA
Hyundai World Championships powhiri and opening ceremony on 1 December
Franklin Road lights opening on 1 December (photo right with local board member Graeme Gunthorp)
Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM at the Grey Lynn RSC
Farewell for Marguerite Delbet as Council’s General Manager, Democracy Services after six plus years at the helm
Auckland Art Gallery’s 2020 programme launch on 3 December
Whakawātea for Luna Rossa / Prada bases, America’s Cup on 4 December (photo right)
Women in Leadership afternoon tea hosted by the Mayor’s office
LGNZ strategy day in Wellington on 5 December
LGNZ National Council meeting on 6 December
Citizenship ceremony at the Auckland Town hall on 9 December
Ports of Auckland community liaison group Christmas drinks on 10 December
Morning blessing on 17 December led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for the start of the St Mary’s Bay water project that will dramatically reduce contamination going into the Harbour (photo right). This significant project is funded from the water quality targeted rate and delivered by Watercare and Healthy Waters (Auckland Council) with Auckland Transport improvements included as well
End of year afternoon tea hosted by the Mayor on 17 December
Late Night Christmas event organised by Heart of the City on 19 December
Community celebration lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 20 December
Waiheke Ostend Market zero waste stall volunteer on 21 December and 17 January (photo right)
I took a Christmas break from 20 December until 13 January
I joined the Mayor and Panuku on
15 January for a tour of Auckland’s Waterfront Precinct and Wynyard Quarter as well as a look at the new Willis Bond apartment development on Madden Street, the Park Hyatt Auckland site (photo right in hard hats) and a visit to Emirates Team New Zealand.
Enjoyed a session at the ASB Classic tennis at the invitation of ATEED and a chance to meet the tournament director Karl Budge
Urban Nerds AKL – special guest appearance by Greg Vann on 23 January
Moira Lawler’s farewell as CEO of Lifewise held at Merge Café on 23 January
Supported the Mayor at the SeePort festival opening on 25 January
International Buskers Day Festival opening on 25 January at the invitation of Crackerjack productions
On behalf of the Mayor addressed the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day event hosted by the Holocaust Centre of NZ at the Mt Eden Memorial Hall (Photo right and speech Attachment 1)
State of the Nation presentation with the PM and lunch on 30 January at Sky City Convention Centre at the invitation of Business NZ
Regional consultation topics
In December the Mayor’s proposal for the Annual Budget 2020/21 was agreed to go out for consultation on 21 February. The proposal is about showing leadership on climate change as well as continuing to invest strongly in infrastructure and services, and readying Auckland for the international spotlight in 2021, when the city hosts the 36th America’s Cup, APEC, Te Matatini and a range of other events. I have reported on the main topics in my Ponsonby News column.
The Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant Fund and Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund applications were agreed by the Environment and Climate Change committee on 29 November.
Significant issues and ward issues (as at 31 January)
New Network bus changes on Waiheke
Following the report that Hana Blackmore prepared for the local board highlighting deficiencies in Auckland Transport’s consultation and presentation of a petition, Auckland Transport agreed to put in place a temporary diversion for every second 50A bus service to loop through Ostend / Wharf Rd. The use of services on these roads will then be assessed around March when AT undertakes the review of the New Network.
AT also reported that the New Network has significantly grown compared to the old network over the first eight weeks of operation – in average by +5% and more recently by up to +30% for individual weeks. More people are using buses on Waiheke now than before. However, issues remain with a bus driver shortage. I am also aware of continued concerns regarding the location of bus stops.
Leys Institute Library Building
Just before Christmas an operational decision was made to close Leys Institute Library and Gymnasium until further notice. A recently completed seismic assessment has found structural issues that make the buildings unsafe to occupy in the unlikely event of an earthquake.
This caused a lot of concern raised directly with me about the future of the buildings and the continuation of library services. The local board has ensured that services will resume from March at 14 Jervois Road for at least the next three years and that the jobs of all library staff are safe. In the meantime, the mobile library has been parking outside Leys Institute until the end of January
A report on the options for restoring the buildings will be going to the local board.
Bus drivers dispute
The bus driver dispute ended before Christmas following Auckland Council unanimously requesting Auckland Transport to work on finding a solution and signalled the need to find a long-term sustainable way forward to the poor pay and conditions. It was important to take a stand together as Auckland needs professional bus drivers who are well trained and can earn a living. Here is the resolution in full from the 12 December Governing Body meeting:
a) note with concern the industrial dispute affecting bus services and its impact on commuters, bus drivers and their families and potentially undermining a shift to use of public transport
b) request Auckland Transport to work with NZ Bus and the relevant unions to find a solution to end the current dispute
c) request Auckland Transport and the Chief Executive of Auckland Council to work on sustainable long-term solutions
d) request the Mayor to write to the Ministry of Transport on behalf of Council seeking urgency to be accorded to the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) Review to ensure that problems of recruitment and retention of bus drivers are addressed and a fair and equitable resolution is reached around drivers wages and working condition
Waiheke Ferry cancellations
On 22 January Mayor Phil Goff convened a meeting of Fullers, the Harbourmaster, Auckland Transport, the Ports of Auckland and elected representatives including Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of the Waiheke Local Board, Cath Handley and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and myself. After the meeting the Mayor released the following statement.
“I made clear my expectations that recent ferry cancellations were unacceptable, and the causes had to be addressed collaboratively by the parties directly involved. The inconvenience caused to Aucklanders is not acceptable. I also made clear my expectations that I want to see this issue resolved as soon as possible,” Phil Goff said.
“The discussions were positive, and progress was made. I have asked for a working party to be convened urgently, chaired by the Harbourmaster, and involving Fullers, Auckland Transport, Ports of Auckland and the cruise ship industry.
“I have asked the group to address the following issues relevant to the cancellations:
whether the restrictions on cruise liner berthing currently from 7.30am to 9am can and should be extended
what the appropriate safety parameters are for ferries when cruise liners are berthing
the need for a better communication mechanism between the relevant parties.
“I have asked the working group to report back on these matters to elected representatives as soon as possible.”
My regular Ponsonby News column was published in the February edition
On Saturday 22 June I joined hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in darkness at the foot of Pukekaaroa Hill in Auckland Domain before Kiingi Tuheitia, accompanied by the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and dignitaries from iwi manaaki (host iwi) Waikato-Tainui, led a gentle walk to the hilltop.
It was a poignant occasion as Matariki Dawn Karakia opened 2019’s Matariki Festival. Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council, in partnership with Waikato-Tainui brought the festival to the Auckland region from 22 June until 14 July this year.
Waitematā Local Board co-hosted with the Parnell Business Association the launch of The Parnell Plan; a 30-year plan for Auckland’s first suburb developed collaboratively by community representatives, local board members and Auckland Council staff, in partnership with mana whenua. It was a true community empowerment approach.
The plan details a key vision for the suburb and outlines a series of objectives, strategies and actions which work together to achieve the vision; that Parnell is a thriving, creative, and collaborative community that celebrates its unique natural, cultural and historic environment.
Five key action areas are defined and focus directly on achieving the plan’s vision and objectives. These are:
making Parnell Station a key gateway to Parnell and the Domain
realising the Waipapa Greenway through the old Parnell rail tunnel
reinforcing the core of Parnell town centre as the heart of Parnell
revitalising the St Georges Bay Road warehouse area
enhancing key east-west links and realising the Parnell Parks Link Greenway.
Over 3 years ago Gloria Jenkins approached me about the need for a shelter at her bus stop on Parnell Road. Installation of the shelter was held up while AT consulted on new bus lanes and decided to move the existing bus stop.
On 28 June member Adriana Christie and I held an unofficial opening to celebrate the new bus shelter with Gloria cutting the ribbon. We were joined by Gloria’s neighbour and her son about to take the bus, and Gloria’s nephew Brian.
We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians.
New crossing installed recently are on Khyber Pass and at Western Springs as part of the shared path project.
Community Safety Fund
At our June business meeting we confirmed our support for the community safety projects listed in the Community Safety Fund document I attached to my Chair’s Report with the addition of Parnell Train Station underpass and requested Auckland Transport work with the local board to progress these projects using the Fund:
safety improvements at Newton Central School from the Safe Schools Tool Box
a new pedestrian crossing on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the Westend Tennis Club
iii. improvements to the pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and at Domain Drive
a new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Domain across Park Road
a new pedestrian crossing outside ACG Campus on Davis Crescent to Olympic Reserve
safety improvements to Hopetoun Street
vii. Cook Street Project – Area 5 Shared Path Cycleway
Transporters on Great North Road
How car transporters off load on Great North Road is a long standing issue I have been following up with Auckland Transport. Car deliveries have been taking place in non loading areas for decades. I’ve made it very clear to Auckland Transport and the industry (at meeting in April and in follow up emails) that parking illegally to unload is no longer acceptable especially on Great North Road with changing land use and increasing numbers walking and cycling.
AT has investigated locations for new loading zones and is about to start consultation. It is frustrating how long AT is taking but in the meantime there are options for unloading legally and safely. I’ve asked the industry rep who I met at the meeting with AT in April to look at putting in place traffic management plans and to clearly communicate to the transporters what practices are acceptable. A new pedestrian crossing is also needed on Great North Road but AT doesn’t have any funds available and the local board community safety fund is oversubscribed. I’ve also asked AT to confirm how the new loading zones are consistent with the proposed GNR cyclelanes but I am yet to receive a response.
Franklin Road upgrade opening
Franklin Road upgrade opening on 3 July was an opportunity to acknowledge the many people who have been involved in this $21m project over a long period of time. For decades it was put in the too hard basket until former Auckland Transport COO, Greg Edmonds found a way to make it happen with partners Auckland Council, Vector, Watercare and Chorus.
The results are stunning and include:
Underground service works and street lighting
New sewer lines and watermain pipes with new connections added to homes
Undergrounding power lines
New roundabout at the Wellington St intersection
New cycleway (semi Copenhagen style) on both sides of the street
Footpaths were replaced.
