Bold decision making needed to unleash Auckland’s potential

Tāmaki Makaurau has had an aspiration to deliver a safe, connected cycling network since the former Auckland Regional Council signed off plans in the mid-2000s which were then adopted in the Supercity’s first Auckland Plan.

Since then, funding and delivery has been patchy and compared to many cities worldwide, Auckland’s cycling mode share by distance and trips remains low at 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.  This is often blamed on the weather and the hills, however international studies show that the biggest factor to determine cycling rates is the availability of safe, connected cycling infrastructure.    E-bikes further neutralise the effect of Auckland’s geography making riding a viable transport option across our region.

We also know there is huge demand to be able to cycle safely.  Where cycleways are built riders flock to them, for example, our North Western Cycleway has had a ridership increase of 128 percent between 2015 and 2019 (as measured at Kingsland).  Most Aucklanders own a bike and a recent survey found 56 percent of Aucklanders would cycle (or cycle more often) if it felt safe.

There is often the misconception that the push is to get everyone onto bikes for every trip.  This isn’t desirable or practicable.  To achieve Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri Auckland’s climate plan transport emissions reduction target of 64 percent by 2030 we need to aim for at least 7 percent cycle mode share by distance. This perhaps sounds like a lot, but it might mean using a bike or e-scooter for just a couple of trips a week or for every trip under two kilometres. It is also about making it safe for kids to get to school independently so we can take a big chunk of the approximately 40,0000 school drop-off trips off the road each day.

It is important to acknowledge there will always be a place for cars to be used in Tāmaki Makaurau, and the good news is more people cycling eases congestion for those who need to drive. It frees up space on our roads for essential trips and freight. More people cycling not only improves liveability, public health, and air quality, it is also good for business and the local economy.

Safe, connected infrastructure benefits everyone including the 30 percent of Aucklanders who don’t drive or can’t drive. Cycleways, wider footpaths and safer connections between our various modes of transport makes our city more accessible for everyone. The idea that roads are just for cars because of “congestion” locks us into transport planning that induces more demand for driving making congestion worse. It is also unfair.

So what is happening to deliver the cycling network – now called the Cycling and Micromobility Network – and provide Aucklanders real options to leave the car at home? $306m has already been allocated in the Regional Land Transport Plan unanimously approved by councillors and supported by all local boards last year to deliver cycling infrastructure over the next ten years.  On 5 May the Planning Committee considered the prioritisation of that funding to provide 45 kilometres of safe cycle facilities, as well as concentrated investment in local cycle connections in four key areas  (how the decision was reported in Greater Auckland).

Even though completing the Network is great value for money, it wasn’t a meeting to approve funding and no additional funding was approved.  But what we do know is that more funding will be needed to reach the 7% cycle mode share by distance goal (estimated to be at least $2 billion) as well as a range of significant policy changes at a national level.

By endorsing the direction of Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Micromobility Programme Business Case, a majority of Councillors have acknowledged the type of investment which will be needed in order to achieve our ambitious cycling mode shift target by 2030. Significantly more funding will be needed in coming years from both Council and Government along with some potentially difficult policy changes to shift New Zealanders’ transport behaviours. With bold decision making and smart urban public policy Tāmaki Makaurau has the potential to unleash significant benefits for all Aucklanders.

First published in Ponsonby News

Councillor monthly report May 2022

General update 

Anzac day 2022 Auckland museum photo Michael Craig

My Councillor report covers the period from 6 April to 6 May.  It has been prepared for the May business meetings of the Waitematā, Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards.

The purpose of my report is to detail my main activities and to share information with the public and local boards in my ward regarding governing body decisions, my attendance at events, regional consultations, media updates and key issues.

Positions  

  • Deputy Chair, Environment and Climate Change Committee
  • Co-Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
  • Member, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB)
  • Board Member, LGNZ National Council and Auckland Zone co-chair
  • Member, Auckland Domain Committee
  • Member, Appointments and Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Joint Governance Working Party
  • Member, Climate Political Reference Group
  • Member, Waste Political Advisory Group
  • All Councillors are members of the Planning, CCO Oversight, Finance & Performance and the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committees

Summary 

  • April included Easter holidays, Anzac Day and a recess week for the Governing Body.
  • As of 11.59pm on Wednesday 13 April, Tāmaki Makaurau and the whole of Aotearoa is at the Orange setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework’s traffic light system. Council meetings have subsequently moved to a hybrid model of in-person and remote. In line with government advice, vaccine passes are no longer required at Auckland Council’s sites and facilities.
  • Results from consultation on the Annual Budget 2022/23 including the Climate Action Targeted Rate were released in early May, showing strong support for the Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR) from Aucklanders.
  • Feedback on the council’s preliminary response to the NPS-UD and MDRS opened on 19 April and closes 9 May. I have attended all the online consultation events hosted by council. The feedback will help inform council’s proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan that are required by government to be notified in August.
  • On 7 April spoke at the Women4Climate launch event held online
  • Speaking at the ride for safety rally at Te Komititanga

    I spoke at a bike rally on 9 April calling for more to be done about cycling safety following the deaths of two riders in just one month.

