This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during July 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.
Speaking to the Regulations and Bylaw Review Committee on the Animal Management Bylaw with a focus on rodeo events: 22 July
On 31 October 2010 Auckland Council inherited a policy from the legacy Auckland City Council that prohibited rodeo events on council land in the former Auckland City area. This policy has been superseded by the new Auckland Council Events Policy 2013 which was adopted by the Regional Development and Operations Committee on 16 May 2013 (RDO/2013/73). There is currently one rodeo event in Auckland held annually at the Warkworth Showgrounds. This event is under the jurisdiction of the Rodney Local Board. It came to my attention shortly before the meeting on 22 July that the Regulations and Bylaw Review Committee would be accepting a recommendation that would effectively negate this statement.
At a bylaw review workshop with councillors on the 20th of May 2014, concern was raised about protecting the welfare of animals used in entertainment events on council land, including rodeos.
There are no bylaws concerning animals used in events on council land because the Local Government Act 2002 does not provide the council with the power to make bylaws about animal welfare. The welfare of animals is provided for under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and Animal Welfare (Rodeos) Code of Welfare 2003.
The Committee passed the following resolution:
That the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee:
a) note that the Local Government Act 2002 does not provide council with the power to make bylaws about animal welfare;
b) note that decisions on the use of council land are delegated to local boards for local parks, and governing body for regional parks;
c) confirm that no additional measures beyond the Auckland Council Events Policy 2013 apply to events held on council owned or controlled land.
Further enquiries by Cr Casey and myself elicited a legal opinion from Council that the ban of the Auckland City Council is a matter to which local boards on the isthmus ‘must have regard’ when deciding whether or not to give landowner consent for rodeos on council land. Questions still remain as to whether this is limited only to the isthmus area and what decision makers must demonstrate by way of having regard. I will be following up on these in the coming month.
Speaking at SAFE Rally Against Factory Farming
As part of a national day of action organised by SAFE New Zealand (I am a member of the Board of Directors) I was a speaker and MC at the Auckland rally held in QEII Square on the afternoon of 26 July. The protest was aimed particularly at phasing out the cruel practice of intensive ‘factory’ farming of pigs. It was a hugely successful event with over 500 people attending and widespread media coverage.
The Big Sleepout
On the evening of 3 July, I participated in Lifewise’s Big Sleepout. I set a fundraising target of $1000 and was very pleased to raise $1515 for such a worthy cause. This is an event, now in its fifth year, designed to raise awareness and funds to help Auckland’s homeless. This year’s focus was on homeless young people, particularly those under twenty years of age, many of whom have been in state care until they are no longer eligible at age 17. Lifewise employ a ‘no band aids’ approach to helping Auckland’s homeless. Since the first event in 2010, more than 160 homeless people have been permanently housed and many more assisted into emergency housing. Others have been supported into work and training.
Pechakucha Local Board Plan Consultation Event
Pechakucha (Japanese: lit. ‘chit chat’) is a format for presenting ideas in which 20 images are displayed for 20 seconds each. We used this as a novel approach to presenting our work as Local Board Members at an event at the Town Hall on the evening of 16 July. Six of the Local Board members took three slides each. Below are the three slides (with speech) that I presented.
“One of the main roles of a local board is place-shaping. This is the new playground in Myers Park which will be completed in time for the park’s centenary next year. Before it was a park, the land was an area of slums. In more recent times it has been a dangerous and neglected part of the city. We are proud to have worked with the community towards making it a jewel of the inner city.”
“These custom-made manhole covers from Japan were originally conceived as a way to involve the community in standardising Japan’s sewerage system. They have become highly local emblems that are hotly contested in design competitions. They only cost slightly more than generic covers and Myers Park will be the first place in Auckland where place-specific versions are used.”
“We spend a lot of time planning and doing but sometimes it’s what you leave alone. In the 10th of June storm, this huge gum tree fell in Grey Lynn Park. Members of the local community pointed out that children love playing on it and it makes a good home for insects which will feed the birds. So, we’ve left it there and locals – especially children – love it.”
