This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 1 June to 10 July 2016 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.
I was also acting chair for the week of 27 June when I attended the Local Chair’s Forum and the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting.
City Rail Link Ground breaking
On Thursday 2 June Mayor Len Brown, Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy, Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges officially marked the start of the construction for the City Rail Link. It was an explosive ground breaking event with special cupcakes and a fantastic flash mob dance sequence involving many of the CRL workers. More importantly it was an opportunity to acknowledge Mayor Len’s role (and the many people who supported him such as Cr Mike Lee) in pushing ahead with this vital transport project that has been 93 years in the making.
Support for Auckland Transport to develop a Street Tree Planting Policy
My notice of motion requesting Auckland Transport to develop a street tree planting policy was unanimously passed by the Waitematā Local Board at our June business meeting.
MOVED by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom, seconded by Member CP Dempsey
That the Waitematā Local Board:
i) notes the benefits of urban street trees and the Auckland Plan, City Centre Master Plan and Waitematā Local Board Plan 2014 commitment to plant street trees;
ii) requests Auckland Transport in association with Auckland Council Parks develop:
a) A street tree planting policy; and
b) A strategy to meet the City Centre Masterplan street tree target of a 25% increase by 2021;
iii) requests Auckland Transport allocate budget (capex and opex) for funding new street trees as part of streetscape projects and footpath renewals;
iv) requests that this Notice of Motion is circulated to all Local Boards, the Parks, Recreation and Sports Committee, Auckland Development Committee, Auckland Transport Board and Chief Executive and Auckland Council Policy and Bylaws team
Hakanoa Street footpaths and kerbing
I’ve been following up on the concerns residents have raised about the kerb and channelling work currently underway by Auckland Transport’s contractors that involves removing the blue stone kerbing.
Auckland Transport has responded that:
the kerbs are being removed in places due to the disruptions of the tree roots, the tree roots are then unable to be cover over (as per the arborists direction) therefore AT is unable to replace like for like and has to put in concrete and pointing of which is coloured, this does give a piece meal effect/look but as we are not able to replace with any kerb type i.e. (blue stone ) our hands are tied
The only way to replace blue stone kerbing over tree roots is by putting in a bigger lintel over the roots, unfortunately the arborists has said we are not allow to do so in some places where the kerb is not replaced and there appears to be no trees, this is because there is 3 applications from residents for vehicle crossings
Due to the nature of the tree roots AT accepts that we will have on going issues with this street and will return regularly to try to fix
However the road appears to have been widened thereby pushing the kerb closer to the tree roots. There appears to be a mismatch of concrete and blue stone in big sections between trees not just around the trunk of the tree (as in the photo above). Large areas of blue stone kerbing stones appear to have disappeared without justification when similar streets have retained the traditional kerbing as part of an upgrade (eg Selbourne Street). The works have also resulted in damage to house frontages. I will continue to work on this with the residents until we receive a satisfactory response from Auckland Transport.
A further issue I am following up is the continuation of the kerbing work despite plans for on road greenway works at the exit of Hakanoa Reserve (photo above) and planned pedestrian/cycleway improvements at the intersection with Richmond Road.
Auckland Transport has not explained the duplication of works and the additional costs.
Renaming lower Khartoum Place
Consultation on the renaming of lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’ ended on 25 May.
From the 137 submissions there was strong support for the name change. Details of the feedback and a decision making report are on the Board’s agenda this month. It is looking positive that we will be a position to change the name in time for Suffrage Day in September.
The future of St Columba Church & parish
I have been following events at St Columba in Grey Lynn and attended two community hui held during June to discuss the future of the parish.
Following financial difficulties last year the Anglican Diocese commissioned a report to consider the options available to the parish. The report concluded with three redevelopment options that all involved demolishing the church and facilities on the site including the hall, community garden and labyrinth. This led a campaign to save St Columba involving the wider community.
On 1 July the following statement was issued by the the Anglican Bishops of Auckland and the Vicar of St Columba Grey Lynn.
Conversations are underway to assist the Parish of St Columba Grey Lynn to address some significant challenges that have developed over a long period of time.
Those challenges are related to finance and the ongoing costs of providing ministry in the community. They include the maintenance of buildings.