  • A 75% government funded project to build two new fully-electric ferries on Auckland Harbour operated by Auckland Transport were announced by the Mayor and
    Electric ferry announcement on Queens Wharf by Minister Woods and Mayor Goff

    the Minister for Energy and Resources on 26 April.

  • Construction on the Myers Park underpass started on 28 April. It includes a multi-discipinary art installation giving life to wai Horotiu
  • City of Colour, a three-week programme of light installations within the city centre opened on 5 May as part of a recovery response package.
  • On 5 May City Rail Link stations new names were announced. The stations names and design will emphasise Māori culture and heritage.
  • The Planning Committee on 5 May confirmed that work is underway on a compliance investigation and the development of a resource consent practice note in response to the concerns that have been raised by Aotea Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Board regarding helicopters (final decision item 8)
  • Also at the Planning Committee meeting we endorsed the intent and direction of the Auckland Cycling and Micro mobility Programme Business Case and a prioritisation approach towards achieving 7% cycling mode share goal by 2030. This was reported incorrectly as a decision to fund $2bn of cycleways.  In fact, it was about the prioritisation of $306m that is already allocated in the Regional Land Transport Plan for investment over the next 10 years.  I have been on a political reference group with Cllrs Dalton and Darby and Local Board member Louise Johnston and Chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene to provide input into the business case.
  • Opening of the Ecomatters Bike hub at Queens Wharf. Photo M Crawford

    Events attended during the month included the opening on 21 April of the new downtown central Bike Hub on Queens Wharf operated by EcoMatters, Earth Day event in Aotea Square and the AGMs of the Grey Lynn Residents Association and the Herne Bay Residents Association.

Governing Body meetings – Key decisions  

The minutes for all meetings are available on the Auckland Council website. The following is intended as a summary only of key decisions.

On 7 April the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee

  • Approved the Regional Arts and Culture grant allocation: round two 2021/2022
  • Approved a 12-month agreement to continue funding Auckland Foundation from July 2022-June 2023 with more targeted expectations aligned to Parks and Community 10-year budget priorities.
  • Delegated authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, Councillors Hills and Coom, and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member to approve the council’s submission on the Ministry for the Environment’s proposed changes to transform recycling in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Approved Auckland Council staff to work with Auckland Transport and relevant stakeholders to develop play streets guidance for Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • Received the update on ‘Kia Ora Tāmaki Makaurau – Māori Outcomes Performance Measurement Framework’ including the next steps for implementation.
  • Approved the council whānau Statement of Commitment: Kia mahi tahi te whakaiti i te kino ka hua i te waipiro / Work together to minimise the harm from alcohol
  • Received the findings of the Auckland Council’s Papatoetoe community provision investigation 2021

 On 26 April the Council Controlled Organisation Oversight Committee

  • Received the overview of the implementation programme for the Council-controlled Organisations Review
  • Approved shareholder comments on draft CCO Statements of Intent 2022-2025 (I have been working to ensure council’s transport emission reduction target of 64% by 2030 is embedded in AT’s SOI)

 On 28 April the Governing Body

  • Considered proposed funding contributions to regional cultural and safety amenities 2022/2023
  • Approved the Bylaw Panel recommendations on the amended Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau Te Ture-ā-rohe Wai Āwhā 2015 / Auckland Council Stormwater Bylaw 2015.
  • Approved the Bylaw Panel’s recommendations on the proposed changes to the Auckland Council Te Ture ā-rohe Tiaki Rawa me Ngā Mahi Whakapōrearea 2015 / Property Maintenance and Nuisance Bylaw 2015

 On 3 May the Planning Committee

  • Endorsed the intent and direction of the Auckland Cycling and Micromobility Programme Business Case and a prioritisation approach towards achieving 7% cycling mode share goal by 2030
  • Approved plan changes to enable the installation of rainwater tanks in residential and rural zones
  • Considered resolutions from the Aotea/Great Barrier, Waiheke and Waitematā Local Boards regarding concerns about helicopter activity. The amended resolution was moved by Chair Darby, I seconded and in speaking in support acknowledged the work of the local boards, Quiet Sky Waiheke and the Herne Bay Residents Association with regards to the negative impacts of helicopter activity:

 

The Super City turns 10

I’m happy to admit to having been a Super City sceptic.  In the lead up to the forced amalgamation 10 years ago of Tāmaki Makaurau’s eight councils into Auckland Council I had become active in community-led development.  The governance structure for the new body, with the majority of council business driven by Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), didn’t appear to sit well with local decision making and sustainable community building.  If there had been a referendum, I’m sure I would have joined the majority of Aucklanders in voting “no” to a Super City.

