This is my Councillor report covering the period from 8 June – 7 July. It has been prepared for the July business meetings of the Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Board Local Boards.
The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.
Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
Board Member, LGNZ National Council
Member, Auckland Domain Committee
As NZ moved to Alert Level 1 on 8 June a phased re-opening of council facilities was able to happen more quickly. Meetings are now all in person but with more flexibility to join by Skype.
As of 6 July, water levels in Auckland’s nine water collection dams remain at a record low, sitting at 55.8 per cent. Water restrictions continue.
From 30 June most of Auckland’s city centre moved to a speed limit of 30km/h
Consultation on the Emergency Budget closed on 19 June. The budget has been my main focus as the Governing Body works towards the decision making meeting on 16 July.
Governing Body meetings – Key decisions
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.
On 9 June Governing Body held a confidential meeting to appoint the new CEO. The successful candidate has yet to be announced (updated: the CEO announcement was made on 17 July).
On 11 June the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee approved the initiation of a comprehensive review of the Regional Parks Management Plan 2010.
On 18 June the Finance and Performance Committee approved Auckland Museum’s amended Annual Plan and Levy for 2020/2021.
The committee also approved the proposed amendments to the Local Government Funding Agency legal documents and Foundation Policies.
On 25 June Governing Body received an update from Watercare on the water shortage and agreed to waive resource consent fees for residential rainwater tank installation.
The committee also amended the standing orders to allow elected members to attend electronically if they prefer to, but without voting rights.
The governing body agreed to urgently contact central government to request an announcement on shovel ready project funding be made prior to our emergency budget decision making on July 16th.
On 2 July the Planning Committee approved several private plan changes in Drury East and Whenuapai.
The committee also approved the preparation of Spatial Land Use Frameworks for the Kumeu-Huapai and Wainui Silverdale Dairy Flat areas and established a Political Working Party to approve the draft frameworks for consultation.
Other key meetings and events
In the period 8 June to 7 July I attended:
Event with the Mayor to mark the planting of native trees as part of CRL works along Albert Street. Eight trees were planted over the week, with a total of 23 trees (Totora, Golden Totara, Pohutukawa, Black Maire and Puriri) planned as part of CRL’s Contract 2 works
Ports of Auckland Community Reference group meeting held via Zoom on 10 June
Dawn blessing and opening by the PM of Commercial Bay on 11 June
Black Lives Matter rally on 14 June
On International Day of Justice for Cleaners and Security Guards, joined the Mayor to receive a petition and deputation from supporters of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand
Women in Urbanism emergency budget discussion on 15 June
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 June and the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 23 June
Presented to Westhaven Rotory’s breakfast meeting on 23 June
CRL event on 23 June to mark the start of works on the underground Aotea Station
ACCAB workshop on 23 June
Grey Lynn Business Association networking event on 25 June at Malt bar
Media briefing for the Safer Speeds rollout on 29 June
A low key opening of the new high canopy primate habitat for orangutans and siamangs at Auckland Zoo
KBA convened meeting to discuss Karangahape Road/ Auckland Street Whanau issues and responses.
Panel member for Bike Grey Lynn’s Quick Smart speaker series on 28 June
Sam Judd farewell from Sustainable coastlines on 3 July
NZ Trio concert Origins at the Concert Chamber on 6 July (this was the first live performance at the Town Hall post lockdown)
Piki Toi exhibition opening on 6 July at Merge Cafe
Emergency Budget 2020/2021
Consultation on the Emergency Budget ended on 19 June.
During the consultation period I participated in three online community webinars. A Have your Say event for regional stakeholders was held on 10 June.
The budget and consultation were in response to the financial impact of COVID-19. At the start of the consultation the forecast shortfall in revenue was of more than half a billion dollars over the next financial year.
Unfortunately, it is likely a further $224m needs to be found for Watercare measures to increase the supply of water in the face of the worst drought ever experienced in the city. This number is higher than the estimate provided in the draft emergency budget documentation and places further pressure on the council.
A series of workshop are underway to discuss the feedback and all elements of the budget leading up to the final decision on 16 July.
From 30 June most of Auckland’s city centre moved to a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain). Speed limits on Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson streets will be reduced to 40km/h instead of 30km/h.
This is a major milestone since Auckland became a Vision Zero region last year. Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston. (Attachment 2: Opinion piece: Together our streets can be safer)
The temporary COVID-19 works installed in the northern end of Queen Street were planned to undergo some refinement over the week beginning 5 July. These improvements are based on feedback received from businesses and residents to make the purpose of the new spaces clearer for users and improve the overall appearance of Queen Street.
Later this month, the ‘Access for Everyone’ pilot for the Waihorotiu Queen Street Valley will begin through a co-design process, which will test new ways to lay out Queen Street prioritising space for pedestrians. Access for buses, emergency and service vehicles will be retained, while non-essential traffic will be discouraged. The pilot is funded from NZTA’s innovating streets fund and the City Centre Targeted rate. (Attachment 3: Our Auckland Access for Everyone Pilot to begin on Queen Street)
The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the local board regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events and meetings, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.
Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board
Board Member, LGNZ National Council
Member, Auckland Domain Committee
In my previous written report to the local board, I reported on Auckland Council’s response as the pandemic unfolded and through the lockdown period.
As NZ moved from Alert Level 3 to 2 council facilities and venues opened up and planning was well underway for the post Covid-19 recovery.
The Emergency Committee was established as an ad hoc committee of the whole of the Governing Body due to the pandemic. The final Emergency Committee meeting was held on 28 May. Workshops and Committees of the whole have recommenced meeting again from the beginning of June.
Following advice from Watercare, mandatory water restrictions came into effect on 16 May due to the ongoing drought
The first co-chaired Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting was held on 25 May
Consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 started on 29 May
Governing Body meetings
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only.
On 23 April the Emergency Committee approved the levy for funding Auckland’s regional amenities for the next financial year, appointed Phil Wilson as the Group Recovery Manager for COVID-19 and received its regular Auckland Emergency Management update.
Watercare Chief Executive Raveen Jaduram also provided an update on Auckland’s water shortage situation and the requirements for stage one water restrictions.
On 30 April the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee approved the total levy applied for by the Museum of Transport and Technology of $14,890,578 for 2020/2021 and made appointments to the District Licensing Committee. A governing body meeting was also held to approve Bylaw Panel recommendations on the proposed new Food Safety Information Bylaw 2020 and approve procedural plan changes.
On 7 May theEmergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
In response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, the committee voted unanimously to introduce mandatory water restrictions, which will come into effect across the region from Saturday 16 May.
Auckland Council’s submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport was approved and the committee endorsed Auckland Transport’s applications to the first tranche of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People pilot fund. It also approved the process for developing a recommended package of projects for the second funding round closing on 3 July 2020, which will include Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Panuku Development Auckland projects.
On 14 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee unanimously endorsed the rationale, scope, and proposed process for updating the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2020 and its terms of reference. Within the terms of reference, it was agreed to propose an additional objective for the shared government and council priorities for transport in Auckland to improve the resilience and sustainability of Auckland’s transport system and significantly reduce greenhouse gases. The refresh will consider a number of emerging issues including the impact of Covid-19 on funding, any government economic stimulus packages, the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) of transport investment in Auckland, climate change, mode shift and emerging brownfield and greenfield priorities.
The committee considered the reappointment of three directors of the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC). Of the directors on the board, Auckland Council and the government appoint one director each and the remaining directors are jointly appointed by both the government and the council. With the terms of three of the current directors ending soon decisions need to be made about appointments to those positions.
On 21 May the Emergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee received Local Board feedback on the first round of public consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 for consideration when decisions are made.
The committee agreed to consult alongside the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 on the addition to the Rates remission and postponement policy of a COVID-19 Rates postponement scheme.
The committee agreed unanimously to publicly consult on a Covid-19 rates postponement scheme alongside the consultation on the Emergency Budget 2020/2021. Under the proposed scheme rates postponement will be available to all residential and business ratepayers financially stressed because of Covid-19.
The council consulted with Aucklanders on the Annual Budget 2020/2021 from mid-February to mid-March this year. However, due to the impact of Covid-19 the council is proposing to consult on further matters for the Emergency Budget 2020/2021.The committee made a recommendation to the council’s Governing Body to endorse a recommended engagement approach for further consultation on the Emergency Budget to take place from 29 May 2020 to 19 June 2020.
On 28 May theEmergency Committee received the regular weekly update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Auckland Emergency Management response.
The committee endorsed the Water Supply and Wastewater Network Bylaw 2015 Review findings report. A further options report will be brought to the Regulatory Committee in June.
The Governing Body meeting on 28 May minor changes to rating policy and some fees for inclusion in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021 and amendments to the council’s Revenue and Financing Policy were adoped. These changes were publicly consulted on in February and March this year and some of the changes recommended are subject to the consideration of further feedback.
The Governing Body endorsed the engagement approach for public consultation on the Emergency Budget following a recommendation from the Emergency Committee. To adhere to Covid-19 health and safety requirements a digitally led engagement approach is recommended, including the use of online webinar events, with feedback options through written, telephone and digital channels.
On 4 June the Planning Committee approved Auckland Transport and Auckland Council’s proposed list of projects for further development and assessment prior to submission to the second application round of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Innovating Streets for People pilot fund closing on 3 July 2020.
The Planning Committee endorsed Auckland Council’s draft submission on the proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality: Particulate Matter and Mercury Emissions (included as Attachment A of the agenda report).
The Planning Committee delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee, Chair of the Regulatory Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve the council’s submission on the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill and requested that staff forward the draft submission to the Planning Committee and Local Board chairs for high-level feedback.
The committee also support a Notice of Motion from Cr Walker seeking a joint water conservation campaign with Watercare and the development of a water climate-resilient strategy for Auckland (The strategy is being progressed by the Environment and Climate Change Committee).
Other meetings and events
In the period 21 April to 5 June I attended:
A virtual service observed with neighbours joining from their bubble for Stand at Dawn on Anzac Day
Hauraki Gulf Forum drop in with the co-chairs for forum members on 4 and 5 May and meetings with the forum’s Executive Officer in preparation for the meeting on 25 May
The weekly meeting with the Mayor for Chairs and Deputies of the committees
The LGNZ metro sector meeting on 8 May as alternate for the Mayor and the Infrastructure Commission briefing to local government representatives. I also attended the National Council board meeting on 15 May and the meeting on 5 June to meet the new CEO of LGNZ.
On 27 May I attended the Central Government and Local Government annual Forum hosted by the Prime Minister
Online Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 April and 27 May, the Waitematā Local Board meetings on 5 and 19 May the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 12 May
I was invited to speak to the National Council of Women Auckland Branch meeting on 11 May
The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 27 May (High St pilot project is one of the projects supported by ACCAB in the City Centre. Attachment 1 Our Auckland More space for pedestrians on High Street)
Appointments and Performance Review committee CEO interviews on 18 May
The Governing Body and Independent Maori Statutory Board Joint meeting on 19 May
Finance and Performance Committee workshops regarding the Emergency Budget
Meetings relevant to the work programme of the Environment and Climate Change Committee
Auckland Festival of Photography exhibition opening on 4 June at the Grey Gallery (first function in real life since Alert level 3 prior to lockdown)
Emergency Budget 2020/2021 consultation
Auckland Council has produced an Emergency Budget to address the $525m shortfall in revenue due to Covid-19 and in so doing has to make some tough decisions about where to find significant savings and what to prioritise.
In response to a “rates freeze” campaign and many emails from constituents seeking a zero rates rise I provided the following information (prior to consultation starting on 29 May):
The draft 2020-21 annual budget that was consulted on prior to the lockdown proposed a 3.5% rates increase. We now need a new “emergency” budget that responds to these extraordinary times. We are in incredibly challenging times dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to continue hitting hard across our businesses and communities.
At the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April Councillors were unanimous that the council needs to take decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. There will be another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rise to 2.5%. For the average ratepayer, a 2.5 % increase would be equivalent to an extra $1.35 per week, while a 3.5 % increase would be $1.83 per week.
The final details of the Emergency Budget 20/21 including rates will not be voted on until July.
In considering the options it is clear that cutting rates will end up costing ratepayers more and will slow down Auckland’s recovery. It is important to note:
There is going to be a substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession, some projects and services will need to be cut or postponed to reduce expenditure. Development Contributions and fees make up 53% of council’s income. Potential reductions in cash revenue of $350-650m for 20/21 depending on the length of disruption caused by Covid-19
The credit rating agencies have allocated Auckland Council an AA/Aa2 rating. This enables council to borrow for capital projects at attractive interest rates, for longer time periods, and means there is no shortage of those wishing to invest. Our financial policy is to limit our debt to revenue ratio to 270%, although internally we manage to a 265% ratio to give ourselves a buffer. Lowering income could potentially put this at risk. The outcome would be higher interest rates, reduced funding abilities and shorter timelines for debt renewals. All these add up to very real costs which would be to the detriment of ratepayers, both now and well into the future. A 1% increase in rates equals $17 million in additional income. 3.5% equates to $59 million net. A 1% increase in interest rates equates to around $100 million of additional interest costs. A single notch credit rating downgrade would cost council approximately $15 million every year in additional interest costs.
Even at a 3.5% rates rise there will be substantial cuts to the infrastructure projects, maintenance and services provided by the Council. This work is already underway with many temp or contracted staff having been given notice.
At the same time, council has already driven savings of $270 million in operational expenses. $62 million of additional savings are budgeted for this year. All opportunities to cut spending still need to be reviewed from across the council group.
The CEO and senior executives have voluntarily agreed to pay cuts
The Emergency Committee agreed to consult on targeted measures including suspending the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate and the broadening of council’s rates postponement policy. We also announced more help to ratepayers and business who may be struggling to pay their rates in the financial year to 30 June.
I believe we have taken a principle-based approach with a strong commitment to financial prudence and sustainability. An austerity budget based on zero rates rise will hit our most vulnerable communities hardest and limit council’s ability to play a key role in working with Government to promote economic recovery. I think targeted assistance to ratepayers suffering financial stress is preferable.
