Opening of the new Parnell Train Station

Cutting the ribbon at the Parnell Station opening with Cr Mike Lee, Mayor Phil Goff and Auckland Transport Chair, Lester Levy

Speech on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board at the Parnell Station Opening ceremony held on 13 March 2017

It is a great honour to represent the Waitematā Local Board and to have the opportunity to speak in front of such a distinguished gathering at a truly momentous occasion for Auckland.  The opening of Parnell station is a significant milestone in the ongoing renaissance of Auckland’s rapid transit network.

I’m also fortunate to be speaking last  – not because I put value in getting the last word but because although there have been many thank yous and tributes there are still important acknowledgements to be made from the Board’s perspective.

I would first like to acknowledge this place. Parnell station is located in the historic Waipapa valley , a site of significance to mana whenua back into time and the early settlers of Auckland who coveted the strategic location and pure waters of Waipapa Stream.

The fact the station is located in the Waipapa valley is thanks in large part to many people gathered here today who fought for the valley’s heritiage to be recognised,  the day lighting of the Waipapa stream, regeneration of the stream banks and to maintain public access to Parnell and the Domain. There is no time to traverse the history now but the Board is looking forward to documenting it with the community and finding ways we can include story telling in the valley and at the station.

I know there is a long roll call of people who played a role – let me acknowledge former Auckland City Councillors Richard Simpson (attending today all the way from Brisbane), Christine Caughey (well ahead of their colleagues at the time in valuing public transport over motorway building madness);  members of Parnell Heritage, Parnell Community Committee Luke Niue, Jennie Goulding, Mary Barry,  Rendell Macintosh, Roger Cole-Bake; Debbie Harkness former Parnell Mainstreet Manager was a strong supporter back in 2008, and more recently Cheryl Adamson and the Parnell Business association all who have helped keep the focus on Parnell as a destination.

Before I turn to the man who deserves recognition as the driving force behind Parnell Station. I’d like to acknowledge those who did the work behind the scenes and deserve to feel very proud today in particular Nick Seymour, who worked on the project for AT from 2008 until September 2016. The early work led by Nick and his team involved preparing the construction of new platforms and station building. That early enabling work involved a monumental earth moving effort without which the station would not likely have been built.

Giving wind to the workers and politicians I acknowledge all the public transport advocates who campaigned for a rail station over the years.

The Waitematā Local Board has supported the Parnell Station project since day one. This is of course down to Councillor Mike Lee.  There has rarely been a local board meeting since 2010 at which Mike hasn’t updated the board on the progress of the Station.  He has fought long and hard for a station in this location starting back in 2007.  As Chairman of the ARC he was also instrumental in saving the critical element of the heritage station.

Thank you Councillor Mike Lee.  A proud day for many people here but particularly you Mike.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge my fellow board members – Shale, Richard, Adriana, Vernon, here today  who led by Shale last term supported the Board funding, from our transport capex fund, the path connection from the platform through the Domain to Carlaw Park.   Thank goodness we do have some skin in the game to justify a spot on the run sheet with the opportunity to give our acknowledgments today!

We look forward to the restoration of the station building; realizing the benefits for Parnell and the expansion of services as the station comes into its own– which is certainly guaranteed once 600 apartments are built right here for gold card users and the connections to the university and Domain are complete.  Thanks to all those who had the vision to see the project through in this location.

Next we’re determined to open up the old Parnell rail tunnel (in better condition than the new tunnel I might add)  to create a unique greenway walking and cycling path from the Strand to Newmarket via Parnell Station. A project we think is worthy of government funding.

Thank you once again for this opportunity to speak today and to acknowledge everyone involved

Related reading

Parnell Station is open, Our Auckland 

Parnell rail station opens with heritage building sporting original colours, NZ Herald

 

Monthly Board report December 2016

This is my final report for 2016.  In it I focus on the transport issues I have continued dealing with in the transitional period between the end of last term and before board responsibilities are confirmed at the December board meeting.

I also highlight end of year activities and events as a busy year comes to a close.

Many thanks to everyone who works to support the board over the year.  A special shout out to all those who take the time to read monthly reports!

Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2017.

Transport Porfolio

Feedback to Auckland Transport

I responded on behalf of the Board to the following consultations. The feedback is available on the Auckland Transport Update – December 2016 attached to the Board’s agenda:

  • Bullock Track intersection improvements
  • Grey Lynn cycleway consultations that went out for public feedback in September
  • Great North Rd, King St and Dean St roading changes

Parnell Rise buildout

Parnell Rise build outAn issue has been dragging on for some time regarding the greening of a pedestrian buildout on Parnell Road/Parnell Rise installed by Auckland Transport in 2015.  Auckland Transport, at the request of the community, agreed to add greenery to the buildout. A tree pit in this location is not possible due to underground utilities however Auckland Transport has refused to go ahead with raised planters until Auckland Council agrees to fund the consequential opex.

The attached photo provided by the Parnell Community Committee shows why greenery in this location is needed to improve the amenity of the street environment and stop illegal parking.

We are working to resolve this issue in Parnell and at other locations and as a result are also proposing to add the following advocacy item to our Local Board Agreement 17/18 (to be consulted on in February).

Street trees and greenery – Auckland Transport to provide opportunities for greenery in every streetscape improvement and renewal and Auckland Council to meet the consequential operational expenditure for maintenance.

wilson-car-parkingPonsonby Car park

Wilson’s parking has installed signage at the Auckland Transport controlled car park on Pompallier Terrace that is deceptive as it gives the impression the area allocated to P60 parking is pay and display. I was alerted to this issue by a constituent who observed drivers feeding Wilson’s parking meter to park in the free parking spots. The Auckland Transport parking team are currently investigating.

Ponsonby Residential Parking Scheme update

Now that the Freemans Bay Residential Parking zone is in operation Ponsonby residents have complained to me about the difficulty of finding parking and have requested that the Ponsonby scheme, consulted on earlier in the year, get underway.  Auckland Transport parking team recently provided the following update:

AT is aware that the effect of parking displacement would be likely and has tried to minimise the period of time between the Freemans Bay parking zone going live and being able to install the proposed Ponsonby parking zone.

 There are however considerable pieces of work which have to be completed before a parking zone can be implemented and have endeavoured to proceed as quickly as we can using our available resources.

 AT will send a letter out in the week commencing 5th December inviting permit applications. This will provide details of this process and when the application window closes.

 We expect the residential parking zone to go live by end of February 2017.

Countdown Development on Williamson Ave

Williamson Ave new tree pits
Williamson Ave new tree pits

I have raised with Auckland Transport a number of issues regarding the safety and amenity of the street environment surrounding the Countdown development on Williamson Ave.  The developers have complied with their resource consent requirements so it is now for Auckland Transport to resolve issues that have come to light since completion.

The response I have received from Auckland Transport is attached.

I also secured three new tree pits on the kerb extension between Williamson Ave and Rose Road.  Two of the new tree pits have been planted but one remains empty due to drainage issues that are being followed up.

Berm Planting

Berm garden Freemans Bay
Berm garden Freemans Bay

There is a great deal of community interest in gardening on the grass verge.  We have been waiting for some time now for Auckland Transport to confirm the rules that apply.

The Board passed a resolution in December 2014 supporting the development of guidelines. Local Boards gave feedback in September 2015 to Auckland Transport rejecting the first draft. We have been waiting since then for an updated version to comment on. We’ve been told the guidelines are now ” imminent”.