10 years on I’m convinced the Super City has been for the best.  It shifted the strategic planning up a gear and made it possible to transform Auckland into truly international city.  It brought to an end the many, and often expensive, conflicts between the former councils and the old Auckland Regional Council and set the foundation for bold action and a united vision for the region.  Grass roots decision making has been able to flourish via local boards who are funded to make things happen within their communities.  This is particularly satisfying for the parts of the city neglected by their former councils.

However, throughout the 10 years I have been on Auckland Council, first as a local board member and since October 2019 as the Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf ward, I’ve consistently felt uneasy and frustrated with the CCO model.  It has been difficult to justify the lack of real control by democratically elected decision makers for over half of council’s operational budget when many of the promised benefits of CCOs have failed to materialise.

Over the years I’ve got to know Auckland Transport (AT) especially well because one of the reasons I put myself forward for public office in the first place was to make Auckland a great place to cycle as part of a sustainable, safe, healthy, connected city.   The stars seemed to align with funding, political backing and broad community support almost from the get-go.  The CCO model should have allowed AT to focus on delivery without operational interference from politicians.  However, it has been painfully slow going and AT’s approach to consultation has pleased no one.  So much of what the local board achieved in my time – greenways, traffic calming, pedestrian safety, street trees – was despite AT rather than as a result of AT operating as a CCO.

The review of Council’s CCOs by an independent panel led by Miriam Deans released on 11 August found many of the ways to improve the model, accountability, and culture of CCOs hiding in plain sight.  The report is written in plain English, the recommendations are easily digestible and make sense.  The review has forced the Auckland Council “family” to collectively reflect on our role in making the governance structure work effectively for Aucklanders.

The panel found the CCO model is overall fit for purpose but needs to be strengthened using many of the tools and mechanisms available.   It established that there’s significant room for improving the council’s relationship with and oversight of the CCOs.  One of the key recommendations is for AT to urgently review how it designs, consults on, funds and implements minor capital works.   These kinds of projects have been the source of much of my own frustration in dealing with AT and led to public criticism of CCOs being “out of control”.

On 27 August Auckland Council’s Governing Body agreed unanimously to progress all 64 of the panel’s recommendations. This includes agreeing to the merger of two CCOs—Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development into a single entity to be established by 1 December 2020.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Super City I’m looking forward to the reset provided by the CCO review. I don’t think implementation will be as simple and straightforward as presumed by the panel due to the deep rooted cultural and systemic shakeup needed.  Nonetheless, I’m hopeful that the implementation of the recommendations will be a circuit breaker to move beyond the scapegoating of the Super City and its CCOs so we can focus on achieving the best from all parts of Auckland Council.

First published in Ponsonby News October 2020

Chair’s report: Reflections on the 2016-2019 term

This is my final report after nine years on the Waitematā Local Board.  I have reported monthly throughout my time on the local board.  This month I take the opportunity to provide my reflections on the 2016- 2019 term and to give thanks and acknowledgements. ( It is on the agenda for the final local board meeting for the term on 17 September 2019)

Since the local board’s establishment in 2010, for the first two terms under the leadership of Shale Chambers, we have put in place a clear direction for being an accessible, connected, sustainable, inclusive, vibrant local board area.  We have built a reputation for being an effective, collaborative, hardworking local board that takes our local responsibilities seriously, but always considers the bigger strategic picture.

The “Super City” governance structure was imposed on Aucklanders and came with ongoing concerns about what it would mean for local decision making and identity.  We have focused on making Auckland Council, together with the CCO’s, work properly and deliver for the community.  We can see the impact we have made across our responsibilities for local parks, events, arts and recreational services and facilities, community facilities, libraries, and environmental management. A key role of the local board is also place making and shaping responsibilities, which has required active involvement in wider transport and heritage, urban design and planning issues affecting the local level.

At times far too much energy has gone into “educating” all the parts of the council family about the governance structure and the role of local boards.  After nine years we have seen huge improvements but there is still more to do.  I welcome a proposed review of the Council Controlled Organisations next term.

It has been a real honour to Chair the local board for the 2016-2019 term and a privilege to represent the city centre and central suburbs of Auckland. We are the beating heart of Tāmaki Makaurau, the economic engine room of the region, and home to outstanding cultural, educational and arts institutions, and major events. It is an exciting place to live, visit, work, play and study. Our local board area is the front door for international visitors and increasingly the place to experience Māori culture in Auckland. It is home to vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods and a growing city centre population who are embracing urban living.

This report seeks to cover some of the highlights of what we have achieved this term. Shale, in his report, has comprehensively covered the 2010- 2013 and 2013- 2016 terms.  I’ve tried my best to capture as much as possible and to acknowledge everyone who has provided a huge amount of support and encouragement.  Apologies in advance if I have missed anything significant – at a certain point I had to bring to a close what was becoming a very long report!

A local board of firsts

Living Wage celebration with Mayor Goff who moved all council employees to a living wage on 1 September 2019

As a progressive board we are committed to social justice and have been willing to take risks and adopt policy often before any other part of council.  We are the first local board to approve an Accessibility Plan and a Low Carbon Community Action Plan.  We led the way in committing to a City for Peace, Smokefree parks and playgrounds, the Living Wage, to Auckland becoming a Fairtrade City and CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women).