The Bishops and the diocesan leadership are working closely with the Vicar and the people of the Parish to seek a long-term solution.
The Diocese continues to have a commitment to the community of Grey Lynn. That commitment is being indicated in conversations that included a visit to the parish last weekend. The Diocese and the Parish are grateful for the support of the wider community.
Further conversations are anticipated with no decisions made at this point.
The Bishops and the Vicar will be able to comment further once there is a decision to announce
Waitematā Local Board Community Grants
The final Grants Committee was held on June to consider applications to the fourth and final round of the grants fund for 15/16. A total of $38,613.00 was available to distribute. The committee approved grants totally $29,791.00 to a range of community groups and organisations.
Waipapa stream planting
Annual planting day along the banks of the Waipapa Stream in Parnell was attended by Councillor Mike Lee, representatives from the Waitemata Local Board, Parnell Heritage, Parnell Community Committee, and local neighbours. It is great to see the many years of volunteer labour to re-habilitate the stream is paying off.
Mary Stewart, Senior Biosecurity Advisor, who has been coordinating the planting,is looking to work with Parnell Heritage and the Parnell Community Committee to engage with the surrounding residents to encourage best environmental practices nearby. The stream has greatly improved but practices continue that threaten the area (such as growing plants that are weeds in the apartments that are dropping into the stream and naturalising, dumping of garden waste, plant tags, pots, trimmings, old plants, dumping of rubbish and liquids (killing off plants) using driveway cleaners that kill trees).
Ponsonby Road Pedestrian Experience
In the July Our Auckland Waitematā Local Board members feature in a story regarding the Board funded project to create a safe and consistent pedestrian experience along Ponsonsby Road between Franklin Road and Williamson Ave (the project was consulted on in November 2015). As mentioned in the article the work was meant to have started in June.
Unfortunately Auckland Transport missed the construction deadline for the works on Lincoln and Collingwood Streets in the last financial year and now has a budget shortfall. We are working through the budget details with Auckland Transport and the consultation process to get the feedback on intersection furniture layouts, materials, and street furniture.
It is now expected that the construction will start late August/early September 2016.
Berm planting guidelines
The mystery of Auckland Transport’s berm planting guidelines continues. I’ve given regular updates in my report regarding progress on guidelines that were promised by Easter.
A resident was recently advised the following after she complained about the destruction of her berm garden.
In Central, we mow all berms if they exceed or are approaching a height of 200mm. Our mowing operators work in tandem, with the bulk of the berm mown with a ride-on mower, and then followed up shortly afterwards with weed-eaters to remove encroaching grasses from the edge of footpaths and the kerbside, and around trees and poles which the ride-on mowers cannot reach. Given the large number of berms to be mown across the city this actually provides better value for ratepayers than the stop-start method of one operator undertaking both activities.
Auckland Transport offered to put her on a no mow register which defeated the point as she had only grown a berm garden after being told she was responsible for it as she wasn’t physically able to mow the verge herself. The resident is now happy for AT to mow her berm again.
Quay Street Cycleway
On Friday 8 July the Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Len Brown officially opened the Quay St protected cycleway on Auckland’s busiest cycle route.
At the time of writing my report the cycleway was still closed but attracting large numbers on a sunny weekend. With the Quay Street Cycleway another gap is connected in the central city cycle network.
Auckland Conversations : The future of housing in Auckland
Panel discussion hosted by Bernard Hickey.
With Auckland growing at a rate of 896 people a week how can everyone be guaranteed a home, either to buy or rent? Auckland clearly needs new housing options so the economic benefits of growth can be shared by all as we establish our place among the world’s most successful cities.
An excellent discussion about the current Auckland Housing crisis and what is needed to fix it. One big take away pushed by Bernard Hickey is that young people need to vote in the Local Government Election in September.
