Monthly board report May 2016

My monthly board report covering activities from 1 April until 1 May 2016. Included on the agenda for the Waitemata Local Board meeting on 10 May 2016.


Annual budget 2016/17

An extraordinary meeting of the Board was held on 26 April to confirm the Board’s position on Local Development Initiatives budgets, our advocacy positions and regional annual plan issues.

Included in the report for the meeting was an overview of 147 submissions received for Waitematā. The board received clear support for the priority projects we wish to take forward in 16/17.  

Franklin Road

Following a community liaison group meeting in early April Auckland Transport released the latest designs for the upgrade of Franklin Road. 

Franklin Road side street treatmentsFeatures include:

  • Improved pavement surface, footpaths and drainage.
  • Protecting tree root zones from vehicles by redefining the berm area.
  • Providing for the safe movement of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
  • Retaining as much street parking as possible.
  • Working with utility providers to minimise disruption and deliver an integrated programme of works.
  • Improving street lighting – suspended lighting is currently proposed

franklin-road-artist-impression Franklin RoadI am particularly pleased to see included in the design raised tables on all the side streets. This is a pedestrian safety outcome the Local Board has advocated for since the beginning of the project.

A final round of engagement was undertaken on the detailed design by Auckland Transport until 10 May. Stage 1 (utility upgrade) physical works is due to start in May. Stage 2 works will start in October/November. The current completion date is mid to late 2017

Renaming lower Khartoum Place

 In December 2015 I brought a Notice of Motion to the Board proposing the renaming of lower Khartoum Place with a suitable name associated with women’s suffrage, and in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial 1893-1993 ‘Women Achieve the Vote’.

The proposal received Board support opening the way for a name changing process to commence.  Consultation on naming options is taking place until 25 May.

Path widening in Grey Lynn park for the new Greenways route
Path widening in Grey Lynn park for the new Greenways route

Greenways Design Guide

Work is underway on a design guide which covers both on-street and parks and open space greenways that is intended to become the key resource for the implementation of greenways across Auckland.

The feedback I collated in Attachment A was provided on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board to the Greenways team. 

Photo right: progress on the widening of the Greenways route through Grey Lynn Park

Signage trial

Wayfinding trial at Wynyard As part of a Regional signage project Auckland Transport is trialling various signage elements in four precincts. Signage being trialled includes street signs, pedestrian signs, information hubs (large and small), cycling signs and routes, and public transport signage.

It is good to see the trial at Wynyard Quarter with signage designed for tourists and locals to be able to navigate around central Auckland attractions. There are lots of positive features included including te reo Maori.  However as the Transport portfolio has previously highlighting we still consider the background colour is too dark, the map is not useful without showing where it fits into a wider area and the descriptions are too subjective.  The map also shows Wellesley Street as a walking route through to the Domain – a long standing issue we have raised with ATEED and Auckland Transport. 

Feedback is open until 20 May 2016

 Weona Westmere walkwayWeona – Westmere Walkway

 Phase one of the Weona –Westmere walkway is now open and phase two is well underway. It is now possible to take a scenic walk along coast line that has not been accessible for over 80 years. After visiting on beautiful day in April I felt very proud that the Board (with Shale leading the way) has stuck with this project for the last 5 years.  I think locals and visitors will be very impressed when the 1.4km route is fully opened in September.

Mt Eden car freeMaungawhau/Mt Eden is glorious to visit now the maunga is free of vehicles 

Mt Eden is not in Waitematā but I give thanks to all those who worked so hard over the last 10 years to get cars off the summit. On a recent visit at sunset it was great to see how many people were enjoying the easy walk to the top.

Berm planting guidelines

 The Board gave feedback on Auckland Transport’s draft guidelines in September last year. We are still waiting on the final draft that was Firth Road berm May 2016promised before Easter.

In the meantime I am enjoying all the neighbourly interactions that occur whenever I am outside looking after my (non-complying) berm. 

Parking – the good, the bad and the ugly

 I have been following up on a number of parking issues and concerns outlined in Attachment B.

