May 2016 Local Board Member Report

Logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during May 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

  • The Local Board voted through $10,000 funding for a community-led plan for Great North Road at its May business meeting
  • Western Park paving renewals are progressing with an expected completion at the end of June and the resource consent for replacement lighting submitted
  • Rabbit control has been undertaken in Western Springs reserve, dramatically reducing numbers
  • Weed control work was carried out in the Rose Road gully in Grey Lynn Park
  • Path renewal work continues at Cox’s Bay Reserve
  • The Newton/Eden Terrace Area Plan work is being resumed after being delayed by the re-siting of the planned Newton City Rail Link Station to Mount Eden Station
  • Public feedback on the Auckland Domain Masterplan has been reported back to the Auckland Domain Committee, of which I am a member. The Domain Committee will informally consider this feedback before consequential changes to the Master Plan are made with the intent of adoption in June/July 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’.

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Radio Live Panel: 22 May 2016

Listen toradio live my Radio Live panel with  Melissa Davies and Trish Sherson.

Prime Minister, John Key, and Finance Minister, Bill English, seem to be at odds over whether we will have a tax cut or if it is best to pay down government debt. We talk about recent revelations that the Ministry of Primary Industries has been complicit in illegal dumping of fish caught over the quota and by-catch as well as activism on the subject.

We discuss the surprising – at least to me – controversy over a young woman’s recent decision to have tubal ligation and the gender double standards that it brings to the surface. Twitter is struggling to grow. Will allowing more characters help or is the problem to do with the ‘dark side’ of the platform?

‘T’ plates for tourist drivers: would they make a difference?

 

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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

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’

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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

Logo croppedPurpose

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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