The paths have fibre reinforced concrete to keep the trees from lifting them up again
New raised speed tables at every side street intersection to improve the walking experience and to slow vehicle speed •
Installation of more than 40 new catch pits to improve stormwater drainage
Construction of well-defined parking bays and improved tree pits
Upgraded street lighting with new catenary street lighting design using energy-efficient LED luminaries
Waitematā Local Board’s has a legacy Parking Fund that is available for parking improvements and is made up of the following:
Grey Lynn / Westmere
At our June Business meeting we voted to support utilising the Parnell portion of the Waitematā Local Board’s Parking Fund, in the order of $489,225 to deliver improvements in the Auckland Domain related to:
i) installing temporary gates at the entrance and exit to the Titoki Street carpark and at the Carlton Gore entrance to manage commuter or long stay parking to ensure parking is available to Domain users; and
ii) developing a new carpark to support the natural play area and provide safer pedestrian and cycling use of Kiosk Road.
In doing that we confirmed our support the removal of on-road parking from Kiosk Road and Football Drive following the parking improvements, consistent with the outcome of the Auckland Domain Masterplan and the Auckland Domain Accessibility Improvement Programme.
The Governing Body now has to make a decision to release the funds from the Parking Fund for the projects to go ahead.
Bike to football
Over the years I’ve often heard it said by grownups that kids will never bike to sport. But look what happened at the first bike to football on 15 June. The team behind Pt Chev Bike to Football pilot scheme planned hot drinks and sausages for the first 30 people to arrive by bike; they expected maybe 20. 74 showed up at Seddon Fields and the numbers have increased every week. And this is without the safe cyclepath that was meant to have been delivered by now (the bike train rode on the footpath)
Parking on berms
Councils voted on a record 24 remits at the AGM on 7 July, held in Wellington as part of the 2019 LGNZ Conference.
Covering issues as varied as climate change, fireworks, tourist accommodation, building defects, campgrounds, alcohol, road safety and the beauty industry, remits are a further opportunity for councils to direct the advocacy work of LGNZ .
I attended the AGM as one of four designated delegates of Auckland Council and spoke in support of the seeking an amendment to clause 6.2 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 to prohibit parking on urban berms with out the need for signage.
“In urban areas the berm is part of the footpath.
An interpretation of the current rules requires signage to be able to enforce the prohibition of parking on the berm.
This is a compliance issue. Signage is expensive, impracticable and clutters up the footpath.
There are often good reasons to enforce the prohibition and to be able to act on a complaint.
Berm parking creates safety issues for all road users. It can damage the kerbs, trees and wreak the grass and it can damage underground utilities creating costs for all ratepayers.
In Auckland berm parking is occurring where parking exists to avoid paying parking changes.
This is an urban issue but we seek support from all the membership for this sensible and common sense change to the Land Transport (Road User ) Rule.
Unfortunately the remit was lost creating even more media interest in “bermageddon”. What is particularly frustrating about this issue is how AT has interpreted the current rules. AT has legal advice that signage is needed to be able to enforce prohibited parking. However as Heidi O’Callahan has written for Greater Auckland:
Under the present law, in a typical Auckland street, a grass berm or verge that is retained by a kerb is simply an unpaved part of the footpath.
The rules around parking are in the Road User Rule. Rule 6.14 covers parking on the footpath – you cannot park on the footpath. Rule 6.2 covers parking on the road, and says you should park off the roadway if possible. In urban areas with kerbs, this applies to parking bays and marked carparks. Otherwise you park on the roadway. Rule 6.2 does not override Rule 6.14 and authorise a driver to take over an unpaved part of the footpath.
AT could apply Rule 6.14 to ticket cars parked off the roadway on any part of the footpath, paved or unpaved. This includes the verges and vehicle crossings
The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.
In the session Alex Bonham presented on her Children’s play in the city research and Claire Dixon from Auckland Transport on Safe School Streets.
On the second day I stepped in for Cr Chris Darby, chair of Auckland Council’s Planning Committee to provide introductory comments about Why walking connections to public transport is important (Attachment 5)
Every public transport user is effectively a pedestrian at some point their journey
Public transport just one part of an overall end-to-end journey
If the walking component is not acceptable or accessible to the public, the whole journey becomes unattractive
Walking is a universal but fragile transport mode. An uncomfortable or hostile walking environment will deter anyone who is able to avoid it – deters people from using public transport
Public transport, like public space, is for everyone. Public transport is best when it is inclusive. A Universal Design approach to roads, streets and public spaces also ensures that nobody is excluded from access to public transport. Every part of the journey needs to be designed to be accessible to everyone.
Public transport and walking are complementary because of spatial efficiency
A 3m traffic lane can move about 1,000 cars per hour, or 9,000 pedestrians
A 3m light rail line can serve up to 25,000 people per hour, per direction
Living Streets Aotearoa is committed to ensuring over 50% of children and adolescents walk all or part of their journey to school by 2025. Waitematā Local Board is looking to fund safety improvements around Newton Central School. Photo right with the walking school bus mascot
Karangahape Road enhancement project
The much-anticipated enhancements to Auckland’s iconic Karangahape Road are finally about to get underway. I attended the dawn karakia led by mana whenua on 27 June (photo right).
The Symonds St cemetery suffered from decades of neglect until Shale Chambers started championing a long-term enhancement programme first initiated by the Waitematā Local Board in 2012. The results are amazing – new paths, monument conservation, ecological restoration and community volunteer events in the cemetery. Along the way Symonds Street Cemetery Friends led by Patricia M Reade have been doing fabulous work to protect, preserve, enhance, restore and educate the public about the cemetery.
We are supporting the Auckland Council process for requests Expressions of Interest (EOI) from qualified artists who wish to be considered for the commission of a new Sturdee Street Mural. EOI’s are now open, closing 1 August 2019. For more information, contact: WaitemataLocalBoard@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Attachment 8: Stuff report Mural in downtown Auckland to be replaced for America’s Cup
Meetings and workshops: 12 June until 9 July
Planning Committee City Centre masterplan workshop on 12 June
Transport portfolio catch up on 12 June
Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 12 June
Meeting with John Elliott, Ponsonby News to discuss Council’s use of glysophate (My July Ponsonby News update Attachment 7)
Meeting on 13 June with Cr Lee to discuss proposed priority projects to be funded from the Community Safety Fund
Meeting with Auckland Fringe Festival Trust on 14 June
Weekly chairs catch up held on 17, 24 June and 1 July
Attended the meeting on 17 June with the Mayor and Fuller’s CEO to discuss issues with the operation of the Waiheke ferry
Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
Meeting regarding the Erebus National Memorial project with representatives from the Ministry for Culture on 18 June
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 June
25th Central Government and Local Government Forum on 19 June at Premier House, Wellington (photo right)
Attended the Walking Summit on 20 and 21 June at Auckland Transport
Engagement strategy interview with Local board engagement adviser on 24 June
Attended Marine Protection public meeting on 24 June organised by Hon Nikki Kaye on Waiheke
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 25 June and 2 July
Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 26 June
Meeting with new trustees of the Grey Lynn Park Festival Trust on 27 June
City centre network meeting at Ellen Melville Centre on 27 June
LGNZ AGM briefing on 28 June
Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 3 July
Communications meeting on 3 July
Meeting with Denise Cosgrove, new CEO of Presbyterian Support
City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 3 July
Auckland Zoo briefing and guided tour redevelopment project on 5 July
Taskforce on alcohol and community safety in the central city meeting on 5 July
LGNZ National Council meeting on 7 July
Attended LGNZ AGM as an Auckland Council delegate on 7 July (photo right)
LGNZ annual conference in Wellington 7-9 July ( I will report fully on the conference in my August Chair’s report)
Events and functions: 12 June until 9 July
Auckland Conversations: Making Auckland an Age Friendly City on 13 June
Opening night of A Fine Balance at Q Theatre on 15 June at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
Friends of Symonds St Cemetery AGM on 18 June
World Refugee Day celebration at the Auckland Art Gallery on 20 June.
Opening night of War Horse at the Civic on 21 June at the invitation of Auckland Live
Matariki Dawn Karakia at Auckland Domain Pukekawa on 22 June
School Strike for Climate organisers presentation for The Fabian Society monthly meeting at the Auckland University Business School on 25 June (photo right with Rachel Brown and Denise Bijoux with the organisers)
Launch of the Parnell Plan at Jubilee Buildings on 26 June
Pre-construction karakia for the Karangahape Road Enhancements project on 27 June
Red hat dinner for city centre residents on 27 June
World Press photography exhibition opening function on 28 June
We’re going on a Bear Hunt at the Pumphouse Theatre at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions on 29 June
Hāngi at Takutai Square for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
Maori Film Festival Screening of Te Rua at Ellen Melville Centre for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
Marilyn Waring book launch hosted by Zonta on 1 July
Eat Drink Love Ponsonby launch on 2 July
Spoke at the opening of the Franklin Road upgrade project on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board on 3 July
Abley new office opening on 3 July
Matariki Function for the Downtown Development project team at the Cloud on 3 July
Opening of Te Auaunga Project on 6 July (photo right)
Aotea Great Barrier Island protest against marine dumping in Aotea Square on 6 July
Te Hono a collaboration between Inside Out Productions and story-tellers Rewi Spraggon (Te Kawerau a Maki), Taiaha Hawke (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) and Pita Turei (Ngāti Paoa) held at the Concert Chamber as part of the Matariki Festival
Touch compass Inmotion Matariki parade on 6 July
LGNZ conference opening reception on 7 July and conference dinner on 8 July
At the local board meeting on 4 June we supported member Denise Roche’s Notice of Motion calling for an Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.
Notice of Motion – Member D Roche – Ecological and Climate Emergency Declaration
MOVED by Member DR Roche, seconded by Member A Avendano Christie:
That the Waitematā Local Board:
a) note its concerns about the ecological and climate crisis
b) support any Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
c) urge the Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
d) note that the Governing Body will shortly be consulting on Auckland’s Climate Action Plan
e) forward these resolutions to the Environment and Community Committee, all local boards and to Auckland Transport for their consideration and immediate action.