Auckland Conversations – The value of well designed cities

Auckland Conversation JoeJoe Minicozzi, Principal of Urban3  presented, in a very entertaining way, the research that illustrates the benefits of urban density, heritage conservation and mixed-use developments. These have an economic impact that lead to creating sustainable and vibrant cities. 

The image right shows the maths of land value plus improved value (CV)  applied to Auckland (by Kent Lamberg from MR Cagney). 

Workshops and meetings

From 1 April until 1 May  2016 I attended:

  • Ponsonby Community Centre Board meeting on 4 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 5 April
  • Communications catch up on 5 April
  • Franklin Road Community Liaison Meeting on 5 April
  • Ponsonby Road paid parking zone consultation open day at Studio One on 6 April
  • Parks portfolio meeting on 7 April
  • Elected member professional development focus group meeting on 8 April
  • Albert Park safety meeting on 8 April organised by Hon Nikki Kaye with Superintendent Richard Chambers, Inspector Jill Rogers, Area Commander for Auckland City Central and Gary Davy from the Police, Naisi Chen (Chinese NZ Students Association) and Will Matthews (President AUSA) and Auckland Council representatives
  • Youth Voice Phase 2 Cluster Workshops on 9 April at Auckland Central Library  to explore youth-led models options under an empowered communities approach
  • Richmond Rovers strategic plan community meeting on 11 April
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 12 April in Parnell
  • Waitematā Local Board hui with iwi regarding Khartoum Place name change
  • Elected member development programme – political advisory group meeting on 13 April
  • Stakeholder meeting regarding the Khartoum Place name change on 13 April
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 14  April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 14 April
  • Wynyard Quarter neighbours forum on 19 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 19 April
  • Ponsonby Business Association meeting for PBA members with Auckland Transport’s parking team on 19 April
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on 20 April
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s transport advocacy positions on 21 April
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 26 April
  • Presentation from Fresh Concept on Lower Queen St Activation Plans
  • Waitematā Local Board Extraordinary Meeting on 26 April – Annual Budget information
  • Auckland Transport open day on the wayfinding signage trial at Wynyard Quarter
  • Community portfolio meeting on 27 April
  • Inner City Network meeting and presentation on accessibility

Events and functions

From 1 April until 1 May 2016 I attended:

  • Francis Reserve Womens centre community garden Board and Leonie Auckland Theatre Company’s You can always hand them back at Sky Theatre on 2 April (at the invitation of ATC)
  • Bike breakfast at Scarecrow café on 6 April
  • Auckland Conversations on 7 April
  • Opening of the SKIP/ Women’s Centre Francis Reserve (photo right) community garden on 9 April
  • Jam on Toast at the Grey Lynn Community Centre 10 April
  • Japan Day at the Cloud opening reception on 10 April
  • Kokako turns 15 celebratory event on 15 April
  • Welcome morning tea for the new general manager of the K’rd Business Association on 15 April
  • Farewell to Charlotte from Splice on 15 April
  • Between Tides at Westmere beach on 17 April
  • Anzac day service hosted by the Grey Lynn RSC
  • Open Streets K’rd on 1 May (photo below with Margaret Lewis from the K’rd Business Assocation and Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s walking and cycling manager who hosted the event). Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on such a fantastic event. K’rd was full of people enjoying the vehicle – free space.


Monthly Board Report December 2014

Child Fund NZ's Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf
Child Fund NZ’s Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities during November 2014 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, Chair of the Grants Committee, Deputy Chair of the Central Joint Funding Committee and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee.

I was acting chair for the week of 17th November.

This is my final report for 2014 and also brings to an end the first year of this term of Auckland Council.

Many thanks to all those who have supported the Board’s work during 2014. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy festive season & summer solstice (photo right: Child Fund NZ’s brilliant Tree of Bikes at Queens Wharf)

Recommended resolution:

a)     That the report be received.

b)     That the Waitemata Local Board

i) Supports encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable

ii) Supports the development of berm-planting guidelines, which would include:

  •    Benefits of appropriate berm planting
  •    Safe depths to dig to
  •    Ideal plants in a number of categories – natives, food, trees
  •    Maintenance expectations, including in regard to safety eg height
  • Role of Local Boards in acting as a key conduit for Auckland Transport to have community relationships around berm planting
  • Working with neighbours

iii) Requests Auckland Transport develop berm planting guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards

iv)  Requests Auckland Transport report on progress to the Board’s February meeting.