Consultation on the Emergency Budget 20/21 budget started on 29 May for three weeks. The consultation material provides a clear explanation of what each rating option will mean for council services and infrastructure. Please take the time to review the information and provide feedback. (Attachment 1 Emergency Budget decisions will impact Waitematā and Gulf says Councillor)
Hauraki Gulf Forum
I have been working with the Executive Officer and Tangata Whenua co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, Nicola MacDonald to develop a work plan and governance statement. We hosted two co-chair drop-in sessions via Skype to provide Forum members the opportunity to give feedback ahead of the Forum meeting held on 25 May. On 14 May a media release went out about the new governance arrangements for the Forum (Attachment 3: Our Auckland: Co-Chairs to lead Hauraki Gulf Forum)
On 25 May the Hauraki Gulf Forum adopted the new work plan with an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf:
In the photo right with co-chair Nicola MacDonald wearing pake (capes) commissioned by Nicola for the co-Chairs to symbolise our enduring relationship and stewardship to protect our taonga tuku iho. These kahu korari will pass from co-Chairs to successive co-Chairs and serve to remind us of our duty to look after Te Moananui o Toi and Tikapa Moana
I am wearing a kahu korari beautifully made by master weaver Meleta Bennett, Te Arawa, named Tipaka Moana, a name gifted by the Hauraki tangata whenua members.
Nicola’s kahu korari is called Te Moananui o Toi the name was gifted by Ngāti Wai Tangata Whenua members and was woven by master weaver Maakere Taane no Ngai Tahu.
These emergency measures were reviewed going into Alert Level 2. I agreed at that point with the removal of the temporary measures on Ponsonby Road because I didn’t think the scheme was strong enough to withstand a significant increase in traffic. (photo right of the additional space on Ponsonby Road during Alert Level 3).
However, the temporary measures provided a valuable opportunity to re-image how Ponsonby Road could be made far more people friendly and has directly contributed to a Ponsonby Road pilot being included as an application in the second round of the Innovating Streets Funding considered by the Planning Committee on 3 June.
The temporary works on Queen St installed for Alert Level 3 are intended to transition into an Innovating Streets pilot if the NZTA funding application is successful
The purpose of my report is to provide an update on the key governing body decisions as the Covid-19 crisis escalated and during the lockdown as well as my focus during this time as Councillor.
Auckland Council’s response to the Covid-19 crisis
Following the WHO declaration of an official pandemic on 11 March the first indication of the seriousness of the situation was the need to cancel the Pasifika Festival on 13 March due to concerns about the risk of the virus spreading into the Pacific. As more cases were confirmed Auckland Council closed pools, libraries, galleries and other community facilities on 20 March. The next day the Government introduced a four-level alert system to help combat Covid-19. The Prime Minister announced New Zealand would go to Alert Level 4 at 23.59 on 25 March 2020. A state of emergency was declared putting the country into lock-down for a minimum of four weeks. People were told to stay home to save lives and only go out for essential work, supplies and local recreation.
It is an unprecedented situation that is evolving every day as we get to grips with the new “normal”. First and foremost, Council is taking the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is leading New Zealand’s Covid-19 response.
Essential Council services continue including storm water infrastructure repair and maintenance and water treatment, animal welfare management, biosecurity and hazard monitoring., Auckland’s kerbside rubbish and recycling are considered essential services and will continue as usual. Unfortunately, there is currently no market for recycled paper so temporarily it will be going to landfill (paper and cardboard can still go out in the recycling bin). The inorganic collection has been postponed.
Over 300 Council facilities have closed including recreation centres, pools, community centres. Parks and reserves remain open for local recreation but playgrounds and recreational facilities in parks are closed. Most public toilets are closed although some remain open for essential workers and rough sleepers.
Auckland Libraries e-lending services like audiobooks, video streaming services and learning databases like Lynda.com continue to be available for free and have been extended. Library fines for overdue books have been suspended and gym memberships are on hold.
Road maintenance undertaken by Auckland Transport is considered an essential service so continues during the lockdown. However, this is being limited to only that maintenance required to keep the network safe and operational during this period.
Auckland Council and homeless agencies have been working together to ensure there is accommodation, food and essential support available for rough sleepers.
The Our Auckland website was transformed quickly to provide a one stop shop for all Auckland Council related Covid-19 information. Just before the Easter break a further plea was made to boaties to not visit the islands against level 4 lockdown rules. While New Zealand Police and other agencies have reminded boaties to stay off the water during the lockdown, unfortunately some have still been visiting Aotea Great Barrier.
Local board chairs supported by local board members have been on the front line dealing directly with a range of challenging issues in their communities especially at the outset of the lockdown. I have been in regular communication with chairs in my ward and available to follow up on issues as requested.
An emergency management fund established on 24 March was accessed quickly to guarantee one flight per day to Aotea Great Barrier to ensure essential services, products and workers continue to be available to all residents. A service for essential supplies was also put in place for Rakino Island.
Work is underway to identify potential cuts to expenditure required due to the substantial reduction in non-rates revenue caused by the recession. Steps have already been taken to reduce spending on external contracts and contract staff in non-essential services, as part of plans to manage the financial impact of COVID-19 (Refer Attachment 1 regarding the Annual Budget 20/21).
Regular Covid-19 briefings for councillors have been held since 18 March. At the time of writing the Prime Minister has announced that Alert Level 4 has been extended until 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. Council’s focus over the next week will be to work through what moving to Alert Level 3 means for the organisation and the additional services it will be able to provide. Planning for the post Covid-19 recovery is also underway.
Governing Body meetings
The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website here.
On 19 March the Finance and Performance Committee meeting received the Auckland Council Group and Auckland Council quarterly performance report for the period ended 31 December 2019; a Financial update on current status due to Covid-19 as an extraordinary item, and a presentation from the Eden Park Trust Board noting the uncertainty of future financial projections due to Covid-19. (this was the last meeting with all members in attendance at the Town Hall prior to lockdown)
On 24 March, an extraordinary meeting of the Governing Body met to discuss Governing Body decision-making continuity during the COVID-19 response period. It was agreed unanimously that members could attend any meetings of the Governing Body or it’s committees by audio or audiovisual link, and be counted as present, during the COVID-19 response period.
A temporary Emergency Committee of the whole of Governing Body was established with a quorum of 2, with others participating via audio link, which meets weekly and includes 2 members of IMSB. All functions and powers of the Governing Body have been delegated to this committee other than those in Audit and Risk.
We also agreed to establish a COVID-19 contingency fund of $22.5 million for any urgent expenditure required to respond to the pandemic or its impacts.
Following this meeting Governing Body members had to quickly adapt to skyping into meetings, and although there have been a few teething issues, in general the process is working well to maintain good governance.
On 26 March Governing Body met and endorsed the proposed membership for the Heritage Advisory Panel and the updated terms of reference. 3 items were deferred, being Referred from the Audit and Risk Committee – Health, Safety and Wellbeing Update – emerging risks and issues, Summary of Governing Body information memoranda and briefings (including the Forward Work Programme) – 26 March 2020 and Review of remuneration of independent members of the Audit and Risk Committee which included a report in the confidential section.
On 2 April the Emergency Committee met with all members attending via electronic link. The meeting considered 2 items of extraordinary business. The meeting delegated all emergency powers and roles to the Group Controller and ratified all decisions made by the controller since declaration of a state of emergency. We were also provided with a report on activities undertaken by council to support the wider community in response to Covid-19. A verbal update was provided on the Summary of Infrastructure criteria for “shovel ready” projects announced by Government. Reappointment of board members to City Rail Link Ltd and Haumaru Housing was considered in the confidential section.
On 9 April the Emergency Committee received a written and verbal briefing from Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Kate Crawford, Group Controller, Auckland Emergency Management. We unanimously approved Auckland Council’s list of ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects and programmes to be submitted to Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd and delegated the final priorisation of 20 projects to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, IMSB Chair and four Councillors. (the final list of 73 ‘shovel-ready’ projects submitted to CIP was announced on 14 April)
We also discussed the Healthy Waters southern and regional maintenance contracts in the confidential section
On 14 April an Extraordinary Audit and Risk Committee met via electronic link. Members were briefed on the COVID-19 pandemic and Auckland Emergency Management status and received two confidential updates on the approach to risk management and assurance activities, and the approach to identify and manager financial risks.
On 16 April the Emergency Committee received a verbal briefing from Ian Maxwell, Director Executive Programmes and Mace Ward, Group Controller, Auckland Emergency Management. Representatives from the Taxpayers Union and the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance presented in public forum. Cr Darby introduced an extraordinary item regarding Auckland International Airport share purchase plan. Members agreed 18-5 to seek a report looking at improving the council’s oversight of the airport company, including whether as the biggest shareholder, it should seek to appoint a director.
The confidential part of the meeting covered council’s Financial position and Annual Budget 2020/2021 Update. Councillors were unanimous that the council needs to take decisive steps to reduce the pressure on residents and businesses facing economic hardship, while ensuring we can protect and maintain the essential services Aucklanders rely on. It was agreed that another round of consultation including the option of limiting any rates rise to 2.5%. (Our Auckland: Councillors agree rates support for Aucklanders)
Other meetings and events
As NZ moved to Alert level 2, I stopped attending events and meetings in person from 20 March. In the days prior to that I attended the Waitematā Local Board monthly business meeting and CCO Oversight Committee workshop with Auckland Transport on 17 March. The CCO update on Covid-19; Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee workshop on the proposed Burial and Cremation Act 1964 submission and the Planning Committee Briefing: Supporting Growth Alliance – on transport network proposals in greenfield areas on 18 March.
On 17 March I also spoke at the EV’s and Beyond Conference held on Waiheke in relation to Auckland’s commitment to the Climate Change Emergency.
I was interviewed by BfM on 19 March and 20 April for an item called “City Counselling” covering council’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Annual Budget, tactical urbanism and the Auckland Climate Action Plan work underway.
LGNZ’s National Council meeting in Wellington on 20 March was held via Zoom. It was agreed to postpone the annual conference until 2021.
The weekly meeting with the Mayor for Chairs and Deputies of the committees of the whole has continued via Skype. A fortnightly Auckland Transport catch up on ward issues has also continued during the lockdown.
I worked with Cr Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee to seek the inclusion of a climate lens and other Auckland focused criteria to the prioritisation process for the “shovel ready” programme considered at the Emergency Committee meeting on 9 April (letter attached here) . I also submitted a spreadsheet of shovel ready projects for consideration which included local board projects in my ward.
The work of the Environment and Climate Change Committee has continued with briefings and catch-ups via skype. The covid-19 crisis has had an impact on the timeline for Auckland’s Climate Action Plan but the current aim is bring the final plan to a committee meeting in July.
I have been working with the Executive Officer and Tangata Whenua co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum to create a draft work plan for consultation with forum members ahead of the Forum meeting planned for 25 May. We also wrote to the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, Crown Infrastructure Partners regarding the shovel-ready projects and the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi.
I provided feedback on Auckland Council’s submission on the Accessible Streets Regulatory package that went to the Emergency Committee meeting on 16 April. I am working with Cr Darby on progressing council and Auckland Transport’s response to NZTA’sInnovating Streets for Peopleinitiative and funding. The programme supports measures that can quickly increase the amount of space available for physical distancing (photo right showing the use of “tactical urbanism” to create a cyclelane). I am also supporting Auckland Transport’s work to identify locations where measures can be put in place immediately to create more space for walking and cycling.
I think leadership on a pay cut is important when there is no doubt the economic downturn is going to hit hard across our businesses and communities. It is about acknowledging the pain and showing solidarity with those on the frontline of the crisis. As the current legislation doesn’t allow for any Councillor pay cut to go back into the Council’s budget I will be donating an amount to charity in line with the pay cuts announced by the Mayor, other councillors and the executive leadership. However, as I don’t believe any pressure should be put on low paid members or workers to take a cut I will keep my donations private.
I continue to be contacted by members of the public seeking reassurance and answers to a wide range of issues.
Report to the Waiheke Local Board meeting on 22 April is available here
Report to the Aotea Great Barrier Local Board meeting on 12 May is available here
This is my final report after nine years on the Waitematā Local Board. I have reported monthly throughout my time on the local board. This month I take the opportunity to provide my reflections on the 2016- 2019 term and to give thanks and acknowledgements. ( It is on the agenda for the final local board meeting for the term on 17 September 2019)
Since the local board’s establishment in 2010, for the first two terms under the leadership of Shale Chambers, we have put in place a clear direction for being an accessible, connected, sustainable, inclusive, vibrant local board area. We have built a reputation for being an effective, collaborative, hardworking local board that takes our local responsibilities seriously, but always considers the bigger strategic picture.
The “Super City” governance structure was imposed on Aucklanders and came with ongoing concerns about what it would mean for local decision making and identity. We have focused on making Auckland Council, together with the CCO’s, work properly and deliver for the community. We can see the impact we have made across our responsibilities for local parks, events, arts and recreational services and facilities, community facilities, libraries, and environmental management. A key role of the local board is also place making and shaping responsibilities, which has required active involvement in wider transport and heritage, urban design and planning issues affecting the local level.
At times far too much energy has gone into “educating” all the parts of the council family about the governance structure and the role of local boards. After nine years we have seen huge improvements but there is still more to do. I welcome a proposed review of the Council Controlled Organisations next term.
It has been a real honour to Chair the local board for the 2016-2019 term and a privilege to represent the city centre and central suburbs of Auckland. We are the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau, the economic engine room of the region, and home to outstanding cultural, educational and arts institutions, and major events. It is an exciting place to live, visit, work, play and study. Our local board area is the front door for international visitors and increasingly the place to experience Māori culture in Auckland. It is home to vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods and a growing city centre population who are embracing urban living.
This report seeks to cover some of the highlights of what we have achieved this term. Shale, in his report, has comprehensively covered the 2010- 2013 and 2013- 2016 terms. I’ve tried my best to capture as much as possible and to acknowledge everyone who has provided a huge amount of support and encouragement. Apologies in advance if I have missed anything significant – at a certain point I had to bring to a close what was becoming a very long report!
A local board of firsts
As a progressive board we are committed to social justice and have been willing to take risks and adopt policy often before any other part of council. We are the first local board to approve an Accessibility Plan and a Low Carbon Community Action Plan. We led the way in committing to a City for Peace, Smokefree parks and playgrounds, the Living Wage, to Auckland becoming a Fairtrade City and CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women).
And if agreed at our final meeting we will be the first local board to adopt a localised urban ngahere action plan, which is intended to deliver on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy.
Community Engagement and Partnerships
We are fortunate to have very active, engaged community members. Over nine years it has been a pleasure to build relationships, work with a wide range of community leaders and to seek out new ways of engaging and consulting to reach our diverse and growing residential populations. I made a point of reading every piece of feedback received by the board through the many consultation processes.
Our Local Board Plans 2011, 2014 and now 2017 have provided an opportunity to sweep up the community’s projects and initiatives to deliver on the priorities we have been told are important. I have enjoyed taking an active role in the process of developing each plan.