AT has found themselves in an unnecessary pickle over the whole issue. If AT had just recognised Local Board’s place making role in the first place and involved boards in the drafting of guidelines we could have had this all sorted ages ago. The most recent article to appear on this issue is below (Central Leader, 2 December):

Central Leader berm article Gardening on the wild side

Meetings and workshops: 14 November until 13 December

  • Local Board Chair’s Forum on 14 November
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 15, 29, 6 December (final workshop scheduled for 20 December)
  • Weekly Chair’s meeting
  • Meetings with board members to discuss portfolio roles
  • Monthly meeting with the Local Board comms adviser
  • Meetings to finalise the Annual Plan consultation material
  • Meetings with Business Association representatives from Parnell, Newmarket and K’rd to discuss the new board
  • Governing Body & Local Board Chairs Joint Meeting on 17 November
  • LGNZ Zone 1 meeting in Whangarei on 21 November
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 22 November
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing learning session for elected members on 24 November
  • Meeting to discuss the format of the Citizenship ceremony
  • Domain Committee site visit on 1 December for the WWI Centenary Memorial (I was appointed Deputy Chair of the Committee at our November business meeting)
  • Walk through of the draft findings from the Facility Partnerships Policy research discovery phase.
  • Community Recycling Centre briefing with all three local boards to provide an update with progress that has occurred over the last few months.
  • Catch up with the Auckland Council COO (Dean Kimpton plans to meet all board chairs at least once a year)
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board meeting
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting
  • Stakeholder Engagement Workshop for Ellen Melville Centre & Freyberg Place on 7 December
  • Meeting to discuss development of ASB Tennis Arena
  • Chair’s Forum on 12 December
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 13 December

Events and functions:  15 November until 13 December

  • Myers kindergarten centenary with Mayor Phil GoffAuckland Conversations  –  Living by the Water at Shed 10 on 15 November
  • Herne Bay Residents AGM on 16 November
  • Opening of Taste Auckland at the invitation of ATEED on 17 November
  • Western Springs Community Recycling centre Open Day on 19 November
  • Richmond Rd School Gala Day on 19 November
  • Joined the Auckland Kindergarten Association in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Myers Park Kindergarten on 20 November (photo right with Mayor Phil Goff)
  • Civic Trust AGM on 20 November
  • Grey Lynn Park playgroundSite visit to St David’s Church for local board members at the invitation of Paul Baragawanath
  • Consular Corps Flag raising event celebrating the 35th Anniversary on 25 November
  • Opening of the Lego Christmas Tree in Aotea Square on 25 November
  • Opening of the Grey Lynn Park playground on 26 November (photo with board members only)
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival on 26 November
  • Bike Auckland final meeting of the year on 28 November
  • Launch of Silo Theatre’s 2017 season at Q Theatre on 29 November
  • Griffiths Garden opening on 30 November
  • Western Park Playground opening Opening of the upgraded Western Park playground on 30 November
  • Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM on 1 December
  • First Thursdays on K’rd on 1 December
  • Franklin Road lights light up on 1 December
  • Lightpath Te ara i whiti  1st birthday celebrations on 1 December
  • Opening of the Silo season at the invitation of Fresh Concept
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 3 December
  • Welcome for the new Italian Ambassador Fabrizio Marcelli at the invitation of Bernadette Luciano, Honorary Consul at Ferndale House on 4 December
  • Lightpath 1st birthday celebrationsOutlook for Someday Awards 8 December (I also attended my last meeting as Trustee of Connected Media in November)
  • Opening of Stage One Glenn Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway on 9 December
  • Splice Christmas picnic on 10 December
  • Summer Reception at Auckland Museum & farewell to Roy Clare on 12 December

 

griffith-garden-opening
Griffith Garden opening

Griffiths Garden opening: A pop up garden featuring seating, picnic tables and play equipment, garden shed for gardening tools and bike repair gear. Also a community fridge, sponsored by the Love Food Hate Waste project. Donors will be able to leave unwanted food items for others to make use of. The community fridge pilot will be in place until Christmas.

Griffith Garden will also become a central teaching hub for the city bee collaboration project, ‘For the love of bees’ in 2017. The Garden is the brainchild of the Auckland Design Office and is funded from the City Centre Targeted rate.

I spoke at the opening to acknowledge all the people making cool, innovative, creative things happen in the city centre.

Pop up Griffith Garden

 

Chairperson address to the Waitematā Local Board 2016-19 inaugural meeting

Making the Chair's declaration with friends and family in support
Making the Chair’s declaration with friends and family in support

Kia ora huihui mai tātau

E te iwi tēnā koutou, mihi mai,  

E ngā mana, e ngā reo e ngā hau e whā

E te rangatira o Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, tēnā koe

E te iwi o Tāmaki Makau rau tēnā koutou katoa

E te whare, tēnā koe,

E te hapori kua tai mai  tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Nau mai piki mai, haere mai

inaugural-meeting-mike-lee-and-shale-chambers
With Cr Mike Lee and Deputy Chair, Shale Chambers

On behalf of the board I would like to welcome all our distinguished guests including family and friends who have come along in support. Thank you Matt Maihi and Aunty Margaret from Ngāti Whātua o Orākei for your mihi whakatau and Otene Reweti for responding on our behalf.

Thank you Barry Potter for officiating and our local board services team for their work supporting the inaugural meeting.

Greetings and welcome to Councillor Mike Lee who has been returned for the third time as representative for Waitematā and Gulf ward.  We’re very fortunate to have you here as a strong advocate for the community and look forward to working with you.

The new Mayor Phil Goff gives his apologies but has our full support as he works to build trust and confidence in Council, and tackles the huge challenges facing Auckland. Greetings also to Richard Hills newly elected Councillor for the North Shore Ward who will be working with Mayor Phil to take the city forward.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the founders, all those who have come before us to create and build Tāmaki Makarau and more recently the people who took on the daunting task of establishing the super city and making it work.  An incredible amount has happened over the last 6 years so that, despite many challenges,  Auckland is undoubtedly a better place.

One of the people who has played a significant role over that time has been the inaugural chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Shale Chambers. He has done an outstanding job setting a strong foundation not just for our board but for the governance of Auckland. I’d like to acknowledge his tireless work for the Board in steering a progressive agenda that has achieved results. There is a great deal that Shale can be very proud of making happen with the support of the board including some significant projects like the extensive Myers Park upgrade, securing the funding for the complete refurbishment of the Ellen Melville Centre that is going to create a much needed community hub for the city centre,  and securing resource consent for the Weona-Westmere coastal walkway. He has also been instrument behind the scenes on making things happen. For example securing a venue for the successful Pop Up Globe  and gaining support for a major upgrade of Karanagahape Road from the city centre targeted rate.  In the best tradition of Ken Livingstone he has no wish to ever ride a bicycle but he gets why Auckland should be a bike friendly city.  

He has also been amazingly courageous at times in knowing the time to act and not take the easy path.  I feel particularly proud of the support he gave to the name change of lower Khartoum Place to Te Hā o Hine Place in honour of the suffrage memorial.

I thank him for the opportunity to now lead the board.  It is a huge privilege and I acknowledge the trust, responsibilities and confidence that is being placed in me.  I’ve committed to being collaborative, transparent and to continuing building on the relationships across the community, with our iwi partners and at all levels of the Auckland Council whanau. 

Together with all other previous board members  I’m proud of our many achievements and also to have been part of a Waitematā Local Board that has stood up for social justice, adopted the Living wage, committed to being accessible to everyone, stood up for public transport, for environmental and heritage protection, for public ownership of strategic assets, and for local communities to have a real say.  I’d like to acknowledge all the board members who have previously served for their significant contribution in particular Deborah and Christopher who retired at the end of last term and Greg Moyle for his service to local government. 

Shale, me and Rob are now officially the old timers of the board returned for our third terms.  It is a shock to me to realise that I am now in the senior section of the board!  

I am really delighted that Vernon has been returned for his second term and that we are joined by experienced government veteran Richard Northey, dynamic social entrepreneur and lecturer Adriana Avendano Christie  and planner and business owner Mark Davey.  They, together with the old timers, make up an impressive, talented team who I look forward to working with. We are all committed to working together with effective governance and responsible financial management for the good of Waitematā.

Looking ahead we have much to do over the next three years. We have community assets to enhance and services to maintain including our precious libraries, playgrounds to upgrade, we’re committed to the goals of a smoke free and zero waste Auckland with the establishment of a community resource recovery centre in conjunction with the Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

We wish to continue the upgrade of Symonds Street cemetery, plant street trees, and the ecological restoration of our native bush and historic streams.  We recognise our role as place makers who can contribute to local economic development in partnership with our 7 business associations.  We value & support the arts, events and culture. We’re determined to connect with our North shore neighbours by finally getting Skypath built (something Shale committed to in his inaugural speech in 2010!)

We also recognise our role to contribute to the wider well-being of  all Aucklanders in creating opportunities for everyone, ending homelessness, providing families with access to quality affordable housing and delivering on real transport choices.

We know that the only way Auckland will truly be the best place in the world to live and a leading international city is if we take care of our people and environment.  We wish to be an age friendly and child friendly local board area that takes local action to meet one of the biggest challenges of our time by becoming a low carbon community.

