April 2015 Local Board Member Report

Logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during April 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

  • Point Resolution Taurarua Park Development Plan approved by the Local Board
  • Grey Lynn Park Development Plan approved by the Local Board
  • Draft Western Park Development Plan has been out for public consultation for the entire month of April with the decision made in mid-April to extend the deadline to 14 May
  • Attended a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Workshop
  • Attended the elected members’ session of the New Zealand Planning Institute Conference 2015
  • Represented the Local Board at the ANZAC Day Civic Event at Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Fukuoka Friendship Garden concept designs have been considered by the Local Board
  • Enforcement of no overnight parking at Point Erin Reserve park
  • Local Dog Access rules are being reviewed by the local board

Comments

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) training

A major role of the Local Board is ‘place making’, a people-centred approach to urban design that creates spaces on the human scale as distinct from the scale of the industrial, automotive-centred city. An enhanced knowledge of CPTED helps us to better advocate for safety in our community.  It also helps to advance CPTED as a fundamental consideration in business as usual practice rather than occasional formal inquiry. One of the central concerns in doing this work is the safety of the spaces we are making decisions about. Urban design can make all the difference to whether an area is safe and welcoming or dangerous. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a body of academic and practical research, pioneered in the 1960s, that studies open spaces and devises principles of design that make places more or less safe.  An example of where these decisions can be very significant – and divisive – is the discussion around lighting in parks, as detailed in my member report to the Local Board of November. On 1 April, Council held a training workshop facilitated by Tony Lake of the International Security Management and Crime Prevention Institute.

Objectives and outcomes of the training session:

The course involves but is not limited to the following subject areas:

  • An introduction to CPTED principles including surveillance, territorial reinforcement, access control, and management responsibilities
  • CCTV and Lighting requirements

Learning outcomes:

  • How to assess the likely impact of light and colour in a particular situation.
  • How CPTED concepts and strategies have been used in a variety of settings, including retail, schools, universities, housing developments, pedestrian malls, shopping centres, sports facilities, and at major events.

New Zealand Planning Institute Conference 2015 Elected Members and Independent Commissioners Half-day Workshop

The NZPI organised a collection of tailored workshops run from 12-5PM on Tuesday 14 April at the Aotea Centre as part of their 2015 conference. The fee of $172 for my attendance at this event was funded from the Local Board Professional Development Fund. I attended presentations on the following topics:

  • An overview of the EPA Board of Inquiry process and in particular the independence of the Board – Judge Gordon Whiting
  • Presentation on recent case law – Bill Loutit
  • Making Good Decisions: a group discussion – Wendy Turvey

These were high-level, sophisticated discussions that I found very instructive. Having recently completed my certification in the Making Good Decisions course, I was placed to understand these more advanced discussions and the attendance of many more experienced members and commissioners made for useful discussions in the group sessions.

Auckland Conversations: Charles Montgomery on ‘The Happy City’

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Held on the evening of 15 April at ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Vancouver B.C.-based journalist and urbanist, Charles Montgomery – author of the acclaimed book, Happy City (2013) – presented his talk as part of Auckland Conversations in partnership with the NZPI Conference. In an energetic presentation, Montgomery outlined a thesis to consider how the design of cities does or does not conduce to human happiness. He started with the intriguing point that self-help experts have told us that we need to do inner work in order to improve our lives. But what if our cities themselves had the power to make or break our happiness?

He sets out the conundrum of urban life succinctly:

‘No age in the history of cities has been so wealthy. Never before have our cities used so much land, energy and resources. Never before has the act of inhabiting a city demanded converting so much primordial muck into atmosphere-warming gas. Never before have so many people enjoyed the life of private domesticity and mobility. Despite all we have invested in this dispersed city, it has failed to maximise health and happiness. It is inherently dangerous. It makes us fatter, sicker and more likely to die young. It makes life more expensive than it has to be. It steals our time. It makes it harder to connect with family, friends and neighbours. It makes us vulnerable to the economic shocks and rising energy prices inevitable in our future. As a system, it has begun to endanger both the health of the planet and the well-being of our descendants.’ – Montgomery 2013, p322

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Distance kills social ties. A slide from Montgomery’s presentation.