A few highlights of our approaches to engagement include:
Beating the bounds a walk of the local board boundary at the beginning of each term (first initiated by myself and Andy Smith of Walk Auckland in 2011)
A one-off Pecha Kucha Town Hall edition that launched our 2014 local board plan
Taking part in Auckland Council’s first Facebook live engagement event with board member Adriana Christie as part of the Annual Budget consultation 2019/2020 (photo right)
Hearings style feedback sessions – we are one of the few boards to continue with this format
Taking consultation events into the community with co-hosted public meetings, library pop-ins and info stands at events
There is still more to improve engaging with the hard to reach particularly with city centre residents, residents with English as a second language and young people.
Our partnerships have continued to flourish this term with established organisations and emerging ones. As a former Trustee of Kelmarna Gardens I’m pleased to see how the board’s support has provided stability and allowed the organic farm to become more sustainable.
I’ve maintained close relationships with our well-run community centres – Parnell, Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and regularly attended the lively and informative Central City Community Network meetings funded by the local board.
Planning for the future
The drafting, consultation on and approval of development plans covering all our major parks and town centres has been a major focus of the board first initiated by Shale Chambers. The plans guide renewals and planning to avoid ad hoc projects and investment.
The value of development plans can be seen in places such as Western Park where we have ticked off nearly every project listed in the implementation plan as budget has become available including new lighting, new paths, upgrade playground, new boardwalk and stairs down from Hopetoun Street, new toilet block and new fitness equipment. Further work is underway on a tree management plan.
Plans completed or underway include:
Meola Reef Development Plan
Western Springs Lakeside Park (to be signed off by the incoming board in February 2020)
Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan
Point Resolution Taurarua Development Plan
Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
Symonds Street Cemetery development plan (photo right: new paths in the cemetery)
Newmarket Laneways Plan
Karangahape Road Plan 2014-2044
Newton Eden Terrace Plan (2016-2046)
Ponsonby Road Plan 2014-2044
We were also only the second local board to develop a City Fringe Economic Development Action Plan in 2014 that was then further revised in 2017.
Iwi relationships and working with Māori
Delivering on Council’s commitment to Māori at a local level is a priority for the local board. I’ve worked to strengthen our iwi relationships. I’ve particularly valued the constant presence during my time on the local board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke and Matt Maihi who have led us through many significant opening and blessings.
For 2019/2020 we have allocated funding to a new programme called Te Kete Rukuruku, which aims to showcase the Māori history and stories of Tāmaki Makaurau. One element is to add names significant to Māori to local parks.
It was with great sadness that we heard the news that Dean Martin, Principal Advisor, Māori and Te Tiriti Relationships and Governance, Te Waka Anga Mua ki Uta passed away suddenly in April. Dean provided steady guidance to the local board, led our visit to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae early in the term and wrote my mihi for the opening of Ellen Melville Centre.
The bigger picture
The local board has taken every opportunity to take a strategic view of national and regional issues. We are able to sustain a substantial output of work thanks to the portfolio structure (established under Shale’s leadership) that has allowed local board members to take responsibility for specific areas of interest. In this term we have provided input into the following policies, bylaws proposals and plans:
QEII Square Private Plan Change
Auckland Plan Refresh
Urban Development Authorities Discussion Document
Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2016 local authority elections
Tākaro – Investing in Play discussion document
Governance Framework Review
Four Wellbeings Bill
Dog Bylaw and Policy
Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags
Residential Tenancies Act 1986
Healthy Home Standards
Low emissions economy draft report
Regional Pest Management Plan
Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018
Draft 2018-2028 Regional Land Transport Plan
draft Regional Fuel Tax proposal
draft Contributions Policy
Rates Remission and Postponement Policy
Child and Youth Wellness Strategy
Natural Environment Targeted Rate
Draft Facility Partnership Policy
Auckland Water Strategy
Regional Public Transport Plan
Sports Investment Plan 2019 – 2039
Productivity Commission Issues Paper – Local Government Funding and Financing
Freedom Camping in Vehicles Bylaw
Department of Conservation’s proposed revocation of certain delegations to Territorial Authorise under the Reserves Act 1977
Trade Waste Bylaw 2013
The Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015
Moving light vehicle fleet to low-emissions: discussion paper on Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount
Road to Zero: A New Road Safety Strategy for NZ
Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines
Proposed biodiversity strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand
I would particularly like to acknowledge board member Richard Northey who always takes the time to review and comment on every local board submission (even when not within his portfolio areas) and has drafted many pieces of feedback directly.
The local board has embraced the opportunities to fund, facilitate and encourage community-led development and empowerment. I am particularly proud of the role I played in initiating the Ponsonby Park design through a community-led process.
In 2006 the former Auckland City Council purchased a site on Ponsonby Road to create a civic space. In 2011 Shale Chambers identified this as a project for inclusion in the first Waitematā Local Board plan. Consultation on options for the site followed in the Ponsonby Road masterplan led by me and former local board member Tricia Reade.
As the feedback was split between three options and as, following further consultation, we had reached an impasse I suggested we kick off a community-led process (inspired by Jim Diers community building presentation on his visit to Auckland) but never tried before on such a large project.
Seed funding from the local board led to the establishment of the Ponsonby Park working group. After lots of work and community engagement a winning design by Landlab became the board’s priority project for delivery (in Council speak known as an OLI – One Local Initiative).
It was fantastic news for the project in August when the Finance and Performance Committee agreed to fund the project from the sale of 200 Victoria Street (in addition to funding secured through the OLI process). If all goes to plan sod turning on “Ponsonby Park” will take place towards the end of next year.
We’ve also been open to innovative and creative approaches to achieving community outcomes.
Following determined advocacy of the Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee we developed a Parnell Plan through a community working group process.
Other community-led projects that are flourishing include the Grey Lynn Pumptrack, Pollinator Path at Hakanoa Reserve, new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park, Kelmarna Gardens, and OMG Organic Market Garden.
The launch and celebration of a Local Living Compost Hub at O.M.G – Organic Market Garden funded by the Ministry of Environment (photo above) shows how there is workable alternative using urban farms and localised collection points that is far better for the environment and healthy communities.
Sarah Smuts-Kennedy is the vision holder who has done an amazing job leading the way with a fabulous team. The transformation of a piece of dirt on Symonds Street is super impressive.
Stream restoration, natural environment and water quality
Restoring and caring for the environment has been a core part of the local board’s kaupapa. For many years we have allocated $70,000 to top up of the council’s ecological restoration contracts to control pest plants and improve reserves like Jaggers Bush, Meola and Lemmington.
Other projects include:
Waipapa Stream: community-led project funded by the local board over many years. If it wasn’t for Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Heritage this stream would have ended up piped and lost for ever
Newmarket stream: community-led restoration and planting project (known as “off the Deck” in partnership with the Gecko Trust) co-funded with the Ōrākei Local Board
Restoration of Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery
I would have liked to have seen the restoration of Western Springs Native Bush get underway in partnership with the community this term (a project I have been involved in since 2011 when I first walked the bush area with officers to assess the potential for native tree planting and track renewals after the zoo had tried to take the area for walking an elephant herd). However, the project is currently held up by the appeal of the Council’s resource consent to remove the remaining pine trees to make way for planting.
Vibrant, local, zero waste events and support for the arts
We are host to a multitude of events and support the delivery of many more through event grant funding including:
Lightpath Festival held in 2017 and 2018
Franklin Road Christmas lights
West End Tennis Cup
We also directly deliver the popular Myers Park Medley (photo above with AK Samba) and Parnell Festival of Roses. Through our advocacy and leverage with funding we’ve been successful in pushing events towards zero waste and promoting active travel.
We have committed to supporting our creative community, professional artists and arts organisations through the delivery of arts programmes.
A few firsts in the 2019/2020 budget include a $85,000 grant to TAPAC and the establishment of an Arts Space coordinator.
I was delighted to see that Walking in Trees is back in Albert Park – a project the local board first funded through the POP programme in 2014 (photo right with artist Richard Orjis).
The Rainbow Machine was eventually delivered earlier this year as a regionally funded project, but first came to life as a local board initiative to create pop up child friendly play spaces (eg swings in bus stops) but morphed into a major art project picked up by the Public Art Team.
Progress on maintenance and renewals
A major restructuring a couple of years ago saw a new “Community Facilities” department take over all project delivery and maintenance for all Council assets. For local boards this was a source of frustration as local knowledge disappeared and local boards lost direct points of contact especially for Park projects.
In 2017 Ventia became the contractor covering the Waitematā Local Board. There were notable teething issues to start with but recently we have seen huge improvements in maintenance.
Albert Park (photo right) is an example of where a big push has been made to improve the levels of service to maintain it as a premier park. Ventia also took over street and town centre cleaning from Auckland Transport on 1 July 2019. This has led to a noticeable improvement and areas being cleaned for the first time especially in the city centre. The maintenance in four city parks is being done without any agrichemical sprays thanks to funding from the local board.
We’ve also made a lot of progress in the organisation’s approach to renewals. We’ve pushed to ensure that every renewal is an opportunity to enhance a community asset rather than done on a like for like basis. This has resulted in wider park paths, new seating, and enhanced community facilities (photo right: before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel).
Other changes at Community Facilities have resulted in more streamlined project delivery and a dedicated point of contact for the local board. Rod Sheridan, General Manager, Community Facilities was thanked at the August Chairs’ Forum for the success of Project Streetscapes, the many improvements and hard work that has been seen across all local boards.
New and improved playgrounds and parks
The local board has been responsible for upgrading and improving play opportunities across Waitematā, including new playground equipment at:
Ireland Street Reserve
Grey Lynn Park
Coxs Bay Reserve
Old Mill Road
New playgrounds are also about to get underway at Western Springs, Outhwaite Park, and Home Reserve (indicative image right).
We’ve identified gaps in the play network in Newmarket especially for young people and in the city centre. There is also the need to improve shade at our playgrounds.
A long running initiative of the local board has been to install drinking fountains into every park and streetscape upgrade. We’ve also installed three on-street drinking stations via Local Board Capex Transport Funding. The locations of all the city centre drinking fountains are about to go live on the Project AKL website.
Following extensive consultation on the Te Wai Ōrea Western Springs Development Plan and feedback from bird experts we have recently confirmed a new local board policy that feeding the birds at Western Springs park will now be “actively discouraged” due to disease and environmental risks, with new signage and on-site education. Attachment 3: Bird feeding at park “actively discouraged” amid fowl and public health concerns.
I’m really pleased that long-standing project to build new changing rooms in Grey Lynn Park that will be available for use by the Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club is about to start construction.
Action on homelessness
Homelessness has become a growing issue and one that traditionally local government didn’t get involved with. Fortunately, the Mayor has embraced Housing First with the support of the local board. The City Centre Targeted rate provided $2 million of funding for a major restoration of James Liston Hostel emergency accommodation and more recently $600,000 for outreach services.
We’re the only local board to support the wider regional strategy by allocating $20,000 last year and this year to support homelessness solutions.
We also opened up Outhwaite Hall for outreach services while James Liston Hostel was being upgraded and have supported groups through our community grants including a trial of showers at Ellen Melville Centre, support for Lifewise Merge Café, St Columba for their community lunch and Sunday Blessings for their weekly dinner outside Central Library .
I was able to play a role helping the City Mission navigate Council processes to secure a $5million grant for the HomeGround housing and social services project.
Support for Local Business
We have focused on initiatives that bring prosperity to our town centres, empower start-ups and social enterprise and underpin the important work done by the seven business associations in Waitematā. We provide funding to the Young Enterprise Scheme to reach students from all secondary schools in the area.
I have been on the Ponsonby Business Association for six years and am really pleased to see the organisation is going from strength to strength under new leadership. I’ve enjoyed regular catch ups with Newmarket Business Association’s Mark Knoff-Thomas, Parnell’s Cheryl Adamson and Karangahape Road Business Association’s Michael Richardson. It is a pleasure to work with all the General Managers who are determined, focused and passionate on behalf of their members. More recently I have been working more directly with Viv Beck, General Manager of Heart of the City in her role as Chair of Auckland City Centre Advisory Board, since I replaced Shale as the Board’s representative earlier in the year.
As a foundation committee member of the Grey Lynn Business Association I was particularly pleased to hear a recent presentation to the local board covering a range of activities and the difference an annual grant of $10,000 from the local board has made to the volunteer-led association.
Looking ahead the Newmarket Business Association has brought a proposal to the local board to investigate the possibility of a targeted rate to fund improvements that were identified in Newmarket Laneways Plan (building on the upgrade of Teed Street completed in 2018). At our August board meeting we confirmed our support in principle and referred the matter to Financial Strategy and Planning to provide advice on the process, governance and feasibility of introducing a new targeted rate for Newmarket.
Through the City Rail Link (CRL) project we have seen how important a Development Response package is to assist businesses. Barbara Holloway in the Auckland Design Office has done some great work on the template involving a package of support such as business advice, mentoring, activation around projects, signage, and communications.
A Development Response package was trialled initially for CRL on Albert Street by CRL Ltd (the organisation responsible) but it took my intervention and Heart of the City for it to be properly rolled out. I’ve also escalated issues for the Karangahape Business Association to ensure the Development Response is effectively in place during the enhancement project and City Rail Link construction. The ongoing issue of how our severely impacted businesses will be supported during the civil works, for example through a hardship fund, is yet to be resolved.
As part of Auckland’s City Fringe Economic Development Plan implementation, we’ve allocated $57,000 for a web branding ap that can be skinned by each individual Business Association. At our August meeting we heard an update on how the project is progressively positively.
Placemaking and tactical urbanism
One of the roles of the local board I enjoy the most is placemaking to create inviting people-focused places. As a progressive local board we’ve enabled and promoted innovative approaches to placemaking and encouraged the organisation to embrace tactical urbanism and the use of trials. One of the first trials I helped make happen was the installation of a bike parking corral on Ponsonby Road. I’ve also played a role in the removal of parked cars from the Eastern Viaduct (photo right) for a public plaza.
A local board responsibility that is often overlooked is the naming of streets and public spaces. I’m proud that we’ve been very receptive to adopting names recommended by mana whenua such as the new Tīramarama Way and recognised the civic contribution of women with two new names Amey Daldy Park and Freda Barnes Plaza soon to open at Wynyard Quarter.
The renaming of lower Khartoum Place as Te Hā o Hine Place (photo right with Ngāti Whātua representatives who gifted the name and National Council of Women) was a project I initiated following the upgrade of the stairs and successful fight to retain the suffrage memorial located there.