In thinking about our role as local board members there is one particular aspect I wish to highlight by quoting Jeff Speck the author of Walkable Cities and a supporter of 8-80 cities

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.

This requires a commitment to slower speeds, people friendly infrastructure, public transport, bikeable streets and public spaces – all very achievable in compact Waitematā with the right political support.  

In finishing I reflect on what it means to serve our citizens and to provide leadership that achieves the aspirations of the community.  I’m committed to celebrating and embracing diversity and providing space for creative innovation and design thinking.   This requires new ways of operating by the Board and Council so all the people of Waitematā (including the growing inner city population) feel that local government matters and that they wish to participate. I look forward to putting this into action with a fantastic team of board members and officers as we start on the term ahead.

So behalf of the Board I’d like  thank everyone for attending today and sharing in the spirit of this very special occasion.  We are committed to working with you to create a strong, enriching, diverse, healthy, safe Waitematā in the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Nō reira

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Monthly Board report September 2016

This is my final report for the second triennium of Auckland Council.  It includes my reflections on the last three years and covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 31 July to 6 September 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 have provided a report each month this term. My previous reports are available at www.pippacoom.co.nz.

Summary of August highlights

 Unitary Plan passed

 The Governing Body of Auckland Council passed the Auckland Unitary Plan (UP) on 15 Auckland following a mammoth five-year process to unify all former regional and district council plans into one.  I sat in on several days of the decision making to hear the debate and support, with reservations, the passing of a unified planning rulebook for Auckland. The Board, particularly through the work and leadership of our Chair, Shale Chambers has been actively involved right from day one. There is a lot to reflect on with the community about the process and final decisions on the Independent Hearings Panel recommendations.

It is a significant milestone but there are still big question marks over whether the UP achieves affordable housing, heritage protection, density done well and quality design.  There is a lot of work to be done to now deliver on the promise and potential of a unified plan that responds appropriately to inevitable future growth and delivers on the Auckland Plan.  

Renaming lower Khartoum Place

Khartoum Place July 2016Following 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’ the Board voted in July to adopt a bi-lingual name. After receiving further information about the suitability of a bi-lingual name and following a meeting between board representatives, Ngati Whatua and National Council of Women the Board held an extraordinary meeting on 30 August to confirm the new name as Te Hā o Hine Place.

I look forward to Suffrage Day on 19 September when we will be celebrating the new name and acknowledging all those who have contributed to the process and the claiming of a small space for women in the city centre.    

Auckland Council media release

1 September 2016

Te Hā o Hine Place at home in the city centre

At a special meeting this week, the Waitematā Local Board voted to change the name of the lower section of Khartoum Place, to acknowledge the location of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993, ‘Women Achieve the Vote’.

On Suffrage Day 2016, September 19, Waitematā Local Board and iwi partners will unveil the new name for the lower section of Khartoum Place; Te Hā o Hine Place, in recognition of the struggle New Zealand Suffragists faced until 1893.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gifted the name ‘Te Hā o Hine’ which is derived from the whakatauki (proverb) ‘Me aro koe ki te Hā o Hine-ahu-one’ and translates to ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’.  The board felt it was a fitting sentiment as did National Council of Women – Auckland Branch.

Carol Beaumont, President of the National Council of Women – Auckland Branch, says they are pleased that the name Khartoum Place is being replaced with Te Hā o Hine Place, as it is more fitting to the Suffrage Memorial.

Since opening a refreshed Khartoum Place in September 2014, the Waitematā Local Board began looking more seriously at changing the name of the lower section, an area that was being informally referred to as “Suffrage Place” due to the location next to the Suffrage Memorial and the space being used for annual Women’s Day and Suffrage Day events.

In April 2016 the local board consulted  with iwi, the National Council of Women, local businesses, residents and the wider public to ascertain the level of support for a name change and a preference should they support a change.  The majority of submitters supported a name change and for the options for consideration to include; Te Hā o Hine, Suffrage Place and Kate Sheppard Place.

 Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place upgrade underway

 The creation of a community hub for the growing number of city centre residents got closer with the start of the work to renovate and refurbish Ellen Melville Hall.

This is one of the Board’s most significant projects that we initiated last term.  Once completed, the new centre will provide a range of facilities including a new kitchen, Wi-Fi, improved amenities, café-style seating and a modern refurbishment.  It will be a much needed community facility for Auckland’s growing city centre residential population.

The $10.7m project includes the upgrade of Freyberg Place (funded by the City Centre targeted rate).  The upgrades to Freyberg Place and Ellen Melville Centre are expected to be completed by mid-2017. 

Hakanoa Street footpaths and kerbing

Hakanoa Street, Grey Lynn, kerb inspection meetingAuckland Transport’s renewal of kerbing and footpaths on Hakanoa Street has been an on-going saga.   In August I attended several meetings with residents to resolve the issues related to the removal of bluestone kerbing (replaced in unacceptably large areas with faux concrete kerbing) and poor workmanship including new footpaths on the northern side that led to flooding.  The photo right shows residents inspecting a trial of concrete to mimic bluestone (once complete only the area between the cones will be in concrete)

In the latest update to be communicated to all residents Auckland Transport has confirmed that the areas where faux bluestone are to be constructed in concrete are being marked in white paint once each tree site has been investigated to determine the extent where real bluestone kerbs can be installed. AT has committed to re-instating as much bluestone as possible. The northern side footpath/vehicle crossing levels will be remediated to ensure road reserve stormwater is contained.  

Auckland Transport’s approach to this renewal has highlighted the need to provide the local board with plans and consult with residents in advance.  I am also following up on the need for a longer term tree management strategy.

weona-planting-day-july-2016-stephenWeona Westmere Walkway community planting day

The project to complete a 1.4km long coastal walkway on council reserve land and the coastal marine area in Westmere got underway last term after years of community campaigning.

It was great to take part in a community planting day to see how far the walkway has progressed around a beautiful but neglected stretch of coastline. Hopefully the walkway will be open by the end of September for everyone to enjoy.

 Portfolios

 Transport

Pippa Coom and Christopher Dempsey on the Lightpath I’ve worked on the transport portfolio with Christopher Dempsey over the last six years.  It has been exciting to see the positive progress being made to improve transport choices in Auckland.  Over the last three years the board has achieved or played a role in achieving for transport:  

  • Start of the City Rail Link (a legacy Mayor Brown can be very proud about)
  • Funded a Parnell Station connection to Nicholls Lane to support opening of the station
  • Progress on the Harbour Bridge pathway SkyPath
  • Increased funding for cycleways that has led to the completion of the Te ara i whiti /Lightpath, Nelson St cycleway, Quay St cycleway, Westhaven promenade and a central programme of cycleways
  • Progressed the Grey Lynn Greenways route
  • Worked with Auckland Transport on the Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience project
  • Secured the upgrade of Franklin Road with undergrounding of power lines, stormwater separation,  new footpaths, road surfacing, pedestrian crossing and cycle lanes
  • Implementation of the Freemans Bay Residential Parking Zone (now scheduled for 2 October) and parking zones in all central city suburbs
  • Successfully advocated for improved pedestrian safety such as walking improvements at the Grey Lynn shops and in the city centre.
  • Ensured Auckland Transport leveraged maintenance budgets to provide safety improvements for all road users such cycle feeder lanes and stop boxes on Ponsonby Road as part of a resurfacing project
  • Successfully advocated for the removal of parking minimums from the Unitary Plan
  • Advocated for improved local bus services as part of the New Network to be rolled out in 2017
  • Successfully advocated for the inclusion of a new outcome in the City Centre Masterplan:  A walkable and pedestrian- friendly city centre, moving towards zero pedestrian deaths or serious injuries as a result of vehicle collisions.
  • Initiated a street tree planting policy and identified locations for new street trees (including three new tree pits on Williamson Ave as part of the Countdown development)
  • Installed three on street drinking stations

We’ve also provided input into a range of Regional transport policies.

There is still a lot to be done to reduce congestion and carbon emissions, and provide safe, connected, accessible transport choices in Waitematā.  Next term I hope to progress: slower speeds in the city centre and on residential streets, implementation of vision zero, opening up of greenways routes (including opening up the old Parnell Rail tunnel), changes to the give way rule, roll out of improved wayfinding, acceleration of the cycleways programme and residential parking schemes, driver education regarding vulnerable road users, ending dangerous car transporter practices on Great North Road and further work to improve the walking experience in Waitemata.