Montgomery is particularly critical of car-based city design. He contends that cities should be built for happiness. Nothing matters more for human happiness than social ties. Socially connected people live, on average, 15 years longer than socially disconnected people. There is an urban tyranny of distance. Cities design social ties. Distance kills social ties. If you have more than a 40-minute commute, you are more likely to be divorced after 10 years. The ‘conviviality’ that characterises social interaction is best achieved by better provision for walking and cycling, low or slow traffic streets and active street frontages that keep people engaged and open to interaction with each other. Mixed use, city core sites are hugely more economically efficient than big box, city fringe sites. Furthermore, long commutes are expensive and more sensitive to fluctuations in fuel prices. Solutions to climate change have been consistently been dealt with more effectively at the level of cities than by nation-states which have tended to treat climate negotiations like trade negotiations. With its natural corollary of low carbon living, good, social urban design is one of the best climate change adaptation strategies there is.

ANZAC Day

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We are into the second year of the WWI Centenary and commemorations are continuing by way of a number of well-funded Council events and installations.

On 25 April I attended the Newmarket Parade with Member Rob Thomas and the civic ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum with Member Deborah Yates as official representatives of the Local Board.

Inaugural meeting of the Auckland Branch of the Body Corporate Chairs Group

On the evening of 16 April, I attended the first meeting of the Auckland branch of the BCCG.

The aims of the BCCG are to:

  • provide education, training and resources for body corporate chairpersons to enhance their management of their respective body corporate
  • share information amongst body corporate chairpersons
  • seek information from other bodies for the benefit of bodies corporate
  • provide a communication and networking channel for body corporate chairpersons
  • initiate or respond to central and local government on issues of concern to bodies corporate
  • use the purchasing power of the group for body corporate benefit.

As well as supporting the general aims of the group, I also attended on behalf of the Local Board to make myself known to the Chairs of body corporates in the city centre as this is a group that we do not reach as easily or well as the communities of the inner suburbs within our local board area. I have had positive meetings with a number of body corporate chairs in the central city and am confident that a number of positive connections were made on the evening of the 16th.

Portfolio Report: Parks & Open Spaces

Portfolio Responsibilities

Decision-making for and oversight of local parks and public council open spaces, including beaches, coastal walkways, reserves, sports fields, playgrounds, non-road reserve plazas and boat ramps. This includes location and naming of new parks, design and maintenance of park facilities and settings, and supporting community events and planting programmes in parks. Landowner consent delegation in respect of local parks and open spaces. Regulatory and policy oversight of local dog management. Advocacy to achieve local priorities relating to parks network development and input into the management and use of regional parks located within the local area.

Park Development Plans approved by the Local Board at the April 2015 Business Meeting

  1. Point Resolution Taurarua Park Development Plan, resolution WTM/2015/51
  2. Grey Lynn Park Development Plan, resolution WTM/2105/52

These plans are the end product of lengthy development and consultation with local stakeholders. I want to acknowledge the very significant volunteer hours that these community advocates put into the plans and the high quality of their contributions.

Consultation on draft Western Park Development Plan

Public consultation has been held for the entire month on April on the draft Western Park Development Plan. This has included a consultation room with large display boards set up for all of April at Studio One Toi Tu on 1 Ponsonby Road. The drafting of this plan has been a large piece of work that seeks to take numerous long-standing challenges – some, decades old – and deal with them in an integrated manner. Given the length and complexity of the draft Plan, as well as the contentiousness of some of the issues being dealt with, we opted to extend the deadline by two weeks to 14 May (making the consultation period a total of six weeks) to
ensure that anyone who is interested has a chance to contribute.

Fukuoka Friendship Garden

Fukuoka Advisory Committee

Fukuoka Friendship Garden Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee (pictured, Member Yates and I are the Local Board’s representatives), renamed from ‘Steering Group’ last month, last met on the 31 March and the two concept plans have been considered by the Local Board in a workshop on 7 April. The lead Parks Department designer will be visiting Japan this month for consultation with the Fukuoka City Greenery Department and the original designers of the  gardens to further refine the design. We have reached a strong consensus on the desired style of garden, choosing a traditional-style ‘rock and pond’ garden.