Portfolio reports:  Transport

Parking – Amendment to Road Users Rules to allow residents to park over their own driveways

At the Waitematā Local Board November meeting Trevor Lund, a member of the Freemans Bay Residents Association, presented in public forum seeking a letter of support from the Board requesting NZTA amend clause 6.9 of the Road Users Rule to allow Road Controlling Authorities (in this case Auckland Transport) to exempt residents with a permit, and allow them to park across their own driveways (parallel to the kerb, not over the footpath).

The proposal has the potential to create additional parking spaces in areas where there is high demand for on-road parking. In the response to Mr Lund’s presentation the Board passed the following resolution.

9.2 Public Forum – Trevor Lund, Freemans Bay Resident
Resolution number WTM/2014/215MOVED by Chairperson S Chambers, seconded by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom:

  1. a)      That Trevor Lund be thanked for his attendance and presentation to the Board.
  2. b)      That the proposal be referred to Auckland Transport and the Transport portfolio holders for further consideration and that this be reported back to the Board meeting on 8 December 2014

Parking on Garnet RoadThe proposal was discussed at the transport portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November.  We considered the benefits of the proposal for areas like Freemans Bay where on street parking is at capacity due to all day commuter parking.  We noted a number of points

  •  Currently where a resident parks across their driveway (parallel to the kerb or facing the driveway as in the photo right but not over the footpath) Auckland Transport will not enforce the rule unless there is a complaint.   The rule gives Auckland Transport the ability to act where there is a dispute over access or safety issues.
  •  There are benefits to all residents of keeping driveways clear for example driveways provide safer crossing points for pedestrians particularly with pushchairs. A  street with no gaps in the on- street parking could also create hazards for wheelchair users and mobility scooters.
  • The resident parking zone that Auckland Transport is going to consult on early next year is intended alleviate much of the parking pressure on Freemans Bay.
  •  Many residents may wish to see occupancy rates reduce on residential streets once the parking zone is installed and not wish to encourage additional parking across driveways.
  • There are administrative issues for Auckland Transport to consider for example how to identify the legitimate home owner’s car and how to enforce complaints. There are also costs associated with a permit scheme (and residents may query why a permit should be necessary for an activity that is currently “permitted”).

Overall the transport portfolio concluded that while we wish to support proposals that will address the very serious parking issues currently experienced in Freemans Bay we think there are a number of down-sides to a rule change.  Also in practice it is likely to make very little difference to the parking available because residents already park across their own driveways when necessary.

However we will continue to discuss the options with the Freemans Bay Residents Association and Auckland Transport and support Auckland Transport undertaking a trial of the proposal. We also recommend the Board re-consider providing a letter of support to NZTA once the residents parking zone has been implemented and the impact assessed.

Notice of Requirement hearing – removal of 6 mature pohutukawa trees on Great North Road

Auckland Transport's planting schedule
Auckland Transport’s planting schedule

I attended the Notice of Requirement hearing on 5 and 6 November in support of the Board’s objection to Auckland Transport’s proposal to remove 6 mature Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road. The Board’s lawyer Nick Whittington did a fantastic job at the hearing arguing that the adverse impact of removing the trees on GNR would be “significant” and “enduring” and outlined why Auckland Transport evidence was  “back-filling, self-serving and cursory”.  We have asked AT to consider an alternative option (referred to in the hearing as option 6).

Disappointingly Auckland Transport has stuck to their position that there is no alternative but to remove these notable trees (probably planted on Arbor Day in 1934) for road widening to provide for two lanes turning from Great North Road on to a new St Lukes bridge.   At the hearing AT represented their proposed planting plan to replace the trees. (photo right)

An aspect of the hearing that was particularly preposterous was the 54 submissions out of 64  that all had wrong submission numbers were found to be “invalid” due to clerical error.  One submitter Jolisa Gracewood has written here about the experience of being so terribly let down by the process.

