Monthly Board Report December 2013

inaugural Waitemata Local Board meeting with friends and family

I was delighted to be re-elected to the Waitematā Local Board on 12 October 2013 and to be confirmed as Deputy Chair for another term at our inaugural meeting on 4 November.

My first Board report for this term covers my activities from 10 September including the final period of the first triennium of Auckland Council and the election period.


I look forward to continuing to work on the Transport portfolio (portfolio’s to be confirmed at our December Board meeting). There are some exciting projects underway in our area – Beach Road cycle lanes (photo from the Beach Road open day), the Sky path, Grafton Gully Cycleway, Waitematā safer routes scheme  and the Board’s Greenways project that we can look forward to seeing delivered over the next three

Pippa Coom and Christopher Dempsey at theBeach Road open dayAuckland Transport’s draft Cycling Business Plan

The feedback from Christopher and me is on Auckland Transport’s draft Cycling Business Plan is on this month’s agenda. We have raised a number of concerns regarding the draft plan and the failure of Auckland Transport to put forward an investment proposal to meet the Auckland Plan targets.

Greenways Plan

The Board’s Greenways Plan is now online. We heard in November that Auckland Transport are progressing the design work on our priority Greenway Route connecting Coxs Bay to the NW Cycleway via Grey Lynn Park with construction planned for 14/15 .

Work is also underway on an implementation plan for delivering the priority routes in the plan which will be on our February agenda.

SH16 – St Lukes Interchange

During the election period the NZTA and Auckland Transport requested land owner consent from the Board to widen Great North Road into reserve land opposite MOTAT to provide for two lanes on to the motorway.  The Board has pushed back on the widening due to the lack of clear transport benefits and the need to remove mature pohutakawa trees. The plans have now been modified to retain the trees and incorporate cycling and walking improvements. Auckland Transport have given an undertaken that outstanding concerns are going to be addressed through the Great North Road Corridor Management Plan that has recently got underway.

Reporting on transport issues

Auckland Transport reports monthly on the issues progressed with the transport portfolio. The report is available on our agenda.

Community Development

I hope to continue working on the Community Development portfolio for a second term. We are making good progress on a number of projects and initiatives (including the redevelopment of Pioneer Woman’s Hall as a community facility for inner city residents) however there are still a wide range of issues and community priorities that need to be addressed.

Meetings associated with the community development portfolio are listed below.

Community Funding

The Board’s Community Grant committee met on 2 September and recommended the allocation of grants for the first round of funding for 13/14. Grant application decisions totalling $24,601.60 were confirmed at our September Board meeting.

The Central Joint Funding Committee met on 20 September to allocate grants from the Accommodation Support Fund, the Community Group Assistance Fund and the Auckland City Cultural Heritage. These grants are allocated within the old Auckland City Council area by representatives of the relevant Boards. The minutes are available online.

Other board activities

Bunnings Decision

I attended most of the four days of hearings in support of the submitters against the application for a Bunnings mega store development on Great North Road. Board chair, Shale Chambers addressed the hearing on behalf of the Board in opposition.

After hearing the evidence I thought the submitters had a really strong case based on the negative impact of the Bunning’s proposal.  It is a non-complying activity in a Mixed Use zone that abuts the Res 1 neighbourhood of Arch Hill. The scale of the activity is not intended under the district plan in a mixed use zone. I was therefore hugely disappointed that the commissioners granted Bunnings consent on 20 November.   I feel that residents have really been hugely let down by the process and are now faced with taking the fight to the Environment Court

Unitary plan open day at the libraryUnitary Plan

The proposed Unitary Plan was notified on 30 September for public consultation. Feedback is open until 28 February 2014.

I attended the public open day at the Central library on 11 November including presentations on Sustainable Design and Universal Access. I also attended the briefing for all elected representatives on 19 November. The plan and key topic fact sheets are available online.

Urban Design

Gentle Density, Brent Toderian

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with Brent Toderian, the former Chief Planning Officer for Vancouver City Council. I heard about “gentle density” for the first time – a term that has now been adopted by Auckland Council planners.

Brent covered the magic of density done well:

  • Reduced energy use in buildings
  • Allows for active transport
  • More green design options (in Vancouver called “eco-density”)
  • Less sprawl
  • More affordable housing choices
  • Improved public health
  • Vitality, diversity, safety

Brent emphasised that it is not about height it is about how well you design it and that the emphasis must be on good design. The best thing you can do for density is have a high design standard. In Vancouver this translated into only accepting “excellent” design. He gave examples of how gentle density can be achieved.