The full discussion can be viewed on you tube
Workshops and meetings
From 1 June until 10 July 2016 I attended:
- Public Open Day hosted by Auckland Transport on the Ponsonby Residential Parking Zone at the Ponsonby Community Centre 1 June
- Wellesley St/Learning Quarter Interim Business Case Workshop #1 on 3 June
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 7 June
- Auckland Transport hui on the Ponsonby Road Pedestrian Experience on 8 June
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 9 June
- Attended the last session of the Little Grocer Environment Court hearing on 9 June
- Kai a te rangatira – Elected Members breakfast sessions with Dr Ella Henry on 13 June
- Central Community Recycling Facility Meeting on 14 June with Albert- Eden and Puketapapa Local Boards re Next Phase of design and provision of service
- Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 14 June at the board office on 14 June
- Engagement Framework meeting with the Board’s engagement adviser
- Auckland Development Committee joint workshop with Local Board members on 15 June
- Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 15 June
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 16 June
- Community portfolio visit to the Plunket rooms in Parnell
- St Columba church community hui on 19 June
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 21 June
- Community portfolio meeting on 22 June
- Waitemata Local Board Community Grants committee meeting on 22 June
- Meeting on 23 June to discuss the Achievements Report
- Inner City Network meeting and presentation on the work of the CAB on 23 June
- Catch up with Michael Richardson, GM K’rd business association on 24 June
- Spray free community meeting hosted by Deborah Yates at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 26 June
- Community meeting with Assistant Bishop Jim White on 26 June to discuss the future of St Columba Church
- Local Board Chairs Forum meeting on 27 June
- Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 27 June
- Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting on 29 June
- Ports Community Reference Group on 29 June
- Local Board Briefing – Community Centre Levels of Service Review (Central Local Boards) on 30 June
- Newton and Eden-Terrace Plan –Hui on 30 June
- Changing Minds Community Housing Forum on 1 July at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
- Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 July
- Franklin Road Improvement Project community liaison meeting hosting by Auckland Transport on 5 July
Events and functions
From 1 June until 10 July 2016 I attended:
- The Refugee Experience – Storytelling through visual displays at AUT 1 June (photo right)
- Countdown Supermarket Williamson Ave opening on 2 June
- Bike Breakfast at Scarecrow on 2 June
- City Rail Link ground-breaking on 2 June
- Spray Free community meeting on 2 June
- Auckland Transport’s cycling open day at La Cigale market on 4 June
- Waitemata Youth Collective Clothes swap a the Central Library (photo of Alex Johnston at the Clothes Swap)
- Queen’s Birthday celebrations at the Cloud on 4 June
- Waipapa Stream planting day on 11 June
- Auckland Theatre Company’s That Bloody Woman at Sky City Threatre (at the invitation of ATC) on 11 June
- Auckland Transport’s Bike Market at the Cloud on 12 June
- Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks at the Malt Public House on 14 June
- Newmarket Business Awards dinner at the Auckland War memorial museum on 17 July (at the invitation of NBA)
- Otago Law Alumni breakfast at the Northern Club on 21 June
- Feijoa Festival hosted by Splice at Chuffed Café on 22 June (Photo right: Guild of the Feijoa’s, Mik Smellie )
- Auckland Conversations on 23 June The Future of Housing in Auckland
- NZ Maritime Museum – Twin Exhibition Opening on 24 June
- General Collective Market at Ponsonby Central on 25 June
- The Minnie Street Community Day on 25 June
- Cycle Action Network webinar presenter How to influence decision makers (together with Trevor Mallard and David Lee, Wellington City Councillor)
- The Seven Stars of Matariki exhibition curated by Selwyn Vercoe at Studio One Toi Tu (photo right)
- Auckland Speaks: Multi media performance event at Adult Education Inc
- World Press Photo exhibition opening at Smith & Caughey on 1 July
- Plastic Free July, Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away group at Farro Fresh
- Pecha Kucha: Special edition Auckland on the move at the Hopetoun Alpha on 5 July
- Auckland Conversations 6 July
- Attendance at the 2 Walk and Cycle Conference 6 – 8 July at the Rendevous Hotel (funded from the Local Board’s professional development budget). I will be reporting back on the conference in my August report
- Vision Zero workshop presenter at the 2 Walk and Cycle Conference (together with Caroline Perry, Brake NZ, Patrick Morgan, Cycle Action Network and Abby Granbery, MR Cagney)
- Opening of the Quay Street Cycleway by the Minister Simon Bridges on 8 July
- Grey Lynn Park Greenways opening on Saturday 9 July
- Te Wananga o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Super 12s at the Cloud
- 30th anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform at the Auckland Town Hall