Portfolio Report: Parks & Open Spaces
Myers Park Phase One Works Commenced
We were very pleased to see work commence on the first phase of the Myers Park Redevelopment with an official sod turning on the morning of 14 July. These works should be finished in time for the centennial celebrations of the establishment of the Park in 1915.
254 Ponsonby Road Site
Consultation Plan: The plan was confirmed at the 10 June business meeting. At that meeting, I moved that public consultation be for 8 weeks rather than the much shorter time recommended by officers.
Community Group consultation: On 9 July, I met with the Western Bays Community Group who have been particularly activist in advocating for an open space at the site. They collected over 1200 signatures on a petition that they circulated in the early months of this year.
Designs: Design options for public consultation will be signed off by the board at the August business meeting. The portfolio holders have been through a few iterations of the plans with the open space designers and have requested numerous changes based on views expressed by the public as well as urban design and CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles. These will be incorporated where possible.
Grey Lynn Gum Tree Update
In the major storm of 10 June 2014, one of the major arboricultural casualties was a large gum tree in Grey Lynn Park. This tree attracted an unusual amount of public attention and even featured in the New Zealand Herald on a couple of occasions (see my June report to the Local Board). Numerous members of the public petitioned us to leave the tree as it was as locals noticed that it was very popular with children and would provide a natural dimension to an otherwise featureless hilltop. We continue to receive positive feedback about leaving the fallen gum tree in Grey Lynn park. Finishing work was done this month, trimming the roots of the tree to tidy it up and make it safer for children to play on and filling in the hole left by the base of the tree with topsoil. The contractor filling in the hole reported to our Parks Advisor that children were lining up to play on the tree while he finished his work.
Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
The 2013-14 Needs Assessment has been incorporated into the draft Development Plan. We consulted with the Grey Lynn Parks Advisory Group on 17 July and the draft will go to public consultation in August.
Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design & Planning
The Karangahape Road Plan
Early this month, I met with the planning officers working on the plan and subject matter experts (SMEs) who are peer reviewing aspects of the Plan. The meeting with the Heritage SME was particularly productive and the language and objectives in the heritage section of the plan have been strengthened as a result.
The process timeline over July and into August is as follows:
- 1 July: Presentation of draft ‘final plan’ content at Local Board workshop for discussion
- 22 July: Final review by Local Board on publication version of the document at a workshop before it goes to reporting
- 12 August: Reporting and final sign-off of plan for adoption
Legal Challenge of Notice of Requirement for Removal of Pohutukawa Trees at 820 Great North Road by Auckland Transport
Auckland Transport have applied to remove six pohutukawa trees on the corner of Great North and Saint Lukes Roads to make way for a second slip lane to turn onto the intersection. The trees are over 80 years old and much-loved by locals and commuters. The original resource consent for the entire project, part of the broader Waterview works, was for a single turning lane which would leave the trees intact. However, AT now seeks to vary the plan as originally consented by two mechanisms: a s127 RMA variation and a Notice of Requirement.
The Board has retained a solicitor to advocate for the Local Board’s position in opposition to this application. The Board’s submission was filed on 3 July and the hearing will likely by in September or October. This is a landmark event in the history of the new Auckland Council; a Local Board has not challenged a Notice of Requirement before.
16-18 Crummer Road, Grey Lynn Demolition of two buildings from the 1890s
We have been surprised to learn that the pre-1944 overlay has areas of exemption. At 16-18 Crummer Road are a pair of two-storey Victorian wooden villas built in the 1880s-1890s. On 21 July, we were informed that Council has received a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) application for the demolition of the buildings. A CoC is an administrative exercise to confirm compliance with the District Plan. The sites are within the Business Mixed Use zone and are not afforded any protection under the District Plan or Unitary Plan We have been informed by Council officers that the pre-1944 heritage/character rules of the Unitary Plan are now in effect, however they do not apply to this site. The Unitary Plan identifies all sites covered by the new pre-1944 demolition rules and 16-18 Crummer Road is not one of those sites. Given that there are no rules, overlays or protection for the properties in question, no heritage/character assessment is required. Demolition of the buildings is permitted by the District Plan and the Unitary Plan. The fact that the buildings were constructed prior to 1900 will mean that some form of New Zealand Historic Places Trust approval is required prior to demolition (relating to recording of any historic items found on site). This is not a resource consent/Council matter.