And if agreed at our final meeting we will be the first local board to adopt a localised urban ngahere action plan, which is intended to deliver on Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

We are fortunate to have very active, engaged community members.  Over nine years it has been a pleasure to build relationships, work with a wide range of community leaders and to seek out new ways of engaging and consulting to reach our diverse and growing residential populations. I made a point of reading every piece of feedback received by the board through the many consultation processes.

Our Local Board Plans 2011, 2014 and now 2017 have provided an opportunity to sweep up the community’s projects and initiatives to deliver on the priorities we have been told are important.  I have enjoyed taking an active role in the process of developing each plan.

A few highlights of our approaches to engagement include:

    • Beating the bounds a walk of the local board boundary at the beginning of each term (first initiated by myself and Andy Smith of Walk Auckland in 2011)
    • A one-off Pecha Kucha Town Hall edition that launched our 2014 local board plan
    • Taking part in Auckland Council’s first Facebook live engagement event with board member Adriana Christie as part of the Annual Budget consultation 2019/2020 (photo right)
    • Hearings style feedback sessions – we are one of the few boards to continue with this format
    • Taking consultation events into the community with co-hosted public meetings, library pop-ins and info stands at events

There is still more to improve engaging with the hard to reach particularly with city centre residents, residents with English as a second language and young people.

Kelmarna Gardens spring festival

Our partnerships have continued to flourish this term with established organisations and emerging ones.  As a former Trustee of Kelmarna Gardens I’m pleased to see how the board’s support has provided stability and allowed the organic farm to become more sustainable.

I’ve maintained close relationships with our well-run community centres – Parnell, Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and regularly attended the lively and informative Central City Community Network meetings funded by the local board.

Planning for the future

The drafting, consultation on and approval of development plans covering all our major parks and town centres has been a major focus of the board first initiated by Shale Chambers.  The plans guide renewals and planning to avoid ad hoc projects and investment.

Western Park news stairs opening

The value of development plans can be seen in places such as Western Park where we have ticked off nearly every project listed in the implementation plan as budget has become available including new lighting, new paths, upgrade playground, new boardwalk and stairs down from Hopetoun Street, new toilet block and new fitness equipment.  Further work is underway on a tree management plan.

Plans completed or underway include:

    • Meola Reef Development Plan
    • Western Springs Lakeside Park (to be signed off by the incoming board in February 2020)
    • Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan
    • Point Resolution Taurarua Development Plan
    • Grey Lynn Park Development Plan
    • New paths in Symonds St cemetery

      Symonds Street Cemetery development plan (photo right: new paths in the cemetery)

    • Newmarket Laneways Plan
    • Karangahape Road Plan 2014-2044
    • Newton Eden Terrace Plan (2016-2046)
    • Ponsonby Road Plan 2014-2044
    • Parnell Plan

We were also only the second local board to develop a City Fringe Economic Development Action Plan in 2014 that was then further revised in 2017.

Iwi relationships and working with Māori

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke

Delivering on Council’s commitment to Māori at a local level is a priority for the local board.  I’ve worked to strengthen our iwi relationships.  I’ve particularly valued the constant presence during my time on the local board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Kaumatua Bob Hawke and Matt Maihi who have led us through many significant opening and blessings.

For 2019/2020 we have allocated funding to a new programme called Te Kete Rukuruku, which aims to showcase the Māori history and stories of Tāmaki Makaurau. One element is to add names significant to Māori to local parks.

It was with great sadness that we heard the news that Dean Martin, Principal Advisor, Māori and Te Tiriti Relationships and Governance, Te Waka Anga Mua ki Uta passed away suddenly in April.  Dean provided steady guidance to the local board, led our visit to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae early in the term and wrote my mihi for the opening of Ellen Melville Centre.

The bigger picture

The local board has taken every opportunity to take a strategic view of national and regional issues. We are able to sustain a substantial output of work thanks to the portfolio structure (established under Shale’s leadership) that has allowed local board members to take responsibility for specific areas of interest.   In this term we have provided input into the following policies, bylaws proposals and plans:

    • QEII Square Private Plan Change
    • Auckland Plan Refresh
    • Urban Development Authorities Discussion Document
    • Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s Inquiry into the 2016 local authority elections
    • Tākaro – Investing in Play discussion document
    • Governance Framework Review
    • Four Wellbeings Bill
    • Dog Bylaw and Policy
    • Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags
    • Residential Tenancies Act 1986
    • Healthy Home Standards
    • Low emissions economy draft report
    • Regional Pest Management Plan
    • Presenting on a submission to the governing body with Shale Chambers and Richard Northey

      Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018

    • Draft 2018-2028 Regional Land Transport Plan
    • draft Regional Fuel Tax proposal
    • draft Contributions Policy
    • Rates Remission and Postponement Policy
    • Child and Youth Wellness Strategy
    • Natural Environment Targeted Rate
    • Draft Facility Partnership Policy
    • Auckland Water Strategy
    • Regional Public Transport Plan
    • Sports Investment Plan 2019 – 2039
    • Productivity Commission Issues Paper – Local Government Funding and Financing
    • Freedom Camping in Vehicles Bylaw
    • Department of Conservation’s proposed revocation of certain delegations to Territorial Authorise under the Reserves Act 1977
    • Trade Waste Bylaw 2013
    • The Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Bill
    • Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
    • Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015
    • Moving light vehicle fleet to low-emissions: discussion paper on Clean Car Standard and Clean Car Discount
    • Road to Zero: A New Road Safety Strategy for NZ
    • Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines
    • Proposed biodiversity strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand

I would particularly like to acknowledge board member Richard Northey who always takes the time to review and comment on every local board submission (even when not within his portfolio areas) and has drafted many pieces of feedback directly.

Community-led Development

The local board has embraced the opportunities to fund, facilitate and encourage community-led development and empowerment.  I am particularly proud of the role I played in initiating the Ponsonby Park design through a community-led process.

In 2006 the former Auckland City Council purchased a site on Ponsonby Road to create a civic space. In 2011 Shale Chambers identified this as a project for inclusion in the first Waitematā Local Board plan. Consultation on options for the site followed in the Ponsonby Road masterplan led by me and former local board member Tricia Reade.

As the feedback was split between three options and as, following further consultation, we had reached an impasse I suggested we kick off a community-led process (inspired by Jim Diers community building presentation on his visit to Auckland) but never tried before on such a large project.

Seed funding from the local board led to the establishment of the Ponsonby Park working group. After lots of work and community engagement a winning design by Landlab became the board’s priority project for delivery (in Council speak known as an OLI – One Local Initiative).

It was fantastic news for the project in August when the Finance and Performance Committee agreed to fund the project from the sale of 200 Victoria Street (in addition to funding secured through the OLI process). If all goes to plan sod turning on “Ponsonby Park” will take place towards the end of next year.

We’ve also been open to innovative and creative approaches to achieving community outcomes.

Following determined advocacy of the Parnell Business Association and Parnell Community Committee we developed a Parnell Plan through a community working group process.

Other community-led projects that are flourishing include the Grey Lynn Pumptrack, Pollinator Path at Hakanoa Reserve, new Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park, Kelmarna Gardens, and OMG Organic Market Garden.

The launch and celebration of a Local Living Compost Hub at O.M.G – Organic Market Garden funded by the Ministry of Environment (photo above) shows how there is workable alternative using urban farms and localised collection points that is far better for the environment and healthy communities.

Sarah Smuts-Kennedy is the vision holder who has done an amazing job leading the way with a fabulous team. The transformation of a piece of dirt on Symonds Street is super impressive.

Stream restoration, natural environment and water quality

Restoring and caring for the environment has been a core part of the local board’s kaupapa.  For many years we have allocated $70,000 to top up of the council’s ecological restoration contracts to control pest plants and improve reserves like Jaggers Bush, Meola and Lemmington.

Other projects include:

    • Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery

      Waipapa Stream: community-led project funded by the local board over many years. If it wasn’t for Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Heritage this stream would have ended up piped and lost for ever

    • Newmarket stream: community-led restoration and planting project (known as “off the Deck” in partnership with the Gecko Trust) co-funded with the Ōrākei Local Board
    • Restoration of Waiparuru stream in Symonds Street Cemetery

I would have liked to have seen the restoration of Western Springs Native Bush get underway in partnership with the community this term (a project I have been involved in since 2011 when I first walked the bush area with officers to assess the potential for native tree planting and track renewals after the zoo had tried to take the area for walking an elephant herd). However, the project is currently held up by the appeal of the Council’s resource consent to remove the remaining pine trees to make way for planting.

More on how targeted rates are being put to use for the environment and waterways across Waitematā (Attachment 1 Our Auckland Waitematā environment enhanced and protected by targeted rates).

Vibrant, local, zero waste events and support for the arts

We are host to a multitude of events and support the delivery of many more through event grant funding including:

    • Festival Italiano
    • Buskers Festival
    • Lightpath Festival held in 2017 and 2018
    • Santa Parade
    • Franklin Road Christmas lights
    • West End Tennis Cup
    • Art Week
    • Fringe Festival

We also directly deliver the popular Myers Park Medley (photo above with AK Samba) and Parnell Festival of Roses.  Through our advocacy and leverage with funding we’ve been successful in pushing events towards zero waste and promoting active travel.

We have committed to supporting our creative community, professional artists and arts organisations through the delivery of arts programmes.

A few firsts in the 2019/2020 budget include a $85,000 grant to TAPAC and the establishment of an Arts Space coordinator.

I was delighted to see that Walking in Trees is back in Albert Park – a project the local board first funded through the POP programme in 2014 (photo right with artist Richard Orjis).