Community

Deborah YatesAs portfolio holder with Deborah Yates, we cover community facilities, libraries and initiatives aimed at building community wellbeing capacity, leadership and skills.   Some of what has been achieved for the community over the last three years includes:

  • Increased community funding to $125,000 per year for grants to community and sports groups  (distributing funds through the Community Grants Committee)
  • Established an accommodation grant fund
  • Funded the Inner City Network and Inner City Neighbours Day event
  • In January 2015 registered the Waitematā Local Board with UNICEF as the first local board to be working toward “child friendly” accreditation.
  • Funded Child Friendly Cities initiatives such as Think Big – the creation of a consultation website for children
  • Supported a Community-led design process for the development 254 Ponsonby Road with open space
  • Provided funding support for Kelmarna Gardens and a community garden coordinator
  • Extended library hours
  • Continued to implement the Accessibility Plan and undertaken a review
  • Agreed funding and work programmes for our three community centres.
  • Provided additional funding to support growing participation at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Provided support to the Waitematā Youth Collective involvement in events, activities, steering groups and projects

One of the areas of ongoing concern has been the increasing numbers of rough sleepers in the city centre.  We have supported the Homelessness Action Plan initiatives currently underway but going into next term a great deal of further work is needed to make an impact.

There is also more to do to develop partnership approaches with mana whenua, improve the health of our communities such as extended smoke free areas, improve safety and increase engagement and participation especially by inner city residents.

I am sad that both of my co-portfolio holders Deborah Yates and Christopher Dempsey have decided to retire from local government.  They have made a huge contribution and I have really appreciated working with them.

In the online version of my report at pippacoom.co.nz I have included photos of Deborah and Christopher in action. Photos of board members are not allowed in reports during the election period (There will of course be a photo of me and Christopher on our bikes – the most enjoyable and fun way to get around Waitematā as a board member!)

Waitematā Local Board 2013 – 2016

Waitemata Local Board 2013 -2016It has been a privilege to serve on the Waitematā Local Board for two terms as Deputy Chair.  After the hard work in the first term to make the new super city structure work effectively for local decision making, I was grateful to be elected for a second time to continue the many projects underway with an ongoing commitment by the Board to strong community engagement.

There is still a lot to do to ensure Council is listening and responsive to local aspirations and that the governance framework is fit for purpose. There are parts of the organisational structure and culture that still need further refinement to properly support the role of local boards.  The Auckland Transport relationship with local achievements-report-2016boards is particularly problematic and only a complete overhaul of the leadership is likely to result in any meaningful improvement.

This term has been immensely rewarding and at times lots of fun too. The Board’s annual achievements reports available on the Council website highlight just how much has happened over the term (Link to the 2015/2016 Achievement Report). We are fortunate to be supported by an outstanding, hardworking local board team.

The rewards are great for board members able to put the time into the role.  I’ve appreciated the many learning opportunities and the amazing speakers that take part in the Auckland Conversations series.   It has also been an opportunity to meet a wonderfully diverse range of people, to get involved with our many community groups (particularly through our community grant funding) and to take part in the many events on offer in the Waitematā area.

There is still much to do. I hope to be part of a progressive Local Board next term that will continue to deliver for everyone who lives, works, plays and visits Waitematā.

Workshops and meetings

From 31 July until 6 September 2016 I attended:

  • Local Board Members briefing on greenways identity on 1 August
  • Hakanoa road works meeting with local residents on 1 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 2 August
  • Independent Hearings Panel recommendations: Briefing session for local board members
  • Meeting to discuss renaming of Khartoum Place with Ngati Whatua Orakei, National Council for Woman and representatives of the Waitematā Local Board.
  • Community Portfolio additional meeting – Grey Lynn Community Centre funding increase
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 9 August at the Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Meeting to discuss a proposal for an Inner City Community Garden on Griffith Building Site (temporary site as a result of the CRL works on the corner of Albert Street and Wellesley Street)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 11 August
  • Attended the Unitary Plan debate at the Governing Body meetings on 11 and 12 August
  • Meeting with GLBA and Auckland Transport to discuss parking impacts of Richmond Road cyclelane project
  • Workshop on 15 August on opportunities for Community-led development support and development with Ākina and Inspiring Communities (at the invitation of Denise Bijoux )
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 16 August
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 17 August
  • Franklin Road Improvement Project Community Liaison Group Meeting on 17 August
  • Hakanoa St Trial Mimic Kerb Inspection on 22 August (see details above)
  • CRL update  for Waitemata and Albert Eden Boards Chairs and portfolio holders on 22 August
  • Meeting to discuss Greenways branding on 23 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 23 August
  • Communications update on 23 August
  • Meeting on 23 August of the community portfolio and inner city residents to discuss action on homelessness and use of the Civic Administration building as a night shelter
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s feedback on the Maori Language Policy and implementation plan
  • Community portfolio meeting on 24 August
  • Inner City Network meeting and lunch hosted by Splice on 25 August. Presentation: social impact of intensification of housing
  • Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 29 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 30 August
  • Waitemata Local Board Extraordinary Meeting for Renaming of Khartoum Place on 30 August
  • Meeting with Hakanoa residents at the Grey  Lynn Community Centre on 31 August to discuss kerb and channel work
  • Meeting on 31 August  of the Elected Member Political Advisory Group to discuss induction planned for new term
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 6 September
  • Newmarket Laneways meeting:  feedback from Public Consultation and approval of Final Concept Design
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee meeting on 8 September

Events and functions

From 31 July until 9 September I attended:

  • west-end-tennis-club roomOpening the Club House – West End Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday 31 July (photo right)
  • Backbenchers Auckland edition at the Britomart Social Club on 3 August
  • First Thursdays on K’rd on 4 August
  • Wynyard Quarter 5th birthday on 6 August
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks  at  Storage King on 10 August
  • Blessing for the start of works at the Ellen Mellville Centre and Freyberg Square
  • OperaNesia on O’Connell Street on 11 August
  • Opening of the new Grey Lynn Fire Station on Williamson Ave on 12 August
  • Volunteer planting day on the  Weona Walkway, Westmere
  • Franklin Road Community BBQ hosted by Auckland Transport for the start of works on 14 August
  • Venus in Fur at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company
  • bishop-selwyn-chapel-opening-dean-jo-kelly-moore-mike-leeDedication and official opening of the Bishop Selwyn Chapel on 21 August (photo right)
  • K’rd presents catwalk show at NZ Fashion Week at the invitation of the K’rd Business Association on 23 August
  • St Columba’s fundraising Potter’s market on 29 August
  • Campaign for Better Transport’s Rail to the Airport public meeting in Onehunga on 30 August
  • Bike Breakfast at Scarecrow on 1 September
  • Random Act of Kindness Day hosted by Splice
  • Rod Oram’s book launch at AUT: Three Cities – Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene
  • Living Wage Assembly at St Matthews for Mayor candidates and Waitematā & Gulf Ward Candidates
  • Q Theatre 5th Birthday celebration at the invitation of Q Theatre on 2 September
  • Merchant Navy remembrance service at the Maritime Museum on 3 September
  • Fukuoka Day at the Town Hall on 3 September
  • LATE at the Museum from #Slackivism to Activism panel discussion on 5 September
  • Boys will be Boys at Q Theatre on 9 September at the invitation of Silo Theatre

Ponsonby Rd pedestrian experience project

Anglesea Street
Anglesea St, Ponsonby

[UpdateConsultation on the proposals started on 16 November and is open until Monday 7 December 2015. Feedback can be given via the online form.]

Over 2 years ago Auckland Transport came to the Waitematā Local Board with a proposal to make safety improvements to the intersection of Angelsea St and Ponsonby Road.  We supported the need to make it safer to cross but we rejected the engineer’s design as it failed to prioritise pedestrians (the proposed pram ramps off- set down Angelsea St would have made it impossible to walk straight along Ponsonby Rd). The proposed layout also did nothing to improve the street amenity and wasn’t consistent with the Ponsonby Rd Plan

The Board (transport portfolio – myself and Christopher Dempsey -and Board Chair Shale Chambers) insisted on a design that provided a “continuous pedestrian experience” and that would be a best practice template for all the residential side streets off Ponsonby Road.  Auckland Transport responded several times saying it couldn’t be done for “safety reasons” (in effect “the computer said no”!). Each time we pushed back – even though we are not traffic engineers we knew it was possible because we could see it happening all over the city and overseas with great results for all road users.

