Monthly Board report July 2016

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.

CRL explosionHIGHLIGHTS

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

Franklin Road street treesMy 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, Grey Lynn kerbingHakanoa 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.

5. Hakanoa Reserve entrance from Hakanoa StA 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

St Columba church, Grey Lynn 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

 Waipapa planting day June 2016 Hugh and LukeAnnual 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

Lincoln Street side street render 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 cyclewayQuay 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

Furture of housing in AucklandPanel 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

Ponsonby Residential parking zone consultationFrom 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

Refugee Forum AUTEvents 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
  • Alex clothes swapWaitemata 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)
  • Feijoa guild Mik SmellieOtago 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)
  • Selywn VercoeThe 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

Bike Market June 2016 NZ Police officer Cole

A street tree planting policy for Auckland

Notice of Motion: Auckland Transport Street Tree Planting Policy

A notice of motion is a useful tool available to elected representatives to get action on an issue when the organisation fails to respond by other means.  As lead of the transport porfolio for the Waitemata Local Board I have a particular interest in what goes on in the road corridor managed by Auckland Transport. I want our streets to be safe, vibrant, well connected and beautifully designed for everyone to enjoy.  I’ve come to appreciate how much trees benefit our urban environment and can enhance every transport-led project (not to mention act to reduce GHG emissions).

However what I have come up against time and time again is the lack of a standard practice or policy to ensure Auckland Transport plants street trees. Many oppportunities are being missed to add trees to the city streetscape.   Individual project managers are doing their best but the budget arrangements between AT and Auckland Council parks are a block to trees being incorporated into street designs and renewal projects. I’ve set out these issues and examples below by way of background to my Notice of Motion.

At the Waitemata Local Board meeting last night (14 June 2016) my recommendations were unanimously passed (seconded by Member Dempsey).  We all recognise the huge value of street trees and would like to help Auckland Transport progress a tree planting policy for Auckland.

Recommendation

a)      That the Notice of Motion be received.

b)      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 street tree planting policy; and
  • 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;

iii) 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

Background

Auckland Council, with the support of the Waitematā Local Board, has made a clear commitment to plant street trees in the urban environment.

Directive 8.2 of the Auckland Plan is to protect, enhance and increase Auckland’s green infrastructure networks. Auckland Council is committed to increasing the number of trees on reserves and streets. Council has committed to valuing natural heritage and ‘greening’ Auckland’s expanding network of open public spaces which provides for a more attractive city, while reducing GHG emissions and improving community resilience to the effects of climate change and resource scarcity and by supporting local food production.

As outlined in the Waitematā Local Board Plan, the board supports “increasing the number of native plants and trees in our parks and streets to help restore biodiversity”  (Local Board Plan 2014, page 32).

In the Becoming a Local Carbon Community Action Plan (August 2015) we have committed to an Action Area of Enhancing the Urban Forest and Biodiversity.

As part of the Urban Forest Mapping Project Report for Waitematā we committed $2500 to draw up a tree inventory and to collect data in order to analyse the urban forest layer in the local board area. This work will assist us in assessing the need and timing for the replacement of trees.

In February 2016 the City Centre Masterplan targets were reviewed and revised targets approved by the Auckland Development Committee.  The Local Board supports Outcome 8: An exceptional natural environment and leading environmental performer and the revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25% by 2021.   

Street trees provide a range of benefits in the urban environment including:[1]

  • Improve pedestrian safety by slowing traffic
  • Good for business by increasing foot traffic in town centres
  • Reduce crime
  • Improve the health and wellbeing of neighbourhoods by increasing the attractiveness and security of walking
  • Reduce the need for drainage infrastructure
  • Provide shade
  • Provide oxygen and sequester carbon

Long live the treesIn the photo left Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road saved from road widening with the support of the Waitematā Local Board for future generations to enjoy.

Auckland Transport is responsible for planting trees in the road corridor on behalf of Auckland Council. The responsibility for the ongoing care and maintenance of streets sits with Auckland Council Parks.