Denise spoke at the Environment and Community Committee on 11 June on behalf of the local board. The Committee voted unanimously to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognised the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.
“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the committee.
Photo credit right Cr Richard Hills: Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makau Rau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action.
The local board is committed to road safety and street design which delivers “slower traffic speeds, safer intersections and footpaths and cycle lanes built to international best practice” (Local Board Plan 2017). The transport portfolio has been working on a number of safety related projects.
Solent St intersection
We have supported AT removing the slip lanes at Solent Street intersection design as part of the Tamaki Drive cycleway project (photo right: a truck using the slip lane at speed).
In a very surprising and disappointing letter the Ports of Auckland CEO has outlined why he opposes the removal of the slip lanes. Auckland Transport has provided a response robustly outlining why the preferred design has been chosen,
We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians. This has resulted in improved crossings on Parnell Road (photo right).
The local board has also successfully advocated for new crossings on Kelmarna Ave by Marist School and College Hill by St Mary’s College.
Community Safety Fund
Local Boards have been allocated a share of a new one-off Community Safety Fund. This fund is $20 million split over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial Years and is designed to address safety issues raised by local communities, that don’t meet Auckland Transport’s regional prioritisation for funding. The fund is divided between the 21 local board areas using the area’s numbers of Deaths and Serious Injuries, as a major component of the funding formula.
Waitematā Local Board has been allocated approx. $1.4m from the fund. A decision on which projects to progress to the next stage (AT preparation of rough order of costs) will be made at the business meeting on 18 June. Attachment 3 ( Item 24 ) outlines the projects considered for funding from the Community Safety Fund and additional projects the transport portfolio would like AT to progress.
Auckland Transport is working NZTA on a new Innovating streets toolkit to allow for quicker interventions that promote healthy and safe roads.
I have asked AT to consider the following projects for the quick win/tactical urbanism approach.
Midtown to the Domain route needing minor physical changes and wayfinding: Wellesley St cycle lane connection to the Princes St slip lane alongside Wellesley St up to Symonds St Bridge (cycle crossing phase at the intersection Wellesley/Princes St) crossing to Whitaker Place with ped crossing phase via Grafton Gully cycleway to Grafton Road “shared path” on northern side to the Domain
Painted cycle lane connection to the current feeder lane on Williamson Ave at Ponsonby Road. Eg connection to start at MacKelvie St intersection alongside the service station through Pollen St intersection (markings already exist as an oversize vehicle lane and no parking has to be removed)- this will create visibility of people on bikes as currently a safety issue with number of vehicle crossings into service station
Alex Evans Drive connection between Symonds St and Upper Queen St bridge/start of Ian McKinnnon cycleway – plans were developed about four years ago by AT
Crummer Road contra flow at Scanlan St – currently blocked to through traffic but ideal to create a cut through for people on bikes (currently used informally) – first logged with AT in 2011
We are however disappointed that the final design doesn’t include raised tables on the off ramps as recommended by AT. NZTA has advised as follows:
We have been working with AT but we are finding it challenging to find a solution that keeps all our vulnerable uses (cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclist) safe. The issue is that there is a lack of a policy position on raised tables at motorway interchanges. We have recognised this as an issue and we are working as quickly as possible to form a view. We are very cognisant that the world is changing and that we need to work with our partners (AT and stakeholders) to ensure our policies keep up with urban form and urban development.
To confirm where we are at:
The Transport Agency is happy with the off-ramp realignment, where the curve has been straightened
The Transport Agency is happy with the on-ramp alignment, although we would prefer that it is re-aligned to reduce entry speed
The Transport Agency has not made a decision on raised tables at motorway interchanges at this point. The AT proposal sets significant precedence and the lack of an Agency policy position has serious implications on other projects in Auckland and wider New Zealand
Until a policy can be confirmed we are advising that the Agency is not in support of raised table junctions at these locations
We have engaged with parties internal to the Agency to establish a path forward so we can have a clear direction going forward
This has been escalated to the highest point in our organisations and they are aware of the issue (Tier 2 in NZTA and CEO at AT)
As mentioned our safety team is working as quickly as possible to establish a path forward. It has been suggested that the works could be completed without raised tables, which could be retrofitted at a later date should it become policy.
NZTA is currently analysing the current consent and conditions and working to see if the preferred design fits within it. A variation is a possibility. A detailed business case is being currently being developed. Best case scenario is a Dec 2020 construction start.
A drop-in session is planned for 4 July between 4-8pm at Ponsonby Cruising Club, 141-151 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven. NZTA has reaffirmed this project is a priority for the Government.
On 4 June the Waitematā Local Board received a briefing on the outcomes of the resource consent hearing for the removal of pine trees at Te Wai Orea – Western Springs Lakeside Park and received recommendations on the next steps in order to progress the local board’s native forest restoration project. The resource consent has been granted for the removal of 200+ pine trees with a set of conditions.
The local board has accepted the advice of officers to proceed with the project. We considered the additional conditions and noted as follows:
The independent commissioners reviewed all the evidence presented and determined that removal of the pines in one operation as now proposed is a practicable approach to enhancing the indigenous biodiversity values of the SEA and providing for the appreciation of the park as an urban forest (para 145 of the decision)
The commissioners accepted that removal is required due to ongoing and increasing health and safety concerns in relation to the trees continuing decline and failure (para 117)
The alternative option of allowing the pines to fall and the indigenous vegetation to continue to develop was considered, but rejected as this would require the closure of the pine tree area and involve no access and no pest control. This will lead to the proliferation of pest plants and hinder the regeneration of the indigenous vegetation (para 119).
The methodology has been revised to focus on the aim of restoring and enhancing the park’s SEA values. The access track will only be to the width of the digger (up to 4m wide is consented, but likely to be less) and for 200m (50 per cent less area than originally proposed).
Removal of tree trunks will be limited and most will be mulched on site.
An independent ecologist will provide oversight to limit the damage to the understory. This will be minimised as much as possible – at the most extreme there could be up to 50 per cent damage to low level plants but due to the change in methodology damage is likely to be a lot less. Soil erosion and silt run off will also be minimised.
An independent arborist is required to oversee the works and will work closely with the independent ecologist to minimise damage from the tree felling
Planting will be from a “species palette” consistent with the SEA values. Up to 15,000 plants are available, but with the reduction in the plantable area (due to the trunks remaining in situ) there is likely to be space for approximately 10,000 plants
As part of the conditions Council will appoint a community liaison person to be available 12 hours per day; updates will be provided every second day on a purpose-built webpage
The next window for pine removal is now Feb/March 2020 (to avoid bird roosting season, wet weather etc). The whole operation including planting will take approximately 6 weeks. There will then be the opportunity for community engagement and involvement to determine the management going forward and potential track upgrades.
Officers have advised that unfortunately it is not possible to open the walking track in the interim. A buffer zone would need to be created alongside the track and as the trees are over 60m tall nearly all would need to be removed.
The commissioner’s decision can still be appealed. This will further delay the restoration project and limit the park’s use for public access and recreational purposes.
Western Springs Lakeside Park update
I have been providing a regular update on path cleaning and other maintenance matters at Westerns Springs Lakeside Park. Following my Ponsonby News update in May I received a complaint about the park and the accuracy of my reporting. I provided the following response (published in the June Ponsonby News):
I have visited the park and followed up with Mr Hay to confirm that what I reported in my Ponsonby News update is correct. I agree that we want Western Springs Lakeside Park to be well maintained but the huge amount of geese poo is an ongoing issue. Here is a summary from Council’s Senior Maintenance Delivery Coordinator about the action being taken: cleaning of the pathway is being completed a minimum of five times a week. The contractor has been instructed to check the path every day and if cleaning is required it is to be completed that day. The contractor has been using a combination of a sweeping vehicle and water blasting to clear the path. Recently Community Facilities has also been trialling some methods to keep the geese from congregating on the path. The most recent trial involves a low level temporary fence. It has been successful at keeping the geese off a portion but unfortunately the geese just move on to another area of the path and cause the same issues. Council’s long-term solution to reduce the number of geese will greatly improve the situation and at this stage we are aiming to begin control in late June.
The water quality and sediment issues that Mr Hay referred to have been forwarded on to Council’s Healthy Waters department. The rubbish floating at the water’s edge should be removed by the contractors as loose litter. A recent inspection has confirmed that the bins that should be in place are in place. There are still park benches that require replacement following last year’s storm.
City Centre amenities
The local board is championing the provision of public toilets in the city centre. Work is currently underway on a City Centre Amenities strategic review following the local board raising concerns that the public toilets at the new CRL stations will be located behind gate barriers with no plans to install accessible facilities and no part of council responsible for mapping the location of public toilets (the most up to date resource has been created by board member Vernon Tava on his personal website).
In the meantime Auckland Transport is rolling out a Bus Driver Exeloo Programme in the City Centre that also provides a public toilet in a number of locations. The programme includes a Exeloo on Lower Albert St that was installed last year and a new Exeloo opened on Victoria St at the beginning of June (photo right). The local board provided input into the locations and suggested including drinking fountains.
AT has provided the following update on other locations:
Quay Street (seaside 120m east of Tapora Street):This site supports bus layovers for some 24 buses opposite Vector Arena. The unit will sit between the new cycle path and the old footpath with access from the footpath side only. Because of the cycle traffic through this area, AT will also be installing a drinking fountain (with dog drinking bowl) to the specification requested by the LB.
City Works Depot: AT could not find a suitable site on Nelson (Wellesley St or Cook Street) and City Works Deport did not want an Exeloo on their Sale St frontage which they are developing. So we again approached CWD with a lease proposal. The agreement is to build a bespoke, secure keypad access, single-unit toilet within the CWD site, next to customer toilets in the Nelson St retaining wall. Drivers will access the toilet via the spiral stairs from Nelson Street. The agreement sees CWD designing, constructing, cleaning and maintaining the toilet for the exclusive use by bus drivers in exchange for an annual lease fee; ultimately the asset will pass to CWD once permanent bus layover facilities are created in the CBD.