Example of a "raised table" Chapel St, Melbourne
Example of a “raised table” Chapel St, Melbourne

Fortunately there are people in Auckland Transport who were willing to challenge traditional traffic engineer solutions and push for a design that finally met the Board’s criteria (and responded to community pressure including a recent petition calling for greater safety on Ponsonby Rd). New and greatly improved proposals were presented at our monthly board meeting on 13 October 2015 together with a concept design for the section of MacKelvie Street just off Ponsonby Rd that has been transformed recently into a boutique shopping area but without any changes to the street environment. 

Following an earlier resolution confirming support and budget for the “Ponsonby Road Pedestrian Experience Project” the Waitematā Local Board approved the revised scope and additional total budget of $242,000 ($114,000 for Mackelvie St and $128,900 for the Ponsonby Road raised entry treatments) from the Local Board Transport Capital Fund for the Ponsonby Road Improvements Project (taking the total project budget to $703,000) to include Mackelvie Street and Posonby Road raised entry treatments.

MacKelvie St concept design
MacKelvie St concept design

Surprisingly for a pedestrian focused project the concept design allows for 14 additional car parks resulting from the changes to the layout of side streets and on Ponsonby Road (there are also improvements to bus stops, crossing points and opportunities for new bike parking, seating and trees)

Auckland Transport is now moving to detailed design and public consultation (likely to start on 13 November).  If all goes to plan residents & visitors to Ponsonby Road will be able to enjoy a safer and more pleasant walking experience by July 2016.

Note the concept designs are draft only and that they may change prior to release of the designs for public consultation.

 

Monthly board report June 2015

Pop plinths on Symonds StThis report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during May 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

Community- led development: 254 Ponsonby Road

 At Auckland Council we have been talking a lot about community-led development and empowered communities over the last 4 years (I reported in April on the empowering communities approach currently underway) . We’ve been introduced to the concepts through excellent visiting speakers such as Milenko Matanovic  and Jim Diers. We have a community-led development champions group convened by Roger Blakely, Chief Planner of which I am a member.  We have many community groups participating in shaping local services and placemaking but we don’t have many positive examples of Council putting community-led development into practice.

254 Ponsonby roadI am therefore really thrilled about the approach the Board has decided to take in response to the feedback on the development of 254 Ponsonby Road.

At the April business meeting we agreed that the Waitematā Local Board:

i)       Notes the feedback on the three concept plan options for 254 Ponsonby Road that were subject to public consultation from September to December 2014.

ii)      Further notes that subsequent to the start of the consultation period that budget for the delivery of any of the three concept plan options is no longer available.

iii)     Further notes the majority of submitters support option 3 providing for full use of the site as open space.

iv)     Agrees to include an advocacy position to the Governing Body seeking a capex budget to develop the site consistent with option 3.

v)      Agrees to build on the consultation feedback to work in partnership with the community to develop a solution within the available resources for 254 Ponsonby Road.

vi)     Agrees to reallocate $10,000 from the Heritage Planning budget 2014/2015 to support the community partnership approach to developing a solution.

vii)    Requests clarification from ACPL on whether the amendment to the Council’s Revenue and Financing Policy, which now allows for sales proceeds resulting from optimisation of service property assets to be reinvested into eligible local projects, applies to 254 Ponsonby Road  that was purchased to provide civic space for future generations.

viii)   Agrees that submitters to the consultation on the three concept plan options are provided a summary of the feedback received.

Work has since got underway by Council officers to develop the steps involved in the process.  It is going to be challenge to all involved to attempt a new model for delivering an outcome that is widely supported by the community but hopefully “254 Ponsonby Road” ends up being an exemplar for an empowered community development project.

Community funding

For the last four years I have been a member of the Central Joint Funding Committee made up of representatives from the Local Boards in the old Auckland City Council area. The Committee has continued to distribute legacy ACC grants (Accommodation Support Fund, Community Group Assistance Fund, Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund) totalling approx. $1.2m. The final committee meeting was in April and the Governing Body has decided that from 1 July these grants, and all other legacy grants from the across the region will no longer exist. 

The Auckland -wide community grant budget of $3,249,441 has been allocated equally to all 21 local Boards. Unfortunately this means a big drop in the funding available for community groups that are based in Waitematā but provide a regional service (eg Youthline).

Starting with the next round of funding (due to open in August) community groups will be directed to apply to Local Board community funding. As Waitematā Local Board grants are for a maximum of $6k (rather than $25k under the legacy central grants) there is inevitably going to be a difficult transition period for community groups who are likely to see a big decrease in funding available from Council.

At the community development portfolio meeting in May we asked that the fact that there are new arrangements and that there will be a major impact on organisations should be clearly communicated in advertising for the community funding workshops coming up (to be held on 10 June for Waitemata groups).

 

Ponsonby Road resurfacing

Ponsonby Road Cycle Improvements Consultation Plans-page-001The Transport portfolio has consistently challenged Auckland Transport to consider every renewal or maintenance project in terms of what can be achieved to maximize the transport budget to provide for all transport modes (this was reflected in our feedback on the RLTP). For example maintenance projects provide an opportunity for arterials to be relooked at with new layouts that include bus lanes and cycle lanes, remove cycle pinch points and add better pedestrian crossings.

Ponsonby Road was scheduled by AT to be resurfaced in May on a like for like basis. The good news is that following Local Board advocacy and input from stakeholders, Auckland Transport has agreed to make minor but critical safety improvements when the surface is re-marked (the remarking will take place once the new surface has sufficiently hardened). 

Auckland Transport’s Parking Strategy

 On 27 May Auckland Transport briefed Local Boards, key stakeholders and the media on the new parking strategy that has been adopted which will mean a consistent approach for the first time for parking across the region. The strategy was developed following public consultation with AT receiving 5,500 submissions. A quarter of submissions were about the overall management of demand parking, 18% were about parking on residential streets and on park and rides and 11% were about parking on arterial roads. Half the submissions came from central Auckland or from City Centre fringe suburbs such as Parnell, Ponsonby and Newton.

The document allows for a case by case approach to parking taking into account local issues and the views of local boards and the community. As advocated by the Board, consultation with the community will continue as parking measures are introduced.

Adoption of the strategy means that Auckland Transport can now move forward on implementing critically needed residential parking zones for central suburbs based on the successful St Marys Bay trial. Auckland Transport has met with the Board and Freemans Bay Residents Association to discuss details of the Freemans Bay scheme which will be consulted on in June.

Inner city network meeting at GridAKLInner city network meeting – Transport

I facilitated the May inner city network stakeholders meeting on the theme of transport hosted at GridAKL on 28 May with presentations from Priscilla Steel on Auckland Transport’s work programme; Carol Greensmith AT’s Communications Manager on the City Rail Link; Kathryn King, AT’s Cycling/Walking manager and Ellie Craft on Generation Zero’s transport campaigns.

Transport is seen as a priority for the network stakeholders so the presentations were well received.