Despite the clear benefits of street trees and the Auckland Council commitment to increase street trees, Auckland Transport doesn’t have a policy to ensure street trees are planted in the urban environment. Auckland Transport also doesn’t have a strategy to meet the City Centre Masterplan street tree target.  The responsibility to consider the addition of street trees is left with individual project managers on a case-by-case basis.

Auckland Transport has confirmed that street trees will only be included in a project if a specific budget is identified for the planting and for the ongoing water/maintenance cost.  If there is no budget for ongoing maintenance (for at least 1 year) Auckland Council Parks will not agree to take on the responsibility for new trees.

Auckland Council Parks have provided the following response:[2]

Parks advocate for the inclusion of new tree assets in the road corridor where private development impacts on public open space and where AT is delivering renewals and streetscape upgrades. However, Parks only plays an advisory role (ie we are asked to comment on designs) in the majority of instances. If council is to deliver positive outcomes at all opportunity Auckland Transport and the consenting arm of council need to incorporate conditions around additional tree planting and which for the following reasons may be difficult to do or will require additional funding:

  • New tree planting in the road corridor or within public open space is not a requirement of private development and there are no rules requiring resource consent applicants to plant anything unless they are seeking approval to remove existing vegetation or regulatory consider there are adverse visual effects from the development that need mitigating
  • Footpath renewal budgets do not come with additional budget to plant new trees.
  • Tree planter boxes, or in ground planters, can only be funded by new projects through CAPEX and Community Facilities only accept them from a maintenance perspective when there are funds put aside for their ongoing maintenance. The same would apply to private development projects in the road corridor / public open space.

Parks will of course continue to advocate, with the relevant stakeholders and partners, for the urban forest and support tree planting wherever it is practical (ie accounting for in ground services, footpath widths, AT design requirements etc), but local board involvement may help provide a more focused approach across the relevant departments / organisations either by escalation or a board workshop to which key officers / managers from Parks (Community Services and Facilities), AT and regulatory are invited.

Currently, the only two funding sources that have been identified to cover the additional consequential opex costs associated with a new street trees (or planters) are either that it is Auckland Transport provided or, if the project was initiated by the Local Board, Locally Driven Initiative (LDI) funded.

The Local Board should not have to fund maintenance costs for new street trees that are associated with non-Board projects. As an Auckland-wide commitment, new street trees  should be funded as an asset from a governing body controlled budget.  

The following examples illustrate the various situations in which Auckland Transport is failing to take up opportunities to plant street trees.

  1. Graham Street footpath renewal
    Graham Street footpath renewal

       Footpath maintenance and footpath renewals

The footpaths on Graham Street were recently renewed on a like-for-like basis following completion of a new development. The Local Board was not informed in advance and no consideration was given to the inclusion of street trees.

  1.    Streetscape upgrades or footpath works associated with private developments

Works associated with the new Countdown development on Williamson Ave included street trees and the closing of Rose Road to create a pedestrian plaza.  Unfortunately, only the street trees on the southern side of Williamson Ave alongside the supermarket were included in the resource consent conditions. With the agreement of Auckland Transport, Countdown contractor re-configured Rose Road with an expanded footpath but no steps were taken to include trees (photo right).

Williamson Ave Rose RoadSince this issue was raised by the Local Board, Auckland Transport agreed in March 2016 to include three new tree pits.   These tree pits will now have to be retrospectively installed into the footpath at Auckland Transport’s expense.

  1. New streetscape upgrades

When Auckland Transport undertook the upgrade of the Scotland Street/College Hill intersection as a safety project, the Local Board requested that the project include a street tree or appropriate greening.

Scotland streetAuckland Transport supported a planter and had funds to pay for it but Auckland Council Parks did not support it because of the lack of funding for the ongoing maintenance.

Auckland Council Parks supported a street tree but Auckland Transport was not willing to include a tree pit in the design because of underground utilities.

