March 2015 Local Board Member Report

Logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during March 2015 as Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee, Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces portfolio, Acting Lead of the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio and Local Board representative on the K Road Business Association.

Executive Summary

  • The draft Western Park Development Plan is out for public consultation for the month of April
  • I attended the ‘Applied Governance Essentials for Local Government’ course in Wellington run jointly by Local Government New Zealand and the Institute of Directors
  • The Fukuoka Friendship Gardens Steering Group has become the  Fukuoka Friendship Gardens Advisory Group. Work continues with two concept options presented to the Advisory Group and Local Board

Comments

Fukuoka Friendship Garden Advisory Group

As of 31 March, the The Fukuoka Friendship Gardens Steering Group has become the  Fukuoka Friendship Gardens Advisory Group. This change of name is to reflect the changing role of the group as concept plans have been produced and the governance of the Local Board becomes more direct. The concept plans were shown to the Local Board on 7 April after they were considered by the Advisory Group on 31 March.

Local Government New Zealand Applied Governance Essentials for Local Government

On 19 March in Wellington. The fee of $914.25 and air travel of $427.86 were funded from the Local Board’s Professional Development Fund. I flew there and back on the same day to save on accommodation costs.

  Description:

This workshop provides an understanding of the role and fundamental responsibilities of a council in a governance setting. Distinguishing between direction and managing, understand the purpose and differing roles.

Objectives: 

·         to raise governance standards and capability within the NZ local government sector

·         to improve decision making within the NZ local government sector

·         to strengthen governance structures within the NZ councils

Workshop Agenda:

Introduction : Governance – What is good governance in a council context?

Session 1: Governance – How do we do it?

Session 2: Creating an effective governance culture

Session 3: Management and Governance – understanding each other’s roles

Session 4: Effective compliance

I found the course to be hugely useful. The facilitator, Dr Brian Rhoades, drew on a huge experience as a director of numerous private and public companies. The sessions on the distinctions between management and governance roles and creating an effective governance culture were particularly instructive. I came away with many ideas for how to better perform my role as a local board member.

Portfolio Report: Parks & Open Spaces

Western Park Development Plan Consultation

The Western Park Development Plan has been out for public consultation since the first of the month. There will be a display at Studio One Toi Tu for the full month and a consultation open day on Saturday 11 April.

Parks Renewal Programme

Every twelve months the Local Board approves the renewal programme for the parks in the local board area. Renewals are the maintenance and upkeep of the grounds, vegetation and assets. The funds allocated for renewals are specifically earmarked for this use and are not available for other capital or operational expenditure. The demands of the LTP 2015-2025 budget have meant that service levels will have to be reduced in many of the Local Board area’s parks. We have made the distinction between premier parks and suburban parks so that, while aiming to reduce drops in visible service in any of the parks, the regionally significant parks such as Albert Park are still maintained to a high standard. In real terms this means that weekly maintenance will in many areas happen fortnightly, fortnightly will happen monthly and so on. There will also be moves to replace some higher maintenance plantings with less demanding vegetation. This is a necessity imposed by larger circumstances and although it is not a local board decision to make we will be using our local knowledge to ensure that the experienced impacts are as minimal as possible.

Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design & Planning

Seismic Exemplar Guidebook

The guidebook is designed to be an accessible, easy-to-read guide to strengthening a heritage building to comply with seismic standards aimed at non-expert building owners. A final draft of the guidebook has now been developed. The Seismic Exemplar Guidebook was presented to the portfolio on 25 March with work now focussed on making the work as accessible as possible. It is expected to be endorsed by the Local Board at the June business meeting.

Planning

We have, as usual, given feedback on significant resource consent applications.

Of particular interest is:

16-18 Crummer Road, Ponsonby:

crummerThe history of this application is complex and illuminating as to the state of heritage protection in Auckland. Currently standing at the site are a pair of two-storey Victorian wooden villas built in the 1880s-1890s. On 21 July 2014, the local board was informed that Council had 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 were informed by Council officers that although the pre-1944 heritage/character rules of the Unitary Plan are now in effect, 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). As such, the question of demolition is not a resource consent/Council matter.

In the same month as applying for the CoC, the owner of the site in July 2014 the original application lodged was for the construction of a mixed use development of 24 residential apartments and 112m2 of commercial floor space also involving earthworks and a shortfall in car parking mainly due to the commercial activity proposed. The 15 metre height limit was infringed by 6.2 metres (total 21.2m) and floor area ratio of 2 : 1 was breached by the proposed ratio of 3.9 : 1.

When informed by the duty commissioner that the proposal would be fully notified, the applicant significantly scaled their proposal down and the amended proposal lodged in January 2015 removed the top penthouse floor to reduce the height and bulk of the building. This resulted in a mixed use development of 20 residential units and 1 commercial unit involving earthworks.  The height of 15 metres is infringed by 1.05 metres (mainly lift shaft) and the floor area ration of 2 : 1 is breached by the proposed ratio of 3.5 : 1. The proposal also resulted in a shortfall in car parking mainly due to the commercial unit. This scaled down proposal was accepted by the duty commissioner and the application was approved on a non-notified basis.

Meetings/Events Attended

3 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Myers Park Stage II
    • 2015/2016 Fees and Charges for hiring community facilities
    • Auckland Transport Update
    • Newmarket Plan update
  • Business Improvement District Areas Roundtable meeting

4 March:

  • White Ribbon Committee Meeting
  • Resource consent applications briefing
  • ‘Have Your Say’ Long Term Plan Consultation event, Town Hall

5 March:

  • Parks Portfolio meeting
  • Auckland Domain Master Plan Panel meeting

9 March:

  • ‘Have Your Say’ Long Term Plan Consultation event, Grafton Residents Association

10 March:

  • Local Board monthly business meeting

11 March:

  • Finance Committee & LIPS meeting
  • Meeting with residents of Poynton Terrace
  • ‘Have Your Say’ Long Term Plan Consultation event, Grey Lynn Library Hall

12 March:

  • Local Board workshop
    • Community Facilities Network Plan
    • Community Facility CAPEX 2015/2016 Work Programme
    • Bi-monthly report

17 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • City Centre Integration update
    • Public Transport Network Review, Light Rail and City Rail Link
    • North South Cycleway (Nelson Street Cycleway) – presentation of detailed design
  • Walking tour around Wynyard Quarter with Frith Walker, Place Manager at Waterfront Auckland
  • Karangahape Business Association meeting

18 March:

  • Transport portfolio meeting

19 March:

  • LGNZ/IoD Governance Essentials for Local Government training in Wellington

24 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Point Resolution Plan Consultation feedback
    • Grey Lynn Park Plan Consultation feedback
    • Six monthly report on local board achievements
    • 254 Ponsonby Road site consultation outcomes

31 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Grey Lynn Community Centre Update
    • Outcomes from Long Term Plan consultation
    • Parks Capex 2015-2016 Work Programme
  • Fukuoka Garden Steering/Advisory Committee meeting
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About Vernon Tava

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