March 2016 Local Board Member Report

Logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during March 2016 as Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee; Deputy Chair of the Hearings Committee; Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces portfolio; Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio holder; and Local Board representative on the K Road Business Association.

Executive Summary

  • Seismic Strengthening of the Leys Institute started on 23 March and will go until mid-June
  • Path widening in Hakanoa Reserve for the Grey Lynn Greenway began this month
  • An appeal against the re-zoning of Queen Elizabeth Square (Plan Change 79) has been lodged in the Environment Court by the Auckland Architecture Association
  • The Local Board approved the name change from Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall to the Ellen Melville Centre at the March business meeting
  • The Fukuoka Friendship Garden Advisory Group met on 21 March and received confirmation that any budget overrun will be underwritten by Council. The targeted opening date will be in November this year when the Mayor of Fukuoka City will be in Auckland to open the garden with the new Mayor of Auckland
  • The Local Board was briefed on the establishment and early work of the Western Springs Stakeholder Group at our workshop 29 March
  • Auckland Domain Committee met on 30 March to adopt the Auckland Domain Event Guidelines
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’


Queen Elizabeth Square Re-Zoning (Plan Change 79) Appealed in Environment Court

The Auckland Architecture Association have brought an appeal in the Environment Court (ENV-2016-000035) against the Council’s decision to re-zone QE Square (Plan Change 79) and an appeal of the associated road stopping decision is likely to be connected to it. The appeal has been placed on the Court’s ‘priority track’.

Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square Upgrade

The Local Board approved the name change from Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall to Ellen Melville Centre at the March meeting. At the same meeting we approved the finalised design of the square and the hall. The extended consultation period has pushed out the timeline so that construction will now start in August 2016 and take 9-12 months.

Seismic Strengthening of Leys Institute, Ponsonby

A seismic strengthening programme of all Council properties is currently underway. Following an assessment of Leys Institute Building the ground floor and upper floor of the building has been deemed to be unsafe and needs to be rectified. The unreinforced double skin masonry partition wall on the upper floor of the Leys Institute Building separating two community rooms will be removed and replaced with timber framing and gypsum so as to reduce the risk to staff and library patrons on the ground floor should an earthquake cause the wall to collapse. The project began on 23rd March 2016 and is expected to go to 15th June 2016. Demolition would take at least 4 weeks from 30th March. All works will be within the building and there will be no impacts to the surrounding environment. Demolition works will be done as per Beca’s engineering drawing (a copy is attached). As Health and safety mitigatory measures, it is required to close the library during the wall demolition period. After consultation with Auckland Libraries, the Leys Institute community library will be closed from the 29th March, reopening on the 26th April being 4 weeks. This will allow the demolition of the wall to take place and eliminate any risk to library staff and customers during this phase of work. Hence, customers will be directed to use the nearest libraries being Grey Lynn, Central City, Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier during this period.   Auckland Libraries will communicate the closure through posters and flyers and talking to its customers. It will also be added to the Auckland Libraries website and via social media. We are working with Marketing & Publicity to have articles published in the Harbour News and Ponsonby News detailing the library closure. Anticipated cost of the project would be $125,000.00 including consultancy fees. Beca and Matthews and Matthews Architects (MMC) have been engaged for engineering and heritage /architectural consultancy services for the project respectively. Required sign boards including notice boards will be erected within the building premises for the attention of public.

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.

Fukuoka Friendship Garden Advisory Group


Back row (l to r): Cr John Watson, IMSB Member Glenn Wilcox, Cr Cathy Casey (Chair), WLB Member Deborah Yates, WLB Member Vernon Tava; Front row (l to r): Lee Elliot, Ian Henderson, Steph Hay, Masa Sekikawa

At the meeting of 21 March the Council’s underwrite of the budget overrun was confirmed. Sponsors are being sought to minimise this shortfall but it is outstanding news that the project can be completed. The Mayor of Fukuoka City will be visiting in November and will meet with the new Mayor of Auckland to open the completed garden.