The Rainbow Machine  was eventually delivered earlier this year as a regionally funded project, but first came to life as a local board initiative to create pop up child friendly play spaces (eg swings in bus stops) but morphed into a major art project picked up by the Public Art Team.

Progress on maintenance and renewals

A major restructuring a couple of years ago saw a new “Community Facilities” department take over all project delivery and maintenance for all Council assets. For local boards this was a source of frustration as local knowledge disappeared and local boards lost direct points of contact especially for Park projects.

In 2017 Ventia became the contractor covering the Waitematā Local Board.  There were notable teething issues to start with but recently we have seen huge improvements in maintenance.

Albert Park (photo right) is an example of where a big push has been made to improve the levels of service to maintain it as a premier park.  Ventia also took over street and town centre cleaning from Auckland Transport on 1 July 2019.  This has led to a noticeable improvement and areas being cleaned for the first time especially in the city centre.   The maintenance in four city parks is being done without any agrichemical sprays thanks to funding from the local board.

Before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel

We’ve also made a lot of progress in the organisation’s approach to renewals.   We’ve pushed to ensure that every renewal is an opportunity to enhance a community asset rather than done on a like for like basis.  This has resulted in wider park paths, new seating, and enhanced community facilities (photo right: before and after of the stairs at Point Resolution with the inclusion of a bike channel).

Other changes at Community Facilities have resulted in more streamlined project delivery and a dedicated point of contact for the local board.  Rod Sheridan, General Manager, Community Facilities was thanked at the August Chairs’ Forum for the success of Project Streetscapes, the many improvements and hard work that has been seen across all local boards.

New and improved playgrounds and parks

The local board has been responsible for upgrading and improving play opportunities across Waitematā, including new playground equipment at:

    • Myers Park
    • Vermont Reserve
    • Ireland Street Reserve
    • Grey Lynn Park
    • Coxs Bay Reserve
    • Sackville Reserve
    • Tirotai Reserve
    • Western Park
    • Old Mill Road
    • Francis Reserve

New playgrounds are also about to get underway at Western Springs, Outhwaite Park, and Home Reserve (indicative image right).

We’ve identified gaps in the play network in Newmarket especially for young people and in the city centre.  There is also the need to improve shade at our playgrounds.

A long running initiative of the local board has been to install drinking fountains into every park and streetscape upgrade. We’ve also installed three on-street drinking stations via Local Board Capex Transport Funding.   The locations of all the city centre drinking fountains are about to go live on the Project AKL website.

Following extensive consultation on the Te Wai Ōrea Western Springs Development Plan and feedback from bird experts we have recently confirmed a new local board policy that feeding the birds at Western Springs park will now be “actively discouraged” due to disease and environmental risks, with new signage and on-site education.  Attachment 3:  Bird feeding at park “actively discouraged” amid fowl and public health concerns.

I’m really pleased that long-standing project to build new changing rooms in Grey Lynn Park that will be available for use by the Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club is about to start construction.

Action on homelessness

Homelessness has become a growing issue and one that traditionally local government didn’t get involved with.  Fortunately, the Mayor has embraced Housing First with the support of the local board. The City Centre Targeted rate provided $2 million of funding for a major restoration of James Liston Hostel emergency accommodation and more recently $600,000 for outreach services.

We’re the only local board to support the wider regional strategy by allocating $20,000 last year and this year to support homelessness solutions.

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board member Maria Meredith is one of the volunteers at Sunday Blessings

We also opened up Outhwaite Hall for outreach services while James Liston Hostel was being upgraded and have supported groups through our community grants including a trial of showers at Ellen Melville Centre, support for Lifewise Merge Café, St Columba for their community lunch and Sunday Blessings for their weekly dinner outside Central Library .

I was able to play a role helping the City Mission navigate Council processes to secure a $5million grant for the HomeGround housing and social services project.

 Support for Local Business

We have focused on initiatives that bring prosperity to our town centres, empower start-ups and social enterprise and underpin the important work done by the seven business associations in Waitematā.  We provide funding to the Young Enterprise Scheme to reach students from all secondary schools in the area.

I have been on the Ponsonby Business Association for six years and am really pleased to see the organisation is going from strength to strength under new leadership.  I’ve enjoyed regular catch ups with Newmarket Business Association’s Mark Knoff-Thomas, Parnell’s Cheryl Adamson and Karangahape Road Business Association’s Michael Richardson. It is a pleasure to work with all the General Managers who are determined, focused and passionate on behalf of their members.  More recently I have been working more directly with Viv Beck, General Manager of Heart of the City in her role as Chair of Auckland City Centre Advisory Board, since I replaced Shale as the Board’s representative earlier in the year.

As a foundation committee member of the Grey Lynn Business Association I was particularly pleased to hear a recent presentation to the local board covering a range of activities and the difference an annual grant of $10,000 from the local board has made to the volunteer-led association.