From the outset the local board has made it a priority to provide accessible, connected, safe transport networks with well-designed streets. As the transport portfolio lead for nine years (this term with co-portfolio holder Vernon Tava) I have been involved in many projects that have made a contribution to better public transport, safer streets and increased numbers giving cycling a go. A few highlights include:
Franklin Road: This project took years to get underway due to it being in the too hard basket. We kept the pressure on resulting in a $21million transformation including new lighting, storm water separation, undergrounding, traffic calming, cycle lanes and new tree pits.
Opening of Parnell Station March 2017: The local board was instrumental in helping to make this happen by funding a new pathway connection between the station and Carlaw Park
Grey Lynn Greenway opened June 2017.
Ponsonby Road pedestrian safety project completed in 2018 part funded by the local board. The side street raised tables on Ponsonby Road and as part of the Franklin Road are as a result of the local board’s advocacy.
Victoria Park lighting improvements currently underway will create a safe pathway between Franklin Road and Wynyard Quarter. Securing the budget took a lot of wrangling.
Freyberg Place pedestrian mall: Thanks to the local board advocacy AT went ahead with re-classifying the road as a “pedestrian mall” well in advance of the agreed timeframe that was originally negotiated. In the end there was very little objection.
Return of the bus service to Williamson Ave: A win for people power.
New and improved pedestrian crossings: My heart sings when I see kids able to get to school safely because of a new crossing.
Cycleway openings: There haven’t been enough, but every one has been cause to celebrate including Grafton Gully, Ian McKinnon Drive, Quay Street, Beach Road and Te ara I whiti/ Lightpath (see below). After five years of debate and planning I am delighted that the Karangahape Road enhancement project including cycle paths in the design got underway in July.
Renewals: As with the renewal of community assets (covered above) we have aimed to ensure that every Auckland Transport renewal is leveraged to provide a better outcome for the community for example through the inclusion of street trees or safety improvements. The local board often has funding to contribute. Recently we have made significant progress with the renewals team to ensure we don’t get any more “like for like” renewals.
Quick wins: A cultural shift at Auckland Transport has opened up the way for more willingness to consider “quick wins” to improve safety for active transport. I’ve suggested a number of ideas including a contra-flow on Crummer Road (image right) and a dedicated cycling route from Queen Street to the Domain.
I’ve particularly appreciated the support I have received from all local board members to take a leadership role on safe speeds, vision zero, pedestrian safety, effective parking management, removal of slip lanes, wayfinding, route optimisation for active transport and cycle infrastructure.
A couple of issues that remain unresolved that I am determined not to give up on with Auckland Transport include the current non-enforcement of berm parking that is causing damage and is unsafe and the unacceptable practice of unsafe and illegal unloading from car transporters on Great North Road.
Effective parking management
We’ve provided consistent support for effective parking management that provides access to parking for residents, businesses and short-term visitors. During the Unitary Plan process I organised a “good for business” seminar about the economic and wider benefits of removing parking minimums.
It was through our advocacy that AT was able to trial the first residential parking zone in St Marys Bay in 2014 and push ahead with zones for all the city fringe suburbs.
One of my pet projects over nine years has been to improve the wayfinding experience of people travelling around on foot or by bike. After sustained advocacy there is finally wayfinding on the North-Western Cycleway and the local board is funding new signage for all vehicle no exit streets (if approved at our September meeting).
When I was first elected in 2010 riding a bike was considered to be a fringe activity and not taken very seriously. Since then there has been a massive increase in people cycling especially where there are connected, safe cycle paths.
Through numerous consultations and surveys we know that the majority of Aucklanders own a bike and would like to cycle if they felt safe. The local board has been a strong advocate for transport choice including increasing opportunities for walking and cycling. We’ve celebrated the opening of Te ara I whiti / Lightpath, the Quay Street cycleway, Grafton Gully shared path, Ian McKinnon Drive and new greenway connections but overall the rate of progress has been incredibly slow. No new work has been started in Waitematā for over a year.
I never imagined when I became a member of the Urban Cycling Investment Panel in 2014 that allocated $100 million New Zealand wide for urban cycling infrastructure that so much would remain undelivered by 2019. The original 2018 delivery date has now been pushed out to 2021.
Unfortunately, the mistakes AT made over the West Lynn and Garnet Road/Surrey Crescent project has contributed to the delay to the programme as well as the increasing costs of meeting community expectations to deliver a whole range of streetscape improvements beyond just cycle lanes. Following further consultation regarding fixes to the design at the West Lynn shops AT is looking to progress with improvements to the crossing (image right of the preferred design following consultation with the local businesses and affected residents).
AT has a target of only 10km of new cycleways a year across Auckland – a significant chunk of which has been funded and delivered by the local board. However, I am hopeful that going forward, AT will take a new focus on safety to push ahead with a connected network with temporary designs and solutions where possible. This is absolutely essential work especially with the explosion of micro-mobility and the need to prioritise footpaths for people on foot.
At the Waitematā Local Board’s August meeting we voted on a package of safety improvements from a one-off $1.4m community safety fund. The fund was launched following the introduction of the fuel tax. I’ve worked with my co-transport portfolio holder Vernon Tava on putting together the recommendations of what should be prioritised based on community feedback.
The following safety improvements will be made across the local board area:
A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the West End Lawn Tennis Club in Westmere
Hopetoun Street in Freemans Bay will see various additional safety improvements as part of a wider footpath renewal project
Pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and Domain Drive in the Auckland Domain will be formalised
A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced outside ACG Parnell College on Davis Crescent next to Olympic Reserve in Newmarket
A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn.
We also received a petition from Western Springs College students seeking a pedestrian crossing on Meola Road that Auckland Transport has reassured the local board will be delivered as part of the Pt Chev cycleway project.
Attachment 2 Our Auckland: Road safety improvements on the way in Waitematā
Vision Zero – safer speeds
The Waitematā Local Board was the first to adopt Vision Zero as an advocacy position and three years ago I was part of a coalition – Brake New Zealand, Living Streets Aotearoa, NZ School Speeds, Cycling Action Network- that launched Vision Zero NZ.
At the Auckland Transport Board September meeting we achieved a truly significant milestone with the announcement that Auckland is now a Vision Zero region – under the Tāmaki-Makaurau Road Safety Governance Group’s new safety strategy. For the first time there’s a goal, backed by a partnership of agencies, of no deaths or serious injuries on our transport network by 2050.
Many thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this strategy together to save many lives.
Auckland Domain Committee
The local board, under Shale’s leadership was instrumental in initiating the Domain Masterplan (2015) and the setting up of a joint governance committee. I have been the Deputy Chair of the Domain Committee this term. I would have liked to have seen much quicker progress on making the Domain more accessible and safe. It is currently dominated by the 600 car parks that are predominately used by commuters and there is a lack of continuous footpath around the Domain.
Officers have been able to progress some exciting new projects such as refurbishment of the Wintergarden, a new path Te Ara Oranga to the museum, a new natural play area, and the Kari commons that is about to be built (multi-sport area with part to be used by the University while their gym is rebuilt).
Other projects that have progressed thanks to the local board coming to the party with over $1.5 million in new funding including for signage, new footpaths and car parking improvements (to allow for on road car parks to be removed on shared paths).
The final Auckland Domain Committee of this term of Council voted to remove 40 car parks from in front of Auckland Museum to improve safety and open up views to an iconic building and war memorial. This is an important step towards improving accessibility in one of our premier parks. The Museum is right behind it and doing their own bit by increasing public car parks at the southern entrance and reducing fees in their car park.
Auckland’s City Centre
We’ve seen major changes to the city centre since 2010 when the residential population was approximately 20,000. It is now almost 60,000. The majority of commuters arrive other than in private cars, and vehicles entering the city centre continue to decline.
In anticipation of the growth and the needs of the city centre residents, the refurbished Ellen Melville Centre was opened in 2017 as a vibrant community centre (photo right). Programming at the centre is becoming more focused on the needs of residents. We have also allocated funds so that the Central Library can open for an extra hour on weekends.
We’ve adopted the role of toilet “champions” by advocating for a full review of amenities in the city centre and the identification of gaps in the available toilets and information about locations. We’ve taken up the issue of the need for the new CRL train stations to have toilets available other than behind ticket barriers.
We’ve worked with Auckland Transport to identify locations for new toilet blocks that include drinking fountains and bus driver facilities (photo right: new toilet on Victoria Street).
The local board contributed to the development of the 2012 City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) and Waterfront Plan. We’ve been supportive of the CCMP refresh that presents a vision of a city centre that is more family-friendly, more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally-friendly.
Waitematā Local Board welcomed the decision in June by the Environment and Community Committee to declare a climate emergency. This followed a resolution passed by the local board a week prior calling on Auckland Council’s Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region.
We have funded for a number of years low carbon initiatives projects aligning with the Live Lightly themes: Eat, Move, Shop, Grow, Talk and Energy including:
Low carbon lifestyles project – behaviour change actions such as reducing shower times implemented at 165 households resulting in savings of 19,356kg of CO2
Low carbon Multi-unit Dwellings – energy and carbon assessments resulting in savings of $27,000 and 37,178kg of CO2. Three more apartment blocks will be assessed in 2019/2020 to move towards a tool available to property managers
Waitematā Low Carbon Network – a platform to connect individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to empower and enable local climate champions to meet the Local board’s respective carbon emissions reduction targets. The network members were instrumental in taking the Climate Emergency declaration to Council
And a business food waste initiative
Going forward the aim of just “low carbon” is looking woefully inadequate. Auckland Council’s new goal is to achieve a zero net emissions by 2050, but bold moves will need to come out of the Climate Action Framework currently out for consultation until the end of September if we are going to have any chance of limiting temperature rises to the IPCC recommended 1.5 degrees. (photo right with the School Strike for Climate student organisers).
Another important goal that we have consistently supported is to achieve Zero Waste by 2040. Following strong community support through our first local board plan consultation we identified the need for a local Community-led resource recovery centre as part of a regional network that developed into the Western Springs joint project with Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.
It is fully funded with plans ready to go for consent but unfortunately the project has been held up by the Horticultural Society wanting to remain in the main building and not shift to a repurposed Western Springs community hall (image right: a model of the proposed centre at Western Springs)
I have really enjoyed all the civic duties that come with being Chair especially officiating at citizenship ceremonies, delivering the Anzac Day address at the Grey Lynn RSC service and attending events and school assemblies.
Most recently I attended the Richmond Road School assembly on behalf of the Mayor. Anna and Daneka (photo right) wrote to him with their concerns about so much plastic going into the ocean. The assembly was led by the school’s Mua I Malae (the Samoan bi-lingual unit) and celebrated Tongan language week as well as the students’ environmental projects.
Local Government New Zealand
It has been a privilege to serve on National Council, LGNZ, as an ex-officio member since May 2018 representing local boards with the support of all the local board chairs.
Next term a local board representative will be voted on to National Council following a rule change at the LGNZ conference in July. The rule change is the accumulation of many years of advocacy seeking appropriate local board representation and recognition and was made possible with the support of LGNZ CEO Malcolm Alexander who works tirelessly for the sector.
I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to attend the annual LGNZ conference when all of local government comes together to network and share ideas and information (I have reported back on every conference I have attended).
There are a number of key projects that I’m excited about but it will be for the incoming Chair to lead including:
the refurbishment of the Plunket building in Heard Park
the Waipapa Valley Greenway connecting Newmarket to Parnell via the old Parnell train tunnel (image right)
Myers Park underpass
upgrade of Hobson Bay walkway
Myers Park Cottage restoration
Meola Reef improvements including new pathways, improved off leash area, restoration work and closing the end of the reserve to dogs
New paths and playground in Basque Park
Bi-lingual park naming
Accessibility Plan refresh
Rose Road Plaza (a project identified in the Ponsonby Road masterplan- indicative image right)
Establishment of the community-led resource recovery centre at Western Springs
In addition to the many transport projects and issues that are currently underway (Attachment 4 – to be tabled).
There are also regionally significant projects supported by the local board that I would like to have seen delivered by now, but I hope to stick around to see them through including:
Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway (Skypath)
Restoration St James Theatre
Removal of the Dominion Road flyover
Grafton Gully Boulevard (first supported in principle by the local board in 2016 and now part of the City Centre masterplan refresh)
Major corridor enhancements including Hobson/Nelson streets, Broadway and Ponsonby Road
Implementation of slower speeds in the city centre.
Acknowledgements and Thank Yous
We are fortunate to be supported by an amazing Local Board Services team. I would like to thank them all for their support, quality advice and good humour.
Thanks to those who have been part of my term as Chair: Relationship Managers: Kathryn Martin (on secondment) and Trina Thompson; Senior Local Board Advisor: Simon Tattersfield; Local Board Advisors: Corina Claps, Caroline Teh and Heather Skinner; Democracy Advisors: Sybil Mandow and more recently Liz Clemm. Engagement Advisors: Carlos Rahman, Maria Hernandez-Curry and Zigi Yates. PA Supports; Tammy Hendricks and Priscila Firmo (photo right with some of the team on a visit to Ellen Melville Centre).
We have always been able to rely on the support of Dee Sims, David Kemeys and Cathy McIntosh as our Communications Advisor; Shamila Unka, our Strategic Broker, and Pramod Nair and Mark Purdie as our Finance Advisors.
Karl Beaufort and Jacqui Thompson Fell are doing a tremendous job on behalf of the local board in Community Facilities. Ben Halliwell as our Auckland Transport Liaison has been instrumental in ensuring so many of our transport projects have progressed. I’m also thankful for the constant support and guidance provided to me personally by Otene Reweti, Senior Advisor Maori Relationships.
Across the council family I’m impressed by the dedication and hard work of the many people who are all committed to making Auckland a better place.
I’m grateful to be Chair of a local board with members who are positive, skilled, constructive and focused on achieving results. My heartfelt thanks to Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, Richard Northey and Adriana Christie, who are both standing again, and Vernon Tava, Denise Roche and Rob Thomas.
In my latest Ponsonby News update I acknowledge all the retiring board members. All board members have embraced taking on responsibilities through portfolios, are passionate about serving Waitematā and work hard for the community.
A special thanks to Vernon Tava, my co-portfolio holder for transport and portfolio lead for Planning and Heritage with me as he co-portfolio holder. I’m grateful that in practice he does all the planning work for the board leaving me to focus on my role as chair. Vernon has been a huge asset to the board, he is smart, focused and super-efficient at reviewing and reporting on the substantial number of resource consent applications (far more than any other board). Among his many achievements, that he has detailed in his own report reflecting on his time on the board over six years, is the mapping of all the amenities in the city centre long before council got on to the task.