  •  Hidden density “laneway” houses by infill housing
  • Ground orientated housing
  • “invisible” housing achieved through secondary suites

His message to the professionals that attended the workshop is that there is no excuse not to achieve density and to have a genuine conversation about the benefits (and challenges)

  • Demographics on their side
  •  Urban environment perfect condition
  • Families are choosing urban living (in US 80% of households are childless) – if you design for kids you attract kids

Following the workshop Brent presented at an Auckland Conversation where Ludo Campbell Reid launched the Auckland Design Manual.

In his presentation Brent focused on transportation issues. Key points:

  • Key problem of sprawl is auto – dependency
  • It is a myth that is is possible to balance modes – what has to happen is a re-prioritisation with walking first then cycling
  • No city has made driving better by building roads. In Vancouver they have achieved 20% less vehicles entering downtown and driving has got better
  • The best transportation plan is a great land use plan
  • Done well density uses the power of nearness
  • He recommended designing “eye candy” for walkers
  • Need to physically protect cyclists only why will increase mode share – cheapest infrastructure investment you can make
  • It is not about being “anti-car” but “pro-choice”

Local Board Workshops and meetings

In the period 10 September – 21 November I attended:

  • Cake presented to the Waitemata Local BoardWaitematā Local Board business meeting on 10 September at Parnell – the final meeting of the first term of the Board (photo of the cake presented at our last Board meeting)
  • Arch Hill Residents public meeting on 16 September
  • Community portfolio monthly catch up on 18 September
  • Meeting to discuss Basement Theatre liquor licence
  • Meeting to discuss Pt. Resolution master plan
  • Central Joint Funding Committee Meeting on 20 September
  • Meeting with Tania Pouwhare, Principal Strategy Analyst to discuss neighbourhood planning/place making
  • Meeting to discuss plans for the children’s area at the Central Library
  • Meeting to discuss waste management funding for the Grey Lynn Festival with the solid waste team on 26 September
  • ATEED tourism update held at Shed 10 on 27 September
  • Community Facilities renewal programme 2014 meeting
  • Auckland Transport monthly catch up
  • Neighbourhood planning working group meeting convened by Roger Blakely on 30 September
  • Meeting to discuss a first draft of a Localised Carbon Reduction Plan for Waitemata on 2 October
  • Hearings for Bunnings – attended on 7, 8, 9, and 10 October
  • Meeting on 9 October with local residents to discuss anti-social behaviour at St Patrick’s Square
  • Pioneer Women’s Hall redevelopment meeting on 9 October
  • Paul Steely White breakfast presentation hosted by Heart of the City and AECOM on 11 October
  • St Luke’s interchange meeting with Parks officers on 11 October
  • Meeting to discuss Sugar tree development and Corridor management plan for Nelson Street on 15 October
  • Presentation by Billy Mathieson, Principal Adviser, Social Entrepreneurs to report back from his attendance at the SOCAP13 conference in SF – one of the leading ‘Social Impact’ events in the world.
  • Waitemata Local Board welcome meeting on 18 October
  • Ways of working workshop on 22 October
  • Interview on Radio Ponsonby on 22 October  to discuss bike park corral and Ponsonby Road Master plan
  • CCOs at the Stepping forward for Auckland ExpoOne day “Stepping Forward for Auckland” – Conference and Expo for newly elected members  (photo of CCO panel at the Expo)
  • Legal Briefing  as part of the induction Expo for elected representatives
  • Waitemata Local Board New Elected Members Technology Training session 25 October
  • Stormwater One day Seminar at the Rendezvous Hotel on 31 October
  • Finance, Comms and Local Board Agreement training for Elected members on 1 November
  • Waiheke Local Board inaugural meeting on 2 November
  • Inaugural meeting of the Waitematā Local Board 2013 – 2016 on 4 November
  • Grey Lynn Business Association Committee meeting on 5 November
  • Launch of Waterfront Auckland’s Sustainable Development Framework on 5 November at Shed 10
  • Albert- Eden Local Board inaugural meeting on 6 November
  • Meeting to discuss Christmas Carols in Western Park
  • Meeting with Lynne Butler, Freemans Bay residents on 6 November to discuss setting up a Freemans Bay Residents Association
  • Meeting to discuss the proposed activation of Quay Street with a Ciclovia event (road “opening” for walking and cycling) to be held on 8 February 2014
  • Coastal walkway meeting with Parks officers on 8 November
  • Waitematā Local Board weekly workshop on 12 November
  • Transport update on 13 November
  • Unitary Plan update for all elected representatives on 19 November
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 19 November
  • Meeting with Sugar tree and Nelson street developers to discuss Auckland Transport plans for a corridor management plan on 20 November
  • Advancing Auckland’s Governance induction workshop for elected representatives on 20 November
  • Greenways meeting with Parks officers and Auckland Transport on 21 November
  • Environmental portfolio first catch up meeting on 21 November
  • Community Development and Partnerships monthly catch up with the portfolio holders on 21 November

