Monthly Board Report March 2015

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

Highlights

Victory for a liveable city

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

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

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

Child friendly Waitematā

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Myers Park Centenary

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

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

Community Development conference

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

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

Key points mentioned by a variety of speakers:

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

Long Term Plan consultation

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

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

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

 Richmond Road safety improvements 

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

Bob, Paul and LenWesthaven Promenade

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

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

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

Congratulations to the Waterfront Auckland team responsible for the promenade.

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

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

Workshops and meetings

During February I attended:

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

Events and functions

During February I attended:

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

Monthly Board Report February 2015

This is my first report for 2015 covering highlights from December 2014 and January 2015.

Welcome Queens WharfOpening up the city centre to people

Despite the transport messaging that the Central City was “closed” the streets of Lower Queen St and Quay St were very much full and open to people over Auckland anniversary weekend.

I enjoyed the impressive 3 days of events for Auckland 175th birthday that included the Waitematā Local Board supported International Buskers Festival and the Story of Auckland in Shed 10 (I attended the launch of both). It was great see so many people enjoying the waterfront and finding time to give feedback about improving the city centre.

The weekend really showed the huge potential for improving downtown by re-prioritising road space.

Saving the Pohutukawa 6

I have provided regular updates on the Board’s opposition to Auckland Transport’s proposal to remove 6 mature Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road. The latest update is attached (ATTACHMENT A) following on from the Commissioners decision on 17 December to recommend removal.

Cycling & walking investment

I am really delighted to have been appointed to the Urban Cycling Investment Panel by the Transport Minister on the recommendation of LGNZ.  The launch of the urban cycling programme was held on 30 January 2015 on the old Nelson St motorway off- ramp (ATTACHMENT B). I attended the first meeting of the panel in Wellington on 8 December.

causeway opening group2015 is going to be the year to celebrate new cycling infrastructure in Auckland starting on 20 January when I joined the Albert- Eden community, Cycle Action, David Shearer MP and NZTA to celebrate the opening of the new causeway bridge on the NW cycleway.

The much anticipated and beautifully constructed Westhaven Promenade opened at the end of January. It is perfect for cycling with children in a safe, attractive environment but still needs to be connected to all the way to Silo Park. Auckland Transport announced on 30 January that Westhaven promenade January 2015construction of the final leg of the shared path on Westhaven Drive continuing along Beaumont Street is starting in February with a completion date in March (the shared path is intended as an interim measure).

Over the summer break I enjoyed one of the many cycling adventures now possible in Auckland (ATTACHMENT C)

Speed enforcement

In response to the many unjustified and ill-informed attacks over the summer on the NZ Police in response to speed limit enforcement I decided to write up my personal experience that influences my personal support for the safer systems approach to road safety (ATTACHMENT D). On the positive side I think there is a growing demand for slower speeds especially on residential streets and in the city centre.

Kelmarna Community Gardens

I attended the Kelmarna Community Gardens Trust public meeting on 29 January that gathered people together to reflect on their connections to the garden and to help plan the future now that Framework has withdrawn as a tenant.

It was an incredibly positive, well attended meeting demonstrating a huge amount of support for the gardens to continue as an organic farm with a place for everyone.  The Trust, with the assistance from Council officers, is considering options for managing the gardens going forward.

Everyday is your chance to make this city a little betterPlacemaking

The January Inner City Network meeting was hosted by Waterfront Auckland. Frith Walker gave an excellent presentation on placemaking that inspired the many people who attended to consider what it is possible to achieve in Auckland with clear vision and creativity.

Way finding

Street signage has been a topical local issue over the summer in response to Auckland Transport’s trial new signs on city streets (so far mainly in the Fort St no exitAlbert- Eden area). The Board has not yet been asked to give formal feedback on the design.  In the meantime I continue to push for way finding signage for pedestrians and cyclists on streets that are only NO EXIT for vehicles (such as on Fort St).

I was impressed to see the new way finding signs that have gone up in Myers Park. They are clear and well-designed providing a best practice template for future way finding designs.

Berm planting

At the Board’s December meeting we passed the following resolution in an attempt to progress Auckland Transport’s draft guidelines to encourage responsible plantings on grass verges. In the meantime “happy berms” have appeared over the summer.

Some of the events I attended during December and January

Grey Lynn library cake cuttingThe centenaries of Parnell Pool and the Tepid Baths were celebrated in December and the Grey Lynn Library’s 90th birthday.

Mayoral Reception on the occasion of the Battle of the River Plate 75th anniversary commemoration with the remaining 5 survivors.

The final Citizenship Ceremonies of 2014 were held on 1 December at the Town Hall (I was in the official party for the afternoon ceremony)

Auckland put on a beautiful morning for the Ironman 70.3 on the waterfront. I attended the welcome function on 16 January.

I attended the Breakers game on Friday 23rd January as a guest of the Mayor

It was sad to farewell Chris Davidson at the end of January as the CEO, Parnell Trust but he leaves the Trust in great shape.