Fortunately she still chose to speak and put forward her very well considered points, as she said “Auckland Transport’s plan prioritises car movement at all costs: no creative thought for how to safely move everyone else”

The Commissioners are due to release their decision on 17 December.

Cycling improvements

Great North Road feeder lane before afterI was really thrilled to see the greening of new feeder lanes on Great North Road and K’rd at the end of November. As previously reported the issues with the Great North Road intersection were logged with Auckland Transport four years ago (one of the first safety issues I raised with AT after first getting elected). Due to the narrow lanes cyclists were forced to either navigate 3 lanes of traffic or mount the kerb to avoid getting squashed by buses and cars. AT’s original response was to say the feeder was not possible without the widening of the road by removing heritage buildings. Fortunately after persistent advocacy from the Board and Cycle Action Auckland someone clever at AT got on to the job earlier this year and came up with a solution not only on the Great North Road side of the intersection but also the K’rd approach (feeder lanes for the Ponsonby Road and Newton Road sections are also about to be installed)

Monthly transport update

A monthly update with Auckland Transport took place on 26 November.  Current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Portfolio reports:  Community

Berm planting guidelines

Hepburn StreetIn July 2013 Auckland Transport standardised the urban berm moving service so that generally all owners and occupiers adjacent to road side grass verges (berms) are responsible for maintenance. Auckland Transport has provided various exceptions such as on road corridors through town centres and on steep sections.

Following an increase in residents informally planting on the berms Auckland Transport undertook in February 2014 to draft guidelines. These guidelines have not yet been forthcoming, even in draft form, although the Community Placemaking Champions group of Local Board members (of which I am a member)  was recently briefed that “private” berm guidelines will be released for consultation in 2015.  “Private” applies to people who wish to plant a berm that is adjacent to their existing property, and will not cover community groups or gardening collectives who may wish to plant on berms.

The champions group has recognised that the guidelines provide an opportunity to support the “placemaking” function of berms and to foster the many benefits.   For example – litter reduction, storm water management, streetscape amenity values, community development and the promotion of bio-diversity.  Guidelines can provide a best practice framework for street planting while minimising the impact on the road corridor. For example the City of Sydney Footpath Gardening Policy  allows residents and businesses to put planter boxes on the footpath and/or carry out gardening on footpath verges outside their properties under certain conditions.

Auckland Transport’s approach to the guidelines (including advice currently on AT’s website which incorrectly states berm planting is prohibited) suggests that the draft guidelines are not being approached from a placemaking perspective but mainly to identify what is not allowed in the road corridor for safety reasons.

Local Boards are best placed to develop the guidelines with Auckland Transport and to assist with the smooth implementation.  I therefore recommend that the Board confirms support for encouraging and enabling community use of berms as much as practicable and directs Auckland Transport to develop appropriate guidelines in conjunction with Local Boards.

Community grants

The Community Grants Committee met in November to consider applications to the second round.  We received applications totalling $$104,731 from the available $$69,153.

The committee’s recommendations are on the December agenda. Applications to the third and final community grant round for 14/15 can be made until 6 March 2015 (for a decision in April).

I also attended the Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November to consider applications to Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund. We confirmed funding for 5 projects totally $23,322.93 including assistance to St Joseph’s Church, Grey Lynn (leadwork maintenance) and St Patricks Cathedral (restoration work) within the Waitematā Local Board area.  $26,677.07 remains for the final round from this fund (which will cease to exist once the new funding policy is implemented for 15/16)

Community Gardens

Te Maara Community Garden blessing
Te Maara Community Garden blessing

One of the Board’s priorities is to support community gardens so I was particularly pleased to attend the blessing of Te Māra  (the Grey Lynn Community Garden).   Redevelopment of this garden at St Columba Church under the guidance of a new vicar Brent Swann was made possible with a community grant from the Board

Also during November a new initiative has been launched called Kai Auckland   – a movement for all Aucklanders that offers a cohesive and integrated approach to creating connection and nourishment through food. Groups such as community gardens, food coops and farmers markets are encouraged to register on the site.