Workshops and meetings

During May I attended:

  • The Albert-Eden Community Development Portfolio team hosted meeting on 1 May of the central boards’ Community Development portfolio leads to share ideas and issues, and opportunities for collaboration and professional development. 
  • Volunteer Centre Network of Aotearoa National Hui opening with the Deputy Mayor and Lee Corrick from Albert-Eden Local Board on 4 May
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 May
  • Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor
  • Briefing discussion on kindergarten multi-premises lease on 6 May
  • Meeting Freemans Bay Residents’ Association and Auckland Transport to discuss progress on implementing the residents parking zone
  • Meeting to discuss the urban cycleways programme with Kathryn King (AT’s walking and cycling manager) and the Mayor’s office
  • Presentation by Sarah Clark Director of Office of Senior Citizens and Blair McCarthy on the Positive Ageing Strategy hosted by Joan Lardner-Rivlin on 12 May
  • Meeting to discuss freedom camping in local parks and Council’s strategy
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 12 May
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 13 May
  • Catch up with the NBA’s General Manager
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 14 May
  • Urban Cycleway Investment panel all day meeting in Auckland on 15 May (this was the final meeting of the panel)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 19 May
  • Communications update with the Local Board communications advisor on 19 May
  • 254 Ponsonby Road – Community Empowered Approach Next Steps discussion on 19 May
  • ATEED economic development update meeting with the Board on 20 May
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 20 May
  • Attended the Governing Body Finance and Performance Committee meeting on 21 May when the accelerated transport programme funded by a transport level was discussed and approved.
  • Community Place-making champions group meeting on 25  May
  • Follow up meeting regarding Waima Street issues organised by Arch Hill residents with representatives of Auckland Council, NZ Police, and Newton School.
  • Presentation of the preliminary results of the Auckland’s Public Life Survey, in collaboration with Gehl Architects
  • Site visit to new local board offices on Swanson street
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 26 May
  • Auckland Transport’s presentation of final approved Parking Strategy for Local Boards on 27 May
  • Community development portfolio monthly meeting on 27 May
  • Inner City Network meeting on Transport hosted at GridAKL
  • Good Citizen Awards selection panel meeting on 28 May

Events and functions

  • During May I attended:
  • Lisa Reihana In Pursuit of Venus [infected] opening at the Auckland Art Gallery on 1 May
  • TEDx Auckland on 2 May
  • The Dolls House at the Maidment on 2 May at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company on 2 May
  • Save our Harbour protest on 3 May
  • Art Ache at Golden Dawn
  • First Thursdays on K’rd on 7 May
  • Sugar Tree apartments stage 1 opening at La Zeppa
  • Bike Rave May 2015 with Christopher Dempsey and Vernon Tava
    Bike Rave May 2015 with Christopher Dempsey and Vernon Tava

    Associates breakfast – urban design, cycling and transport discussion on 7 May at the Auckland Art Gallery

  • Frocks on Bikes mothers day bike ride
  • Opening of University of Auckland’s Newmarket campus on 13 May
  • GLBA monthly drinks on 14 May
  • Auckland Writers Festival Designing Auckland panel discussion on 16 May
  • Auckland Women’s Centre Charity Art Auction preview hosted by Hair Works on 16 May
  • Fairtrade morning tea hosted by All Good Bananas in support of Oxfam and celebrating 5 years of fairtrade bananas
  • Bike Rave on 22 May (photo with members Tava and Dempsey)
  • Future of Transport meeting hosted by the Auckland Labour Isthmus hub on 23 May 
  • Citizenship ceremony at the Town Hall on 26 May
  • Taku Tamaki: Auckland Stories opening at the Auckland Museum on 28 May
  • Attended a two day Wānanga Reo at AUT over Queens Birthday weekend to further my understanding of te reo Maori
Pop ping pong Aotea Square
Pop ping pong Aotea Square

Photos: In my report I’ve included photos of the Waitematā Local Board funded Pop programme. I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing the Pop ping pong tables in action at Aotea Square.

Gifts registered: Auckland Theatre Company tickets to opening night productions

A progressive transport agenda

Labour transport panel with Patrick ReynoldsOn 23 May I took part in a panel discussion with Patrick Reynolds (Transport Blog contributor) and Phil Twyford MP (Labour’s Transport spokesperson) on the future of transport in Auckland.

The event was organised by the Auckland Isthmus Labour Hub and MC’ed by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern.

We were asked to start the discussion by each presenting our thoughts on what a progressive agenda for Auckland’s Transport should look like, and what we need to get there.  

Thank you to Auckland Isthmus Labour Hub for organising this evenings event and for the invitation to take part on the panel.

I’d like to bring a local board member perspective to the discussion.

Firstly a confession – I don’t ride a bike because I am an evangelical greenie on 2 wheels I actually ride a bike because I am just a lazy transport user. I get door to door parking, and hardly ever have to walk!

When I started out as transport advocate about 7 years ago one of the first politicians I met said to me that no one will ever cycle in Auckland because it is too hilly and it rains too much.

That same politician is now “leader of the opposition” on the Waitemata Local Board.  And he is now very much in the minority as what I would call a “mono-modal-list”. Of 7 members on the Board  5 are truly multi-modal – users of PT and active transport.

This is by way of introduction to bring me to a few comments I would like to make about what I think is a progressive transport agenda, how that is starting to be embraced in Auckland but what is needed to actually get there. I think a positive transformation has been happening not just with the make up of elected reps (on Waiheke I hear board members are 100% e-bike users!) but in Auckland’s transport usage & attitudes.

Where Aucklanders have been provided choice they are showing they are not DNA programmed to just drive cars (as we’ve been led to believe) and they are also saying they want options. For example:

  • At the last census 51% of Waitemata residents didn’t drive to work in a private motor vehicle
  • There are more people arriving into the city centre in the morning peak by PT than car
  • Over 50% of households in the city centre don’t even have access to a car
  • 60% of Aucklanders  say they would cycle if it felt safe to do so

So when I think of a  progressive transport agenda it is definitely about PT and active transport and the Government getting seriously on board with funding (key elements that Patrick and Phil highlighted in their opening remarks).

But I think a progressive agenda goes much further so that kids can actually retake the streets. Walkable communities, slower speeds, the re-prioritisation of road space, accessible mobility, changes to the give way rules to favour pedestrians,  NYC- style “vision zero” where we don’t accept any fatalities as “normal” and a “complete” street design approach every time so streets are usable by all ages and abilities regardless of the mode of transport.  

I am backing this kind of progressive transport agenda because of the environmental, social, economic and health benefits it will unleash (and the promise of a happy city as we’ve heard about at the recent Auckland Conversations! )

Of course I’m presuming everyone here knows the theory and have heard the successes from places like NYC, Portland, London, Copenhagen, Melbourne that have adopted truly “progressive” agendas . [But then I could be wrong you could be all  thinking progressive means self driving transport pods and monorails! ].

I think we’ve started to make some significant steps in Auckland towards a progressive transport agenda – and not just in the city centre. 

A big factor has been the super city structure and the separation of politicians from every day transport decisions  [confession number 2 I am a big fan of the super city ] We forget how dire it was when Auckland city council’s transport decisions used to be made by politicians from Remuera.  

We definitely still have a long way to go.  It has been over 4 years of frustratingly hard work getting Auckland Transport’s agenda to align with local priorities and for AT to  stop building business as usual crap.    I think the ship is turning but delivery and leadership is still a big issue. And it doesn’t help that central government is clearly calling the shots in the background.

But no amount of government funding or alignment is going to help us achieve a progressive agenda if we haven’t brought the community along with us.  And I think this is one aspect of what we need to get there.

I think Aucklanders over all want the big picture of a world class PT  [ that Patrick/Phil describes] but just not the progressive package if it means the removal of parking on their street, speed bumps, speed cameras on their route to work  or an apartment block next door.  To give one example. Auckland Transport is trying to implement a complete street design for Franklin Road – everything can be catered for including parking but the residents don’t want it because of concerns about the dangers of leaf fall and the safety of  cyclelanes.

We have some ways to go before we are YIMBIES for a progressive transport agenda in our neighbourhood.  But I do take comfort from what Janette Sadik-Khan (former Commissioner of Transport for NYC) said on her visit here that people are actually ahead of the politicians and press. She said what worked in NYC was lots of public consultation and lots of data.

To conclude: we need to know what a progressive agenda looks like (One indicator I have given for being able to recognise what this is is when we see kids playing in the streets); the community has to buy it;   Central government has to come to the party with funding and alignment; but we have to ensure a strong progressive Council – Mayor, Councillors and Local Board members – is elected next year to continue the work that has been started over the last 5 years and is committed to delivering on the ground.

After the panelists spoke a lively discussed followed with questions from the floor.

[Note: City vision is a coalition of Labour, Green and community independents. I do not belong to a political party. The views expressed are my own and not City Vision policy]

Fixing the traffic in a successful city

Fixing Auckland's transportThe Council’s consultation on the 10 year budget (Long Term Plan) has been a catalyst for a wide-ranging conversation about our city’s transport priorities and investment.  “Fixing Transport” is highlighted as one of the 4 key issues facing Auckland.

