Re-Imagining Great North Road

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The Arch Hill end of Great North Road. Photo credit: Bayleys Real Estate

On May 10, the Waitematā Local Board resolved unanimously to approve my motion to allocate $10,000 from its Community Empowerment Fund to the Grey Lynn Residents Association (GLRA) to lead a community-led precinct vision for the area of Great North Road between Newton Road and Surrey Crescent (Resolution WTM/2016/67). The GLRA will work together with the Grey Lynn Business Association, Arch Hill Residents Association and Grey Lynn 2030 to deliver the plan.

As I said in the Central Leader

“It’s not something that’s been done before and it’s a fairly novel approach to have a community work together to lead a precinct vision.”

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With David Batten, head of the Arch Hill Residents Association, who has been instrumental in getting community buy-in for this initiative. Photo credit: Catrin Owen/Fairfax NZ

This project has its origin in a fraught public meeting held at Trades Hall on Great North Road in late-2014.  A packed hall of local residents, already incensed by the controversial Bunnings development, expressed their dismay that buildings in the area were being approved at six storeys when the District Plan envelope is set at four storeys (this is due to the operation of the Resource Management Act rather than any particular Council Policy) and a strong concern about the effect of shading on the general area that would be posed by taller buildings.

Bernard Orsman of the New Zealand Herald, reported on the 2014 meeting and wrote an in-depth piece. I was quoted as supporting intensification but also saying that resource consent applications that significantly exceed the development envelope set out in the District Plan should be publicly notified:

Waitematā Local Board member Vernon Tava says the extra height and density being granted for Great North Rd apartment buildings is a concern to the board.

“We have a contract with the community [for four storeys],” says Mr Tava, “and if [an apartment building] is outside of that it should be notified.”

He believes it’s still not too late to bring the parties together and come up with a “whole of area approach” for Great North Rd.

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April 2016 Local Board Member Report

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This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during April 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

  • Attended a meeting against anti-Asian violence organised by the Chinese Students Association of New Zealand on the evening of 1 April at University of Auckland
  • Opening of the Francis Street Reserve community garden, an initiative of the Women’s Centre and SKIP on 9 April
  • Laid wreath for the Local Board at the ANZAC Day Civic Ceremony on the Cenotaph at Auckland War Memorial Museum on 25 April
  • Local Board Extraordinary Meeting on Annual Budget on 26 April
  • The Local Board received a report on improving compliance procedures and public awareness of bonus floor provisions and through-site links in the Waitematā city centre area.
  • 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’

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Video for LGNZ #vote2016 Campaign

This interview was filmed as part of LGNZ’s Vote2016 campaign, promoting the 2016 local authority elections in New Zealand.

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March 2016 Local Board Member Report

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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’

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Radio Live Panel: 20 March 2016

radio liveListen to my Radio Live panel with Heather du Plessis-Allan and Melissa Davies.

We talk about international corporations evading tax through base erosion profit shifting (BEPS), online bullying, and taxis – what a rip-off – why not just Uber instead?

 

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February 2016 Local Board Member Report

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This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during February 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

  • Auckland Domain Committee met on 10 February to discuss a temporary alcohol ban for the Lantern Festival (18-22 February) and the WWI Centenary Memorial
  • The final Earthquake Prone Buildings Guidance Document is ready for publication and will be officially launched by the Local Board in March
  • Ellen Melville Hall and Freyberg Square upgrade is now in the advanced detailed design stage with construction expected to start in August 2016 and take 9-12 months
  • The Port Future Study Group have released a preliminary long-list of zones for an alternative port site based purely on technical feasibility and met on 19 February to discuss further before further analysis is undertaken
  • The Governing Body voted 13-8 to withdraw the out of scope up-zoning proposals advanced by the Unitary Plan committee in December 2015
  • Consultation events were held on the Auckland Domain Masterplan on 13 February
  • A very successful Myers Park Medley was held on 28 February
  • 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’

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Radio Live Panel: 14 February 2016

radio liveListen to my Radio Live panel with Heather du Plessis-Allan and Rodney Hide. We talk about whether police should pursue suspects fleeing in vehicles; whether New Zealand cricket crowds are as abusive as Australian ones (I’m very sceptical);  the crowd-funded bid for the Awaroa Inlet beach and criticisms of it; and, whether the Department of Conservation should charge visitors to the country to visit national parks.