Kelmarna Community Gardens

Framework Trust confirmed during November that they are no longer in a position to sub-lease Kelmarna Community gardens. This has been a distressing time for the clients and Framework employees who work at the gardens.  Fortunately Kelmarna Community Gardens Trust has confirmed that they would like to continue with the lease (which is about to be renewed) and are keen to explore options with the Board for continuing the management of the gardens. A meeting has been arranged with the Trustees, relevant Community Development officers and the community portfolio members to discuss options going forward.

Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 November – 30 November I attended:

  • Ponsonby Community Centre management committee meeting on 3 November
  • Local Board Workshop on 4 November
  • Attended the Notice of Requirement hearing remove 6 Pohutukawa trees on Great North Road on 5 and 6 November
  • Meet Ponsonby Business Association GM on 6 November
  • Communications catch up on  10 November
  • Engagement adviser catch up on 10 November
  • Auckland’s Resource Recovery Network – Workshop for Local Board Members on 10 November The purpose of this workshop is to update you on the RRN and discuss the opportunities that resource recovery facilities can provide local boards to progress community, economic development and environmental objectives. Presentations from Xtreme Waste Raglan and the new Waiuku Recovery Centre
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 November
  • City Centre activation programme
  • Te Reo Māori exam on 11 November
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 11 November
  • Attended presentation to Ponsonby Business Association members on 254 Ponsonby Road options on 12 November
  • Meeting  on 13 November with  Auckland Transport regarding the prioritisation of transport projects for the Long Term Plan
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 13 November
  • LGNZ Zone One meeting in Maungawhai on 14 November
  • Workshop  on 18 November with governing body members on options for the Aotea Square/Civic Administration Building
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 18 November
  • Meeting up of community group representatives organised by Auckland Transport to discuss plans for an “open streets” even on Quay St in April 2015
  • Joint Governing Body and Local Board Chairs meeting on 19 November (A regular meeting offering the opportunity for the two arms of Auckland Council’s governance to discuss and debate key issues)
  • Meeting with local resident regarding resource consent issues
  • Community Grants briefing on 20 November
  • Local Board Chairs Greenways Plans and Walking and Cycling Networks Collaboration Meeting on 24 November
  • Community Grants Committee meeting on 24 November
  • Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland
    Shinagawa Peace Delegation to Auckland

    Meeting with Shinagawa Peace Delegation hosted by Cr Cathy Casey (This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Nuclear-free Peaceful City Shinagawa Declaration.  As part of the commemorations, a peace delegation from Shinagawa will be visiting Auckland from the 24th to the 26th November.   The purpose of the visit is to exchange information about peace initiatives that are part of the wider ‘Cities for Peace’ movement, of which Auckland Council became a part in 2011.  The delegation will also meet with the Peace Council and staff members from the Peace Foundation while they are in Auckland.)

  • Meeting with Sustainable Coastlines to discuss their Waterfront training centre and resource recovery park concept to be built at Wynyard Quarter
  • Stakeholders consultation meeting on the Newmarket Laneways Plan on 24 November
  • Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 24 November
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 25 November
  • Communications catch up on 25 November
  • Meeting to discuss LTP 2015 consultation events with the Board’s engagement adviser
  • Civil Defence Community Response Group meeting hosted by Grey Lynn Neighbourhood support
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up on  26 November
  • Community Development portfolio monthly catch up on 26 November
  • Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 28 November – Round 1 Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund Applications

Events and functions

In the period 1 November – 30 November 2014 I attended:

  • Blessing of Te Māra – St Columba Community Gardens – He Timatanga Hou Project on 1 November
  • Beach Road stage II consultation open day at Britomart Market on 1 November
  • Reuse to reduce market at Auckland Zoo for conservation week
  • ATC’s Jesus Christ Superstar opening night production at Q Theatre on 1 November at the invitation of ATC
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM on 2 November (I was re-elected Chair of the management committee)
  • Blend with the BruntlettsBlend with the Bluntletts ride on 2 November organised by Generation Zero, Transportblog, Blend Store and the Frockers at Frocks on Bikes – Auckland (photo right published in the Auckland City Harbour News)
  • Green Desk interview with blogger and writer Melissa Bruntlett, who lives life on two wheels in Vancouver, about Van Cycle Chic – Observations from an Emerging Bike Culture.
  • Auckland Conversations on 4 November Vancouver Cycle Chic: Observations from emerging bike culture Chris & Melissa Bruntlett ( report back on their presentation)
  • Silo Theatre’s Blind Date at Basement Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 5 November
  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 6 November
  • Light Show at the Auckland Art Gallery (I couldn’t make it to the opening night but enjoyed going with friends)
  • The Official Launch of Federal Street on 7 November
  • Franklin Road upgrade Open Day – Community Information Session on 8 November hosted by Auckland Transport
  • Sustainable Coastlines the Love Project at Silo Six
  • Armistice Day CommemorationArmistice Day Commemoration at Auckland Museum
  • Art in the Dark launch on 12 November and attended Art in the Dark at Western Park on 2 of the 4 nights (one of the four nights was cancelled)
  • Parnell Festival of Roses opening speech and helped at the Board’s stand to consult on the Pt Resolution plan
  • Launch of the ATEED innovation plan at GRID AKL
  • Creative Communities Showcase hosted by Auckland Council
  • World of Wearable Art Exhibition Launch at the Auckland Museum
  • Opening of the Outside Art Fair hosted by Toi Ora Art Trust on 21 November
  • Nuffield Street, Newmarket Christmas Festival on 22 November
  • Glenn Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway open day hosted by Auckland Transport on 22 November
  • Picnic with board members Christopher Dempsey and Deborah Yates for the Daldy Street opening Party Saturday 22 November
  • Auckland Conversation – Affordable Housing Panel Discussion on 24 November
  • Blessing of Myers Park new playground on 26 November
  • Spring Fling event in Takapuna hosted by Auckland Transport and Frocks on Bikes on 26 November
  • Daldy Street Picnic
    Daldy Street Picnic

    Consultation and Engagement Awards 2014 at the Town Hall on 28 November  (Since 2011, the Consultation and Engagement Awards have recognised excellence, and encouraged quality and innovation in public participation. The awards are a chance to celebrate and have pride in the high standard of community consultation that happens across Auckland, ensuring sustainable decisions can be made and ultimately creating the world’s most liveable city while delivering Aucklanders great value for money. Congratulations to the Local Board Services Team who won the “involve” category and the People’s choice award for the 21 Local Board Plan)

  • Lighting up of the Child Fund NZ Tree of Bikes on Queens Wharf on 28 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival and helped out on the Waitemata Local Board stand consulting on the draft Grey Lynn Park Development Plan on 29 November
  • Santa Parade on 30 November at the invitation of ATEED
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)
Grey Lynn Festival consultation stand (Photo Michael McClintock Ponsonby News)


Book gifted by the author: Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest by Mike D Wilcox

Monthly Board report April 2014

Tēnā koutou

In March I started learning beginners te reo Māori at AUT University as part of my professional development on the Board. The free course covering Te Kākano I is held over 10 weeks on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm. I highly recommend the course.

Portfolio Report: Community

Old homestead community gardenCommunity Gardens

A Community and Teaching Gardens tour in March organised for community development officers and board members was a great learning opportunity about the different types of gardens, the benefits and challenges and the potential role Council can play in developing and fostering community gardens.

Old School Road community gardenThe Old Station Reserve teaching garden is particularly impressive. This garden is on Council land and was originally set up in 2009 with the support of the then Manukau City Council Parks department.  They have a philosophy of recycling everything and an open door policy for anyone who wants to work and share the produce. The garden is particularly popular with elders of the Chinese community.

Community Grants

The Community Grants Committee meeting was held on 24 March for applications to the third round of funding for the 13/14 year.  The committee is recommending that the Board support applications to a total of $33,254.70.

If the Committee’s recommendations are accepted $28,459.56 remains for the fourth and final round of funding. Applications close on 25 April 2014.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings were attended during March relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Portfolio report:  Transport

Progress for cycling (posted as a separate item here) 

Grafton Gully Cycleway Connections

Grafton Gully cycleway progress March 2014At our March Board meeting I reported on concerns that Auckland Transport and Auckland Council were failing to meet the deadlines for constructing the connections at Beach Road and Upper Queen Street to the Grafton Gully Cycle way that is due to open in September by NZTA.