The Mayor has led the way in asking Aucklanders to consider the choices.  Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more to get the advanced transport programme set out in the 30-year vision for our region known as the Auckland Plan. The Auckland Plan transport network includes the new roads, rail, ferries, busways and cycleways our city desperately needs. (From Council’s consultation material)

I was on the panel for the Auckland Conversation event  Fixing Auckland’s Transport – the 10 year budget  (as a local board member and member of the Urban Cycling Investment panel) to discuss the transport options. 

The MC Fran O’Sullivan asked panelists to consider a few points that we wished to get across. Here are mine in a bit more detail than discussed on the night . I’ve also referenced the quotes that I referred to.

What do we really mean by “Fixing” Auckland’s transport.

  •  Brent Toderian (Vancouver’s former Chief Planner and an Auckland Conversations presenter ) says “you can’t fix traffic in a successful city – you have to change it”.
  •  “fixing” is unlikely to result in “getting the traffic moving” for all trips ie there will always be congestion at peak for single occupancy private vehicles.  
  •  in order to fix transport we need to re-think mobility and provide transport choice  (As Florian Lennert presented at the the Velo city conference last year – the future of transport is “multi-modal sustainable mobility” ). If people are provided safe, effective transport choices it will create more space on the road for the vehicles that need to be there which benefits everyone. 

Efficient & smart investment

  •  The presentation of 2 stark choices has been great for forcing the debate about much needed transport investment (and I applaud the Mayor for leading that debate) but I think we have been provided with a Hobson’s choice on the 2 plans.  All the benefits for active transport/PT are locked up in the Advanced transport programme (that also included low value roading projects)
  • Either alternative funding option is going to take at least 2 years to implement so we have to get the “basic” plan right in the meantime to meet Local Board priorities.  Can’t have a basic plan that doesn’t provide for “basic” community needs. Eg There is no cycling investment in the first 3 years of the basic plan – this is unacceptable ( feedback so far shows strongest support for AT to focus more on cycling)
  • Also if cycling investment not included in the final transport programme Auckland cannot leverage off the Urban Cycling Investment Fund established last year by the Govt- there is $90m available over the next 3 years with up to 50% ear marked for Auckland if a local contribution is available
  • There is huge demand for transport choices to include cycling and there has never been a better time to invest in cycling but the current AT investment proposal in draft RLTP means Auckland is going to miss out on the funds available

The investment model

  • I agree we need funding for transport investment other than from rates but we are letting the Government off the hook. The Government needs to bring forward their contribution on the CRL and fund PT investment in the same way as state highways – this would be a game changer for the transport budget and the level of alternative funding required
  • I accept that there is a transport investment funding gap that can not be met out of rates. I support that gap being met from fuel tax as the most preferred option. From a local board perspective motorway tolling is not desirable because of the administration cost, impact on low income households and the negative impact on local roads.

Efficient & smart investment

  • Even if we agree on alternative funding I think we have been provided with a Hobson’s choice on the 2 plans.  All the benefits for active transport/PT are locked up in the alternative funding plan
  • Either alternative funding option is going to take at least 2 years to implement so we have to get the “basic” plan right in the meantime.  Can’t have a basic plan that doesn’t provide for “basic” community needs. Eg There is no cycling investment in the first 3 years of the basic plan – this is unacceptable ( feedback so far shows strongest support for AT to focus more on cycling)
  • Also if cycling investment not included in the basic plan Auckland cannot leverage off the Urban Cycling Investment Fund established last year by the Govt- there is $90m available this financial year with up to 50% ear marked for Auckland if a local contribution is available
  • Key point – there is huge demand for transport choices to include cycling and there has never been a better time to invest in cycling but the current AT investment proposal in draft RLTP means Auckland is going to miss out on the funds available

In my concluding comments I mentioned that the Waitemata Local Board has committed to being a UNICEF accredited child- friendly area. At the heart of the initiative is controlling speed and creating an environment where kids are invited to sit, play and walk.  I quoted Rodney Tolley who said at a recent Child Friendly Waitemata workshop that “a walking city is a paradise for kids” 

I think we often forget who we are building a city for and our focus should be on making the city a great place for children (so far we have let traffic engineers design it to the detriment of everyone). 

More on the transport discussion

Transport Blog – Is PT, Walking and Cycling Advocacy “Leftist” 

Submit for an essential budget 

Council’s online submission form 

Open letter to a car addicted city – Brent Toderian’s letter to Perth (but equally relevant to Auckland)

Monthly Board Report March 2015

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during February 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.

Highlights

Victory for a liveable city

Save the trees Barbara at AT Board meetingPeople power and common sense won the day on February 20th when the Auckland Transport Board went against officer advice in deciding not to go ahead with the planned widening of Great North Road that would have required the removal of six heritage Pohutukawa trees. A well organised campaign challenged an Auckland Transport and NZTA culture that was only willing to consider one option for over 3 years.

It was an important win not just for saving 6 trees but for forcing a rethink about the design of all roading projects.  It was also a win for trees in general by raising awareness about the huge range of benefits that a magnificent stand of trees can provide the community and the landscape.

I was proud to be part of the Waitematā Local Board that stood with the community and that has consistently told Auckland Transport the plans needed to be re-considered.

Child friendly Waitematā

The Waitematā Local Board has recently become the first of Auckland’s local boards to be nominated and registered as ‘child friendly’ through the international UNICEF ‘Child Friendly Cities’ accreditation process.  UNICEF defines a child friendly city as “a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights.  It is a city where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions. It is, as a result, a city that is fit for all”.

Claire Stewart, Community Development Facilitator, organised a workshop in February for participants to find out about the work already being done to make Waitematā child friendly, to share their own work and to support the journey towards Waitematā’s child friendly status

Dr. Rodney Tolley, Conference Director of Walk21 and experienced consultant in the field of active, sustainable transport gave a presentation to the workshop.  Rodney has a focus on public space and transport and is passionate about equality of opportunity for children. As he points out children are a great indicator of the liveability of a city. Some of the key points from his presentation about growing a child-friendly city:

  • Loss of ubiquitous play space – children should be able to play everywhere but there has been a societal change and a change in the function of streets. He quotes from a study that found the failure of an urban environment can be measured by the % of playgrounds.
  •  Management of risk – risk of a child being abducted by a strange 1 in x (infinitesimal) if use active travel. If don’t use active travel 100% risk that child will have poorer coordination; less likely to be cooperative; have health issues etc
  • More car travel diminishes physical health. Only 11% of Kiwi kids meet daily activity guidelines – 10% obese.
Rodney Tolley "child friendly" workshop walkabout on Queen St
Rodney Tolley “child friendly” workshop walkabout on Queen St

The presentation considered what’s being done, for example:

  • Safe routes to school “if not safe make it safe”
  • At heart of initiatives – controlling speeds. Highlighted the benefits to children in overseas cities eg 75% of NYC now 20mph; Paris all streets 30kmph

Conclusion – cultural or physical changes needed? A walking city is a paradise for children. A city where kids invited to sit, play and walk. There are co-benefits in getting it right for kids gets it right for everyone.

The workshop included a discussion on what we are doing for children in different parts of Council and a walk around to explore parts of the city from a child’s point of view. The group I walked with along High St and Queen St (including Rodney) found the city centre to be empty of children under 10 and a very unwelcoming place.

 Myers Park Centenary

Myers Park kids The brief to the event team responsible for the Centenary celebrations was to take a community development approach so that it involved local groups for the benefit of city centre residents (the community portfolio was involved in the early discussion on the centenary)

Congratulations to the organising team who did such a great job. The centenary event on 15th Feb was child- focused, organic and non- commercial.  I thought it was a really successful celebration, attracting local residents and all on a tight budget. I would be very supportive of the centenary event being a template for an annual Myers Park kids festival.

Community Development conference

The Unitec hosted conference brought to together practitioners, academics and students to share their knowledge, research and stories about community development. Major themes included placemaking, community economic development, diverse communities and re-claiming democracy. My conference registration of $270 was paid for from the Local Board professional development budget (I cycled to and from the venue).

I enjoyed the conference as a networking opportunity and a chance to hear about the evolution of the practice of Community Development over the last 25 years and to reflect on the role of Local Government.

