This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during June 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.
Parks & Open Spaces
254 Ponsonby Road Site
Designs: Design options for public consultation will be signed off by the board at the July 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.
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.
Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
The 2013-14 Needs Assessment has been incorporated into the draft Development Plan and the draft should be ready for consultation with the Grey Lynn Parks Advisory Group by mid- July and with the public in August.
Storm of 10 June
The Auckland Emergency Coordination Centre logged a total of 388 incidents as a result of the severe weather. 44 of these buildings received low to moderate structural damage. Council building inspectors are following up with affected customers to ensure that occupants are provided with any assistance that may be required. In addition the Auckland Council Call Centre responded to over 1000 calls. There were some unfortunate losses: one of the large gum trees at Grey Lynn Park was lost and a Victorian cottage in the process of being restored at 33 Norfolk Street, Ponsonby was lifted from its floor by winds and damaged to the extent that it became a risk to surrounding properties. The cottage is being removed under emergency provisions of the Resource Management Act which is a genuine shame as the owner was working closely with Council to restore the property as part of the restoration of the site.
Fallen Gum in Grey Lynn Park
A casualty of the storm of 10 June was one of a pair of very tall gums at the northern end of Grey Lynn Park, by the bleachers. The tree was uprooted and fell in one piece breaking a section of one of the rows of bleachers. The day after it fell, I began to receive emails from locals noting that the tree was very popular with children and requesting that it be left in place. I sought the views of Council arborists and parks staff, who all agreed that the tree can be left in place with some minor trimming and stabilisation work. I visited the site with parks adviser, Mark Miller, and again myself to talk to locals. I also put out the question on social media and across all of these consultations saw resounding support for leaving the tree where it is. On 20th June, Asplundh reduced the size of the neighbouring (still-standing) Gum to reinforce its stability. The crew cut all larger branches on the ground into firewood, as a few neighbours have asked if they can have some. The crew also stacked all smaller branches away from the playground ready for chipping later. The chipping will be done by the first days of July, the delay being caused by ‘complicated ground conditions’. The contractor will fill the hole with top soil until we make a decision on whether to leave the root plate in place or not. There has been city-wide interest in the decision with a New Zealand Herald piece on 26 June.
Installation of ‘Community Library’ at Hakanoa Reserve, Grey Lynn
Heritage, Urban Design & Planning
Proposed 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 sought advice from Council’s legal counsel and we will be retaining a solicitor (most likely in-house) to advocate for the Local Board’s position in opposition to this application.
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 June and into July and August is as follows:
- 3-9 June: Meet with Subject Matter Experts to review feedback summary
- 10 June: Joint hui with iwi on the K Rd, Newton and Three Kings Plans together with Puketapapa Local Board and delegated representatives from Albert-Eden Local Board
- 17 June: Local Board Workshop to work through feedback received and suggested changes, including the implementation plan
- 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
On 10 June, a joint hui was hosted by the planning officers focused on the three main plans being worked on at present: Karangahape Road, Newton and Three Kings. Members of the Waitematā, Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards, including the Chairs of each of those boards, were present to korero with representatives of Ngati Whatua o Ōrākei, Ngati Whatua o Kaipara, Te Kawerau a Maki, Ngati Paoa and Ngati Maru. The discussion was centred less on the substantive matter of the plans than on what constitutes meaningful consultation, engagement and partnership with iwi and hapu in our Local Board rohe. This was a fruitful hui that lays the groundwork for enhanced collaboration in future.
Events of Note
Studio One Toi Tu ‘Reveal’
Formerly Artstation. Re-named and re-vamped, the centre at 1 Ponsonby Road was launched in an event on the evening of 25 June.