Throughout this report I have highlighted Shale Chambers’ leadership in a range of areas. His contribution to establishing the local board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated. His ability to work tirelessly and make difficult decisions at crucial times has achieved impressive results for Waitematā. As the Chair and Deputy Chair combo over nine years I have been fortunate to have learned a huge amount from Shale. I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for making Auckland a great place to cycle even though he has no wish to ride a bike! I wish Shale and all the board members the best for the future
This is my penultimate monthly report after almost 9 years on the Waitematā Local Board.
It covers the highlights for the period 9 July until 12 August 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 20 August 2019.
Every financial year the Waitematā Local Board produces a summary of achievements from the year. Thanks to Shale Chambers initiating an Achievements Report in 2011 we are the only Local Board to have published a report each year.
The Achievements Report contains summaries of projects and initiatives completed over the past year with the help and support of a wider range of community members, stakeholders, iwi partners, staff and volunteers. The 2018/19 report has been printed and is now online.
The 2019 conference theme “Riding the localism wave: Putting communities in charge” was focused on communities and empowering them to take charge of their social, economic, environmental and culture well-being through localism.
The Waitematā Local Board has been a long time champion for the pedestrianisation of Queen St. It is an advocacy position in the Local Board Plan 2017. It has also been prioritised in the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board supported work programme funded by the targeted rate.
On July 26 Mayor Goff announced that High St is moving towards pedestrianisation with the start of “tactical urbanism” trials like pocket parks before construction gets underway.
As the Federal St contra flow cycle lane has shown (marked out with planter boxes and paint) we know that tactical urbansim works. With the massive growth in users of e-bikes and e-scooters and ever congested footpaths that must be prioritized for feet we just need to get on with more trials and temporary bike lanes to create a safe network for everyone.
Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July heralded in some lasting changes that are going to have an impact including the Local Board supported ban on single use plastic bags.
As I reported last month, I spoke at the Local Government New Zealand AGM in support of a remit seeking a change to the berm parking rules.
The kerbed area of the footpath sitting between the pavement and road that is often planted with grass and trees is known as the “berm”. In the urban areas of Auckland it is a long standing custom that this area is not for parking vehicles except in emergencies. It is a recognised as an extension of the paved footpath where kids walk to school in bare feet on hot days. Parking on the berm can cause damage to underground utilities, damage to trees and creates safety issues for pedestrians and drivers.
Unfortunately Auckland Transport has taken the position that berm parking is not an enforceable offence unless “no parking” signage is in place. This is non-sensical when applied to the hundreds of kilometres of urban roads with berms that need to be kept clear for pedestrians. Nor is it desirable or cost effective to install signage especially in areas where the berm is a long-accepted part of the footpath.
Until recently I have supported Auckland Transport’s recommendation that a rule change is required to remove the requirement for signage. However more recently I have reviewed the relevant provisions myself. I’ve come to the view that all the necessary rules are already in place and it is just a matter of Auckland Transport taking a firm position that berm parking is not acceptable where the berm is clearly part of the footpath. I am not proposing a sweeping berm parking “ban”. I would just like Auckland Transport to act on complaints, under the existing rules, where parking on the berm is happening to avoid on street parking charges, causing a safety issue or damaging public property.
Return of a bus service to Williamson Ave
Thanks to a campaign led by Sophia Fiossetti and with the support of Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has agreed to re-instate a bus service on Williamson Ave from 18 August 2019.
Lighting is coming to the Victoria Park underpass. This is a project I’ve been working away at for some time so really delighted that we’ve finally secured the budget and the installation is underway. Once the Daldy St upgrade opens we’ll have a safe, smooth and attractive pathway from Ponsonby Road to Wynyard Quarter via Franklin Road.
Karangahape Road enhancement project
Work on the Karangahape Road Enhancements project got underway on 29 July. It coincided with the release of the annual cycling data showing that cycling numbers have grow. by 8.9 per cent in a year. 3.77 million cycle movements were recorded for the year of July 2018 to June 2019, an increase of 8.9 per cent on the previous 12 months.
In November 2018 I was invited by a Marist Primary mum on the school run to see just how tricky it was to walk, scoot and cycle to school because of the lack of a safe crossing. Thanks to her lobbying, support from the school and the Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has installed a zebra crossing outside the school gate.
I was invited back again on the morning of 4 August to see what a difference the new crossing on Kelmarna Ave has made to ensuring a safe journey to school.
Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park
This community-led project is transforming the newly named Waiatarau Freemans Bay park.
An enthusiastic group of locals showed up at a community planting day on 10 August organised by park designers Mark van Kaahoven and Tony Murrell and the Freemans Bay Residents Association.
Symonds St Cemetery
New paths in the Catholic section of the cemetery funded by the local board are almost complete including new steps to the Grafton Gully shared path.
Myers Park stage two – Mayoral Drive
At our July business meeting the Waitematā Local Board endorsed the preferred concept design for stage two of the Myers Park project – Mayoral Drive underpass, which maintains above ground storage of stormwater, to progress to the developed design phase.
The allocation of $1.85 million additional funding from the city centre targeted rate to the Myers Park stage two project was supported by the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board to enable this long standing project to move forward. The local board has been working to improve the underpass and open up the connection to Myers Park since before the Rugby World Cup 2011 when it was on the Fan Trail route so it is great to see progress.
Waitematā Local Events Development Fund allocation 2019/2020
Meetings and workshops: 10 July until 13 August 2019
Recess week for the local board 8 – 12 July
Meeting with the new Director of the Auckland Art Gallery on 10 July
Transport portfolio catch up on 10 July
Auckland Transport quarterly briefing with local boards on 15 July
Weekly chairs catch up held on 15, 22, 29 July and 5 and 12 August
Meeting with mana whenua representatives regarding the draft Te Wai Ōrea Western Park Development Plan on 16 July
Auckland Transport stakeholder meeting on 16 July
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 July
Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
Regular catch up with the GM, Newmarket Business Association on 18 July
Introductory meeting with reporter Ripu Bhatia, Stuff Auckland Reporter on 19 July
Meeting on 22 July to hear about the Blind Foundation / Generus Living Group proposal – Parnell Road
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 23 and 30 July, 6 and 13 August
Wynyard Quarter Traffic Management Association board meeting on 24 July
Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 24 July
Presented to the Hearings Panel on the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw with Richard Northey on 26 July
Trafinz Exec meeting on 31 July
Meeting with Deborah James, Head of Diversity and Inclusion on 31 July to discuss speaking on behalf of Auckland Council at the International Women’s Caucus on 13 August
Heads up meeting with ATEED representatives to discuss the significant filming coming to Auckland
Catch up with Heart of the City CEO on 1 August
Meeting with Isthmus group and the Chair of the Domain Committee regarding the Design Concept for Court of Honour, Auckland Domain
Meeting with Auckland Transport’s Exec GM Risk and Assurance on 5 August to discuss AT’s berm parking position
Meeting with RFA’s Head of Strategy to discuss the Aotea Square masterplan process
City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 5 August
Meeting with 254 Ponsonby Park group and the project team on next steps for delivering the project on 7 August
Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 8 August
Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 8 August
Chairs Forum on 12 August
Local Board cluster “wha” catch up on 12 August
Events and functions: 10 July until 13 August 2019
Spoke at the Low Carbon Network meeting at Sustainable Coastlines on 10 July
Campaign for Better Transport AGM on 16 July
Auckland Conversations: The Future of Auckland: Is density a dirty word? on 17 July
Auckland International Film Festival opening night at the Civic on 18 July at the invitation of ATEED
Interview on bFM on 19 July with local board member Adriana Christie
Pollinator Path working bee on 20 July organised by Andrea Reid . Photo right of the group of awesome volunteers who had fun tidying up and adding a few more plants at Hakanoa Reserve, the first pathway of the Pollinator Paths (I popped by in support)
Nga Puke on 24 July at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live and WAITĪ Productions
Presentation to Parnell Rotary on 24 July Parnell Rotary on the new Parnell Plan and city transformations including a proposed boulevard for The Strand. It was a great opportunity to share the positive changes happening in central Auckland and lovely to see former Waitematā Youth Collective member Nurain Ayesha Janah there.
Destination AKL – One Year On presentation organised by ATEED at Ellerslie Racecourse on 25 July
Turama Festival in Albert Park on 28 July
AKL Street Talks event on 30 July at the Central Library about that most contested of spaces – the humble footpath with a panel of perspectives.
Urbanerds AUCKLAND meet up on 31 July
Bike Auckland’s Bike Breakfast supported by the K’Rd Business Association on 1 August
GLBA networking function on 1 August at the Surrey Hotel
Celebration for Kaumatua Matt Maihi on 2 August at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae. It was very special to join the celebrations for Kaumatua Matt Maihi. He has dedicated years of service to his marae, iwi and community. Matt has been a big part of numerous Council significant events.
New Zealand’s “Fittest Cities” launch by AIA Vitality on 5 August
Art unveiling in the Historic South British Building lobby on 5 August
Dawn karakia for the 8th anniversary of the opening of Wynyard Quarter on 10 August (photo right of the “originals” who were there on opening day 2011)
Waiatarau Freemans Bay community planting on 10 August
Joined the official party for the final Citizenship ceremony of this term at the Town Hall on 12 August
Spoke at Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae at the first International Women’s Caucus meeting to be held in Auckland on Auckland Council’s commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In the photo with host Denise Ewe, President Pacific Women’s Watch and Head of Diversity & Inclusion Deborah James who put together my presentation (Attachment 4)
Attended the Auckland Foundation’s first lunchtime seminar at the Northern Club with speakers John Hynds and Sir Stephen Tindall on 13 August
Te Tuhi artists collective open evening at Parnell Station
Opening night of PINAY at Basement Theatre (the the Waitematā Local Board allocated a quick response grant to the production)
On Saturday 22 June I joined hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in darkness at the foot of Pukekaaroa Hill in Auckland Domain before Kiingi Tuheitia, accompanied by the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and dignitaries from iwi manaaki (host iwi) Waikato-Tainui, led a gentle walk to the hilltop.
It was a poignant occasion as Matariki Dawn Karakia opened 2019’s Matariki Festival. Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council, in partnership with Waikato-Tainui brought the festival to the Auckland region from 22 June until 14 July this year.
Waitematā Local Board co-hosted with the Parnell Business Association the launch of The Parnell Plan; a 30-year plan for Auckland’s first suburb developed collaboratively by community representatives, local board members and Auckland Council staff, in partnership with mana whenua. It was a true community empowerment approach.
The plan details a key vision for the suburb and outlines a series of objectives, strategies and actions which work together to achieve the vision; that Parnell is a thriving, creative, and collaborative community that celebrates its unique natural, cultural and historic environment.
Five key action areas are defined and focus directly on achieving the plan’s vision and objectives. These are:
making Parnell Station a key gateway to Parnell and the Domain
realising the Waipapa Greenway through the old Parnell rail tunnel
reinforcing the core of Parnell town centre as the heart of Parnell
revitalising the St Georges Bay Road warehouse area
enhancing key east-west links and realising the Parnell Parks Link Greenway.
Over 3 years ago Gloria Jenkins approached me about the need for a shelter at her bus stop on Parnell Road. Installation of the shelter was held up while AT consulted on new bus lanes and decided to move the existing bus stop.
On 28 June member Adriana Christie and I held an unofficial opening to celebrate the new bus shelter with Gloria cutting the ribbon. We were joined by Gloria’s neighbour and her son about to take the bus, and Gloria’s nephew Brian.
We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians.
New crossing installed recently are on Khyber Pass and at Western Springs as part of the shared path project.
Community Safety Fund
At our June business meeting we confirmed our support for the community safety projects listed in the Community Safety Fund document I attached to my Chair’s Report with the addition of Parnell Train Station underpass and requested Auckland Transport work with the local board to progress these projects using the Fund:
safety improvements at Newton Central School from the Safe Schools Tool Box
a new pedestrian crossing on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the Westend Tennis Club
iii. improvements to the pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and at Domain Drive
a new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Domain across Park Road
a new pedestrian crossing outside ACG Campus on Davis Crescent to Olympic Reserve
safety improvements to Hopetoun Street
vii. Cook Street Project – Area 5 Shared Path Cycleway
Transporters on Great North Road
How car transporters off load on Great North Road is a long standing issue I have been following up with Auckland Transport. Car deliveries have been taking place in non loading areas for decades. I’ve made it very clear to Auckland Transport and the industry (at meeting in April and in follow up emails) that parking illegally to unload is no longer acceptable especially on Great North Road with changing land use and increasing numbers walking and cycling.
AT has investigated locations for new loading zones and is about to start consultation. It is frustrating how long AT is taking but in the meantime there are options for unloading legally and safely. I’ve asked the industry rep who I met at the meeting with AT in April to look at putting in place traffic management plans and to clearly communicate to the transporters what practices are acceptable. A new pedestrian crossing is also needed on Great North Road but AT doesn’t have any funds available and the local board community safety fund is oversubscribed. I’ve also asked AT to confirm how the new loading zones are consistent with the proposed GNR cyclelanes but I am yet to receive a response.
Franklin Road upgrade opening
Franklin Road upgrade opening on 3 July was an opportunity to acknowledge the many people who have been involved in this $21m project over a long period of time. For decades it was put in the too hard basket until former Auckland Transport COO, Greg Edmonds found a way to make it happen with partners Auckland Council, Vector, Watercare and Chorus.
The results are stunning and include:
Underground service works and street lighting
New sewer lines and watermain pipes with new connections added to homes
Undergrounding power lines
New roundabout at the Wellington St intersection
New cycleway (semi Copenhagen style) on both sides of the street
Footpaths were replaced.
The paths have fibre reinforced concrete to keep the trees from lifting them up again
New raised speed tables at every side street intersection to improve the walking experience and to slow vehicle speed •
Installation of more than 40 new catch pits to improve stormwater drainage
Construction of well-defined parking bays and improved tree pits
Upgraded street lighting with new catenary street lighting design using energy-efficient LED luminaries
Waitematā Local Board’s has a legacy Parking Fund that is available for parking improvements and is made up of the following:
Grey Lynn / Westmere
At our June Business meeting we voted to support utilising the Parnell portion of the Waitematā Local Board’s Parking Fund, in the order of $489,225 to deliver improvements in the Auckland Domain related to:
i) installing temporary gates at the entrance and exit to the Titoki Street carpark and at the Carlton Gore entrance to manage commuter or long stay parking to ensure parking is available to Domain users; and
ii) developing a new carpark to support the natural play area and provide safer pedestrian and cycling use of Kiosk Road.