Since the photo left was taken two car parks have been reinstated but the Board is still waiting for a resolution with regards to the inclusion of some kind of greening.

 

 

[1] Burden, D., Walkable Comunities, Inc., Glatting Jackson. (2006) Urban Street Trees: 22 Benefits, Specific Applications. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/22_benefits_208084_7.pdf

[2] Email from David Barker | Environment and Programmes, Parks, Community Services.

Related reading

Transport benefits of street trees 

In Praise of City Trees – Patrick Reynolds

Monthly board report March 2016

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 1 February – 29 February 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.

Portfolio Updates

Community Empowerment

Cr Cathy Casey at Community Empowerment unit open day
Cr Cathy Casey at Community Empowerment unit open day

Since October 2015 Auckland Council has been in the process of implementing an empowered communities approach to community development. The new operating model involves a shift from Council delivering community development activities, to using community-led development processes.  The new approach requires Council’s operational practices to allow more people to participate and for budgets to be devolved to communities as much as possible.

The Board has been supportive of the change in approach and we welcomed our new Strategic Broker Shamila Unka at the end of last year. Shamila will be based part time at the Board’s new offices at 52 Swanson Street.

We have however been concerned to ensure a smooth transition and that none of the local board’s priorities are over looked in the new structure.

The leadership team of the new Community Empowerment Unit led by Christine Olsen met with the central area community development portfolio holders in early February and the whole Unit held a very informative Open Day for all elected representatives on 29 February 

Community development work programme

  • Priorities of the community development portfolio for 2016 include:
  • Review and refresh of the Board’s accessibility plan
  • Support for Council’s Homeless Action Plan
  • Continuing the upkeep of Waitemata’s community facilities
  • Transitioning community centres to 3 yearly agreements
  • Supporting the work of the Waitematā Youth Collective and development of a city centre youth hub
  • Provision of temporary meeting spaces in the city centre during the Ellen Meville Hall upgrade period
  • Child Friendly City Accreditation
  • Supporting community empowerment projects such as the community- led design process for 254 Ponsonby Road

Community consultation – Annual budget 2016/17

Annual budget 16The Council’s annual consultation on the budget for the following year got underway in mid-February.  As part of the process the Board also seeks feedback on our local priorities and new proposals.

Waitematā Local Board key priorities outlined in the consultation material: Based on our 10-year budget, in 2016/2017 we plan to invest $11 million to renew and develop assets in your local board area and $23 million to maintain and operate these assets and provide other local initiatives. This includes:

  • renewing existing assets ($2.4 million)
  • completing stage two of Myers Park including the improved entranceway at Mayoral Drive and installation of a splash pad ($3.3 million)
  • completing the Weona-Westmere coastal walkway ($360,000)
  • re-developing Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall ($3.4 million)
  • commencing delivery of a streetscape improvement project from the agreed Newmarket Laneways Plan ($1.4 million)
  • delivering the new Fukuoka gardens in Western Springs park ($40,000)

It is proposed the following additional local priorities for 2016/2017 are funded through local discretionary budgets:

  • improve the pathways through Western Park and upgrade the Pt Resolution steps to concrete
  • install a new pathway through Symonds Street Cemetery to connect Karangahape Road to Grafton Gully cycleway
  • increase spend on low carbon initiatives to help Waitematā lower carbon use and become more energy-resilient including the installation of photovoltaics at Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • increase the budget for the annual Myers Park festival to provide an even better local event
  • investigate the feasibility of establishing a youth hub in the city centre
  • install a solar heating solution at Parnell Baths
  • continue to put children and young people first and achieve UNICEF Child Friendly City accreditation
  • support community-led development and place making such as the open space design for 254 Ponsonby Road and the development of a bicycle pump track at Grey Lynn Park

The Board is also considering allocating budget to change the service levels to increase maintenance of headstones and removal of graffiti at the historic Symonds Street Cemetery.

I’ve raised concerns with the regional consultation team about the poor level of communication to promote local board consultation events and the inaccessibility of the material online.

