April 2014 Local Board Member Report

Logo croppedExecutive Summary

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during April 2014 as Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee, Co-portfolio holder of Parks and Open Spaces, Co-portfolio holder of Heritage, Urban Design and Planning and Local Board representative on the K Road Business Association.

Portfolio Areas

Heritage

The draft Heritage Assets Stewardship Operational Policy was introduced to the Board for discussion and feedback. The policy establishes a policy position and sets out good practice principles to guide internal planning and decision-making for heritage assets owned and/or managed by Auckland Council, including Local Boards and Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

Parks and Open Spaces

Work continues on the development of our park playgrounds renewal programme with a particular focus this month on plans for the Costley St and Home St reserves, both part of our bundled playgrounds renewal programme focussing on five parks. The Grey Lynn Needs Assessment, carried out in 2013-14, is now complete and the ADBS team is scheduled to start updating the 2008 Grey Lynn Park Development Plan in mid-May. The draft Plan should be ready for consultation by mid-June.

The Karangahape Road Plan: Launch and Public Consultation

l to r: Gurv Singh (K Rd planner), Member Vernon Tava, Edward Bennett (K Rd Business Association), Barbara Holloway (K Rd Business Association), Member Rob Thomas, Chair Shale Chambers, Member Christopher Dempsey, Member Deborah Yates, Ross Cooper (Newton planner). Deputy Chair Pippa Coom (not pictured) was also present.

l to r: Gurv Singh (K Rd planner), Member Vernon Tava, Edward Bennett (K Rd Business Association), Barbara Holloway (K Rd Business Association), Member Rob Thomas, Chair Shale Chambers, Member Christopher Dempsey, Member Deborah Yates, Ross Cooper (Newton planner). Deputy Chair Pippa Coom (not pictured) was also present.

On the evening of 10 April, we launched the Karangahape Road and Newton Plans. I have worked on the K Rd Plan with Board Chair, Shale Chambers, with the planning staff effort ably headed by Gurv Singh. We have particularly valued the input and support of the K Road Business Association.

The draft plan is still out for public consultation. There have been four drop-in sessions:

  1. 16 April, 4-7PM, Dalmatian Cultural Society, 10 New North Road, Eden Terrace
  2. 28 April, 11AM-2PM, Dalmatian Cultural Society, 10 New North Road, Eden Terrace
  3. 1 May, 6-9PM, St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Road
  4. 5 May, 11AM-2PM, Methodist Church, Pitt Street

Once public consultation has ended, the plan will be finalised over the remainder of May and June to be approved by the Board in July.

There has been significant media and public interest in the draft Plan. I am particularly pleased that Generation Zero have launched a campaign promoting dedicated cycle lanes along the length of K Rd. I have met with them along with the Council planning leads and we fully support their initiative. It is exciting to have this kind of interaction between the Local Board and civil society – especially a youth-led group – to effect change for which there is a real community appetite.

ANZAC Day CommemorationAnzac

On Friday 25th of April I attended the civic ceremony representing Waitematā Local Board with Member Greg Moyle and Councillor Mike Lee at the Cenotaph at Auckland War Memorial Museum. We laid the wreath pictured on behalf of the Board. It was a touching ceremony and a reminder that armed conflict is never to be entered into lightly and that we should do all that we can to avoid it in the future.

Auckland Conversations: Professor Peter Newman on ‘The Return of the City’

On 1 April, I attended a talk – part of the Auckland Conversations series – by Professor Peter Newman of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Perth. Newman proposed that there are three cities: the walking city, the transit city and the city of cars. He discussed the example of the Cheonggyecheon River overpass in downtown Seoul, South Korea (which was one of the leading examples of Braess’s Paradox which states that adding extra capacity to a network when the moving entities selfishly choose their route, can in some cases reduce overall performance). The removal of this overpass and renewal of a river that ran beneath it is emblematic of the urban renewal that is occasioned by reversing the dominance of the car in modern cities. We see a similar trend in Auckland with the removal of the Hobson Street overpass outside the Tepid Baths. Incredibly, the Mayor of Seoul, Lee Myung Bak, whose administration removed the infamous expressway was formerly the head of the company that built it. Soon after, he became the President of Korea.

Cheonggyecheon Restoration (credit: www.globalrestorationnetwork.org)

Cheonggyecheon Restoration (credit: http://www.globalrestorationnetwork.org)

Hobson St overpass (www.transportblog.co.nz)

Hobson St overpass (www.transportblog.co.nz)