In doing that we confirmed our support the removal of on-road parking from Kiosk Road and Football Drive following the parking improvements, consistent with the outcome of the Auckland Domain Masterplan and the Auckland Domain Accessibility Improvement Programme.
The Governing Body now has to make a decision to release the funds from the Parking Fund for the projects to go ahead.
Bike to football
Over the years I’ve often heard it said by grownups that kids will never bike to sport. But look what happened at the first bike to football on 15 June. The team behind Pt Chev Bike to Football pilot scheme planned hot drinks and sausages for the first 30 people to arrive by bike; they expected maybe 20. 74 showed up at Seddon Fields and the numbers have increased every week. And this is without the safe cyclepath that was meant to have been delivered by now (the bike train rode on the footpath)
Parking on berms
Councils voted on a record 24 remits at the AGM on 7 July, held in Wellington as part of the 2019 LGNZ Conference.
Covering issues as varied as climate change, fireworks, tourist accommodation, building defects, campgrounds, alcohol, road safety and the beauty industry, remits are a further opportunity for councils to direct the advocacy work of LGNZ .
I attended the AGM as one of four designated delegates of Auckland Council and spoke in support of the seeking an amendment to clause 6.2 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 to prohibit parking on urban berms with out the need for signage.
“In urban areas the berm is part of the footpath.
An interpretation of the current rules requires signage to be able to enforce the prohibition of parking on the berm.
This is a compliance issue. Signage is expensive, impracticable and clutters up the footpath.
There are often good reasons to enforce the prohibition and to be able to act on a complaint.
Berm parking creates safety issues for all road users. It can damage the kerbs, trees and wreak the grass and it can damage underground utilities creating costs for all ratepayers.
In Auckland berm parking is occurring where parking exists to avoid paying parking changes.
This is an urban issue but we seek support from all the membership for this sensible and common sense change to the Land Transport (Road User ) Rule.
Unfortunately the remit was lost creating even more media interest in “bermageddon”. What is particularly frustrating about this issue is how AT has interpreted the current rules. AT has legal advice that signage is needed to be able to enforce prohibited parking. However as Heidi O’Callahan has written for Greater Auckland:
Under the present law, in a typical Auckland street, a grass berm or verge that is retained by a kerb is simply an unpaved part of the footpath.
The rules around parking are in the Road User Rule. Rule 6.14 covers parking on the footpath – you cannot park on the footpath. Rule 6.2 covers parking on the road, and says you should park off the roadway if possible. In urban areas with kerbs, this applies to parking bays and marked carparks. Otherwise you park on the roadway. Rule 6.2 does not override Rule 6.14 and authorise a driver to take over an unpaved part of the footpath.
AT could apply Rule 6.14 to ticket cars parked off the roadway on any part of the footpath, paved or unpaved. This includes the verges and vehicle crossings
The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.
In the session Alex Bonham presented on her Children’s play in the city research and Claire Dixon from Auckland Transport on Safe School Streets.
On the second day I stepped in for Cr Chris Darby, chair of Auckland Council’s Planning Committee to provide introductory comments about Why walking connections to public transport is important (Attachment 5)
Every public transport user is effectively a pedestrian at some point their journey
Public transport just one part of an overall end-to-end journey
If the walking component is not acceptable or accessible to the public, the whole journey becomes unattractive
Walking is a universal but fragile transport mode. An uncomfortable or hostile walking environment will deter anyone who is able to avoid it – deters people from using public transport
Public transport, like public space, is for everyone. Public transport is best when it is inclusive. A Universal Design approach to roads, streets and public spaces also ensures that nobody is excluded from access to public transport. Every part of the journey needs to be designed to be accessible to everyone.
Public transport and walking are complementary because of spatial efficiency
A 3m traffic lane can move about 1,000 cars per hour, or 9,000 pedestrians
A 3m light rail line can serve up to 25,000 people per hour, per direction
Living Streets Aotearoa is committed to ensuring over 50% of children and adolescents walk all or part of their journey to school by 2025. Waitematā Local Board is looking to fund safety improvements around Newton Central School. Photo right with the walking school bus mascot
Karangahape Road enhancement project
The much-anticipated enhancements to Auckland’s iconic Karangahape Road are finally about to get underway. I attended the dawn karakia led by mana whenua on 27 June (photo right).
The Symonds St cemetery suffered from decades of neglect until Shale Chambers started championing a long-term enhancement programme first initiated by the Waitematā Local Board in 2012. The results are amazing – new paths, monument conservation, ecological restoration and community volunteer events in the cemetery. Along the way Symonds Street Cemetery Friends led by Patricia M Reade have been doing fabulous work to protect, preserve, enhance, restore and educate the public about the cemetery.
We are supporting the Auckland Council process for requests Expressions of Interest (EOI) from qualified artists who wish to be considered for the commission of a new Sturdee Street Mural. EOI’s are now open, closing 1 August 2019. For more information, contact: WaitemataLocalBoard@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Attachment 8: Stuff report Mural in downtown Auckland to be replaced for America’s Cup
Meetings and workshops: 12 June until 9 July
Planning Committee City Centre masterplan workshop on 12 June
Transport portfolio catch up on 12 June
Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 12 June
Meeting with John Elliott, Ponsonby News to discuss Council’s use of glysophate (My July Ponsonby News update Attachment 7)
Meeting on 13 June with Cr Lee to discuss proposed priority projects to be funded from the Community Safety Fund
Meeting with Auckland Fringe Festival Trust on 14 June
Weekly chairs catch up held on 17, 24 June and 1 July
Attended the meeting on 17 June with the Mayor and Fuller’s CEO to discuss issues with the operation of the Waiheke ferry
Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
Meeting regarding the Erebus National Memorial project with representatives from the Ministry for Culture on 18 June
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 June
25th Central Government and Local Government Forum on 19 June at Premier House, Wellington (photo right)
Attended the Walking Summit on 20 and 21 June at Auckland Transport
Engagement strategy interview with Local board engagement adviser on 24 June
Attended Marine Protection public meeting on 24 June organised by Hon Nikki Kaye on Waiheke
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 25 June and 2 July
Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 26 June
Meeting with new trustees of the Grey Lynn Park Festival Trust on 27 June
City centre network meeting at Ellen Melville Centre on 27 June
LGNZ AGM briefing on 28 June
Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 3 July
Communications meeting on 3 July
Meeting with Denise Cosgrove, new CEO of Presbyterian Support
City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 3 July
Auckland Zoo briefing and guided tour redevelopment project on 5 July
Taskforce on alcohol and community safety in the central city meeting on 5 July
LGNZ National Council meeting on 7 July
Attended LGNZ AGM as an Auckland Council delegate on 7 July (photo right)
LGNZ annual conference in Wellington 7-9 July ( I will report fully on the conference in my August Chair’s report)
Events and functions: 12 June until 9 July
Auckland Conversations: Making Auckland an Age Friendly City on 13 June
Opening night of A Fine Balance at Q Theatre on 15 June at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
Friends of Symonds St Cemetery AGM on 18 June
World Refugee Day celebration at the Auckland Art Gallery on 20 June.
Opening night of War Horse at the Civic on 21 June at the invitation of Auckland Live
Matariki Dawn Karakia at Auckland Domain Pukekawa on 22 June
School Strike for Climate organisers presentation for The Fabian Society monthly meeting at the Auckland University Business School on 25 June (photo right with Rachel Brown and Denise Bijoux with the organisers)
Launch of the Parnell Plan at Jubilee Buildings on 26 June
Pre-construction karakia for the Karangahape Road Enhancements project on 27 June
Red hat dinner for city centre residents on 27 June
World Press photography exhibition opening function on 28 June
We’re going on a Bear Hunt at the Pumphouse Theatre at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions on 29 June
Hāngi at Takutai Square for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
Maori Film Festival Screening of Te Rua at Ellen Melville Centre for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
Marilyn Waring book launch hosted by Zonta on 1 July
Eat Drink Love Ponsonby launch on 2 July
Spoke at the opening of the Franklin Road upgrade project on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board on 3 July
Abley new office opening on 3 July
Matariki Function for the Downtown Development project team at the Cloud on 3 July
Opening of Te Auaunga Project on 6 July (photo right)
Aotea Great Barrier Island protest against marine dumping in Aotea Square on 6 July
Te Hono a collaboration between Inside Out Productions and story-tellers Rewi Spraggon (Te Kawerau a Maki), Taiaha Hawke (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) and Pita Turei (Ngāti Paoa) held at the Concert Chamber as part of the Matariki Festival
Touch compass Inmotion Matariki parade on 6 July
LGNZ conference opening reception on 7 July and conference dinner on 8 July
At the local board meeting on 4 June we supported member Denise Roche’s Notice of Motion calling for an Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.
Notice of Motion – Member D Roche – Ecological and Climate Emergency Declaration
MOVED by Member DR Roche, seconded by Member A Avendano Christie:
That the Waitematā Local Board:
a) note its concerns about the ecological and climate crisis
b) support any Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
c) urge the Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
d) note that the Governing Body will shortly be consulting on Auckland’s Climate Action Plan
e) forward these resolutions to the Environment and Community Committee, all local boards and to Auckland Transport for their consideration and immediate action.
Denise spoke at the Environment and Community Committee on 11 June on behalf of the local board. The Committee voted unanimously to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognised the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.
“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the committee.
Photo credit right Cr Richard Hills: Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makau Rau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action.
The local board is committed to road safety and street design which delivers “slower traffic speeds, safer intersections and footpaths and cycle lanes built to international best practice” (Local Board Plan 2017). The transport portfolio has been working on a number of safety related projects.
Solent St intersection
We have supported AT removing the slip lanes at Solent Street intersection design as part of the Tamaki Drive cycleway project (photo right: a truck using the slip lane at speed).
In a very surprising and disappointing letter the Ports of Auckland CEO has outlined why he opposes the removal of the slip lanes. Auckland Transport has provided a response robustly outlining why the preferred design has been chosen,
We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians. This has resulted in improved crossings on Parnell Road (photo right).
The local board has also successfully advocated for new crossings on Kelmarna Ave by Marist School and College Hill by St Mary’s College.
Community Safety Fund
Local Boards have been allocated a share of a new one-off Community Safety Fund. This fund is $20 million split over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial Years and is designed to address safety issues raised by local communities, that don’t meet Auckland Transport’s regional prioritisation for funding. The fund is divided between the 21 local board areas using the area’s numbers of Deaths and Serious Injuries, as a major component of the funding formula.
Waitematā Local Board has been allocated approx. $1.4m from the fund. A decision on which projects to progress to the next stage (AT preparation of rough order of costs) will be made at the business meeting on 18 June. Attachment 3 ( Item 24 ) outlines the projects considered for funding from the Community Safety Fund and additional projects the transport portfolio would like AT to progress.
Auckland Transport is working NZTA on a new Innovating streets toolkit to allow for quicker interventions that promote healthy and safe roads.
I have asked AT to consider the following projects for the quick win/tactical urbanism approach.
Midtown to the Domain route needing minor physical changes and wayfinding: Wellesley St cycle lane connection to the Princes St slip lane alongside Wellesley St up to Symonds St Bridge (cycle crossing phase at the intersection Wellesley/Princes St) crossing to Whitaker Place with ped crossing phase via Grafton Gully cycleway to Grafton Road “shared path” on northern side to the Domain
Painted cycle lane connection to the current feeder lane on Williamson Ave at Ponsonby Road. Eg connection to start at MacKelvie St intersection alongside the service station through Pollen St intersection (markings already exist as an oversize vehicle lane and no parking has to be removed)- this will create visibility of people on bikes as currently a safety issue with number of vehicle crossings into service station
Alex Evans Drive connection between Symonds St and Upper Queen St bridge/start of Ian McKinnnon cycleway – plans were developed about four years ago by AT
Crummer Road contra flow at Scanlan St – currently blocked to through traffic but ideal to create a cut through for people on bikes (currently used informally) – first logged with AT in 2011
We are however disappointed that the final design doesn’t include raised tables on the off ramps as recommended by AT. NZTA has advised as follows:
We have been working with AT but we are finding it challenging to find a solution that keeps all our vulnerable uses (cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclist) safe. The issue is that there is a lack of a policy position on raised tables at motorway interchanges. We have recognised this as an issue and we are working as quickly as possible to form a view. We are very cognisant that the world is changing and that we need to work with our partners (AT and stakeholders) to ensure our policies keep up with urban form and urban development.
To confirm where we are at:
The Transport Agency is happy with the off-ramp realignment, where the curve has been straightened
The Transport Agency is happy with the on-ramp alignment, although we would prefer that it is re-aligned to reduce entry speed
The Transport Agency has not made a decision on raised tables at motorway interchanges at this point. The AT proposal sets significant precedence and the lack of an Agency policy position has serious implications on other projects in Auckland and wider New Zealand
Until a policy can be confirmed we are advising that the Agency is not in support of raised table junctions at these locations
We have engaged with parties internal to the Agency to establish a path forward so we can have a clear direction going forward
This has been escalated to the highest point in our organisations and they are aware of the issue (Tier 2 in NZTA and CEO at AT)
As mentioned our safety team is working as quickly as possible to establish a path forward. It has been suggested that the works could be completed without raised tables, which could be retrofitted at a later date should it become policy.
NZTA is currently analysing the current consent and conditions and working to see if the preferred design fits within it. A variation is a possibility. A detailed business case is being currently being developed. Best case scenario is a Dec 2020 construction start.
A drop-in session is planned for 4 July between 4-8pm at Ponsonby Cruising Club, 141-151 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven. NZTA has reaffirmed this project is a priority for the Government.
On 4 June the Waitematā Local Board received a briefing on the outcomes of the resource consent hearing for the removal of pine trees at Te Wai Orea – Western Springs Lakeside Park and received recommendations on the next steps in order to progress the local board’s native forest restoration project. The resource consent has been granted for the removal of 200+ pine trees with a set of conditions.
The local board has accepted the advice of officers to proceed with the project. We considered the additional conditions and noted as follows:
The independent commissioners reviewed all the evidence presented and determined that removal of the pines in one operation as now proposed is a practicable approach to enhancing the indigenous biodiversity values of the SEA and providing for the appreciation of the park as an urban forest (para 145 of the decision)
The commissioners accepted that removal is required due to ongoing and increasing health and safety concerns in relation to the trees continuing decline and failure (para 117)
The alternative option of allowing the pines to fall and the indigenous vegetation to continue to develop was considered, but rejected as this would require the closure of the pine tree area and involve no access and no pest control. This will lead to the proliferation of pest plants and hinder the regeneration of the indigenous vegetation (para 119).