FY19/20 Forward Plan: FY19/20 funding has yet to be confirmed, however AT Metro Service Delivery have approved a project mandate to investigate further Exeloo sites as follows:
Bus Driver Exeloo sites: Mayoral Drive (near AUT); Nuffield Street Newmarket; Hobson Street (between Wolfe & Wyndam St) Avondale Terminus (Copsey Place); Waikowhai Terminus
We’re fortunate to have an excellent maintenance manager for Waitematā. Karl (photo right) is passionately on the case sorting out issues in our parks.
On June he was happy to meet me for a site visit at the Domain (along with his boss) to look at a few maintenance issues that have been logged with me. Lots of work is underway to make the Domain a world class premier park.
For the first time Auckland Museum has an accessible (very grand and beautifully landscaped) pathway to the front door. On 27 May, the Mayor announced the new official name Te Ara Oranga (Attachment 4: Our Auckland Domain Pathway Officially Opened)
In another milestone for the Domain the new Wintergarden nursery glasshouses were blessed on 11 June by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Cr Mike Lee spoke at the opening.
We’re continuing to look at ways to fund small initiatives that complement Housing First Auckland and other regional projects that address homelessness. From a $20,000 allocation Lifewise Auckland will receive a $10,000 grant to support the initial scoping of an Auckland Housing Help Centre; an $8,000 grant will go to Heart of the City to support their Street Guardians Programme, and $2,000 will go towards volunteer training facilitated by the Auckland City Mission. (Attachment 5: Our Auckland Homeless Community shown support in Waitemata)
The city centre targeted rate paid by businesses and residents contributed $2million to the upgrade of James Liston Hostel in Freemans Bay. On 5 June the Mayor, joined by Minister Phil Twyford opened the newly revamped facility providing 55 emergency beds with wrap around services. It has been a tremendous effort by the Hostel Trust team led Dame Diane Robertson and supported by Lifewise and the City Mission.
Enhancing Auckland’s tree cover
On 2 June Stuff journalist Charlie Mitchell reported on The Aotearoa Chainsaw Massacre. In 2013 the former National-led government removed general tree protection rules leading to the loss of many urban trees. Here’s what the local board has been doing to enhance and protect tree cover:
opposed the RMA changes and have continued to advocate for tree protection
worked to identify trees to be scheduled in the Unitary Plan – this was work led by former board member Tricia Reade
included as many trees as possible in our projects (eg Teed St upgrade) and have pushed AT to identify new opportunities for tree pits
supported the revised City Centre Masterplan revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25 per cent by 2021.
support Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy and the Mayor’s 1 million trees project
working to develop a local urban ngahere implementation plan
funding tree planting for Arbor Day (Photo right: planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June)
funding volunteer plantings and regeneration projects
allocated a grant the Urban Tree Alliance for an Adopt a Tree event in Western Park
funded the LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) data mapping to calculate the “canopy cover” of Waitemata
Deputy Chair Shale Chambers was part of the City Centre Advisory Board working group who have successfully secured agreement from AT to include more street trees in the Albert St upgrade design
And at Western Springs up to 15,000 new trees will be planted as part of a native bush regeneration project.
Annual Budget 19/20
At a business meeting on 4 June we approved the Waitemata local content for the Annual Budget 2019/2020 which includes a Local Board Agreement, a message from the chair, local board advocacy, and a local fees and charges schedule for 2019/2020. Each financial year, Auckland Council must have a Local Board Agreement between the Governing Body and each local board, for each local board area. On 20 June 2019, the Governing Body will meet to adopt Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2019/2020, including 21 local board agreements.
Tripartite 2019 (An economic alliance of LA, Guangzhou and Auckland coinciding with Tech Week) Welcome Reception for our international delegates and speakers on Sunday 19 May and attended an Innovation Showcase for Tripartite 2019 followed by lunch 20 May. I was interested to hear from Stephen Cheung, President World Trade Centre, LA about Los Angeles’ Clean Air Action Plan based on data and innovation to force changes to deal with the pollution and health implications of dirty bunker fuel. He was part of a panel on new trends in public and private sector data sharing.
Auckland Museum stakeholder breakfast on 23 May
Joined the community of St Matthew-in-the-City for a Powhiri and reception on 23 May to welcome our overseas guests who belong to an international network of inner city churches
Opened the Go with Tourism Expo on 24 May at Auckland Showgrounds
HiTech gala dinner on 24 May at the invitation of ATEED
Opening of the new walkway Te ara Oranga connecting Auckland Museum on 27 May
Pride Pledge launch on 28 May at Coco’s cantina at the invitation of Krd Business Association
Officiated at the Town Hall Citizenship Ceremony on 28 May
Attended Friends of Sustainable Coastlines event on 28 May
Opening of the Doc Edge Festival at Q Theatre on 29 May
Join the Dante Auckland at Winger Maserati to celebrate the Italian Republic Day on 2 June
Attended Open Iftar (dinner) 2019 hosted by New Zealand Eid Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 June
Mt Albert Electorate community morning tea with the PM on 5 June
Opening of James Liston Hostel by the Mayor on 5 June
China Business Awards dinner at Shed 10 on 6 June at the invitation of NZ China Council
Newmarket Business Association awards dinner on 7 June
Arbor Day tree planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June
Attended the opening of the Wintergarden nursery glasshouses at Auckland Domain on 11 June
Spoke at the launch of Again Again, reusable cups as a service system, at The Store, Quay Street on 11 June
Delicious Oblivion, Cabaret Season Launch on 11 June at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live
The condition of Western Springs Te Wai Ōrea Lakeside Park has been a topic of concern raised by Ponsonby News correspondents and directly with the local board. The park is much-loved by Aucklanders for its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. The area is significant for both its ecosystem and ecological diversity. Species that call the lakeside park home include native birds and an endangered native moss.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Hudders, one of the original park designers who told me the tree planting around the periphery of the park was intended to provide glances across to the lake like a women’s skirt revealing a hint of petticoat but not too much! Peter, who is now in his 80’s, also explained that there had been pressure on the designers at the time to fence off the lake so they created a shallow edge instead.
Last year the local board released the draft Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea park Development Plan for public feedback. The plan outlines our vision for the park which includes improved water quality in the lake and streams, connecting the surrounding areas via paths, and an upgraded playground. All of the ecology and wildlife at the park will benefit from improved water quality. Some of the actions we are looking at is managing the high nutrient levels, more planting around the lake edge, controlling the runoff and encouraging people not to feed birds in the lake. Options for visitors to be able to buy bird seed, from for instance the Zoo kiosk, will be investigated.
Our focus is on improving the existing state of the park to maximise the benefits it provides without making major changes. All the feedback has been taken into consideration in finalising the plan. For example we heard from St Lukes Environmental Protection Society that the rare rock forest – the result of volcanic eruptions – needs to be enhanced and protected. We’re expecting the final plan to be approved at a board meeting shortly.
In the meantime, a significant amount of work is being undertaken at the park. Auckland Council’s contractors have carried out a lot of maintenance work like clearing hazardous large fallen tree branches. The rubbish bins and handrails around the park have also been newly painted and the playground toilets have re-opened.
In addition to this, the lake’s water quality is being closely monitored by Auckland Council’s Wai Ora-Healthy Waterways team. They’re regularly removing rubbish and tree branches from the lake and clearing out the dams weekly. The results of their water monitoring work will be used to make future decisions about water quality management.
The park is audited weekly and contractors are currently complying with contract specifications. The amount of bird poo on the paths is an on-going issue following an explosion in geese numbers. Contractors have been asked to increase cleaning of a section of path that is bombarded by geese, which is being waterblasted daily when required. Options for managing the population are currently being reviewed.
Waitematā Local Board oversees more than 80 parks and reserves in the Waitematā area so we want them all to be well maintained to a high standard for everyone to enjoy.
The last few weeks have, of course, been dominated by the terror attacks in Christchurch and the community response to the massacre of 50 innocent people.
Christchurch Mosque Massacre
At our board meeting on 19 March, just days after the horrific events that have changed our country for ever, I led us in a minute’s silence and we gave the following acknowledgment:
“Waitematā Local Board acknowledges the victims of the Christchurch terror attack. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends directly affected by the shocking, tragic and devastating mass shooting carried out at two Mosques. We acknowledge, love and support the Muslim community in Waitematā and across Aotearoa as we come together to stand united with the community in grief and solidarity.
We commit to promoting tolerance, empathy and mutual understanding for people of all ethnicities and religious beliefs. We value the diversity of Waitematā and wish for all people to feel safe and welcomed. The board’s Ellen Melville Centre (photo right) is one of the Auckland Council community centres with a condolence book to give Aucklanders the opportunity to express their messages of support for the victims, their families and their community.”
At the Vigil in Aotea Square on 16 March (photo right), a defiant and passionate Mayor Phil Goff spoke about his determination more than ever to give nothing to racism, and to ensure the world knows that Auckland and New Zealand is wonderfully diverse, where people of all ethnicities and faiths are welcome.
The Waitematā Local Board joins with the Mayor in taking a strong stand prohibiting speakers wishing to use our community venues to incite intolerance and hate. In addition, we support Auckland as a City of Peace and the development of a regional policy that prohibits the promotion, marketing and sales of weapons of war in council facilities. I reported on our acknowledgement in the April Ponsonby News (Attachment 1)
On 22 March I was in Wellington for a National Council meeting and joined LGNZ staff for the two minutes silence observed across New Zealand. Auckland Council staff assisted in providing support to Ponsonby Mosque who were overwhelmed by the numbers who attended NZ Stand Together for Friday prayers and the evening gathering on one week commemoration.
The Neighbours day event hosted by City Centre Residents Group on 23 March provided an opportunity to come together for a shared lunch at Ellen Melville Centre. It was especially significant to hear from Imam Wajahat Khan as the centre hosts the Muslim community every Friday for prayers. Local Board member Richard Northey and I were both invited to speak (in the photo right: Auckland Street Choir singing at this event).