I am therefore pleased to report that significant progress has been achieved over the last month with efforts to bring the project governance under one structure. In addition:

  • $1m additional City Transformation funding has been allocated to the Beach Road project to ensure quality public realm outcomes, as well as a cycleway.
  • Auckland Transport is working to achieve connections from Grafton Gully to Beach Road by September this year
  • City Transformation have developed a concept design for the urban design and landscape enhancements to Upper Queen Street bridge (funded from a $900k budget) and the team is currently working through a funding agreement with NZTA, who have agreed in principle to contribute $250k to the Auckland Council Upper Queen Street project..

It is very exciting to see the Grafton Gully project progress.

Auckland Transport valet bike parking at Pasifika resizeBike Parking

The transport portfolio has long advocated for ATEED, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to provide bike parking at events. It was therefore great to experience ‘valet’ bike parking at the Pasifika festival. Over the 2 days of the festival the service was heavily used. There is a lot further potential to promote active transport to events during the summer months.

Richmond Road School safety plan

The Richmond Road school community have long been advocating for safety improvements on Richmond Road. During March a parent raised three outstanding major issues:

  •  There has been a notable and significant increase in traffic density on Richmond Road particularly in the mornings, even over the last twelve months. This may be partly due to the high level of renovation in the area around the school at present.
  • Driver distractability and irritability seems to be far greater. It is routine to see cars on Ponsonby and Richmond roads running red lights, texting and talking on phones, and I have personally witnessed a number of occasions when cars have driven across the pedestrian crossings outside Richmond Rd School when the children are putting the stop signs out.
  • The speed of cars is well over the 40kph limit.

The Chair of Auckland Transport, Lester Levy has responded directly to these concerns and promised to undertake a site visit.

In the meantime I have confirmed that the Waitematā Local Board initiated the Richmond Road Safety Plan (of which safety improvements around the school are part) as a result of the school’s advocacy going back over many years and to address the safety concerns along the entire length of Richmond Road. This plan is one of our many advocacy areas to Auckland Transport in our annual agreement (part of the annual plan)

At our March Board meeting Auckland Transport reported that a number of safety improvements are under investigation:

  • Cockburn Street and Chamberlain Streets intersections (about to start)
  • West Lynn shops
  • Countdown/Farro Fresh intersection  (also part of our Greenways project connecting Coxs Bay with Grey Lynn Park)

Peel Street/Richmond Road intersection is also being looked at with a roundabout as a possible option.

We very much want to see a “complete” street approach by Auckland Transport to slow the traffic over the entire length and for works to happen as soon possible with the area around the school prioritised for safety improvements.

Monthly transport update

Our regular monthly transport update was postponed this month however current issues are reported back monthly by Auckland Transport on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.

Other board activities

Annual Plan hearings

We had a very positive day of annual plan hearings with Cr Darby and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse joining the Board. One strong theme that emerged is the need for art groups to receive guaranteed annual funding from Auckland Council.

The Local Board Agreement  (budget and activities for 14/15) will be finalised in June as part of the Annual Plan.

Local Board Plan

Community engagement on the Board’s next local board plan has continued in March with stakeholder workshops.

I attended a session for the disability sector led by Christopher Dempsey on 24 March in Parnell. The participants were unanimous in their positive feedback about the value of the session and the Board providing an opportunity to discuss issues of concern to those who are differently abled.

I also led a well-attended session for representatives of the migrant community in Parnell. The discussion was again very positive with many universal themes emerging from the engagement.

The Board was part of an Auckland Council engagement stand at Pasifika on 8 March and further consultation continues in April with resident groups.

The draft local board plan will go out for formal consultation in July 2014.

