This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during October 2014 as Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee, Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces portfolio, Co-holder of the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio and Local Board representative on the K Road Business Association.
• A major pre-occupation throughout the month has been the response of council and local boards to the ramifications of cuts in council spending necessary to fulfil the Mayoral Proposal for the 2015-2022 Long Term Plan
• Pre-consultation process for the 2014/2015 Review of the Local Dog Access Rules for Waitematā Local Board Area has started
• Karangahape Road Plan has been finalised and will be approved at the November Local Board business meeting
• Public consultation on the 254 Ponsonby Road site has begun. This will run for two months.
• Renewals have been carried out in Harry Dansey Park and Western Park.
• Member Dempsey is returning to the Lead of the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning Portfolio but I continue to lead on the Great North Road SHA project.
• The first draft of the Great North Road SHA design and context report has been considered by the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning Portfolio. It will be developed further over the next month then consulted on with stakeholders to inform a whole-of-area design approach.
Waitematā Local Board Response to the Proposed Financial Policies in the Mayoral Proposal for the 2015-2022 Long Term Plan
At the 14 October business meeting, the Local Board resolved the following:
That the Waitematā Local Board provides the following feedback on the proposed financial policies in the Mayoral Proposal for the 2015 – 2022 Long Term Plan:
a. Requests that the impact of the rates valuation on the level of the Uniform Annual General Charge be considered and modelled.
b. Supports a position of least change for the greatest numbers to the current Uniform Annual General Charge.
c. Supports the continuation of a 10% cap to residential rates to achieve equity across Auckland.
d. Supports suspending the business differential for 3 years so that the burden of rates’ increases can be shared equally between residential and business rate payers.
e. Requests that the governing body publicly communicates the implications of the business differential policy on residential rates.
f. Supports a standardisation and simplification of fees and charges in Auckland over time in an effort to promote transparency and fairness across Auckland.
g. Requests that development contributions are made available for non-greenfield growth projects to avoid pushing costs out to later years as a result of having to retro fit facilities to meet future demand.
That the Waitemata Local Board provides the following feedback on the Mayoral Proposal for the 2015-2022 Long Term Plan:
a. Supports taking a prudential judgement on a target rate increase, which enables the Council to achieve the level of investment in Waitemata that has been previously assured to our community.
b. Requests that the city central spatial boundary is increased to include the city fringe suburbs
c. Requests that funding of non-greenfield growth projects in the urban spatial priority areas be considered.
d. Requests that the level of cuts to the Parks, Community and Lifestyle budget is reduced to minimise the compounded impact on the liveability of Auckland.
e. Supports a community led approach to community development that is supported by adequate infrastructure to grow local capacity.
f. Supports the policy of moving towards fully funded depreciation.
g. Requests that adequate renewal funding is allocated to enable 100% delivery of the planned renewal programme.
h. Supports the strategic shift towards public and active modes of transport.
K Road Plan
The Karangahape Road Plan has been finalised and will be approved at the 11 November Local Board business meeting. This is the end of a long and engaging process. I have enjoyed being part of the development of the plan for a part of the city with so much hidden potential. K Rd is an area I have always felt close to and it has been a source of great satisfaction to part of the team pulling together the many threads of legacy and current planning and urban design thinking that have coalesced to form this plan.
Over the weekend of 11-12 October, Queen Street was turned over to the Diwali Festival. This was a vibrant celebration of Indian culture but was also remarkable for closing Queen Street between Wellesley and Mayoral Drive. It was a delight to be able to walk along a broad street full of people, browsing the food stalls along the roadside, with a connection to the city’s main civic space (Aotea Square). It also appeared that traffic was still able to flow easily through the city with minimal disruption. A full recycling scheme was run at the event with active sorting done on site.
St Luke’s Intersection Notice of Requirement Objection
AT propose the removal of six mature Pohutukawa trees from the side of Great North Road be the St Luke’s intersection. This is to allow for two lanes of traffic to turn off to St Luke’s rather than one which would allow the trees to be left where they are. The reserve in which they stand is Parks land. AT are notifying authority under the Resource Management Act 1991 and they are acquiring the land for the works by way of a Notice of Requirement (NOR). The Local Board decided to bring a NOR objection. We retained counsel from Nick Whittington of Meredith Connell, funded by Council. The NOR objection has been developed with the retention of an expert witness in the course of October in preparation for a two-day hearing on 5-6 November.
K Road Business Association Meeting
I attend these meetings on a monthly basis as the Local Board representative. Residents in the area have reported a marked improvement in safety at night and a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour. They continue their popular First Thursdays events. For the Heritage Festival, local historian, Edward Bennett, was funded by the Association to organise the KBA’s heritage programme, lead 12 walks attended by a total of 255 people, give three lectures attended by 42 people and run two workshops attended by 20 people.