Looking ahead the Newmarket Business Association has brought a proposal to the local board to investigate the possibility of a targeted rate to fund improvements that were identified in Newmarket Laneways Plan (building on the upgrade of Teed Street completed in 2018). At our August board meeting we confirmed our support in principle and referred the matter to Financial Strategy and Planning to provide advice on the process, governance and feasibility of introducing a new targeted rate for Newmarket.

Through the City Rail Link (CRL) project we have seen how important a Development Response package is to assist businesses.  Barbara Holloway in the Auckland Design Office has done some great work on the template involving a package of support such as business advice, mentoring, activation around projects, signage, and communications.

A Development Response package was trialled initially for CRL on Albert Street by CRL Ltd (the organisation responsible) but it took my intervention and Heart of the City for it to be properly rolled out.  I’ve also escalated issues for the Karangahape Business Association to ensure the Development Response is effectively in place during the enhancement project and City Rail Link construction.  The ongoing issue of how our severely impacted businesses will be supported during the civil works, for example through a hardship fund, is yet to be resolved.

As part of Auckland’s City Fringe Economic Development Plan implementation, we’ve allocated $57,000 for a web branding ap that can be skinned by each individual Business Association. At our August meeting we heard an update on how the project is progressively positively.

Placemaking and tactical urbanism

One of the roles of the local board I enjoy the most is placemaking to create inviting people-focused places.  As a progressive local board we’ve enabled and promoted innovative approaches to placemaking and encouraged the organisation to embrace tactical urbanism and the use of trials.   One of the first trials I helped make happen was the installation of a bike parking corral on Ponsonby Road.  I’ve also played a role in the removal of parked cars from the Eastern Viaduct (photo right) for a public plaza.

A local board responsibility that is often overlooked is the naming of streets and public spaces.  I’m proud that we’ve been very receptive to adopting names recommended by mana whenua such as the new Tīramarama Way and recognised the civic contribution of women with two new names Amey Daldy Park and Freda Barnes Plaza soon to open at Wynyard Quarter.

The renaming of lower Khartoum Place as Te Hā o Hine Place (photo right with Ngāti Whātua representatives who gifted the name and National Council of Women) was a project I initiated following the upgrade of the stairs and successful fight to retain the suffrage memorial located there.

Transport

From the outset the local board has made it a priority to provide accessible, connected, safe transport networks with well-designed streets.  As the transport portfolio lead for nine years (this term with co-portfolio holder Vernon Tava) I have been involved in many projects that have made a contribution to better public transport, safer streets and increased numbers giving cycling a go.  A few highlights include:

    • Franklin Road:  This project took years to get underway due to it being in the too hard basket.  We kept the pressure on resulting in a $21million transformation including new lighting, storm water separation, undergrounding, traffic calming, cycle lanes and new tree pits.
    • Opening of Parnell Station March 2017:  The local board was instrumental in helping to make this happen by funding a new pathway connection between the station and Carlaw Park
    • Opening the Grey Lynn Greenway 2017

      Grey Lynn Greenway opened June 2017.

    • Ponsonby Road pedestrian safety project completed in 2018 part funded by the local board. The side street raised tables on Ponsonby Road and as part of the Franklin Road are as a result of the local board’s advocacy.
    • Victoria Park lighting improvements currently underway will create a safe pathway between Franklin Road and Wynyard Quarter.  Securing the budget took a lot of wrangling.
    • Freyberg Place pedestrian mall:  Thanks to the local board advocacy AT went ahead with re-classifying the road as a “pedestrian mall” well in advance of the agreed timeframe that was originally negotiated.  In the end there was very little objection.
    • Return of the bus service to Williamson Ave:  A win for people power.
    • New and improved pedestrian crossings: My heart sings when I see kids able to get to school safely because of a new crossing.
    • Cycleway openings:  There haven’t been enough, but every one has been cause to celebrate including Grafton Gully, Ian McKinnon Drive, Quay Street, Beach Road and Te ara I whiti/ Lightpath (see below).  After five years of debate and planning I am delighted that the Karangahape Road enhancement project including cycle paths in the design got underway in July.
    • Renewals:  As with the renewal of community assets (covered above) we have aimed to ensure that every Auckland Transport renewal is leveraged to provide a better outcome for the community for example through the inclusion of street trees or safety improvements.  The local board often has funding to contribute.  Recently we have made significant progress with the renewals team to ensure we don’t get any more “like for like” renewals.
    • Proposed quick win contra flow on Crummer Road

      Quick wins:  A cultural shift at Auckland Transport has opened up the way for more willingness to consider “quick wins” to improve safety for active transport.  I’ve suggested a number of ideas including a contra-flow on Crummer Road (image right) and a dedicated cycling route from Queen Street to the Domain.

I’ve particularly appreciated the support I have received from all local board members to take a leadership role on safe speeds, vision zero, pedestrian safety, effective parking management, removal of slip lanes, wayfinding, route optimisation for active transport and cycle infrastructure.

A couple of issues that remain unresolved that I am determined not to give up on with Auckland Transport include the current non-enforcement of berm parking that is causing damage and is unsafe and the unacceptable practice of unsafe and illegal unloading from car transporters on Great North Road.