Events and functions

In the period from 10 September – 22 November  I attended the following events and functions:

  • Tour and lunch at the Crossroads Clubhouse, Great North Road
  • Great Transport Debate hosted by Campaign for Better Transport on 11 September
  • Unwrapping a new era in transport – launch of Auckland’s new electric commuter trains at Wiri Depot
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks on 12 September
  • Opening of the Age of Aquarius – Fashion Museum on 13 September
  • Survive and Thrive (a public forum, expo and series of workshops for people working in the creative sector)  – attended an afternoon workshop on 14 September at the invitation of the Big Idea
  • Bayfield School Safe School Travel Plan Launch with the Mayor on 16 September
  • Parnell meet the candidates event
  • Grey Lynn meet the candidates event
  • Spoke at the suffrage day celebrations at Khartoun place organised by the National Council for women on 19 September
  • Beach Road walking and cycling improvements Public information day at AECOM hosted by Auckland Transport
  • Parking day installation on Hardinge StreetPark(ing) day event on Hardinge Street organised by the Urban Design team
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 21 September
  • America’s Cup races at Shed 10 over various mornings
  • Arch Hill Street party on 22 September
  • Newmarket Business Association AGM (I was a scrutineer) on 25 September
  • Opening of the Heritage Festival at Shed 10 on 27 September
  • Young and Hungry theatre production at Basement Theatre (at the invitation of the Basement Theatre)
  • Launch and Lunch at the Italian Festival on 29 September at the invitation of the Italian Society
  • Mayoral morning tea with Auckland Senior Citizens to celebrate the 2013 United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1 October
  • Bayswater walking and cycling pipe bridge opening attended by the Mayor on 5 October
  • Grey Lynn Savalivali Heritage walk
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM on 6 October (I was re-elected Chair of the management committee)
  • Powhiri for new Voyager director on 7 October
  • Opening of Art Week at K’rd on 10 October
  • Newmarket Business Association Young Designers Awards (at the invitation of NBA) on 11 October
  • RIMU presentation Pseudo-science and caricatures? Reflections on Gen X, Y, X, Z and beyond
  • Fiesta in the Park on 13 October
  • Parnell Trust AGM 15 October
  • Sustainable City Showcase at the Cloud hosted by Sustainable Business Network on 17 – 19 October
  • Official opening of the 12th annual Auckland Diwali Festival on 19 October
  • Jam on Toast event at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 19 October
  • Westhaven drive walkway ground breakingGround-breaking for the start of construction of the Westhaven walk and cycleway 21 October (see photo)
  • Pouwhiri for the new Council on 23 October
  • Opening of the Tall Ships Festival at Queens Wharf on 26 October
  • Inaugural meeting of the Governing Body at the Town Hall on 29 October
  • Gentle Density workshop with Brent Toderian on 30 October
  • Auckland Conversation and launch of the Auckland Design Manual on 30 October with Design for Auckland:   Brent Toderian – Toronto, Canada
  • Meet the Fair Trade Farmers event hosted by Oxfam NZ at Shakey Isles on 31 October
  • Celebration and opening evening at Parnell Baths on 1 November
  • Auckland Conversation – Beauty and Biophilia Amanda Sturgeon, Living Buildings International
  • Auckland Conversation in Association with RIMU Kids in the City – Accommodating Children in an intensifying Auckland Karen Whitten and Robin Kearns on 6 November
  • Cycle Action Auckland’s Associates Breakfast on 7 November
  • TRANX drug and alcohol service 25th  anniversary celebration on 7 November
  • Fairtrade Banana event at Ponsonby Central on 7 November
  • Art in the Dark opening on 7 November
  • Art in the Dark event 8 and 9 November
  • Unitary Plan public Open day on 11 November
  • Newmarket Business Association networking drinks (Buzz) on 13 November
  • Social Enterprise Forum – Growing the fourth sector on 14 November
  • Grey Lynn Business Association AGM on 14 November (I stood down from the Committee)
  • Grey Lynn Community Centre AGM on 20 November
  • Switching on the Parnell Lights event at Heard Park on 21 November