Fortunately we have a fantastic local board team who have been doing a great job on our behalf working alongside local community groups to arrange consultation events and opportunities to give feedback.

Due to a range of issues with promoting the Annual Budget 2016/17 consultation material the feedback period has been extended to 24 March.  Link to the online feedback form 

Transport

At our first transport portfolio meeting of the year we discussed a long list of updates with Auckland Transport representatives including:

  • Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience project:  The proposals for improving Ponsonby Road for people walking were consulted on from from 16 November to 7 December 2015. In total, 129 feedback responses were received with a large majority expressing strong support for the project overall.  The results and recommendations for next steps will be reported back on our April agenda.
  • Cycleway progress and implementation with Kathryn King, Manager of Walking & Cycling: AT plans to seek feedback in March from Western Bays residents on preferences for making the area more attractive for cycling. We raised the issue of the many outstanding small fixes to the existing cycle way network that we are concerned are getting forgotten with the focus on an extensive capital work programme. It was good to hear that many are underway such as contra- flows for cycling on one way streets including Crummer Road (first included in our Local Board Agreement 2011/12)
  • Quay St cyclewayQuay Street update: The design for a two-way separated cycleway on Quay Street leading from Lower Hobson Street, past Princess Wharf to Plumer Street has been confirmed. Completion is expected in April 2016
  • CRL update: Options are being considered for closing the rail crossing on Porters Ave just off New North Road on the boundary of the Waitemata Local Board area. This has an impact on the residents and businesses of Albert – Eden.
  • Nelson Street parking: Auckland Transport consulted the transport portfolio before removing the parking on Nelson St between Wellesley and Victoria Streets alongside
    Parking on Nelson Street
    Parking removed from Nelson St

    the cycleway (photo right). We didn’t object to the removal as occupancy was low and the poor layout was causing a lot of confusion for drivers. However we did ask AT to actively work with the NZ Police to enforce the speed limit on Nelson St (the parked cars had the benefit of slowing down the traffic).

  • Private Planting in Road Corridor: AT’s long awaited berm planting guidelines are expected to come back to Local Boards for comment shortly
  • Parking Fund Reserve: Approximately $100k is available to fund car parking. The transport portfolio has asked that a proposal to leverage this fund to develop sites that are in Council ownership while retaining off street car parking be investigated (for example the car park on Pompellier Tce)
  • Local Board Transport Capital Fund has $216k available that needs to be allocated by October. The Board is exploring a number of options with Auckland Transport

The Auckland Transport monthly report on our agenda provides updates in more detail.

Street Trees

Williamson Ave Rose RoadThe gutting of tree protection regulations by the government has highlighted the importance of street trees for providing the many benefits the city receives from a rich green canopy. Unfortunately Auckland Transport has generally been taking a “business as usual” approach to footpath upgrades and renewals so that opportunities to plant trees have been overlooked.

Part of the problem appears to be an institutional resistance to including trees because of the additional operational costs.

Five recent projects have exposed the need for Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to urgently agree on the policy and procedure for the planting of street trees:

  • Graham Street footpath renewal
    Graham Street footpath renewal

    Rose Road road works as a result of the new Countdown supermarket on Williamson Ave – footpath extended without tree pits (photo top)

  • Graham St footpath renewal – footpaths reinstated without tree pits (photo below)
  • Scotland Street upgrade – plans for greening the footpath build-out are still in discussion
  • Parnell Rise/ Parnell Road upgrade – plans for greening the footpath build-out are still in discussion. A tree pit was not originally included in the design because of underground utilities
  • The Dylan apartment development on the corner of Great North Road and Harcourt St- footpaths reinstated without tree pits

One piece of good news is that following our advocacy and a series of complaints Auckland Transport and the Council’s arborist were able to agree on the inclusion of 4 new tree pits on the footpath between Rose Road and Williamson Ave (issues regarding the development contribution for undertaking the remedial work and how a giant area of concrete was installed without trees in the first place are still to be resolved).