Portfolio Report: Parks & Open Spaces
2014/2015 Review of the Local Dog Access Rules for Waitematā Local Board Area
The Governing Body delegated the review of dog access rules on local park, local beach and local foreshore areas to local boards in 2012. The Local Board has determined the scope of the review as:
• A review of all beach and foreshore dog access rules, including the following:
o the identification of possible under control off-leash at all times beaches
o the identification of where it is appropriate to use the region wide standard summer times (10am and 5pm) and summer season (Labour Weekend to 1 March); and
o identification of marine based significant ecological areas
• A review of the existing dog exercise areas and assess whether or not these areas meet the new criteria for dog exercise areas
• A review of ‘picnic’ and ‘fitness apparatus’ area dog access rules
• A review of the terrestrial significant ecological areas
Between now and March 2015, we are in a pre-consultation process prior to the formal consultation for a statement of proposal using the special consultative procedure under the Local Government Act 2002. As resolved at the 14 October business meeting, Board Chair Chambers and I will be leading the review.
Western Springs Bush Ecological Restoration Plan
In the 1920s, the hillside bush at Western Springs was planted, as was the fashion of the time, with pine trees. Almost a century later, many of these wilding pines are still standing. Some of them are as tall 40 metres. However, they are now dying and have been falling over with some regularity in recent years. This has become a serious health and safety concern leaving the Local Board with the option of either closing the reserve to the public or dealing with the pines. An ecological restoration programme has been ongoing for the past 15 years and there is now an stablished native understorey. For this reason, a clear-felling, logging operation which would damage the understorey is not an option. Our challenge is to remove the trees that present a risk and allow the native plantings under the canopy to gradually take over. Trees at this age have grown together as a system; if we remove the outer trees which are a greater risk to property, the inner trees, which have always been sheltered by those trees will be far more likely to be blown down. This makes a phased removal difficult and may actually accelerate failure of the trees.
On 9 October, Parks officers, Member Rob Thomas and I visited the home of Annette Izby to meet with members of the community to discuss the Restoration Plan. On 21 October, the Local Board discussed the options for the plan. Acknowledging the need to remove the pines but in a way that is financially responsible, the Parks portfolio is examining ways in which the removal can be done efficiently and cost-effectively. The restoration plan is not just the removal of trees, it includes the planting of native podocarps such as Totara and Kahikatea which will grow to be giants and will stand for centuries and provide homes to native animals.
Monthly Site Visit: Meeting with John Pakenham – re ‘Community Libraries’ in local parks
Over the past year, ‘community libraries’ have been appearing in parks in the Waitematā Local Board area, particularly in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby. These have been built, installed and maintained by a local man, John Pakenham, at his own expense as a community initiative with the agreement of the Parks department. On 15 October Parks Advisor, Mark Miller, and I visited Mr Pakenham at his home. So far, these boxes have been installed in Vermont and Hakanoa Reserves. Mr Pakenham is interested in installing another at Grey Lynn Park but we will need to consult with the Parks Advisory Group and other stakeholders first.
He was inspired, after hearing about the idea from American friends, to do the same in Auckland. He built the first of these libraries on top of the front fence at his home on Richmond Road. He has a distinctive berm planting and a rope swing hangs from the branch of a tree in front of his house. This led him to call this first library the ‘swing-by library’. His grand-children have painted the outside of the box and it has been free of vandalism until recently when some minor scratches were made on the perspex doors. He spread the word in community networks and online that he was seeking second-hand books for distribution and his house became a local drop-off point for second-hand books. He says that he initially wasn’t sure what to do with the unexpectedly large influx but soon sorted the more useful editions out and has used them to stock his libraries. On only one occasion so far has there been any damage caused to the libraries in the parks when someone pulled out all the books in one and scattered them on the ground. Apart from that one incident, they have been undamaged.
Mr Pakenham has noted a high turnover of books at the boxes so locals have clearly been taking books and replacing them with their own. He is delighted at the organic uptake of the idea and hopes that the boxes will become largely self-sustaining as the community look after and replenish the books. It is a real pleasure to see such community spirit and initiative and I am happy to continue supporting these libraries in parks as the lead of the Waitematā Local Board Parks portfolio.
Iwi Engagement on Symonds Street Cemetery 10-year Programme
29 October with iwi representatives from Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, Te Akitai Waiohua, Ngāti Maru and Ngāi Tai.