The methodology has been revised to focus on the aim of restoring and enhancing the park’s SEA values. The access track will only be to the width of the digger (up to 4m wide is consented, but likely to be less) and for 200m (50 per cent less area than originally proposed).
Removal of tree trunks will be limited and most will be mulched on site.
An independent ecologist will provide oversight to limit the damage to the understory. This will be minimised as much as possible – at the most extreme there could be up to 50 per cent damage to low level plants but due to the change in methodology damage is likely to be a lot less. Soil erosion and silt run off will also be minimised.
An independent arborist is required to oversee the works and will work closely with the independent ecologist to minimise damage from the tree felling
Planting will be from a “species palette” consistent with the SEA values. Up to 15,000 plants are available, but with the reduction in the plantable area (due to the trunks remaining in situ) there is likely to be space for approximately 10,000 plants
As part of the conditions Council will appoint a community liaison person to be available 12 hours per day; updates will be provided every second day on a purpose-built webpage
The next window for pine removal is now Feb/March 2020 (to avoid bird roosting season, wet weather etc). The whole operation including planting will take approximately 6 weeks. There will then be the opportunity for community engagement and involvement to determine the management going forward and potential track upgrades.
Officers have advised that unfortunately it is not possible to open the walking track in the interim. A buffer zone would need to be created alongside the track and as the trees are over 60m tall nearly all would need to be removed.
The commissioner’s decision can still be appealed. This will further delay the restoration project and limit the park’s use for public access and recreational purposes.
Western Springs Lakeside Park update
I have been providing a regular update on path cleaning and other maintenance matters at Westerns Springs Lakeside Park. Following my Ponsonby News update in May I received a complaint about the park and the accuracy of my reporting. I provided the following response (published in the June Ponsonby News):
I have visited the park and followed up with Mr Hay to confirm that what I reported in my Ponsonby News update is correct. I agree that we want Western Springs Lakeside Park to be well maintained but the huge amount of geese poo is an ongoing issue. Here is a summary from Council’s Senior Maintenance Delivery Coordinator about the action being taken: cleaning of the pathway is being completed a minimum of five times a week. The contractor has been instructed to check the path every day and if cleaning is required it is to be completed that day. The contractor has been using a combination of a sweeping vehicle and water blasting to clear the path. Recently Community Facilities has also been trialling some methods to keep the geese from congregating on the path. The most recent trial involves a low level temporary fence. It has been successful at keeping the geese off a portion but unfortunately the geese just move on to another area of the path and cause the same issues. Council’s long-term solution to reduce the number of geese will greatly improve the situation and at this stage we are aiming to begin control in late June.
The water quality and sediment issues that Mr Hay referred to have been forwarded on to Council’s Healthy Waters department. The rubbish floating at the water’s edge should be removed by the contractors as loose litter. A recent inspection has confirmed that the bins that should be in place are in place. There are still park benches that require replacement following last year’s storm.
City Centre amenities
The local board is championing the provision of public toilets in the city centre. Work is currently underway on a City Centre Amenities strategic review following the local board raising concerns that the public toilets at the new CRL stations will be located behind gate barriers with no plans to install accessible facilities and no part of council responsible for mapping the location of public toilets (the most up to date resource has been created by board member Vernon Tava on his personal website).
In the meantime Auckland Transport is rolling out a Bus Driver Exeloo Programme in the City Centre that also provides a public toilet in a number of locations. The programme includes a Exeloo on Lower Albert St that was installed last year and a new Exeloo opened on Victoria St at the beginning of June (photo right). The local board provided input into the locations and suggested including drinking fountains.
AT has provided the following update on other locations:
Quay Street (seaside 120m east of Tapora Street):This site supports bus layovers for some 24 buses opposite Vector Arena. The unit will sit between the new cycle path and the old footpath with access from the footpath side only. Because of the cycle traffic through this area, AT will also be installing a drinking fountain (with dog drinking bowl) to the specification requested by the LB.
City Works Depot: AT could not find a suitable site on Nelson (Wellesley St or Cook Street) and City Works Deport did not want an Exeloo on their Sale St frontage which they are developing. So we again approached CWD with a lease proposal. The agreement is to build a bespoke, secure keypad access, single-unit toilet within the CWD site, next to customer toilets in the Nelson St retaining wall. Drivers will access the toilet via the spiral stairs from Nelson Street. The agreement sees CWD designing, constructing, cleaning and maintaining the toilet for the exclusive use by bus drivers in exchange for an annual lease fee; ultimately the asset will pass to CWD once permanent bus layover facilities are created in the CBD.
FY19/20 Forward Plan: FY19/20 funding has yet to be confirmed, however AT Metro Service Delivery have approved a project mandate to investigate further Exeloo sites as follows:
Bus Driver Exeloo sites: Mayoral Drive (near AUT); Nuffield Street Newmarket; Hobson Street (between Wolfe & Wyndam St) Avondale Terminus (Copsey Place); Waikowhai Terminus
We’re fortunate to have an excellent maintenance manager for Waitematā. Karl (photo right) is passionately on the case sorting out issues in our parks.
On June he was happy to meet me for a site visit at the Domain (along with his boss) to look at a few maintenance issues that have been logged with me. Lots of work is underway to make the Domain a world class premier park.
For the first time Auckland Museum has an accessible (very grand and beautifully landscaped) pathway to the front door. On 27 May, the Mayor announced the new official name Te Ara Oranga (Attachment 4: Our Auckland Domain Pathway Officially Opened)
In another milestone for the Domain the new Wintergarden nursery glasshouses were blessed on 11 June by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Cr Mike Lee spoke at the opening.
We’re continuing to look at ways to fund small initiatives that complement Housing First Auckland and other regional projects that address homelessness. From a $20,000 allocation Lifewise Auckland will receive a $10,000 grant to support the initial scoping of an Auckland Housing Help Centre; an $8,000 grant will go to Heart of the City to support their Street Guardians Programme, and $2,000 will go towards volunteer training facilitated by the Auckland City Mission. (Attachment 5: Our Auckland Homeless Community shown support in Waitemata)
The city centre targeted rate paid by businesses and residents contributed $2million to the upgrade of James Liston Hostel in Freemans Bay. On 5 June the Mayor, joined by Minister Phil Twyford opened the newly revamped facility providing 55 emergency beds with wrap around services. It has been a tremendous effort by the Hostel Trust team led Dame Diane Robertson and supported by Lifewise and the City Mission.
Enhancing Auckland’s tree cover
On 2 June Stuff journalist Charlie Mitchell reported on The Aotearoa Chainsaw Massacre. In 2013 the former National-led government removed general tree protection rules leading to the loss of many urban trees. Here’s what the local board has been doing to enhance and protect tree cover:
opposed the RMA changes and have continued to advocate for tree protection
worked to identify trees to be scheduled in the Unitary Plan – this was work led by former board member Tricia Reade
included as many trees as possible in our projects (eg Teed St upgrade) and have pushed AT to identify new opportunities for tree pits
supported the revised City Centre Masterplan revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25 per cent by 2021.
support Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy and the Mayor’s 1 million trees project
working to develop a local urban ngahere implementation plan
funding tree planting for Arbor Day (Photo right: planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June)
funding volunteer plantings and regeneration projects
allocated a grant the Urban Tree Alliance for an Adopt a Tree event in Western Park
funded the LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) data mapping to calculate the “canopy cover” of Waitemata
Deputy Chair Shale Chambers was part of the City Centre Advisory Board working group who have successfully secured agreement from AT to include more street trees in the Albert St upgrade design
And at Western Springs up to 15,000 new trees will be planted as part of a native bush regeneration project.
Annual Budget 19/20
At a business meeting on 4 June we approved the Waitemata local content for the Annual Budget 2019/2020 which includes a Local Board Agreement, a message from the chair, local board advocacy, and a local fees and charges schedule for 2019/2020. Each financial year, Auckland Council must have a Local Board Agreement between the Governing Body and each local board, for each local board area. On 20 June 2019, the Governing Body will meet to adopt Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2019/2020, including 21 local board agreements.
Tripartite 2019 (An economic alliance of LA, Guangzhou and Auckland coinciding with Tech Week) Welcome Reception for our international delegates and speakers on Sunday 19 May and attended an Innovation Showcase for Tripartite 2019 followed by lunch 20 May. I was interested to hear from Stephen Cheung, President World Trade Centre, LA about Los Angeles’ Clean Air Action Plan based on data and innovation to force changes to deal with the pollution and health implications of dirty bunker fuel. He was part of a panel on new trends in public and private sector data sharing.
Auckland Museum stakeholder breakfast on 23 May
Joined the community of St Matthew-in-the-City for a Powhiri and reception on 23 May to welcome our overseas guests who belong to an international network of inner city churches
Opened the Go with Tourism Expo on 24 May at Auckland Showgrounds
HiTech gala dinner on 24 May at the invitation of ATEED
Opening of the new walkway Te ara Oranga connecting Auckland Museum on 27 May
Pride Pledge launch on 28 May at Coco’s cantina at the invitation of Krd Business Association
Officiated at the Town Hall Citizenship Ceremony on 28 May
Attended Friends of Sustainable Coastlines event on 28 May
Opening of the Doc Edge Festival at Q Theatre on 29 May
Join the Dante Auckland at Winger Maserati to celebrate the Italian Republic Day on 2 June
Attended Open Iftar (dinner) 2019 hosted by New Zealand Eid Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 June
Mt Albert Electorate community morning tea with the PM on 5 June
Opening of James Liston Hostel by the Mayor on 5 June
China Business Awards dinner at Shed 10 on 6 June at the invitation of NZ China Council
Newmarket Business Association awards dinner on 7 June
Arbor Day tree planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June
Attended the opening of the Wintergarden nursery glasshouses at Auckland Domain on 11 June
Spoke at the launch of Again Again, reusable cups as a service system, at The Store, Quay Street on 11 June
Delicious Oblivion, Cabaret Season Launch on 11 June at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live
Pippa Coom: Your Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Ward
After almost nine years on the Waitematā Local Board, currently serving as Chair, I am delighted to be City Vision’s candidate for councillor for the Waitematā and Gulf ward.
It has been a privilege to serve the communities of Waitematā and to lead a local board that has built a reputation for being brave, adventurous and effective. Among its achievements have been the transformation of the Ellen Melville Centre into a vibrant community hub , the development of the Weona-Westmere coastal walk and other new pathways, and improved playgrounds. Your board has also been instrumental in getting major projects off the ground, including the Franklin Road upgrade, a planned new civic space on Ponsonby Road, new sports grounds at Seddon Fields, new changing rooms in Grey Lynn park and the upgrade of Teed St in Newmarket. We also helped secure a $5 million Council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing and social services project.
My focus on the local board has been transport. I’ve led the local board in being the first to adopt “Vision Zero” and one of the first to put in place a Greenways Plan. Our investment in placemaking and safe, welcoming streets is paying off for businesses and for the health of the community.
What can you expect from me as a councillor? I will build on extensive experience in governance, a network of community relationships, and an understanding of the issues that matter to Aucklanders. My leadership style is inclusive and respectful, I seek consensus rather than division, and I value teamwork and open communication. I will be a councillor who is available and accessible, and I will be there in person for community events, big and small.
Representing the people of Waitemata and the Gulf is a seven days a week commitment, and I am 100% up for it.
My path into local government started early on with community activism, volunteering and community-building. I was born and raised in England where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.
My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. At Otago University, where I completed a law degree (hons) in 1991, I volunteered at the community law centre, taught English as a second language, and was secretary of the Otago Law Students Association.
My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.
During this time my dad was killed in a car crash. He was 49. Incidentally, my partner Paul and I have lived since 2006 in the Grey Lynn house dad bought over 30 years ago. Many years later, and now with a role on the Waitematā Local Board advocating for road safety, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so necessary.
An e-bike is my main form of transport but I do own a working 1934 Austin 7 inherited from my dad and am a member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ.
In 2009, I became a full-time volunteer in the community involved with cycling advocacy, community development and sustainability. I’ve been a trustee of the Kelmarna Organic City Farm, Grey Lynn 2030 and Connected Media, the coordinator of Frocks on Bikes, membership secretary of Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and organiser of climate action events.
I was named Sustainability Champion at the 2011 Sustainable Business Network awards for my cycling advocacy and involvement with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, which I served for five years as chair of the management committee.
In 2010 I was elected to the Waitematā Local Board in the first Super City election. In 2013 and 2016 I was the highest polling candidate.
What I stand for
I’m a progressive aligned with City Vision, a coalition of Labour, the Greens and community independents like myself, but my primary allegiance is to the community. I value City Vision’s shared commitment to social justice, outstanding public transport, environmental restoration, ownership of public assets, and a real say for local communities.
Here’s what I stand for:
Transport choices: Healthy, safe, connected and accessible streets that encourage kids to walk, scoot and bike to school; an efficient, reliable public transport system with affordable, integrated fares covering all parts of Auckland including the Gulf Islands.
Climate Action: A just transition to a low-emissions and climate-ready city; every decision of Auckland Council must contribute to fighting the climate and ecological crisis.
Environmental sustainability: Cleaning up our waterways and harbours; protecting the qualities that make the Gulf Islands and Hauraki Gulf special; effective and sustainable recycling and composting services.
Strong local boards and local decision making. I will meet regularly with the three local board chairs, attend local board meetings and effectively advocate for local issues.
A city with a heart: Continuing with the revitalisation of downtown with a Quay Street boulevard, new public spaces and people-friendly streets. Slower speeds and the Access for Everyone project will be good for business and make the city centre more liveable for the growing residential population
Housing: Ending homelessness through support for initiatives such as Housing First. Quality, affordable housing developments and effective use of brownfield sites.
Good governance:Holding the Council Controlled Organisations such as Auckland Transport to account and ensuring value for money, council efficiencies and getting the basics right. As local board chair I have met community priorities within budget through careful financial management
There is much more to do building safe, vibrant, inclusive, accessible and resilient communities. I am passionate and completely committed to serving on the governing body, fulfilling the aspirations of all Aucklanders and representing Waitematā and Gulf ward.
After attending the very moving Dawn Service at Auckland Museum I had the honour of speaking at the Grey Lynn RSC Anzac Day service on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board (photo right). The board assists the RSC with funding for the event. (My speech here).
The club does a great job bringing the community together for this national day of commemoration.
I received a heartfelt thank you from the President and Manager of the Grey Lynn RSC (Attachment 2)
Annual Budget 19/20 consultation
At the local board business meeting we received a report on the Annual Budget 19/20 feedback and resolved on advocacy priorities (Attachment 3). A total of 223 submissions were received for the Waitematā Local Board area. The majority of submitters either supported (45 per cent) or partially supported (43 per cent) the Waitematā Local Board’s priorities. I read all the submissions over Easter and was pleased to note the strong support for our overall direction and priorities. Concerns raised tended to be about regional issues such as stormwater separation.