The afternoon’s line-up included Dave Dobbyn, Lizzie Marvelly and children from Islamic schools across Auckland singing the national anthem, and a haka and waiata from children of Kowhai Intermediate.
The Mayor, FIANZ President Br. Mustafa Farouk and Sonny Bill Williams, were among the guest speakers, and the event MC was broadcaster Miriama Kamo.
Climate Change Symposium
“On Friday morning (15 March) we heard the global call from 1.5 million young people to act to save our planet. By Friday afternoon, New Zealand quickly realised that we needed to act to save ourselves – from discrimination, intolerance and racism. Today as we gather to discuss action on climate change, I call on you all to use this same sentiment to act for good in every aspect of our society. To be resolute to act to create a better future for our children, for Auckland and New Zealand.” – Cr Penny Hulse opening the Auckland Climate Symposium on 18 March organised by Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro and team.
The day started with Otene Reweti‘s poignant mihi whakatau providing an opportunity to reflect on the words of the national anthem.
The symposium brought people and sectors together to build cross-sector momentum on climate action and feed directly into the development of Auckland’s Climate Action Plan.
As summed up by MC Rod Oram the first imperative is to give expression to who we are as the fourth most diverse city in the world. The response to climate change must be about a wider purpose of addressing social justice, structural inequality and poverty.
There were a lot of really great presentations and panel discussions on the day I attended with the resounding takeaway that we know what we need to do, we just need to get on with it – with urgency. Ngarimu Blair stepped aside from his presentation to allow the rangatahi of Para Kore ki Tamaki Makaurau to speak (Photo credit David Galler). They powerfully reminded decision makers and us all that we have a duty to youth, those inheriting this world. “We are generation now. Our voices will be heard.”
Annual Budget 19/20 consultation
Council’s annual budget consultation finished on 17 March. The local board ended our engagement with a formal hearing on 14 March. We heard 13 presentations in total from a range of groups and individuals. Thanks to everyone who has given feedback. We are listening and always keen to seek out the views of the community.
Nominations for the Waitematā Local Board Good Citizens’ Awards opened on 18 March. We immensely value community-led work and our Good Citizens’ Awards is one of the ways we celebrate and give recognition to those who make Waitematā a great place to live. We are seeking nominations for individuals or community-led organisations working within the Waitematā Local Board area until 14 April (Our Auckland Attachment 2).
Western Springs Lakeside Park update
I have been providing updates on Western Springs following complaints about the water quality of the lake and maintenance of the park.
I received the following update from Community Facilities on 1 April.
There has been a significant amount of work going on at Western Springs lately. Treescape have been through and done a lot of tidying up from last year’s storms as well as taking out some significant additional dead or dying trees. The bins and handrails are all newly painted and the playground toilets are up and running including a minor revamp to the electrical equipment. The water quality is being closely monitored by Healthy Waters and they are regularly removing rubbish and tree branches from the lake and clearing out the weirs weekly, a recent bathymetric survey was undertaken with sediment levels measured and lake depth mapped.
Any deterioration of the park assets such as paths and playground will be addressed by the Western Springs Lakeside Park Development Plan (coming to the board’s May business meeting).
The park is audited weekly and complying with contract specs, apart from the goose poo on one section of path, which I believe is what people are perceiving as a lack of maintenance. I have asked the contractors to increase the level of cleaning of the section of path on the northern side that is bombarded by geese, which will be waterblasted daily if required.
Wildlands have been asked to prepare a report on our options for Geese management for discussion with the local board.
In other park news, the Meola Reef Reserve Te Tokaroa Development Plan which provides a 10-20year holistic vision for the area is now online.
Meetings and workshops: 13 March until 9 April
Transport portfolio meeting on 13 March
Leys Institute Library drop-in on for the Annual Budget consultation on 13 March
Briefing on the Walking and Cycling work programme by Auckland Transport’s CEO on 13 March
Communications meeting on 13 March
Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meeting on 14 March
Annual Budget 19/20 local board hearing on 14 March
Meeting on 14 March to discuss Auckland Transport’s safety review of car transporters on Great North Road with John Strawbridge, Group Manager Parking services and compliance and Melanie Alexander, Traffic Operations Manager
Attended the Climate Change Symposium on 18 March at GRID AKL (photo right one of the panel discussions)
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 19 March
Attended the Albert- Eden Local Board workshop on 20 March to discuss possibility of jointly delivering a Greenway on Meola Road
Speed Limit consultation drop-in organised by Auckland Transport in the Atrium, Britomart
Meeting with Taj Pabari, Founder & Chief Executive Officer / Fiftysix Creations (Business Camp Academy)
Meeting with representatives of Westfield to discuss a Newmarket wayfinding project
Auckland Climate Change Symposium closing session on 20 March (photo right Cr Penny Hulse closing the conference)
Ports of Auckland Community Reference Group meeting on 20 March
LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 22 March
Weekly chairs catch-up held on 25 March, 1 April and 8 April
Auckland Transport quarterly briefing on 25 March
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 26 March, 2 and 9 April
TRAFINZ executive meeting on 27 March
Wynyard Quarter Neighbour Forum and America’s Cup 38 Community Liaison meeting held at ASB on 28 March
Supported board member Vernon Tava presentation on 28 March to the Hearing Commissioners considering Auckland Transport’s application to construct six new ferry berths on Queens Wharf. We raised concerns about; the lack of integrated planning, the impact on public space on the “people’s wharf”, the adequacy of the infrastructure for passengers and objected to plans for buses to circulate on the wharf. We also confirmed our opposition to the Dolphin mooring extension
Meeting with Kelmarna Gardens Trustees on 28 March
Site visit on 29 March at the Auckland Domain to discuss the location of footpaths to be funded by the Local Board (the photo right highlights how poor the walking environment is in the Domain with parked cars dominating the entrance to Auckland Museum)
Meeting with businesses impacted by CRL construction on 3 April at the invite of Sunny Kaushal (owner of the Shakespeare Hotel). It was very concerning to hear about their very stressful situations. I’ve been following up with CRL to find out what has happened to the development response that was meant to have been put in place as well as activation of the street to encourage more foot traffic.
Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop at AUT on 4 April
Local Board Chairs Forum on 8 April
Events and functions: 13 March until 8 April
Spoke at the Parnell Business Association monthly networking event on 13 March regarding the Annual Budget 19/20
Launch of the Writers Festival on 13 March at Aotea Centre
Auckland Arts Festival performance Silk Road at the Auckland Town Hall at the invitation of the University of Auckland on 14 March
Climate Strike in Aotea Square on 15 March
Safe Speeds Panel discussion organised by Auckland Transport on 15 March
Backbone performed at Aotea Centre at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
Vigil for the victims of the Christchurch Mosque Massacre in Aotea Square on 16 March
Toku Reo Waiata at the Auckland Town Hall on 16 March at the invitation of Auckland Arts Festival Trust
Astroman opening night at Q Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 17 March
BfM radio interview on 15 and 29 March
Neighbours Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 23 March organised by City Centre Residents Association (photo above cutting the Love Your Neighbour cake)
Splice Neighbours Day event “Check it out” Human library on Lorne Street
Dog Day Afternoon at Silo Park on 23 March
Kia kaha Aotearoa: Stand against racism rally on 24 March
Presided at the Citizenship ceremony on 25 March at the Auckland Town Hall. The Citizenship ceremony took on extra special significance. One of the commitments of citizenship is to foster and support the close relationships between New Zealanders of all ethnicities and faiths. It was an honour to preside and welcome over 400 new New Zealanders from 49 countries along with Kaumatua Bob Hawke, local board members David Wong, Rosalind Rundle, Bob Upchurch and Cr Josephine Bartley. ( Photo credit: Paul Victor Pu’a)
Kai at Merge afternoon tea at the invite of Lifewise
Kotahitanga Together – Auckland’s Remembrance for Christchurch at Eden Park on 29 March
Aloha Night at Grey Lynn School on 29 March
Opening of Korean Day festival on 30 March (photo below)
Red Alert radio interview on 4 April
Announcement of the National Erebus Memorial design – Te Paerangi Ataata- Sky Song- by the Prime Minister and Mayor on 5 April with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in Sir Dove Myer Robinson Park. I attended with Deputy Chair Shale Chambers. Kathryn Carter (photo right) spoke beautifully about the significance of the design. She was one of two family representatives on the selection panel who chose the design for the way it touches the land lightly leading into the sky (with many thoughtful features). Importantly all the victims are acknowledged as well as the responders and Justice Mahon who found the truth about what happened.
Relationship Agreement Signing Ceremony Waikato-Tainui and Auckland Council at the Kiingitanga Exhibition – Auckland War Memorial Museum on 8 April
This is my first report for 2019 covering the period 12 December 2018 until 11 February 2019.
I’m really fortunate to have fantastic colleagues on the Waitematā Local Board supported by an outstanding team. After our final workshop of the year it has become a tradition to have lunch together and for board members to be presented with a surprise Christmas card. For the 2018 card we took on superpower characters that will no doubt take us into 2019 full of energy!
In the photo right with superheroes Shale Chambers, Adriana Avendaño Christie, Richard Northey, Vernon Tava, Rob Thomas and Denise Roche.
The following provides a summary of activities and highlights from the end of 2018 and over the summer break. Local Board weekly workshops resumed on 5 February.
Salisbury Reserve entranceway
At the December Business Meeting the Local Board made the decision to progress with a new entrance way at Salisbury Reserve (Attachment 1). The Masonic Lodge, off Argyle St, was purchased from an Open Space budget by the former Auckland City Council to create an entranceway into the Reserve.
The Local Board consulted on two options – with and without parking. A healthy majority of submitters (68 per cent) supported the entranceway option with no car parks. We delayed our final (unanimous) decision to undertake a survey of the on-street parking availability on busy days at the clubrooms. It shows there is ample parking within a 200m walk of the clubroom (on the Argyle St end rather than Salisbury St). The on-street parking is the same distance to the clubroom entrance as the location of car parking in the Reserve proposed in one of the options.