Auckland Domain Committee

The ADC, a joint committee of the Governing Body and the Local Board, met on 30 March to approve the Auckland Domain Event Guidelines. The introduction of a clear process for the consenting of events will address one of the major challenges of the previously split governance of the Domain which was a lack of clarity about who was ultimately responsible for the approval of events – which ranged hugely in scale and expense – and who was to be consulted in the process of negotiating terms for these events.

The Guidelines will be reviewed in one year’s time to assess their effectiveness.

Path Widening in Hakanoa Reserve for Grey Lynn Greenway

The path widening project started on Monday 7th March. The Hakanoa section of the project was undertaken first. It is expected to take a maximum of three weeks. Due to the constrictions of the site it is unlikely that public access will be able to be maintained and the walkway will need to be shut over this time. The first section at Hakanoa has been completed first and then it will be reviewed on site with the engineer and contractor to ascertain the match of the concrete and see if there is anything that could be improved upon for the Grey Lynn section.

Western Park

Lighting will be installed and paving renewed along the northern and southern paths before the end of the financial year (at the end of May).

Western Springs Stakeholder Group

The Western Springs area – which includes MOTAT, Western Springs College, Pasadena Intermediate, Auckland Zoo, Seddon Fields, the site of the future Resource Recovery Centre, the site of the Fukuoka Friendship Garden, and Western Springs Park – has suffered from a lack of co-ordinated planning in the past. The Local Board stated as one of its objectives in the 2014 Local Board Plan to ‘[d]evelop a local plan for the area that includes, MOTAT, Western Springs, Auckland Zoo and Seddon Fields’ and allocated a budget of $20,000 for this work to be done. Key stakeholders have been meeting regularly since mid-2015 and have been sharing information on their planning, activities and views for the future. Key stakeholders include MOTAT, the Zoo, Western Springs College, Pasadena Intermediate, Council, Regional Facilities Auckland, Watercare, the Ministry of Education and ATEED. Most of the stakeholders have done or are doing considerable planning for their future and there is general agreement amongst members of the group that there is value in building relationships and sharing information about their plans and aspirations. The Local Board was updated on progress at our 29 March workshop.

Volunteer Activities March 2016

Update by Sarah Peters, Volunteer and Biodiversity Coordinator as at 24 March 2016.

  • Volunteer Animal Pest Control Programme: trapping rodents and possums
  • Animal pest control activities re-commenced in March after the summer break at: Auckland Domain; Newmarket Park; Alberon Reserve; Lemington Reserve; Tirotai Reserve.
  • Following the successful training session held in the Auckland Domain in February – which resulted in six new volunteers – an additional two trap lines have been installed in the park.
  • Symonds Street Cemetery: 22 March
CVNZ volunteers

CVNZ team at Symonds Street Cemetery

Using the mulch left over from the removal of some elm trees near the Karangahape Rd entrance, a team of volunteers from Conservation Volunteers New Zealand (CVNZ) undertook mulching of trees and rose bushes at the cemetery (see photo). The team also created a mulch path next to a mature puriri as an alternative to a metal path which would have damaged the tree’s roots.

Avian Botulism outbreak at Western Springs lakeside

A number of sick and dead waterfowl have been found by the Western Springs lakeside. This appears to be due to Botulism that is exacerbated by breeding grounds for bacteria that large amounts of rotting bread that has been uneaten by the ducks provide. Budget has been made available to increase lake checks to daily these have already started.

City Parks are working with the NZ Bird Charitable Trust to assist with training and providing staff with the skills to recognise birds in the early stages of the disease to ensure they are removed as early as possible and treated. Additional barley straw is being sourced and will be added near the inflow to the lake as soon as City Parks can find a supplier. The filter pond near the zoo has silted up over the years and is becoming stagnant, we will be looking at options to improve flows through this area as a longer term measure to try to reduce the breeding ground for the bacteria.

Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design and Planning


Built Heritage Acquisition Fund: Vos Yard

Vos Yard is located at 38 Hamer Street, Wynyard Quarter. The building and associated features have significant heritage value as the last remaining wooden boat-building yard in Auckland, associated with a notable boat builder, Percy Vos. The interior of the 1937 gabled shed remains with its original roof structure, stairs, office and rails. Waterfront Auckland obtained $1 million in funding from Auckland Council, through the 2012/2013 LTP, to acquire the site from Sanfords who had consent to demolish and plans to re-develop. Work has been done since to determine an ongoing use and ownership model that justifies its restoration and maintenance. The vision is to create a visitor centre housing the restoration and maintenance of wooden boats and public facilities will be incorporated to showcase and transfer skills to new generations. Waterfront Auckland has already purchased the site for $4.7 million and undertaken to find a private sector third party to carry out the work and secure the balance of funding. Ownership will transfer to the third party when the restoration is complete.

At their meeting of 23 July 2015, the Finance and Performance Committee voted to:

  1. Support the proposal to commit $2.3 million of the Built Heritage Acquisition Fund for the restoration costs of Vos Yard
  2. Advise Waterfront Auckland that this commitment can only be drawn down once Waterfront Auckland has raised the balance of the funding advised by the committee
  3. Advise Waterfront Auckland that this commitment expires on December 2017
  4. Require Waterfront Auckland to report to the Finance and Performance Committee on progress on a six-monthly basis

The Local Board were updated on progress on this project at the workshop of 29 March. Panuku Development Auckland (which has taken over Waterfront Auckland’s work) are still actively seeking funding and will be reporting back to the Finance & Performance Committee in July.

Urban Design

LED Billboards

We have had a number of complaints about luminosity of signs and billboards that use LED technology, particularly at night. Signs and billboards are governed by numerous statutory documents but council has applied the same principles regarding the digital nature of these forms of advertising. The Auckland Council Consolidated Bylaw Part 27B (Billboards) does not contemplate digital billboards as such technology was not available at the time of drafting. The Unitary Plan is anticipated to control billboards in the future and specific illumination controls have been drafted. In the meantime, the new Signage Bylaw, operative from October 2015, provides specific controls on illumination.

Generally, the luminance controls are:

  • A maximum of 5000 candelas/m2 during the day time
  • A maximum of 250 candelas /m2 during the night.

Due to concern about the operation of some of the digital billboards around the city centre, the following actions will be undertaken by Council:

  • The Bylaws team will engage a suitably qualified expert to monitor some of the existing billboards, particularly 89 Victoria Street West which has attracted numerous complaints from as far away as Freemans Bay. This monitoring will be at both day and night and will pay particular attention to checking compliance with the terms of the dispensation that was granted for them. Any non-compliance will be conveyed to the operator and they will be expected to comply within 24 hours. Should the Council’s expert determine that the lighting is too bright, even where there is compliance, this shall be advised to the Team Leader Bylaws & Compliance Central.
  • Auckland Transport will be advised of the concerns regarding the Adshel digital signs and an audit of compliance will also be undertaken.


Resource Consents

The portfolio request information on resource consent applications of interest as a matter of course. The Local Board can have input into the decision on public notification of a resource consent application but not into the substantive matters of the application. The input of the Local Board is not binding on the commissioner making the decision. Nonetheless, on some significant applications we will include substantive comments along with our views on notification.