City Centre Master plan review – first steps towards Vision Zero Auckland

The City Centre Master Plan (CCMP) was published in 2012 with nine outcomes and 36 targets. The Waitematā Local Board contributed to a review of the plan leading to new outcomes and targets being signed off by the Auckland Development Committee on 11 February 2016.

I am really pleased that following a request from the Board Outcome 7 has had the words ‘moving towards zero pedestrian deaths or serious injuries as a result of vehicle collisions’ added. This is a significant contribution to road safety and is the first time the principle of “Vision Zero” has been adopted under Auckland Council.

LGNZ meeting

I attended the Zone 1 meeting in Whangarei on 26 February for Local Government NZ delegates in the Auckland and Northland area.

We received presentations from Malcolm Alexander, CEO of LGNZ and Ernst Zollner, Regional Director of NZTA.

An issue I brought up at the zone meeting was my disappointment and incredulity (shared by many elected representatives) that LGNZ has announced a conference programme with zero female presenters. It is also surprising that a conference on the theme of “place making” appears to offer so little for Local Board members.  It highlights to me that LGNZ is still struggling to respond to Auckland’s governance arrangements that established local boards representing more people than Dunedin.

Workshops and meetings

From 1 February – 29 February 2016 I attended:

  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 2 February
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s participation in Neighbours Day
  • Auckland Transport meeting with representatives of Franklin Road residents to discuss the planning and timetable for the upgrade that is about to get underway
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 9 February in Grey Lynn
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 10 February
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 11 February
  • Draft domain master plan open day on 13 February (see Attachment A)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on  16 February
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 17  February
  • Community portfolio meeting on 18 February
  • Community Empowerment Unit and Local Board Central Cluster Portfolio Holder meeting on 18 February to meet the new leadership team of the Unit
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 23 February
  • Annual Budget 2016/17 consultation meetings:
  • Western Bays Community Group AGM and presentation
  • Grey Lynn Residents Association meeting
  • Parnell Community Committee meeting
  • Inner City Network meeting
  • Meeting to discuss the development of the Uptown Business Association brand on 24 February
  • Attended the Governing Body extraordinary meeting to discuss the “out of scope” Unitary Plan zoning proposals
  • Richmond Rovers Community meeting on 24 February to discuss the club’s alcohol licence with local residents
  • BID policy workshop with representatives from Ponsonby Business Association and Parnell Inc
  • LGNZ zone 1 meeting on 26 February in Whangarei
  • Community Empowerment Unit’s open day on 29 February

Events and functions

From 1 February – 29 February 2016 I attended:

  • Associates breakfast – urban design, cycling and transport discussion on  4 February at Scarecrow café
  • Joined the anti- TPPA protest on 4 February
  • Attended the Waitangi celebrations at Takaparawha as a zero waste volunteer with Christopher Dempsey on 6 February
  • Go by Bike Day pit stop on the Lightpath on 9 February
  • Phantom of the Opera at the invitation of ATEED on 11 February
  • The Book of Everything at Q Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 12 February
  • Rock in Grey Lynn Park on 13 February (free music in parks event)
  • Polo at Sky Theatre at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company
  • The Big Gay Out in Coyle Park on 14 February
  • Elected representatives and Local Board staff lunch time ride for the Auckland Bike Challenge on 18 February 
  • Auckland Philharmonia Grand Opening concert at the Auckland Town Hall on 18 February at the invitation of APO
  • Lantern Festival opening function at Auckland Museum on 19 February
  • Opening of Parnell Trust’s new offices in the Jubilee building, Parnell on 23 February
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks
  • Blessing for the Board’s new offices at 52 Swanson Street on 25 February
  • The Board supported Myers Park Medley on 27 February 
  • Official party at the Citizenship ceremony in the Town Hall on 29 February
Members of the Waitemata Local Board and Local Services staff on a lunchtime bike ride for the Auckland Bike Challenge
Members of the Waitemata Local Board and Local Services staff on a lunchtime bike ride for the Auckland Bike Challenge