The reserve is a neighbourhood park. It provides valuable green space. It is very unusual to have parking in a neighbourhood park and is not consistent with Council’s policies. Submitters put forward a range of reasons for creating an entranceway without parking including that it is safer for children and all users of the park.
The Local Board is supportive of the Herne Bay Petanque Club and Probus who use the clubrooms for meetings. Members currently make informal use of the old Masonic lodge carpark (there is no official parking in the reserve). We appreciate that they would like this arrangement to continue. We have asked Auckland Transport to install on-street mobility car parks. We are also looking at how to improve accessibility into clubrooms.
Annual Budget 2019/20 consultation
As I reported in the February Ponsonby News, the Council’s annual budget consultation is coming up from 17 February. This is the opportunity to give feedback on whether we have got our local board priorities right. We’re not proposing major changes to the existing work programme for 2019/2020 as we continue to deliver the projects identified in the 2017 Waitematā Local Board Plan.
Developing 254 Ponsonby Road as a civic space remains our major local initiative. Activating, improving and renewing our parks, guided by our Park Development Plans, will continue to be a focus. There is budget earmarked to upgrade the playgrounds at Western Springs Lakeside Park and Home Street Reserve (above the draft concept design), provide pathways in Basque Park and commence building of the Grey Lynn Park changing rooms.
Our stream restoration projects will continue, and we’ve got a new project underway to enhance the Western Springs-Meola-Three Kings Aquifer. Through our grants programme, we’ll support community and arts groups and local events, as well as stage our two flagship events, Parnell Festival of Roses and Myers Park Medley (a family friendly free event on Sunday 17 February). We’re funding a new arts partnership with TAPAC and increased library hours at Grey Lynn Library and the Central City Library.
We’ll also continue investigating opportunities to reduce agrichemical use, including advocating to the Governing Body to take a regional approach to agrichemical-free park maintenance.
For information on the Annual Budget 19/20 consultation and engagement events visit the Auckland Council website.
Air Quality in the City Centre
Pedestrians and workers in Queen Street are being exposed to high levels of “black carbon” associated with a number of health problems. The key way of reducing air pollution in the city centre is to reduce emissions from buses and trucks. Councillors Chris Darby, Penny Hulse, Alf Filipaina, Richard Hills and I, on behalf of the Local Board, wrote to AT’s CEO on 17 December asking for “immediate action to alleviate the risk of more premature deaths, contributed to by atrocious air quality on our busiest street” (Attachment 3 to my report).
Te Hā o Hine interpretation sign
On 12 December a new interpretation signage at Te Hā o Hine Place was unveiled by Ngāti Whātua Orākei, alongside our board and National Council of Women representatives (photo right).
Te Hā o Hine is derived from the whakatauki (proverb) Me aro koe ki te Hā o Hine-ahu-one, that can be taken as meaning ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’.
The name was a gift from Ngāti Whātua Orākei in recognition of the Woman’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial located in Te Hā o Hine Place.
Western Park steps and boardwalk opening
On 12 December the Local Board members joined with local residents to celebrate the new stairs that connect Hopetoun Street with Western Park.
The stairs have new handrails to improve accessibility and the viewing platform on Hopetoun Street has been re-decked.
Feedback on the upgrade has been overwhelmingly positive.
Western Springs Lakeside Park
Western Springs Lakeside Park featured on TVNZ One News on 21 January about plans the Local Board has to improve water quality and the work underway to keep paths clear of bird poo and the geese numbers under control (attachment 4).
At the same time the removal of pine trees at risk of failure was in the news. I will report with an update on Westerns Springs Bush Restoration project next month once we know the outcome of the resource consent process and discussions with neighbours.
Feedback on the draft RPTP
I worked on the Local Board’s feedback on the draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) with the Local Board’s Senior Adviser. This was submitted on 18 January following consideration of the public’s feedback in response to a consultation process held by Auckland Transport at the end of 2018. (attached as an agenda item)
The Local Board supports the overall direction of the draft RPTP, the vision for public transport and how Auckland Transport proposes to meet the identified challenges for the next 10 years. We are generally supportive of the steps to increase public transport services but would like to see a clear statement of intent to increase mode-share of public transport.
In the feedback we outlined what the Local Board supports to consolidate and build on the rapid increase in public transport boardings from 79 million in June 2015 to 92 million in June 2018. We also outline what improvements we would like to see to public transport services (including the reinstatement of a service on Williamson Ave) and infrastructure and specific feedback on the four focus areas in the draft.
As described by Kelmarna (via their FB page) “The installation of the curved seat (designed by Carl Pickens Landscape Architect), new bike parking and wheel stops, shaping and edging of the gardens, smoothing of the drive and creation of a circle for our leafcutter bee box has been made possible by the generosity, sweat and toil of Norm and team at Landscape Solutions, Omid and team at Ventia, the Waitematā Local Board and Auckland Council, all in the last weeks before Christmas. Once planted with pollinator-attracting plants by our friend Andrea Reid from Pollinator Paths, visitors will be able to come, rest and absorb the sensory garden full of bees and butterflies”.
Events and functions: 12 December until 12 February
Western Park Boardwalk opening on 12 December
Exhibition opening at Toi Ora on 12 December
Vigil for Grace on Federal Street on 12 December
Te Hā o Hine Place signage unveiling on 13 December
Tour of the City Rail Link tunnels for board members on 14 December (photo right) and community stakeholders thank you gathering on 13 December hosted by CRL Ltd.
Ports of Auckland community liaison meeting and Christmas gathering on 12 December
Rainbow Youth sponsors breakfast
Love Food, Hate Waste Christmas lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 14 December (photo right)
Christmas in Western Park event hosted by the Ponsonby Business Association on 14 December
Launch of Cr Mike Lee’s book Navigators & Naturalists on 16 December
Final workshop of the year on 18 December followed by Christmas lunch for local board members and local board staff
Heart of the City’s Late Night Christmas event in the city centre on 20 December
Invited by Holy Trinty Cathedral to read the Third Lesson at the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols (photo right)
Attended the ASB Classic on 4 January at the invitation of Tennis Auckland
Invited by Fiftysix Creations to be a Guest Mentor at Business Camp on 16 January for students aged 5 to 15 who came together over the school holidays to identify a community based problem
Opening of the Buskers Festival at the invitation of Crackerjack Productions
Over anniversary weekend enjoyed the See Port Festival fireworks put on by Ports of Auckland and checked out the Rainbow Machine at Silo Park (modelled in the photo right by Luna, Ruby and the White Face Crew). This amazing creation originated as a Local Board child friendly pop up play spaces project which got picked up by the regional art team. Artists: Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Patrick Loo and Sarosh Mulla
Waitangi Day started with a small gathering organized by Cr Mike Lee and Terry Dunleavy to acknowledge Governor William Hobson at his grave in Symonds St cemetery. Niamh McMahon, honorary consul general of the Republic of Ireland attended and recited a poem. I then enjoyed the Waitangi Day Festival hosted by Ngāti Whātua at Okahu Bay
LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 8 February. In the photo right with Mayor of Dunedin and LGNZ President Dave Cull and Deputy Mayor of Oamaru and Young Elected Member rep, Melanie Tavendale
Tom Scott’s Daylight Atheist at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of ATC
Big Gay Out at Coyle Park on 10 February (photo below with Albert-Eden Local Board member Jessica Rose and a friend Kirstin Jones)
Leaving function for Lester McGrath from Auckland Theatre Company on 11 February
This is my final report for the year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my hard-working fellow local board members, the outstanding Local Board services team who support the local board and everyone who works to make Waitematā a great place. Our Achievements Report 2017/2018 highlights just how much we have been able to achieve together.
The following provides a summary of the positive updates and major milestones reached by the local board as we come to the end of 2018.
The Board’s annual report of highlights covering major projects and initiatives, community grants, advocacy and local governance is now available online. Here is my Chair’s message included in the report. I included in my report the Chair’s message
TAPAC arts partnership
TAPAC was built in partnership with the old Auckland City Council, but no sustainable funding model for ongoing operational budget support was put in place at the time – unlike regionally supported arts facilities such as Q Theatre. The Waitematā Local Board has endeavoured to support TAPAC through one off grants but this has been on an ad hoc basis and doesn’t contribute to administration costs.
Also at the Waitematā Local Board November meeting we agreed to support the construction of the National Erebus Memorial at Auckland’s Dove-Myer Robinson Park / Taurarua Pā, commonly known as the Parnell Rose Gardens. We’re really honoured to host such a significant historically important memorial in one of our outstanding local parks. I got emotional talking in support of the project knowing what the Memorial means to the families impacted by NZ’s worst peacetime disaster. This disaster resulted in 237 passengers and 20 crew losing their lives. (Media release: Auckland site approved for National Erebus Memorial)
The resolution of the board:
a) Supports locating the National Erebus Memorial at Dover-Myer Robinson Park subject to:
i) all necessary building and resource consent requirements being met
ii) a rigorous design process which includes a review of the short listed designs by the Auckland Urban Design Panel and, as a separate process, the Waitematā Local Board
iii) the local board granting landowner approval for the installation of the winning design subject to Board approval of this design
iv) Ministry for Culture and Heritage providing funding to cover all costs relating to the installation and future maintenance of the structure and associated landscape features.
b) delegate to the Waitematā Local Board chair and parks portfolio lead sign off of the memorial design parameters
c) receive the letter of support from the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei trust and notes that the Ministry for Culture and Heritage will lead mana whenua consultation on the location.
I was fortunate to attend the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Erebus families held on the 39th anniversary at the Dalmatian Cultural Society Hall. The Mayor Phil Goff also spoke at the meeting. A majority of the family representatives support the selected site and shared their desire to have input into the design. The memorial is planned to be completed by May 2020.