  • R/LUC/2016/547, R/LUC/2016/863, 121-125 The Strand, Parnell. Internal fit-out to a scheduled (Heritage B-listed) building to combine office tenancies on Level 2 and establish a new retail premises with ancillary office space within an existing commercial tenancy on site. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/608, 20 Newton Road, Newton. Additions and alterations to existing commercial building. Convert to three residential units and 1 commercial unit. The applicant is seeking to convert the existing two storey commercial building into a commercial space, car parking and vehicle manoeuvrability area on the ground floor; and three apartment units on the upper floor (two of which will have an outlook to Newton Street and one with an outlook to Winchester Street). The proposal also includes an extension of the upper storey to the Newton Street boundary to provide living areas and balconies for the residential units. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/800, 10 Albany Road, Herne Bay. Application for the demolition of part of the rear of the existing dwelling, and replacement with a new addition. There is no impact on the heritage streetscape and the works at the rear of the property are consistent with the existing building. We did not have input into the notification decision.
  • R/VCC/2014/4116/2, 195 Khyber Pass Road, Grafton. Variation – Additions to levels 4, 5 and 6, and other internal amendments to the approved building design to provide for an additional 15 units; 5 for student accommodation and 10 new residential apartments. The proposal will result in 655m2 of additional gross floor area. There are also a number of internal changes with regards to rooms, the roof garden will be reduced and the office activity removed. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/722, 15-27 Beresford Square, Newton. The application is for the 10 year extension of time pertaining to an existing car park. The car park was consented in 1999 for an 18 month period and since this time has been granted numerous consents for intermittent periods allowing the continual use as a car park. AT have designated the site to be used during the CRL project so the site cannot be developed until after this time. The car park consists of 61 spaces in total. The spaces are leased out during the day and used by the Hopetoun Alpha for functions. In accordance with the PAUP , the activity triggers consent matters pertaining to Rule J.2.1 for modification to a scheduled place as a discretionary activity and Rule G4.14/3.1 as a controlled activity for an uncovered car park. In accordance with the Operative District Plan, Rule 5.5.1, the activity is non-complying. The overall activity status is non-complying. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/733 at 36-42 Customs Street East, Auckland Central. This application is for a fit out of the ground floor of the Australis House, Britomart Precinct, involving interior and exterior works to accommodate the jeweller Tiffany & Co, including alterations to the windows and doors and signage.  Consent is required as a restricted discretionary activity under the Operative Plan and for a discretionary activity under the PAUP for alterations to a scheduled building. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/779, R/REG/2016/868 & R/REG/2016/870, 28 Shortland Street, Auckland Central. The application is for construction of a new 35 level, mixed use development comprising commercial offices and retail in the podium levels, residential apartments in the tower and 203 parking spaces, servicing area and loading facilities over four basement levels accessed via Fort Street.  A significant feature of the proposal is a public pedestrian laneway connecting Shortland Street with Fort Street.  Consents are required for a range of District Plan, Regional and PAUP reasons including NES (contamination), diversion of groundwater, earthworks, discharge of contaminants, access and parking (loading), erection of a new building, modification of the verandah control and tree works.  Overall, consent is required as a restricted discretionary activity.  We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/476, 34 Albany Road, Herne Bay. The proposal is for external additions and alterations to an existing dwelling in the residential 1 zone and Conservation Area: Ardmore Road, Wanganui Avenue, Albany Road & part Trinity Street, Ponsonby. The proposal includes removal of the existing picket fence in the front yard to a new picket fence atop a masonry wall across half of the street facing boundary. The new pool proposed in the rear yard is associated with additional impermeable paving. The proposal also includes the establishment of new paved areas and retaining across the site. We initially asked for limited notification of the new fence to the surrounding properties as it may affect the coherence of the heritage streetscape. The plans were then revised to bring the fence line into alignment with the fences it would meet so we withdrew our input into the notification decision. The consent was granted on 21 March.
  • R/LUC/2016/950, 24 Ring Terrace, Saint Mary’s Bay. More than 30% demolition to add a half level on top of the existing house. Given the written consent of the adjoining properties at 22 and 26, and the surrounding topography raising the other surrounding properties above the level of proposed development, we opted not to have input into the notification decision. This does not mean we support non-notification, just that we will leave the notification decision to the commissioner.
  • R/SUB/2016/842, 131 Beach Road, Auckland Central. The proposal encompasses a boundary adjustment subdivision  whereby common boundary between  Lot 4 ( 122 ANZAC Ave) and Lots 1, 2 ( 131 Beach Road ), Lot 3 (131A Beach Road)  will be shifted to enable Lot 4 which is currently vacant to gain and additional 62m² of land from the adjoin lots . In the process area of  lot 1 will be reduced by 30m², the area of Lot 2 will be reduced by 2m², the area of Lot 3 will be reduced by 30m². As a result of proposed adjustment the  area of Lot 1 will be 284m² the area of Lot 2 will be 350m², area of  Lot 3 will 342m² and the area of Lot 4 will be 400m².  Generally the proposal is seeking to increase the area of Lot 4 to align it with a future development proposal on Lot 4 which has been submitted as a separate application to the Council which will go through resource consenting process. This boundary adjustment  proposal is considered to have minimal effects on the surrounding environment as it will give rise to new lot sizes however the sizes do not change significantly and will not give rise to new infringements. We did not have input into this notification decision.
  • R/LUC/2016/596/1, 2 Grosvenor Street & 311-315 Great North Road, Arch Hill. The applicant (the vehicle servicing company BM Workshop) proposes to construct a ramp at 311-315 Great North Road that link the site with 2 Grosvenor Street to the north. 2 Grosvenor Street is a vacant Residential 1 property and is proposed to be used for parking for the BM Workshop premises. The site 2 Grosvenor Street appears to have been used illegally for parking for many years, and the application also seeks to legalise this non-residential activity. After consultation with the Grey Lynn and Arch Hill Residents Associations we requested limited notification of this application to the surrounding properties on Grosvenor Street.
  • R/EXT/2011/1016/1, 99-115 The Strand, Parnell. Extension of time (s125 RMA 1991) for demolition consent R/LUC/2011/1016 approved on 07/04/2011. Resource consent was required because the building demolition would be undertaken on land recorded as subject to instability, and for the activity underneath the dripline of a street tree that overhangs the site from the north. The site is now subject to the pre-1944 building demolition control of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. One building in the northern part of the site appears to be subject to the control. We did not have input into the notification decision for this application.
  • R/LUC/2016/1041, 13-17 Virginia Avenue East, Eden Terrace. Proposed new office with a parking shortfall: Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Incorporated. the proposal involves converting the top storey of an existing childcare centre into offices for Plunket. The proposal will have a two car parking shortfall and will provide 7 car parks offsite. We did not have input into the notification decision for this application.
  • R/LUC/2016/1112, 44 Khyber Pass Road, Grafton. The proposal involves two new mixed use buildings containing 1616m2 of commercial use and 42 new apartments. As at the time of writing our input is still pending.