On 8 May Shale Chambers and I presented to the Finance and Performance committee with the support of board member Adriana Christie on our key advocacy iniatives that we wished to bring to the governing body’s attention (Presentation: Attachment 4)
Dog Bylaw consultation
Public consultation on Auckland’s dog rules closed on 10 May. Auckland Council sought views on proposed changes to dog time and season rules to see more consistency across the region, as well as proposed improvements to dog management in Auckland.
Local board Chairs raised concerns with the Mayor about the bylaw process for local board input and the undermining of the shared governance model (Attachment 5). Following a deputation of chairs meeting with the Mayor we received a positive response (Attachment 6) and agreement that local boards will be given an opportunity to provide their feedback to the hearing panel after the submissions and hearing report have been made public.
Looking forward, staff will continue to work with local boards on the Governance Framework Review and consider how future policy and strategy processes can provide for local board review of submissions and feedback. Staff will also progress the idea of a policy calendar through this review.
Through the consultation we heard feedback on the need for an off-leash dog area in Basque Park . We have responded that this will be looked at following the completion of the dog rule consultation (Our Auckland: Changes on the way for Basque Park )
Renewals: Victoria park entranceway
Since the earliest days of the Waitematā Local Board we have taken the approach that every renewal is an opportunity to improve on assets to deliver on community outcomes and best practice design. We have LDI budget (Locally Driven initiatives discretionary budget) available for this purpose. We have consistently reinforced to officers that there is no such thing as a “like for like” renewal as standards have changed over time and every project needs to be considered in the context of current council strategies and plans. This is a view I believe shared by all local boards.
The Council approach to renewals was recently highlighted when we were advised that “like for like” work was about to start on the entranceway to Victoria Park. Despite several workshop discussions about the issues the local board wanted addressed such as safety we were not given the opportunity to have any input into the plans and only “notified” when the works were about to begin (photo above).
I raised concerns about the inadequate thought given to the current purpose and function of the entrance and access “road” that is an integral part of the park path network for recreational purposes and is an important commuter route (with numbers increasing as Wynyard Quarter expands and it becomes more and more difficult to walk along Fanshawe Street due to the numbers waiting for buses).
In response I was assured by Community Facilities that a renewal is not considered a like-for-like exercise and that discussions should be taking place with the Local Board regarding opportunities to leverage its asset base to deliver a better community outcome and that Community Facilities is focussed on place-based delivery.
With regards to Victoria Park, Community Facilities have agreed to install signage (photo right) and to consider design options for the resurfaced areas and are taking forward the Halsey Street footpath to park standard.
We’ve raised similar issues with Auckland Transport, in particular like for like footpath renewals that are not brought to the local board in advance for input. As a result AT has agreed to trial a new approach.
Safe Speeds consultation
On 18 April I presented to the Auckland Transport Speed Limits Bylaw hearings on behalf of Waitematā Local Board. I spoke about why we support safe speeds as the evidence shows reducing speed limits works and delivers a range of benefits beyond road safety. Slower speeds are pro-community, pro-business, pro children. It will make our streets more accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Slower speeds are also needed in the city centre to respond to massive changes that have taken place there. It is no longer a CBD but home to almost 60,000 residents.
AT received 30,000 feedback points through the consultation process. The decision on the Speed Limits Bylaw will be made by the AT Board in July.
Road Safety Week 2019 6- 12 May
The 2019 theme for Road Safety Week was Save Lives #speakup. New Zealand is experiencing a crisis of road deaths and serious injuries. April was the worst month for road danger for over a decade. From listening to road safety experts over the last few years that I have been campaigning for a new Vision Zero approach, I’ve learned the following:
Every crash involves a vehicle, the road and a driver. It is not possible to reduce or eliminate crashes by focusing on just one factor.
There are a range of complex reasons why NZ’s road safety performance is declining – but many of the reasons are the direct result of the former government’s transport policies such as big cuts to police enforcement, more trucks on the road, failure to reduce speeds, investment in a few big roading projects rather than safety changes to roads where crashes happen, acceptance of vehicles with poor safety ratings and declining driver education.
In a “Safe System”, crashes are inevitable, but death and serious injury is not. The Safe System aims to strengthen all parts of the system: roads and roadsides, speeds, vehicles, and people – so that if one part fails, other parts will still protect those involved. ie you are not killed if someone stuffs up.
Politicians, traffic engineers, management, enforcement officials etc all need to take responsibility for the crisis. We must adopt the ethical imperative of Vision Zero. This means:
– safe and appropriate speeds
– safety must be prioritised in road design
– improvements to the safety of vehicles on the road
– enforcement particularly for speeding, red light running
– driver education
I took this photo (right) for Road Safety Week.
There is currently $10 billion of private construction underway in Auckland plus work on major utilities infrastructure. I’m grateful to all the traffic management workers like Albert who are keeping us safe around these projects. I’ve got to know Albert as he’s working on a new apartment building near the local board office. He gets a lot of grief from drivers trying to get around his controls in St Patrick’s Square but always keeps his cool.
Auckland Cycling Programme Update
On 8 March 2019 Cr Darby and I wrote to the Auckland Transport CEO expressing grave concerns over the status of the cycling programme. The programme is currently three years behind schedule. No new cycleway work has got underway this year and the walking and cycling team has been disestablished.
On 30 April we received a response confirming that AT remains absolutely committed to delivering the funded cycling programme and delivering on the specific focus area of the Auckland Plan – ‘Make walking, cycling and public transport preferred choices for many more Aucklanders’ but providing reasons why there have been delivery challenges. (Both letters are attached to my report on the local board agenda)
Downtown Infrastructure Development Projects
On 10 May I attended the Dawn Ceremony for the Downtown Infrastructure Development projects. Ngāti Whātua Orākei led proceedings on behalf of mana whenua.
Cr Darby reported “that it was great to share the morning with people who have been instrumental in directing the waterfront transformation in recent years” – Cr Richard Hills, Viv Beck (Heart of the City GM), Noelene Buckland (Chair, City Centre Residents Group) and Pippa Coom. Cr Paul Young got up early too to join us”. (photo right)
The ceremony marked the commencement of the major works to deliver:
Downtown ferry basin redevelopment.
Lower Albert St bus interchange.
Downtown public water edge public space
Lower Queen St public space (image right)
Historic Quay St wall strengthening and utilities relocation.
Britomart east bus interchange.
Quay St enhancement
The work to deliver seven interrelated projects in time for Americas Cup 36 is hugely complex but I believe will be worth the temporary disruption as Downtown becomes a stunning pedestrian friendly area.
A visualisation of the proposed Waipapa Greenway via the old Parnell railway tunnel was first revealed at a public meeting hosted by Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee on 7 May that I attended.
This image created by Jasmax is in the new Parnell Plan (about to be published).
Western Springs Lakeside Park update
I have been providing regular updates on Western Springs following complaints about the water quality of the lake and maintenance of the park. In my May Ponsonby News update covered the maintenance work underway (Attachment 10)
Meetings and workshops: 9 April until 14 May
Waitematā Local Board workshops on 9 and 30 April, 7 and 14 May
Meeting on 10 April with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Cr Hulse to discuss LGNZ remits
Elected Member briefing regarding ANZAC Day Commemorations on 10 April
Ponsonby Business Association monthly board meetings on 11 April and 2 May
Meeting with Parnell Business Association GM on 11 April
Meeting with Community Facilities managers on 11 April to discuss Victoria Park car park driveway renewal
Monthly catch ups with Auckland City Centre Residents Group representative on 11 April and 9 May
Meeting on 12 April to finalise the Parnell Plan
Transport portfolio meeting on 15 April and 1 May
Weekly chairs catchup held on 15 April, 29 April and 6 May
Meeting with the Mayor and a delegation of Local Board Chairs on 15 April to discuss the process for local board input into bylaw processes
Presented to the Auckland Transport safe speeds hearings panel on 15 April
Good Citizen Awards selection panel meeting on 16 April
Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 April
Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association meeting on 17 April
Meeting with Dave Allen to provide feedback on Auckland Plan, Strategy and Research’s (APSR) work for the local board as part of shaping a fit-for-purpose strategy and research unit.
Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 17 April
Meeting with the local board relationship manager on 18 April
Meeting with representatives of the Friends of Fukuoka Gardens on 18 April
Meeting with car transporter and car dealer representatives and Auckland Transport on 18 April to discuss operations on Great North Road
The board had a recess week following the Easter break. I took the opportunity to visit EcoMatters Environment Trust Bike Hub in New Lynn. They’re doing brilliant work supporting the community to experience the joy and fun of riding. The hub provides assistance with learning basic bike maintenance skills, rescues bikes and on sells them at low cost. It is also a pit stop to hang out with good people happy to tinker on bikes.
Meeting on 29 April initiated by Bevan Woodward with Auckland Transport to discuss opportunities for tactical urbanism as part of the new Innovating Streets for People toolkit being developed by NZTA
Meeting with Newmarket Business Association GM on 1 May
Central City Network meeting at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 May
Mt Albert Electorate office catch up on 3 May
Grafton Residents Association AGM on 5 May
“Turning the Tide – from Cars to Active Transport report briefing at the Otago University centre on 6 May
Meeting to discuss the local board’s presentation to the Finance and Performance committee
Trafinz executive meeting on 8 May
Presentation to the Finance and Performance committee on the Local Board Annual Budget advocacy on 8 May
Domain Committee pre-agenda meeting on 8 May
Communications meeting on 8 May
Ponsonby Road walkover on 9 May with Auckland Transport representative to identify any issues with the Ponsonby Pedestrian experience project delivery
Meeting with Big Street bikers on 9 May
Meeting with John Palino (Mayoral candidate) on 10 May
Meeting on 13 May at Newton School with Auckland Transport to discuss safety improvements (photo right with the Principal Riki Teteina and Auckland Transport’s Claire Dixon)
Local Board Chairs Forum on 13 May
Events and functions: 9 April until 14 May
Presentation by Niels Hoe, NZTA’s new System Design Lead for Urban Mobility at MR Cagney on 9 April
Auckland Conversations: Future proofing Auckland – is building a sustainable city really possible? On 10 April at the Millennium Hotel
Newhub facebook live with host Finn Hogan
Community working bee organised by the Freemans Bay Residents Association on 13 April at the new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park (Photo right)
I was invited to speak at the opening celebration of the Nepalese New Year on 14 April at the Freemans Bay Community centre at the invitation of the New Zealand Nepal Society
Art of Remembrance at St David’s church on 24 April
Anzac Day Dawn Service at Auckland Museum
Grey Lynn RSC memorial Anzac Day parade and service
Here and Now Festival of plays at Waterfront Theatre on 26 April
Presentation on 29 April by Jacquelyn Collins on the gendered issues of play spaces. Hosted by Women in Urbanism Aotearoa x MR Cagney
Auckland Arts Fair opening night at the Cloud
Auckland Jewish Community Holocaust Memorial Service on 1 May at the Auckland Hebrew Congregation Community Hall
Function on 2 May at the Northern Club to celebrate the expansion of Bankside Chambers
Comedy Festival Gala at the Civic at the invitation of ATEED
Auckland Alumni Otago University 150th anniversary celebration Gala at Auckland Museum on 3 May
Urban Walking Festival- Jane’s Walk Grey Lynn on 4 May Alex Bonham led us today on a Jane’s Walk * exploring Grey Lynn as part of the Urban Walking Festival. We ended up at historic Carlile House. Recently it was looking promising that the building was about to be saved but unfortunately it has recently been report that the deal has now fallen through (* It is called Jane’s walk in memory of Jane Jacobs the North American urban activist who wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Walks are held on her birthday anniversary)
Public meeting hosted by Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee on 7 May
Dawn Ceremony for Downtown Infrastructure Development Projects on 10 May
The Audience at Waterfront Theatre at the invitation of ATC on 10 May
Bright Lights at the Viaduct on 10 May
Clayworks Potters Market at St Columba’s church community hall on 11 May
Reception for British economist and writer Kate Raworth at the Auckland Writers Festival on 13 May and invitation from ATEED to attend her talk MC’d by Rod Oram
The condition of Western Springs Te Wai Ōrea Lakeside Park has been a topic of concern raised by Ponsonby News correspondents and directly with the local board. The park is much-loved by Aucklanders for its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. The area is significant for both its ecosystem and ecological diversity. Species that call the lakeside park home include native birds and an endangered native moss.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Hudders, one of the original park designers who told me the tree planting around the periphery of the park was intended to provide glances across to the lake like a women’s skirt revealing a hint of petticoat but not too much! Peter, who is now in his 80’s, also explained that there had been pressure on the designers at the time to fence off the lake so they created a shallow edge instead.
Last year the local board released the draft Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea park Development Plan for public feedback. The plan outlines our vision for the park which includes improved water quality in the lake and streams, connecting the surrounding areas via paths, and an upgraded playground. All of the ecology and wildlife at the park will benefit from improved water quality. Some of the actions we are looking at is managing the high nutrient levels, more planting around the lake edge, controlling the runoff and encouraging people not to feed birds in the lake. Options for visitors to be able to buy bird seed, from for instance the Zoo kiosk, will be investigated.
Our focus is on improving the existing state of the park to maximise the benefits it provides without making major changes. All the feedback has been taken into consideration in finalising the plan. For example we heard from St Lukes Environmental Protection Society that the rare rock forest – the result of volcanic eruptions – needs to be enhanced and protected. We’re expecting the final plan to be approved at a board meeting shortly.
In the meantime, a significant amount of work is being undertaken at the park. Auckland Council’s contractors have carried out a lot of maintenance work like clearing hazardous large fallen tree branches. The rubbish bins and handrails around the park have also been newly painted and the playground toilets have re-opened.
In addition to this, the lake’s water quality is being closely monitored by Auckland Council’s Wai Ora-Healthy Waterways team. They’re regularly removing rubbish and tree branches from the lake and clearing out the dams weekly. The results of their water monitoring work will be used to make future decisions about water quality management.
The park is audited weekly and contractors are currently complying with contract specifications. The amount of bird poo on the paths is an on-going issue following an explosion in geese numbers. Contractors have been asked to increase cleaning of a section of path that is bombarded by geese, which is being waterblasted daily when required. Options for managing the population are currently being reviewed.
Waitematā Local Board oversees more than 80 parks and reserves in the Waitematā area so we want them all to be well maintained to a high standard for everyone to enjoy.