“The key thing to understand about trains is that they’re not just a transit device, they are a city-building device.” Professor Newman says that the closure of the Perth rail network between 1979 and 1983 was the best thing that could have happened as citizens realised what they were losing and embraced electrification of rail leading to a growth of rail trips by a factor of 6 in 22 years. “Agglomeration economies need to be factored into Cost Benefit Ratios.” Each new fringe suburb block is subsidised by $85-$100K in infrastructure. Density in Australasian cities is increasing for the first time in 100 years as the failures of car dependency become unavoidable. Very rapid growth is possible; the Shanghai Metro was built in a decade with 420km covering 80% of the city carrying 2.5 billion trips in 2013. Professor Newman had particularly interesting insights to offer on ‘value capture’ as a way to fund new rail. These have a particular relevance in Auckland with a massive investment required in rail. He proposes three models: 1. Government (in this case, Auckland Council) can sell land/development rights around the rail project to fund their end of a Public-Private Partnership deal; 2. Council develop their own land around stations (as has been done successfully in Hong Kong); or, 3. Create a form of debt funding called hypothecation (in which a borrower pledges collateral to secure a debt or a borrower, as a condition precedent to a loan) in which the benefit will be accessibility gains. Development contributions and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is premised on land values increasing. This increased Tax Increment Financing. Land value near new rail can increase by 42% in 5 years as in Perth where TIF has paid for approximately 60% of that rail. An interesting final suggestion: now that we have a single card for public transport, we could consider “a card, not a car” covering bike, car, taxi, etc. share to cover the trips not covered by mass transit systems.

Skypath Open Day

Five of the seven members of the Local Board were present at the Skypath Open Day on the Westhaven side of the Harbour Bridge on 12 April.

(l to r) Paul Shortland, Member Vernon Tava, Member Rob Thomas, Chair Shale Chambers, Deputy Chair Pippa Coom, Member Deborah Yates. We are standing in a space marked to indicate the 4-metre width of the planned path.

(l to r) Paul Shortland, Member Vernon Tava, Member Rob Thomas, Chair Shale Chambers, Deputy Chair Pippa Coom, Member Deborah Yates. We are standing in a space marked to indicate the 4-metre width of the planned path

The Local Board strongly supports the Skypath which will have huge flow-on benefits, not just as a commuter path but as a tourist attraction. The word ‘transformative’ is often used at the moment but this is one project to which it is properly applied. For too long the city has been cleft in two by the false economy of not allowing for rail, pedestrian or cycling infrastructure over the bridge. When the NZTA’s planned Seapath running from the base of the bridge to Takapuna is completed, there will be a complete connection from one end of the city to the other.

Local Board Submission to the Governing Body on the Annual Plan 2014/5

The City Vision members of the Local Board addressing the Governing Body (Photo: Cr Cathy Casey)

The City Vision members of the Local Board addressing the Governing Body (Photo: Cr Cathy Casey)

 

 

Meetings/Events Attended

(l to r) Member Dempsey, Deputy Chair Coom, Member Tava outside Town Hall after addressing the Governing Body

(l to r) Member Dempsey, Deputy Chair Coom, Member Tava outside Town Hall after addressing the Governing Body

1 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Local Board Plan update and community feedback
    • Local Board Agreement/Annual Plan deliberations
    • Budget prioritisation meeting
  • Auckland Conversations: ‘The Return of the City’, Professor Peter Newman, Curtin University Sustainability Program

2 April:

  • Budget prioritisation meeting

3 April:

  • Meeting to discuss feedback on Draft Auckland Energy Resilience and Low Carbon Action Plan
  • Budget prioritisation meeting
  • Local Board Plan Engagement Meeting with Grey Lynn Residents Association

8 April:

  • Meeting with Heather Harris and Mark White regarding RMA decisions within the Board area
  • Parks portfolio monthly meeting
  • Local Board Business Meeting

9 April:

  • Presentation of concepts for 254 Ponsonby Road site by planning staff

10 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Initial input on Signage Bylaw
    • Historic Heritage Plan Heritage and Assets Stewardship Policy
  • Launch of K Rd and Newton Plans

12 April:

  • Skypath Open Day. I attended at the Westhaven Marina side

13 April:

  • Site visits to 254 Ponsonby Road and Tole Reserve

15 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • 2014/15 Local and Sports Parks work programme
    • Auckland Transport Update
    • City Centre Integration Group projects and programming
    • Connected, Healthy, Safe and Accessible Transport Choices Outcome report-back
    • Local Board Agreement: advocacy positions.
  • Costley Reserve and Home Street Reserve Presentations
  • Site visit to Costley Reserve
  • Heritage Portfolio meeting to discuss the Local Board Plan

16 April:

  • K Rd and Newton Plans Public Drop-In, Eden Terrace

17 April:

  • Local Board Finance Committee meeting (qua Deputy Chair of Finance Committee)

22 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Draft Local Board Plan
    • CDAC 2014/15 Work Programme Discussion
    • City Centre Waterfront Building Height and Form Strategy
  • Meeting with Kobus Mentz of Urbanism+ to discuss urban planning and sustainable cities

25 April:

  • ANZAC day civic service – Cenotaph

27 April:

  • First day of electric trains in Auckland. I rode from Britomart-Newmarket return. An historic day for Auckland

28 April:

  • K Rd and Newton Plans Public Drop-In, Eden Terrace

29 April:

  • Local board workshop
    • Draft Local Board Plan
    • Ponsonby Road Masterplan
  • Governing Body and Local Board Annual Plan (2014/2015) submissions by Local Board
  • Meeting with Niko Elsen & Luke Christensen of Generation Zero and Gurv Singh & Ross Cooper of Auckland Council about the Generation Zero campaign to promote a dedicated cycleway along the length of K Rd
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About Vernon Tava

Business broker, focused on sustainability, lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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