254 Ponsonby Road – a civic space
The long-time project to develop a civic space at 254 Ponsonby Road reached a major milestone with the Environment and Community Committee unanimously supporting the officer recommendation that the full site at 254 Ponsonby Road is the optimal size for a park in this location and agreed to retain the whole site for the purpose of developing a civic space. Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers spoke on behalf of the local board to the Committee. (Attachment 3 Presentation to the Environment and Community Committee)
The site was purchased by Auckland City Council in 2006 with the intention to develop part of it into a civic space. However, locals have long campaigned for the entire site to become a dedicated civic and open space for people, events, activity, and relaxation.
When the wider community were asked what they wanted for the site, 77 per cent of people voted for the entire site to become a park. Following this clear preference from the community, in 2015 the local board allocated $10,000 towards funding a grassroots community-led process to find a preferred design for the park.
This process saw community members take the lead in identifying a design using a community empowerment approach. Locals were involved in decision-making throughout the process which was informed by ongoing robust community consultation. (Photo right: Local Board members, Councillors Cathy Casey and Mike Lee celebrate the decision with members of the Ponsonby Park group)
In November the LandLAB’s PARK+ design (photo right) was announced the winner in the Future Civic category at the World Architecture News Awards.
There is sufficient One Local Initiative funding (allocated through the Long-term Plan) available for phase one of the project ($5.5 million) without asset sales. The local board proposes to partially fund phase two ($5.5 million) through the council’s Service Property Optimisation approach. A detailed business case and design of the site can now commence for construction in 2020/2021.
As I raised with the Committee, addressing homelessness is a priority for the local board and some of the initiatives that we are doing at a local level include $20k local board funding (LDI budget) this year towards supporting homelessness initiatives such as funding a trial of showers for homeless in partnership with Ellen Melville Centre and supporting an outreach programme by the James Liston Hostel staff in Outhwaite Park community hall.
The local board strongly supports the Mission HomeGround project that is taking an integrated approach, based on international best practice and recognises that accommodation with both health and social services are required to meet the needs of homeless people. Eighty supportive housing units that combine affordable housing with 24-hour security and services to help people with complex needs to live with stability, autonomy and dignity – it will also be an inner city community hub.
Initial findings of Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland’s Homeless Count show that on 17 September 2018, at least 336 people were living without shelter and 2,874 people were in temporary accommodation. It is estimated that we have 800 people living without shelter based on a validation exercise.
We have advocated for Auckland Council to clearly show its commitment and support to the project as the City Mission needs to find another $16.5 million.
It was therefore great to hear a few weeks later that the Mayor proposes to grant $5m towards Auckland City Mission HomeGround project as part of the Annual budget 2019/2020. As Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly puts it “the development is an initiative unlike anything else seen before in New Zealand … It provides a purpose-built, safe space to stand against homelessness, hunger and poor health. Offering pragmatic, hands-on services and support to help those who need it most, this $90 million project will be a legacy for Auckland. The HomeGround development has been a long-held vision for the Mission and this $5 million funding proposal shows great leadership.” If approved by the Governing Body it will go out for consultation in February 2019.
Planning Committee presentation – City Centre Masterplan refresh
The Committee unanimously voted for an innovative concept that paves the way to further pedestrianise Queen Street. One of three bold new proposals discussed today, Queen Street – Access for Everyone will further develop Auckland’s city centre into a vibrant public space for people.
Two new concepts – Maori Outcomes and Grafton Gully Boulevard were also adopted for further development and public consultation by the Planning Committee, with a view to seek committee approval by July 2019.
I also confirmed the local board’s support for trials and temporary installations to demonstrate the city we would like to become. For example, a bollard on High St that goes up once deliveries are completed would transform the pedestrian experience overnight. As we say in our local board plan: We support pilot projects and quick, low cost interventions to promote long term improvements to our streets
The Planning Committee requested trials of ‘Open Streets’ in the city centre, and to work with interested local boards on trials in other town centres.
On 21 November we celebrated the playground upgrade at Vermont Reserve, Ponsonby with a sausage sizzle provided by the maintenance contractor, Ventia.
The new equipment has been welcomed by locals but unfortunately the design has made the playground less accessible. I have logged this as an issue that will be fixed with a new entrance gate into the playground. (Photo right with local board members Adriana Christie and Richard Northey at the opening)
Parnell station walkway open
The new pathway connection to Parnell Train Station from Carlaw Park student village and business area is now open. Waitematā Local Board put up the funds to get this built.
On 15 November 2018 members of Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport, Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Business Association enjoyed a first walk on the new pathway connecting Parnell Station with Carlaw Park student village and business centre ( Our Auckland: New pathway connection to Parnell Station now open)
Waitematā Safe Routes Projects- update
Every household in a wide area of Grey Lynn and Westmere should have received a Have your say booklet from Auckland Transport on plans to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for everyone. There have been opportunities to see the plans in large scale and talk directly to the project team at various open days during the consultation .
In my December Ponsonby News update I look back on the progress of this project since it was described as a “fiasco” over a year ago.
Construction of the Karangahape Road Enhancements Project is due to start in early 2019 ( Media Release – Contractors sought for Karangahape Road upgrade). The K Road Business Association, alongside Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, have developed a Business Pac which will be distributed prior to the work commencing. The need to actively manage business disruption has been one of the key lessons from the West Lynn project.
Ian McKinnnon Drive cycleway extension
Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff officially opened the Ian McKinnon Drive Cycleway on Friday 30 November.
The cycleway removes the steep climb alongside the Newton Road on-ramp up to the Newton Road bridge for people on bikes travelling to the city centre on the Northwestern Path.
The route runs through Suffolk Reserve, onto Ian McKinnon Drive (the section in the Waitematā Local Board area) and up to the intersection of Upper Queen Street. This is the most significant section of cycleway opened in Auckland over the last year.
Auckland Domain Committee
At the Domain Committee final meeting of the year on 29 November 2018 we made progress on implementing an Auckland Domain Accessibility Improvement Programme to deliver key outcomes of the Auckland Domain Masterplan 2016. The initial focus of this programme is on reducing vehicle dominance and improving pedestrian and cycling opportunities in the Domain.
Report back from Trafinz conference 2018 in Wellington 11- 14 November
I attended the Trafinz conference ‘Prioritising for People’ in Wellington as an Executive Committee member representing Auckland Council. Trafinz represents local authority views on road safety and traffic management in New Zealand.
I presented at the conference (photo right) and joined the final panel discussion.
Auckland Transport’s CEO presented a bold goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s road. As all the experts at the conference agree speed reduction is absolutely fundamental to achieving that goal. Consultation was due to start on a region-wide bylaw in November, which could see speed limits reduced in the city centre, metropolitan and town centres, and in some rural areas by June 2019. However, the Auckland Transport Board postponed the decision to their 11 December meeting.
One of the conference speakers Assoc. Prof. Jeremy Woolley Director of the Centre for Automobile Safety and Research in Australia hosted by Auckland Transport held a meeting and Q&A with elected members on 16 December to discuss ‘Is Zero Possible?’. We discussed why we need a forgiving transport system and what we can do to progress Vision Zero locally.
Local Board supported and funded events
25th annual Parnell Festival of Roses
This well-loved festival was a big success this year with record turnout of 9,000 people on a beautiful spring day. The festival is one of the Waitematā Local Board’s flagship events that we aim to ensure is accessible, zero waste and community focused. In the photo above local board members at the event.
The second annual Lightpath Festival, supported by the local board with a $10,000 grant, took place on 1 December 2018. It is a free, family-friendly evening celebrating this iconic addition to our city and the joy of people-friendly streets.
The Festival was an opportunity to experience the city by night with entertainers, music, art, food, and bike fun along Lightpath/Te Ara i Whiti and Canada St, just off K Road.
Grey Lynn Park Festival
A very soggy day on 25 November meant lower turnout than normal, but the weather cleared for the final acts on the main stage.
The festival receives a $24,000 grant from the local board’s contestable events fund.
There’s been reports “Auckland Council” has pulled out of supporting the annual Santa Parade on Queen St. This is not correct. Funding will be found from a regional events budget just not from ATEED (the parade doesn’t meet ATEED’s event criteria so this is the last year it will contribute $45k). Waitematā Local Board is also proud to support the parade with a community grant of $5,000. The parade was held on the rain date of 2 December 2018. My nephew Tomu enjoyed the VIP experience thanks to the invite from the Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust.
Roll out of residential parking
The long anticipated Grey Lynn and Arch Hill Residential Parking Zones went live on 7 December 2018. There will be a grace period from this date, through to 7 January 2019 after which enforcement will apply.
Events and functions: 12 November until 11 December
Attended the Trafinz conference 11 – 14 November in Wellington
Auckland City Mission HomeGround celebration at St Mathews on 14 November
Consular flag raising at the Auckland Town Hall on 15 November
First walk on the new pathway connecting Parnell Station to the Strand via Nicholls Lane
Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 15 November
LGNZ Zone meeting at the Auckland Town Hall on 16 November
EU Consular tree planting in Auckland Domain support of the Mayor’s 1 million trees project. (photo right with the Mayor Phil Goff)
Nepal Festival in Aotea Square on 17 November
Peace Foundation AGM on 17 November
Shortland Street the Musical at the ASB Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 17 November
Parnell Waiters Race on 18 November
25th anniversary Parnell Festival of Roses on 18 November
Wrap up session for the Heart of the City Street Guardian pilot at the Auckland City Mission on 20 November
November Local Board business meeting on 20 November
Vermont Reserve playground opening celebration on 22 November
Auckland Conversations on 22 November Transport Planning as Freedom Planning with Jarret Walker and a panel featuring Albert-Eden Local Board member Jessica Rose (photo right)
Modacity /Women in Urbanism presentation at Central City Library on 23 November
Here Lies Love at Q Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announcement of a major new urban development at GRID AKL on 24 November
Grey Lynn Park Festival on 24 November
Auckland Transport’s Waitemata Safe Routes drop in session at the Grey Lynn Community Hall on 25 November
Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 26 November
City Centre Masterplan refresh presentation to the Planning Committee on 27 November
ATEED farewell for board director David McConnell at GRID AKL on 29 November
Ian McKinnion Drive cycleway opening on 30 November by Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff (photo right)
Wynyard Quarter Transport Association AGM on 30 November
Basement theatre Christmas show Work Do on 30 November at the invitation of Basement Theatre
Santa parade VIP opening attended by my nephew Tomu on 2 December at invitation of Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust
Auckland War Memorial Museum launch of the latest in Scala Arts and Heritage’s internationally acclaimed Director’s Choice book series on 3 December
Sackville Reserve Playground opening on 5 December
Attended LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 7 December and LGNZ dinner with Ministers on 6 December
Ponsonby Market Day on 8 December
Italian Christmas market on Freemans Bay Community Hall on 8 December
Final Waitematā Local Board meeting of 2018 on 11 December
Joined the official party at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Town Hall on 11 December
At our October local board meeting we formally acknowledged Penny Bright (photo right in one of her last campaigns against cycleways).