Installation of Gate at Entrance to Point Erin Reserve Car Park

The Point Erin Reserve car park has been used as an overnight stay site by both recreational vehicle users and some homeless sleeping rough in their cars. This has created a difficult situation in which the sleepers have used the public toilet facilities in conflict with other uses of the park and swimming pool. The residents associations in the area expressed strong objections to people staying in vehicles overnight. The Local Board have attempted to deal with the situation compassionately as some of the people using the car park to stay overnight are clearly in a difficult personal situation and this is their option of last resort; we have asked Council’s community team to visit these people and help them access available social services. Over the last few months we have given the rough sleepers ample notice and have offered help to those who are receptive. However, this is not a tenable situation in the long term and on the recommendation of Parks staff we have moved to more strict enforcement of the rules around the use of the car park. Signs have not been an adequate deterrent as they have been vandalised and ignored. As a last resort, it has become necessary to install gates at the entrance of the car park along with enforcement staff to ensure on a nightly basis that the area is cleared of vehicles. We feel we have struck the appropriate balance between sensitivity to the needs of those using the car park as a dwelling and the strict necessity that the car park not be used in such a way in the future.

CAPEX Projects in Symonds Street Cemetery

  1. Jewish Cemetery Pavement Renewal – Works complete except for the laying of the tiled pavers at the entrance gates.
  2. Symonds Street Cemetery East Staircase – Resource Consent approved and HNZ Authority in place.  Procurement Plan approved, Tenders were invited and contractor appointed. Works scheduled to be complete in the second week of May (timber availability dependent).
  3. Symonds Street Cemetery Pavement Renewal
  • Lower track – Procurement plan complete. Contractor procurement underway. Works scheduled to commence in May and be completed in June.
  • New path south of viaduct and pavement renewals – Procurement Plan approved, contractor appointed. Works scheduled to be undertaken May. Relocated path north of viaduct  – To be renewed in current position.  Heritage have indicated that changes in alignment  may still go over graves so there would be no advantage in changing it.
  • St Martins Lane / Symonds St entrance path renewal. Prepared design option for a new entrance off Symonds St with accessible entrance.

Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design & Planning

Portfolio Responsibilities

Heritage, Urban Design and Planning covers a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory activities including city planning and growth, heritage protection, urban design requirements, Local Board resource consent application input, and bylaw development, including advocacy to achieve local priorities relating to heritage preservation, good urban design and spatial planning. Regulatory and policy oversight of local liquor licensing, signs & billboards, brothels.

Heritage

Seismic Exemplar Guidebook

Waitematā is blessed with many of Auckland’s historical buildings. Commonly built of brick with decorative facades, these buildings have a solid presence throughout the inner city and contribute enormously to its character. Although Auckland has a low likelihood of a damaging earthquake, we have a critical mass of heritage buildings that fall short of seismic performance standards and are considered earthquake prone.  The process of fixing them can be confusing and costly, causing some owners to consider demolition. Auckland Council has adopted a staged approach to the identification of earth-quake prone buildings with all potential earthquake prone buildings being assessed by December 2015. We are committed to the ongoing survival of the region’s rich built heritage and that includes ensuring it is structurally sound.  We don’t want to see seismic strengthening work adversely affect the intrinsic value of a building nor cause the unnecessary loss of heritage through demolition. This commitment has led us to produce this guidebook as a helpful tool to guide building owners, tenants and building managers. This book will guide you through the requirements and process for seismic strengthening and illustrate techniques that respect and protect heritage.

The guidebook provides a high level overview of the earthquake assessment process, an understanding of the common earthquake vulnerabilities of historical buildings, the retrofit process and an outline of the potential costs associated with this process. We have aimed to make it as accessible and easy to read as possible while retaining the necessary technical detail.

A final version of the Guidebook is expected to come to the June Business Meeting for approval.