The Local Board are sufficiently concerned at the revelation that the pre-1944 is not a blanket provision that we are requesting a report from Heritage on which pre-1944 properties are not covered in the Local Board area.
Heritage Advisory Panel
I attended on the evening of 22 July. The panel heard from the Kestrel Preservation Society on their ongoing efforts to preserve the iconic vessel.
Particularly relevant to the previous item on 16-18 Crummer Road, council officers presented on the new Pre-1944 Survey Project. The project aims to run for the next two years but allows for the possibility that the members may be called to the Hearings Panel early, possibly as early as April 2015. The initial plan is to identify 10-12 priority areas by looking at ‘hotspots’ such as Mount Eden, Balmoral, Westmere, parts of Grey Lynn, Sandringham and other areas on the fringes of the Res 1 zones. This will be considered in the context of areas where there is high development pressure and where the Special Housing Areas have been nominated.
- Briefing on Tranche 4 of the Special Housing Areas
- Catch up with Barbara Holloway of the K Rd Business Association
- Meeting with legal counsel regarding the Notice of Requirement on 880 Great North Road
- Parks Portfolio Meeting
- Finance Committee & Local Improvement Projects Portfolio Meeting
- Lifewise Big Sleepout
- Community meeting regarding the Local Alcohol Policy at Grey Lynn Community Centre
- Local Board Monthly Business Meeting
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Campbell Free Garden, Victoria Park
- Domain Fields update
- K Road Plan Update
- Basque Road site landowner consent meeting
- Myers Park portfolio briefing
- Discussion of options for 254 Ponsonby Rd site with Western Bays Community Group
- Local Board workshop
- Costley Playground Design
- Sandcarpeting at Auckland Domain
- QEII Square alternative space options and progress
- AT Parking draft Bylaw discussion
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Pioneer Women’s Hall, city centre
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Parnell Farmer’s Market
- Sod turning at Myers Park launching phase one of the re-development
- Grey Lynn and Western Park Development plans meeting
- Local Board workshop
- Home Street Playspace Concept Design
- Final draft Western Park Development Plan
- Decision Making Allocation
- Environmental Strategic Action Plan Feedback
- Construction Bylaw Review
- Meeting with developer of 367-375 Great North Road proposed residential project
- Town Hall Pecha Kucha: Local Board Plan
- Parks Portfolio meeting
- K Road Plan catch-up meeting
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Station Square, Newmarket
- Grey Lynn Park development plan consultation with Grey Lynn Parks Advisory Group
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Richmond Rovers clubrooms, Grey Lynn Park
- Submission to the Regulations and Bylaw Review Committee on the Animal Management Bylaw with a focus on rodeo events
- Local Board workshop
- Draft Local Alcohol Policy Feedback
- Beach Road Upgrade update
- Myers Park re-development update
- Tole Playground update
- Meeting about naming of public road at 4 Williamson Avenue
- Heritage Advisory Panel
- Weona Walkway progress meeting
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Ponsonby Community Centre
- Heritage, Planning and Urban Design portfolio meeting
- MCed at Rally Against Factory Farming, SAFE New Zealand National Day of Action
- Local Board Workshop
- Auckland Council Traffic Bylaw
- Community Grants Policy
- Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
- Taraurua Pt Resolution Masterplan
- Joint Auckland Development Committee and Parks, Recreation & Sports Committee Meeting
- Fukuoka Friendship Garden Steering Group
- K Road Plan catch up meeting
- Weona walkway budget meeting
- Beach Road heritage project scoping meeting
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Main AUT Quad
- Local Board Plan drop-in session, Pitt Street Methodist Church