Resource consent matters of significance this month

Application: Demolition of pre-1944 building at 2 Churton Street, Parnell

The building has a substantial history not least because of the architect, who has designed significant heritage buildings on Wellesley Street and in Wellington.  Parnell Heritage did quite a bit of research on this property about 18 months ago when they became aware that the owner-developers had applied for it to become a Special Housing Area. It was turned down on the basis that only 10 units could be put in the area available. Parnell Heritage had hoped to get the property listed as protected when they discovered its history but the Unitary Plan prevented any more properties being listed at that point until a final plan was in place.  The Local Board formally requested public notification of the application.

Application: Restoration of the Saint James Theatre

R/VCC/2002/7400239/3, 302-328 Queen Street, Auckland Central. Relianz Holdings Ltd have made application to change various conditions of the 2009 approved Resource Consent R/LUC/2002/7400239 for a residential, retail and parking development on the site (to be known as the St James Suites).  The original consent included provision for the ‘mothballing’ of the adjacent St James Theatre.  This variation is to facilitate the now proposed upgrade and restoration of the St James Theatre rather than the mothballing as was originally proposed. The application is a discretionary activity overall pursuant to section 127 of the RMA.  The changes to conditions principally address some minor changes to the internal layout of the St James Suites building; deleting conditions relating to  internal works to the theatre and mothballing (as they will be included in the upgrade and restoration St James Theatre consent to be lodged within the next few weeks) with specialist support from Council’s Heritage officers. We are awaiting further assessment before making comment.