Key points mentioned by a variety of speakers:

  • Community Development has to connect most closely with Local Government. LG is the natural unit of CD.
  • Auckland has suffered from politicians without vision (No social housing; Lack of community centres)
  • Community Development and Economic development  need to merge– not flip sides
  • Community development is an indirect art
  • Most important thing that local government can do: Treat people as citizens and not as customers; Stop doing things to people or for them

Long Term Plan consultation

Consultation on the Auckland Council’s 10 year budget (LTP) got under way at the end of January and continues through February until 16 March. The Local Board held 2 community engagement events in February in the City Centre and Parnell (co-hosted with Parnell Community Committee)

Richmond Road feeder laneAs at 1 March Auckland Council had received 6320 written submissions, 427 eligible digital submissions (374 pieces of feedback had been received from the Waitematā Local Board area) and 423 Aucklanders have attended a “Have Your Say “event.

All LTP information and upcoming events are on  Shapeauckland.co.nz

 Richmond Road safety improvements 

After many years fighting for road safety improvements Richmond Rd School can finally enjoy a signalised crossing and traffic calming treatments. The Transport portfolio were responsible for ensuring a feeder lane was incorporated into the design (as a first step towards cycling lanes for the length of Richmond Road)

Bob, Paul and LenWesthaven Promenade

The much anticipated and beautifully built Westhaven promenade was officially opened on 16 February.

My partner Paul Shortland (Deputy Chair of Cycle Action Auckland) had the honour of cutting the ribbon on the invitation of Sir Bob and the Mayor.

I have received only positive feedback about the promenade especially from locals using it with children.

Congratulations to the Waterfront Auckland team responsible for the promenade.

 Ponsonby Road walk aboutWalk About on Ponsonby Road with the Ponsonby Business Association

Following a serious injury suffered by a visitor to Ponsonby Rd, who tripped on the footpath, the Ponsonby Business Association General Manager & Deputy Chair invited representatives from the Board, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to take part in a walk round. The purpose of the walk was to identify urgent repairs and to discuss options for a full upgrade of the footpath as anticipated in the Ponsonby Plan finalised in 2013.

Workshops and meetings

During February I attended:

  •  Meeting with the organisers of Art in the Dark, ATEED reps and events portfolio on 2 February
  • Ponsonby Community Centre Management Committee meeting on 2 February
  • Meeting with volunteers from community group Plastic Diet
  • LTP Consultation briefing on key issues for local board members on 3 February
  • Local Board Workshop on 3 February
  • Community portfolio meeting with Youth Advisory Panel representative to handover from Isabella Lenihan-Ikin (before she departed for Otago) to Alex Johnston
  • Transport Portfolio meeting on 4 February
  • Central Local Board cluster briefing on draft Corporate Sponsorship Operational Guidelines on 9 February
  • St Lukes Intersection design/ Pohutukawa Trees discussion with Auckland Transport on 9 February
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 10  February
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 10 February
  • Briefing on the New Zealand International Convention Centre on 11 February
  • Meeting with Matthew Luxton, Envision to discuss social enterprise in Waitemata
  • Briefing on Trading and Events Bylaw: Communication to businesses
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 12  February
  • Richelle tour guide Orakei Trust BoardPonsonby Road Walk About with representatives of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the Ponsonby Business Association to discuss the disrepair of the footpaths
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Reserves Board meeting and induction – 16 February – The purpose of the hui was to provide an in-depth insight into the history, current projects and aspirations in respect to the Whenua Rangatira and Pourewa Creek Recreation Reserve (photo right of Richelle Kahui- McConnell leading the tour)
  • St Lukes Intersection design (Pohutukawa tree removal) – follow up meeting with Auckland Transport and NZTA
  • Community Development Conference (opening Powhiri at Unitec Marae and one day at Unitec, Henderson)
  • Urban Cycling Investment Panel – meeting 2 in Wellington on 20 February
  • Local Board Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 23 February
  • Cycling Action Group and Urban Cycling Investment update presented to the Local Boards Forum on 23 February
  • Rodney Tolley – Child Friendly Cities workshop at Pioneer Womens Hall
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 24 February
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 25 February
  • Long Term Plan – 10 year budget community engagement events on 25 February (City Centre) and 26 February (co-hosted with the Parnell Community Committee)
  • Meeting to discuss RLTP feedback on 25 February
  • Central Boards cluster meeting: BIDs and service delivery and policy review
  • Attended the Auckland Development Committed extraordinary meeting on 26 February
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  26 February
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Auckland on 27 February

Events and functions

During February I attended:

  • Bike Market at Silo Park on 1 February
  • Friends of the Festival lunch at Q Theatre on 3 February
  • Screening with Nga Tāonga – Sound & Vision of two documentaries at Auckland Museum on 5 February to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi. Pita Turei, director of Waka: The Awakening Dream, presented at Q&A session following the screening.
  • Tour of the Light Show exhibition with Rhana Devenport, Director Auckland Art Gallery (organised for local board members and Councillors) on 5 February
  • Waitangi Day powhiri at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae
  •  Waitangi on the bins with ChristopherZero Waste Volunteer with Christopher Dempsey at Takaparawhau (Bastion Pt) for the Waitangi Day Festival organised by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
  • Big Gay Out, Coyle Park
  • Green Desk interview on 10 February (as occasional host of the Green Desk, 95bfm) with Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, Waitemata Youth Advisory Panel representative
  • Dropped by the NZTA/Auckland Transport Nelson Street cyclelane open day at Tukutai Square on 10 February
  • Go by bike day pit stop on the Grafton Gully Cycle way on 11 February (free coffee provided by Auckland Transport)
  • Opening Night Party of Auckland Fringe and X0X Pride at the Box, Aotea Square on 11 February
  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 12 February
  • Launch and Blessing of Twist & Thief by Tanja McMillian (Misery)  on K’rd
  • ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – Opening of Fanzone at Tukutai Square by the Mayor on 14 February
  • Valentine’s Day bike ride and afternoon tea with Frocks on Bikes
  • Myers Park Centennial Celebration on 15 February
  • Blessing and official opening of the Westhaven Promenade on 16 February
  • Kelsey Montague AngelWith the Deputy Mayor visited the Angel by Kelsey Montague sponsored by the Ponsonby Business Association on the Brown St wall of Ponsonby Central (photo right)
  • Regional Arts Trust Awards at Q Theatre (congratulations to Shona McCullagh, Hynds Creative Entrepreneur 2015 Award winner)
  • Auckland Conversations – Shaping Resilient and Collaborative Communities – Milenko Matanovic,  Founder & Executive Director The Pomegranate Centre Washington USA
  • Save our Harbour rally on Queens Wharf (photo below)
  • Regional Facilities Auckland – refreshments with the Board and senior management at the Aotea Centre
  • Finns at the Zoo on 27 February (at the invitation of Auckland Zoo)
  • Grey Lynn RSC commemorative mural blessing (funding provided by the Local Board)
  • Art in One Day prize giving (event sponsored with a Community Grant)
  • Save our harbour rally

Auckland Conversations: Fixing Auckland’s Transport

Auckland Conversations is an exciting series featuring leaders and experts in design, planning, heritage, environment and socio-economics discussing the issues facing Auckland’s development.  Tonight Auckland Conversations tackles the topic of Transport and I am really delighted to be one of the panelists.

Fixing Auckland’s Transport – The 10-Year Budget 2015-2025

Monday 2 March, doors open 5pm for a 5.30pm start
Lower NZI Conference Room, Aotea Centre, central Auckland

Auckland is the country’s fastest-growing region with transport considered the single biggest issue. Major investment will be needed in the next decade to avoid worsening congestion and the impact this will have on our economy, environment and way of life.

We have a choice to make. Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more to get the advanced transport programme set out in the 30-year vision for our region, known as the Auckland Plan.

If we choose to fix Auckland’s transport issues and get our city moving, we need to consider how we should pay for it. This could be through increased fuel taxes and higher rates, or through the introduction of a new motorway charge.

Hear from a range of experts who will outline the key transport issues facing Aucklanders in the 10-year budget.

MC Fran O’Sullivan – NZ Herald

Presentation: Mayor Len Brown: The 10 Year Budget and outline of Transport Options

Panellists

David Warburton – CEO, Auckland Transport

Sudhvir Singh – Generation Zero

Peter Winder – Transport Funding – Independent Advisory Board

Patrick Reynolds – Transport Blog

Pippa Coom – Waitematā Local Board

More information on Shape.co.nz Fixing Auckland’s Transport