MOVED by Chairperson P Coom, seconded by Deputy Chairperson S Chambers:
That the Waitematā Local Board
a)acknowledges campaigner and activist Penny Bright who passed away on 4 October 2018. Our thoughts are with her family and close friends at this sad time.
On 18 October I was invited to join a mum on her walk to school with five boys (not all her own) to experience the safety issues that have been raised with Auckland Transport by the school community.
The kids all enjoy using the Grey Lynn Greenway for part of the route (using it to get to the pump track before school too) but then have a really tricky section to navigate. Lots of local parents prefer to drive because of safety concerns.
Auckland Transport had resisted putting in a crossing or slowing drivers, but almost immediately Auckland Transport consulted on a new proposal to install a new raised pedestrian crossing on Kelmarna Avenue to serve the school.
Car transporters on Great North Road
For a frustratingly long time I have been following up with Auckland Transport on the issue of car transporters unloading illegally on Great North Road. There is a serious concern about public safety as the car transporters are blocking bus stops and the pedestrian refuge.
I’ve met with AT Group Manager, Parking Services who acknowledges that the “sticks” available to Auckland Transport are not working. The operators consider any fines to be a normal part of their business expenses. Even when the side street loading zones are available the operators continue to park illegally on Great North Road as it is more convenient and there is insufficient incentive to put in place appropriate traffic management.
AT has confirmed that as a next step a safety audit will be commissioned to be prepared by Christmas. AT will advise the main operators about the audit with a view to working with them on an appropriate response.
Freyberg Place pedestrian mall
On 15 October 2018 Freyberg Place officially became a pedestrian mall.
To do this the bollards (which are currently lowered to street level) at each end of Freyberg Place have been raised. This will prevent vehicles driving through the square and make it much safer for pedestrians.
Lime e-scooters arrive in Auckland
Auckland Council has issued the region’s first street trading licence to operate a dockless shared electric scooter (e-scooter) system.
The council has permitted Lime to operate systems for a three-month trial – like the initial trial licence granted to Onzo for its bike share service. Other operators of e-scooter systems can apply for a licence too.
Following the launch of 1000 scooters, Auckland Council’s community and social policy team is looking at the regulatory framework for e-scooters and the options that can be considered to mitigate any safety issues or concerns.
The scooters have provided a fun, convenient way to make short trips around the city, but also highlighted the poor state of footpaths and the inadequate space provided to people using small wheeled mobility transport.
The platform on Hopetown Street at the Western Park entrance has been refurbished.
Sackville Reserve Playground is now open. An opening event will be held on on 5 December (check out the board’s Facebook page for details). Photo left: Alfie enjoying the new equipment (as featured in my Ponsonby News November update)
The Low Carbon Network event held on 8 November at the wonderful Sustainable Coastlines Flagship on the theme of Rākau (Trees). Waitematā Local Board tree loss report 2006 – 2016 shows 61.23 hectares (approximately 17 per cent) has been lost in last 10 years – 65 per cent of the urban forest clearance has occurred on private land. Details on what is being done in the Our Auckland story – Protecting Auckland’s urban trees (Attachment 3).
Meetings and workshops 10 October until 11 November 2018
Catch up with Councillor Mike Lee on 10 October
Franklin Road Community Liaison meeting on 10 October
Monthly catch up with City Centre Residents Group representative on 11 October and 9 November
Local Board professional development workshop on 12 October Shining the light on placemaking (photo right: attendees with the speakers). An amazing opportunity to hear about placemaking locally, nationally and internationally and explore how local boards can work collaboratively to create places for community connection and innovation. With a stellar line up of speakers:
Ethan Kent- Senior Vice President at the Project for Public Spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environment and transport planning, governance, resilience, equity and design. He has led high profile public placemaking projects around the world, for example in New York.
Lucy Tukua – Kaihautu Native by Nature, He uri o Tāmaki Makaurau, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Whanaunga. Lucy has been serving iwi for many years in numerous roles and has a strong presence in and around local and central government. She is a passionate advocate for placemaking and the sourcing of place-based potential and bringing through the cultural sense of place and whakapapa.
Denise Bijoux – Network Director at Catalyse Denise has worked extensively in Auckland, as well as across New Zealand, to inspire, activate and understand locally-led urban transformation. She is a social researcher, evaluator, facilitator and project manager working in community-led development, urban sustainability, planning, health, social justice and government.
Neil McInroy – Chief Executive at Centre for Local Economic Studies Neil is a commentator and strategist on economic development and public policy who has collaborated on a broad range of local, regional and national projects across the globe. He is currently involved with both ATEED and the Southern Initiative/ Western Initiative and brings a focus onto the importance of the economic side of placemaking.
Weekly chairs catch up held on 15, 29 October and 5 November
Regional Cluster Workshop for local board elected members on 15 October
Meeting to discuss the achievements report on 15 October
Meeting to discuss the high level 2019/2020 work programme on 16 October
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 October
Monthly transport portfolio catch-up on 17 October
Meeting with Mark Lambert, AT’s Executive GM Integrated Networks on 17 October
I took former Mayor Len Brown on a tour of the Ellen Melville Centre on 18 October. Len Brown was instrumental in securing a budget for the restoration of the Centre. (photo right of the former Mayor talking to Ellie Craft who we bumped into at the centre)
Albert Park tunnels update meeting with Nicholas Reid, Cr Chris Darby and Rory Palmer from the Mayor’s office
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 23 and 30 October and 6 November
Trafinz executive committee meeting on 24 October
Meeting with Jill Kayser, Spice and Julia West, Lifewise at Merge Café on 25 October
K’rd business association AGM on 25 October
City Centre network meeting and lunch at Ellen Melville Centre on 25 October
Auckland Transport quarterly briefing on 29 October
Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 29 October
Meeting with John Strawbridge, AT Group Manager, Parking Services on 31 October
Domain Committee agenda run through meeting on 31 October
Planning Committee workshop on Downtown spaces and City Centre Masterplan refresh on 1 November
Meeting with Auckland City Mission on 1 November to discuss the City Mission’s HomeGround project
K’rd Business Association annual BID presentation to the board on 8 November
Meeting with Waitemata Local Board / CRL / Auckland Council & Auckland Transport on 9 November to discuss concerns raised by the Waitemata Local Board regarding a number of issues including the Board’s opportunity for input into placemaking and the development of Beresford Square, public toilets, bike parking, and coordination between the organisations.
Community morning tea for the Mt Albert Electorate hosted by the PM on 11 October
Brake annual reception and awards night on 11 October
Kelmarna Gardens plant sale on 12 October
Tour of the Shortland Flats (1923) for Auckland Heritage Festival on 13 October at the invitation of Michael McKeown. The residents opened up their homes to show off the many original features. Interesting fact: There are only 7 cars and 7 car parks between 40 residents in 23 apartments (photo right).
Fukuoka Gardens picnic for Friends of the Garden on 14 October
Visited the OMG Symonds Street Community Garden on 14 October
Biketober event at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on 14 October
Joined the school run on 18 October to Marist School at the invitation of a parent concerned about the safety of students walking and wheeling
Bikes and Beers hosted by Bike Auckland on 18 October
Grey Lynn Business Association Block party at the Grey Lynn Library Hall on 18 October
Fields of Remembrance Official opening at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 19 October (photo at the beginning of my report)
Diwali Festival official opening in Aotea Square with the PM on 20 October including a walkabout with Mayor Phil Goff, MPs Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Deborah Russell and Puketapapa Local Board member Shail Kaushal (photo right)
Popped by The First Great Big Jumbly Bumbly-Bumbly Jumbly Sale organised by the City Centre Residents Group on 20 October at Griffiths Garden
Opening of the Italian Festival at Non Solo Pizza on 23 October
Bike Rave event on 24 October
Opening of Te Paki o Matariki – 160 Years of Kiingitanga. This ground breaking exhibition at Auckland War Memorial Museum on 27 October the exhibition features important taonga selected from the royal collection of Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII, the present Maaori king.
Spoke at the Grey Lynn 2030 10th birthday celebration and book launch at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 28 October (photo right).
Spoke at the official opening of Festival Italiano in Newmarket on 28 October
Thriving urban places breakfast seminar hosted by MADE Group Ltd with speaker Tim Stonor, Managing Director of London-based Space Syntax
Enviro Schools celebration at Western Spring Community Centre on 1 November
Maritime Museum opening on 1 November
Merge Café Spring pop up fundraising dinner on 1 November
John Elliott’s 80th birthday celebration on 5 November. John brought together community leaders who he wished to acknowledge on his birthday. He ended his speech “Finally, I’ve had a longstanding interest in environmental issues, and value Gus Speth, a main stream American environmentalist, who said recently. ‘I used to think the top E problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. But I was wrong. The top three E problems are selfishness, greed and apathy and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation”
On Track for the Living Wage launch event at Britomart station on 6 November calling on Auckland Council to become an accredited living wage employer. If Wellington City Council can do it then we can too! (Photo credit: Jason Fell.)
Patrons Night at Basement Theatre. Invite to attend a performance of Bad Mood
Officiated at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall on 9 November
Richmond Road School gala on 10 November
T Whites bikes 10th anniversary on 10 November
Armistice Day commemoration service and Roaring Chorus at the Grey Lynn RSC on 11 November (photo below).