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Bikelash, meet facts

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Nelson Street Lightpath | Te Ara I Whiti, Auckland, New Zealand

As riding a bike has become something of a political act and increased funding for cycleways has become a mainstream government position, acclaim for better cycling options has been met in more than equal measure by vitriol. It has been referred to in some quarters as “bikelash” and the criticisms of cycling and cyclists can run from the internally-contradictory to the conspiratorially-crazed.

It is a common refrain among these critics that only drivers of automobiles pay toward the cost of roads. I often hear this when cycleways are discussed and, more troublingly, when there is an accident involving a person on a bike. Some car drivers express anger that people on bikes are somehow ‘not paying their way’ and that they are therefore not entitled to the same courtesy or safety as other users of the road. It is a disturbing thought that a person’s safety should be proportionate to their financial contribution to transport infrastructure. Some suggest that a system of registration or even licensing for bike riders will improve safety or defray the cost of providing cycling options. These arguments lack perspective and are, for the most part, founded in falsehoods. Continue reading

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December 2015 – January 2016 Local Board Member Report

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This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during December 2015 – January 2016 as Deputy Chair of the Waitematā Local Board Finance Committee; Deputy Chair of the Waitematā Local Board Hearings Committee; Lead of the Parks and Open Spaces portfolio; Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio co-holder; Local Board representative on the K Road Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee. 

Executive Summary

  • This report covers the months of December 2015 and January 2016 as Council has been in recess over the Christmas and New Years’ break and the first business meeting for the 2016 calendar year is in February
  • Auckland Domain Committee met on 2 December to discuss Event Guidelines, Tree Management Plan, a consultation update on the Domain Masterplan, Auckland Bowling Club and adjacent parking, the naming of Pukekawa and a WWI Steering Group update
  • Opening of Nelson Street Cycleway | Lightpath | Te Ara I Whiti on 3 December
  • Local Board Business Meeting held on 8 December 2015
  • Gave feedback by resolution WTM/2015/214 at 8 December to the Regulation and Bylaw Review Committee to endorse the retention of the grading provision of the Auckland Council Food Safety Bylaw 2013 and require the display of food safety grade certificates for food businesses registered with Auckland Council pursuant to the Food Act 2014
  • On 16 December The Auckland City Centre Advisory Board voted to endorse a proposal intended to deal with High Street retailers’ concerns about the removal of Freyberg Lane in the course of the Freyberg Square upgrade by leaving the road in place and phasing out its use over time. Sitting as an alternate for Chair Chambers and with the unanimous support of the Local Board, I called for a division in the meeting and voted against the proposal with Cr Lee.
  • The K Road Cycleway and public realm enhancement community reference group had its first meeting on 17 December 2015
  • On 22 December 2015, I sat as the Local Board member on the four-commissioner panel to decide on the non-notified resource consent for the proposed development at 80 St Lukes Road, St Lukes, R/LUC/2015/529 and R/REG/2015/530, the Westfield/Scentre shopping mall expansion. The consent was granted with extensive conditions.
  • Stage One of the Weona Walkway was completed on 22 December 2015. Stage 2 commences in February 2016
  • Attended LGNZ Young Elected Members (YEM) Workshop in Wellington on ‘LGNZ 2050’, a sustainability-focused project led by the YEMs, on 22 January 2016
  • 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’

Continue reading

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City Vision Nominations Open

CV001-logotype4fCity Vision and Roskill Community Voice have opened nominations to stand as a candidate at the local government elections in 2016 for the following elected positions:

  • Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward Councillors (2 candidates)
  • Waitematā and Gulf Islands Ward Councillor
  • Albert-Eden Local Board Member (8 candidates)
  • Waitematā Local Board Member (7 candidates)
  • Puketāpapa Local Board Member (Roskill Community Voice, 6 candidates)
  • Auckland District Health Board Member (City Vision Health, 5 candidates)
  • Portage Licensing Trust Ward 1 (Auckland City) Board Member (3 candidates)

City Vision and Roskill Community Voice are progressive local government tickets for Labour and Green Party members, and aligned community independents. Nominations are now open until 5 p.m. on Monday 29 February 2016. Please email your expression of interest and request for a nomination form to  CityVision.org.nz@gmail.com.

You are welcome to call me on 02102324292 if you have any questions.
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