Harry Dansey Park Steps Renewal
Harry Dansey Park is located at 126 Wellington Street, Freeman’s Bay and runs through to Anglesea Street. The reserve is named for Harry Delamere Barter Dansey MBE (1 November 1920 – 6 November 1979) a Māori journalist, cartoonist, writer, broadcaster, Auckland City Councillor (1971-1977) and Race Relations Conciliator. The concrete steps at the Anglesea Street entrance had become sunken and hazardous. They were renewed with new poured concrete steps this month.
Western Park Renewals
The Western Park Lookout platform at the Street entrance has been water-blasted and wood-stained to match as have the wooden steps. The see-saw has been maintained with the tyre buffers replaced. The monkey bars and their safety matting have a renewal budget but we are still waiting to see if there is a more cost-effective way to replace the matting than a patch-up repair just in the area under the play equipment. The flying fox will be replaced once the insurance claim for its repair has been processed.
Construction of St Mary’s Bay Road Connection Path
A 1.8 metre wide, exposed aggregate concrete footpath has been constructed this month to connect the end of St Mary’s Bay Road with the footpath running adjacent to the motorway at a cost of $5995.00.
Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design & Planning
No Longer Acting Portfolio Lead
I have been the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio lead for the month of September but by mutual agreement Member Dempsey has resumed as lead from the beginning of October. I will continue to lead on the work around the Great North Road SHA.
Meeting with Dennis Aitken of Built Environment Unit about a draft Design and Context Report for the Great North Road Special Housing Area
Great North Road as it runs through Arch Hill, between Ponsonby Road and Surrey Crescent, has been an area of great contention in the last four years. It has recently been designated a Special Housing Area (SHA). The non-notified consent of the Bunnings development was hugely controversial and the resistance and ensuing legal challenge to that development has galvanised the community. A group comprised of the heads of the Grey Lynn Residents, Arch Hill Residents and Grey Lynn Business Associations (GLRA, AHRA and GLBA) submitted to the Local Board Plan hearings that they would like to form a community-led design panel with the assistance with the Local Board. The Built Environment Unit (BEU) allocate 15 hours of design time to each local board and the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning Portfolio decided to use the full allocation on the Great North Road SHA. On 23 October I met with Dennis Aitken of the Built Environment Unit (BEU) to look at the first draft of the report. It has identified the challenges and opportunities of the area, and examines possible design responses. We have given initial feedback and will have a more complete draft back in November. I will consult on this draft with various stakeholders before finalising the document with the BEU. I will then aim to develop a more detailed plan with the GLRA, AHRA and GLBA with the ultimate aim of having a detailed community-led piece of work to lodge with the Housing Projects Office (HPO) which is the entity that processes SHA consents. It is my hope that this may be a model for community engagement with the SHA process that overcomes the lack of consultation and rights of appeal that otherwise alienate communities.
• Meeting with ACPL representatives re Parnell Train Station Kiwi Rail Land negotiations
• Parks Portfolio Meeting
• Finance Portfolio and LIPS Committee Meeting
• K Road Plan Meeting
• Local Board Workshop
o Feedback on Mayor’s LTP Proposal and financial policies
o Dog Access Review
o Auckland Council Property Limited update
o AT update on Franklin Road Programme
o Council Controlled Organisation Review progress report
• K Road Plan Meeting
• Home Street Playground concept design
• St Luke’s Notice of Requirement preparation meeting
• Review of Ponsonby Road Plan with Stuart Houghton
• CCO Review Local Board/Governing Body discussion
• Western Springs Restoration Plan meeting with community members
• Diwali Opening Ceremony
• Local Board Business Meeting
• Parks Portfolio monthly site visit: John Pakenham re Community Libraries in parks
• Iwi consultation on Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
• Local Board Workshop
o City Centre Integration – Downtown Framework
o Myers Park Stage 2
o Child Friendly Accreditation
• Open Day for 254 Ponsonby Road
• Local Board Workshop
o Newmarket Viaduct Project
o Newmarket Laneways Precinct
o Western Springs Bush Restoration Plan
o K Road Plan and Draft Newton and Eden Terrace Plan
• K Road Business Association Meeting
• Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio meeting
• Meeting with Dennis Aitken of Built Environment Unit about context and design report for Gt North Road SHA
• On-site meeting at Queen’s Wharf re proposed Parekowhai sculpture
• Local Board Workshop
o Consultation and Engagement Policy
o Attended Auckland Development Committee on behalf of Local Board Chair Shale Chambers: proposed Auckland Unitary Plan – Council position for mediation and hearings – Growth, Historic Heritage, Historic Character and the Pre-1944 Demolition Control Overlay
• Iwi consultation on Symonds Street Cemetery
• Parks Portfolio Monthly meeting
• Meeting with Penny Pirrit re the Planning recommendation on the application for a Notice of Requirement at St Luke’s Intersection