Planning

Resource Consents

We have, as usual, given feedback on significant resource consent applications and this month reviewed which resource consent applications trigger our criteria for notification to the Portfolio.

Of particular significance this month is a section 127 Resource Management Act 1991 application for variation of conditions 26 Poynton Terrace, City Centre. The Local Board has submitted that this application should have limited notification as the effects on the neighbouring Espano Building at 24 Poynton Terrace will be much more than minor. We are concerned about the stability of the slope on the site and groundwater issues which stem from the headwaters of the Horotiu Stream under the site. There is currently a large amount of earth piled against the side of the Espano Building, from the site at 26, and water is running into their basement. We are particularly concerned about this site given its prime position at the head of Myers Park, at the top of Poynton Terrace on which we are about to spend a very significant sum of money re-surfacing, and the possible impacts on the Espano Building which we understand is likely to be scheduled in the Unitary Plan as a Heritage B building.

Regulatory

Local Dog Access Rules

The Local Board has started reviewing the local dog access rules in our area as required by the Dog Control Bylaw. We will be focusing particularly on the rules regarding beach, foreshore and selected park areas. The timeline is as follows:

August 2014-March 2015: internal research and pre-consultation

October 2014-March 2015: external research and pre-consultation

April 2015: Local Board consider changes to draft Statement of Proposal for changes to the local dog control rules

May 2015: Local Board finalise the Statement of Proposal for public consultation

June-July 2015:  formal public consultation

August/September 2015: Local Board decision following hearings and deliberations

September 2015: Governing Body update the Dog Control Bylaw

October 2015: changes take effect

Meetings/Events Attended

1 April:

  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) training

2 April:

  • Parks Portfolio Monthly Meeting

7 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • AT Update
      • Gillies Avenue Corridor Management Plan
      • Parnell Road/Parnell Rise Corridor Management Plan
      • Parnell Road Bus Priority Lanes Project
    • Fukuoka Friendship Garden Concept Design

9 April:

  • Local Board Hearings Committee
  • Joint Transport/Parks Portfolio Meeting

10 April:

  • St James Foyer Re-Opening Function

11 April:

  • Open day consultation on Western Park draft Development Plan

14 April:

  • New Zealand Planning Institute Conference 2015 Elected Members’ Session
  • Local Board Business Meeting

15 April:

  • Board briefing about resource consent for application for proposed Michael Parekowhai artwork
  • Alcohol Ban Review Working Group meeting
  • Auckland Conversations: Charles Montgomery on ‘The Happy City’

16 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • ATEED Pilot Study Local Board Engagement Plan
    • Community Development, Arts and Culture Work Programme 2015/2016
  • Inaugural meeting of the Auckland branch of the Body Corporate Chairs Group

21 April:

  • Local Board Workshop:
    • Advocacy and budgets
    • Empowering Communities approach
    • Aotea Quarter Framework

23 April:

  • Finance Committee meeting
  • Meeting with Dr Martin Putterill regarding the application for a liquor retailer licence at top of Ayr Street
  • Bi-monthly briefing on resource consents

25 April:

  • ANZAC Day Civic Service at War Memorial Museum
  • Newmarket ANZAC Day Parade

28 April:

  • Meeting with Auckland Girls Grammar School senior staff as part of Western Park Development Plan consultation
  • Finance Committee follow-up meeting

29 April:

  • Presentation of the Local Board to Governing Body on Long Term Plan

    Waitemata Local Board presenting to the Governing Body Budget Committee on the LTP

    Waitemata Local Board presenting to the Governing Body Budget Committee on the LTP, 30 April 2015

  • Newmarket Laneways meeting
  • Auckland Domain Masterplan meeting

30 April:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Finance Committee update
    • Local Dog Access
    • Local Board Agreement
  • Initial meeting on community engagement on design of the 254 Ponsonby Road site
  • Meeting with artist, Chris Booth, about his Subterranean Living Sculpture proposal
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About Vernon Tava

Business broker, elected member of Auckland Council. Focused on sustainability. Lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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