Application: Removal of Two Scheduled Trees (Pohutukawa and Oak) at 65 St Stephens Avenue, Parnell.

R/TRC/2016/651. Our response to this application is the same as the last time removal of these trees was requested last year as R/LUC/2015/2570. The trees are very significant, contribute substantially to the visual amenity of the area, and the Local Board requested public notification as this is needed for the pros and cons of their removal to be weighed.

Neither of the specialists (arborist and heritage architect) supported the proposal in the 2015 application. That application was placed on a s37 extension of time and Council planners met with the applicants and agent on 5 August 2015. Because the trees were scheduled due to the visual amenity they provided to the wider environment, Council required an additional visual assessment from an external landscape architect. As the visual amenity is dependent on the health of the trees, they also all agreed that a third opinion was required in regards to the health of both trees. The third opinion was received on 21 August and the applicants were given options to proceed with the application on a notified basis, to further extend the s37 extension period to discuss alternatives, or withdraw the application. I understood that they withdrew the application.

Our view on this application remains the same: strong objection to the application and formally requesting public notification.

Decision: Demolition of Grafton Hall, Seafield View Rd, Grafton

R/LUC/2015/3949, R/REG/2015/3950 and R/REG/2015/3951. We requested full public notification given the significance of the buildings to the area but the duty commissioner found no reason to grant this and the consent was granted on a non-notified basis.

Application: Approval of sculptures in Hobson Bay

An application to retrospectively permit structures that have been constructed within the coastal protection area outside of the applicant’s own property title at 18 Crescent Road, Parnell. The applicant claims that they thought the location of the structures was inside their own property. There are a total of six sculptures that have been constructed. These were originally displayed at Waiheke Island as part of the ‘Sculpture on the Gulf’ art display. The sculptures increase in size as they progress from the seas to the shore to represent life rising and growing from the sea. They range in height above the seabed from 31cm for the furthest sculpture from the cliff face to 40 cm for the nearest sculpture. The distance between each of the sculptures range between 3.05m to 4.7m. The Harbourmaster has stated that the sculptures will not have any effect on navigation and safety. This is a non-complying activity. The Local Board has requested public notification of the application given the significance of the site and the fact that these works are in the public domain.

Meetings / Events Attended / Appearances

2 March:

  • Local Board workshop
    • Briefing on regional environmental and biodiversity programmes
    • AT update on Ponsonby Road upgrade.

3 March:

  • Parks portfolio
  • ‘Have Your Say’ Annual Plan event at Town Hall

8 March:

  • Local Board business meeting

10 March:

  • Local Board Annual Plan Hearing

15 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Judges Bay: Parnell Baths carpark alcohol use and parking capacity
    • Ponsonby Road streetscape improvements
    • Projects for AT Capex fund

17 March:

  • Parks renewals meeting

18 March:

  • Elected members’ social media forum

21 March:

  • Fukuoka Friendship Garden Advisory Group meeting

24 March:

  • Finance Committee meeting

29 March:

  • Local Board Workshop
    • Annual Plan briefing
    • Western Springs Precinct Project update
    • Vos Yard and waterfront projects update

30 March:

  • Auckland Domain Committee

31 March:

  • Newmarket Laneways meeting
  • Site visit to Victoria Park with Grafton United Cricket Club (GUCC) to see issues with tree maintenance and parking for sports games

(l to r): GUCC President, Stewart Wilson MNZM; WLB Member Vernon Tava; GUCC Board Chairman, Nicholas Albrecht

About Vernon Tava

Barrister. Lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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