Out and about in Waitemata (posted as a separate item here)

 Workshops and meetings

In the period 1 March – 31 March I attended:

  • Local Board Plan public engagement sessions on 1 March in Grey Lynn
  • Fortnightly communications catch up on 3 March
  • Meeting organised by the GLBA to discuss with Auckland Transport the development of the Great North Road Corridor Management Plan on 3 March
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 4 March
  • Briefing on progress on the Greenways Project
  • Meeting on 5 March to discuss scope for Herne Bay Walkway Project
  • Presentation to the stage 2 Urban Planning: Urban Policy Analysis class at Auckland University as a guest speaker of Joel Cayford “Policy setting process: the political journey”
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 March
  • Waitemata Local Board monthly business meeting on 11 March in Grey Lynn
  • Attended the Infrastructure Committee Meeting at the Town Hall on 12 March
  • Auckland Council Investments presentation by Gary Swift (CE – ACIL) (Albert-Eden, Puketapapa, Waitemata)
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 13 March
  • Meeting with Ponsonby Business Association to discuss the local economic development plan feedback
  • Meeting to meet the new communications adviser and discuss photos for the draft Local Board plan on 14 March
  • Waterfront Auckland up date to the Transport Portfolio on the Westhaven promenade and cycleway on 14 March
  • Community Facilities Network Plan and Community Grants Policy workshops on 17 March at the Flicking Centre
  • Resource Recovery Centre meeting with Albert-Eden/Puketapapa/Waitemata Local Boards on 17 March
  • Waitemata Local Board Annual Plan Hearing
  • Meeting on 19 March to provide the Board with an update on concept design, costing, timing, etc for Freyberg Place and the connections with Melville Hall.
  • Local Economic Overview for Waitemata by Jonathan Sudworth, Economic Development
  • Community Facilities Fees & Charges meeting on 20 March
  • Waitemata Local Board Grants Committee Meeting on 24 March
  • Community Garden Tour on 24 March
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 25 March
  • Meeting to discuss the community facility work programme
  • Ponsonby Community Centre Monthly meeting
  • Local Board Plan Stakeholder Meeting with Disability Groups in Parnell on 26 March
  • Brent Toderian lunchtime talk in Takapuna – Balancing heritage protection with city intensification
  • Meeting to discuss Local Board funding policy
  • Migrant Communities Local Board plan Engagement in Parnell on 27 March
  • Meeting regarding the Local Board plan on 31 March
  • Meeting with O’Neill Street residents on 31 March to discuss parking issues

Events and functions

International Day of Women celebration Freyberg place Auckland March 2014In the period 1 March – 31 March 2014 I attended:

  • Cycle Action Auckland’s Associates Breakfast at the Auckland Art Gallery on 6 March
  • Celebration of International Women’s Day 2014 on 7 March at Freyberg Place
  • Joined the Mayoral walkabout at Pasifika Festival on 8 March
  • The Olympic Pool 75th Jubilee in Newmarket on 12 March
  • Transport Blog movie fundraiser on 12 March
  • Grey Lynn Business Association Networking drinks at Malt Bar on 13 March
  • Opening of Andy Tolhurst and Mauricio Benega’s ‘Energia’ exhibition at Artstation on 19 March
  • Otago Law Students Alumni Function at Chapman Tripp on 20 March
  • Liveable City Art Auction to raise funds for the Arch Hill residents fight against the Bunnings big box retail development on Great North Road
  • Grey Lynn Street party waste stationGrey Lynn School Aloha Night on 21 March
  • Cat walk in the street event hosted by the Newmarket Business Association on 22 March
  • Pecha Kucha and the showing of the Human Scale at Silo Park on 28 March
  • Neighbour’s Day – Grow in the city at  Myers Park on 29 March part of Waitemata Pop Project between March and June, 2014. Pop has an overarching theme of urban ecology, includes mini projects such as “bee hotels”, “walking among the trees”, hanging gardens, neighbours day pop out gardens and workshops to engage various communities.
  • Newton School Fia Fia fundraising day on 29 March
  • Surrey Cres Street Party hosted by the Grey Lynn Business Association in celebration of Neighbours Day Aotearoa (I volunteered on a resource recovery station to reduce the rubbish going into the street bins)
  • Opening of the Auckland International Cultural Festival in Mt Roskill War Memorial Park
  • Between the Tides sculpture event at Westmere Beach on 30 March