Auckland Conversations: Urban Regeneration and Renewal: A beginner’s guide, Dr Tim Williams, CEO, Committee for Sydney
In this talk, Dr Williams drew primarily on his experience as a project lead in the redevelopment of the east end of London in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games. ‘Arrival cities’ are the cities to which immigrants flock, Auckland as a prime example. We should not fear this, it is a mark of our success and essential to the development of the city. Because of concentration and agglomeration, density creates knowledge transfers and networks. A saying from the Hanseatic port cities: ‘Stadluft Macht Frei: City Air Makes Us Free’. Williams’ work focuses on ‘convergence’, equalising disadvantaged parts of the city with wealthier parts. A mixed community is more important than clever financing, delivery vehicles and social projects in addressing inequality. Building more roads creates sprawl. Sprawl creates poverty. Sprawl may be killing social mobility. In San Francisco, a child born in the bottom fifth of income distribution has 11% chance of making it to the top fifth. In Atlanta, it’s 4%. To be frank, this talk was not of the same high quality as previous Auckland Conversations events lacking structure and having the distinct appearance of having been put together in a hurry from numerous prior presentations.
- Local Board Workshop
- WWI Centenary Programme
- Psychoactive Substances policy overview
- Auckland Transport Update
- Route optimisation 2013/14
- Beach Road Cycleway
- Assessment of Cowie St resident’s proposal
- Meeting with Western Bays Community Group
- Feedback on K Rd Plan with officers and subject matter experts: focus on heritage section of the plan
- Meeting with Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua Ōrākei, in preparation for the joint hui on Karangahape Rd, Newton and Three Kings plans
- Auckland War Memorial Museum Solar Panel Launch
- Parks Portfolio Meeting
- Finance Committee Meeting
- K Rd Plan Catch-up: feedback summaries discussed
- Matariki launch function. Attended as a Local Board representative
- Meeting with planning staff to discuss resource consent for St Luke’s interchange
- Update meeting on Weona Walkway
- Joint Hui on K Rd, Newton and Three Kings Plans with the Puketapapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards
- Local Board Business Meeting
- Local Board Workshop
- Presentation of proposed concept plans for consultation on 254 Ponsonby Road site
- Approval of applications for the Events Contestable Fund
- Draft Local Alcohol Policy feedback session
- Discussion of Local Board role in liquor licensing
- Oral presentation on a submission to the Hearings Committee for the AT Election Signs Bylaw 2014
- Meeting with Parks Manager to discuss landowner consents
- Briefing from Chorus on roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband in Waitematā
- Auckland Conversations: Urban Regeneration and Renewal: A beginners guide, Dr Tim Williams, CEO, Committee for Sydney
- Local Board Workshop
- Newton and K Rd Plans
- Highwic House Interpretation Strategy
- Parnell Rail Station: update on concept design
- Catch up with Parks Ranger regarding local park maintenance
- Meeting with legal counsel about the St Lukes intersection Notice of Requirement
- K Rd Business Association Meeting
- Catch-up with Barbara Holloway of K Rd Business Association about non-plan issues in the area.
- Finance Committee Meeting
- Parks Portfolio Site Visit to Grey Lynn Park
- Update on Ports of Auckland Limited situation from Maritime Union NZ
- Inspection of works on gum tree in Grey Lynn Park
- Local Board Workshop
- Fukuoka Friendship Garden: Re-siting discussion with Crs Cathy Casey (Chair) and John Watson; Parks officers and members of Friends of Fukuoka Garden.
- Presentation by managers of:
- Ponsonby Community Centre; and
- Grey Lynn Community Centre
- Presentation from Heart of The City BID by Alex Swney.
- Meeting with Parks manager and consents staff regarding landowner consent for resource consents in the area infringing on park land in Cox’s Bay and Basque Park.
- Meeting with Ernst Zollner, Director Auckland & Northland and Director Road Safety, re NZTA projects in the Waitematā area
- Studio One Reveal Event
- K Rd Plan catch-up
- Western Springs Ecological Restoration Plan meeting
- Heritage, Urban Design and Planning Portfolio meeting
- Local Board Bi-Monthly Resource Consents Briefing