Effective parking management

We’ve provided consistent support for effective parking management that provides access to parking for residents, businesses and short-term visitors.  During the Unitary Plan process I organised a “good for business” seminar about the economic and wider benefits of removing parking minimums.

It was through our advocacy that AT was able to trial the first residential parking zone in St Marys Bay in 2014 and push ahead with zones for all the city fringe suburbs.

Wayfinding

One of my pet projects over nine years has been to improve the wayfinding experience of people travelling around on foot or by bike.  After sustained advocacy there is finally wayfinding on the North-Western Cycleway and the local board is funding new signage for all vehicle no exit streets (if approved at our September meeting).

Cycleways

When I was first elected in 2010 riding a bike was considered to be a fringe activity and not taken very seriously.  Since then there has been a massive increase in people cycling especially where there are connected, safe cycle paths.

Lightpath Te ara i whiti opening 2015

Through numerous consultations and surveys we know that the majority of Aucklanders own a bike and would like to cycle if they felt safe.  The local board has been a strong advocate for transport choice including increasing opportunities for walking and cycling.  We’ve celebrated the opening of Te ara I whiti / Lightpath, the Quay Street cycleway, Grafton Gully shared path, Ian McKinnon Drive and new greenway connections but overall the rate of progress has been incredibly slow. No new work has been started in Waitematā for over a year.

I never imagined when I became a member of the Urban Cycling Investment Panel in 2014 that allocated $100 million New Zealand wide for urban cycling infrastructure that so much would remain undelivered by 2019.  The original 2018 delivery date has now been pushed out to 2021.

Unfortunately, the mistakes AT made over the West Lynn and Garnet Road/Surrey Crescent project has contributed to the delay to the programme as well as the increasing costs of meeting community expectations to deliver a whole range of streetscape improvements beyond just cycle lanes. Following further consultation regarding fixes to the design at the West Lynn shops AT is looking to progress with improvements to the crossing (image right of the preferred design following consultation with the local businesses and affected residents).

AT has a target of only 10km of new cycleways a year across Auckland – a significant chunk of which has been funded and delivered by the local board. However, I am hopeful that going forward, AT will take a new focus on safety to push ahead with a connected network with temporary designs and solutions where possible. This is absolutely essential work especially with the explosion of micro-mobility and the need to prioritise footpaths for people on foot.

School Safety

At the Waitematā Local Board’s August meeting we voted on a package of safety improvements from a one-off $1.4m community safety fund. The fund was launched following the introduction of the fuel tax. I’ve worked with my co-transport portfolio holder Vernon Tava on putting together the recommendations of what should be prioritised based on community feedback.

The following safety improvements will be made across the local board area:

    • A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn

      A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the West End Lawn Tennis Club in Westmere

    • Hopetoun Street in Freemans Bay will see various additional safety improvements as part of a wider footpath renewal project
    • Pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and Domain Drive in the Auckland Domain will be formalised
    • A raised pedestrian crossing will be introduced outside ACG Parnell College on Davis Crescent next to Olympic Reserve in Newmarket
    • A suite of safety improvements will be introduced outside and around Newton Central School in Grey Lynn.
Western Springs College students presenting a petition seeking a pedestrian crossing

We also received a petition from Western Springs College students seeking a pedestrian crossing on Meola Road that Auckland Transport has reassured the local board will be delivered as part of the Pt Chev cycleway project.

Attachment 2 Our Auckland: Road safety improvements on the way in Waitematā

Vision Zero – safer speeds

The Waitematā Local Board was the first to adopt Vision Zero as an advocacy position and three years ago I was part of a coalition – Brake New Zealand, Living Streets Aotearoa, NZ School Speeds, Cycling Action Network- that launched Vision Zero NZ.

At the Auckland Transport Board September meeting we achieved a truly significant milestone with the announcement that Auckland is now a Vision Zero region – under the Tāmaki-Makaurau Road Safety Governance Group’s new safety strategy. For the first time there’s a goal, backed by a partnership of agencies, of no deaths or serious injuries on our transport network by 2050.

Many thanks to all the people who have worked so hard to bring this strategy together to save many lives.

Auckland Domain Committee

The local board, under Shale’s leadership was instrumental in initiating the Domain Masterplan (2015) and the setting up of a joint governance committee. I have been the Deputy Chair of the Domain Committee this term.  I would have liked to have seen much quicker progress on making the Domain more accessible and safe.  It is currently dominated by the 600 car parks that are predominately used by commuters and there is a lack of continuous footpath around the Domain.

Officers have been able to progress some exciting new projects such as refurbishment of the Wintergarden, a new path Te Ara Oranga to the museum, a new natural play area, and the Kari commons that is about to be built (multi-sport area with part to be used by the University while their gym is rebuilt).

Other projects that have progressed thanks to the local board coming to the party with over $1.5 million in new funding including for signage, new footpaths and car parking improvements (to allow for on road car parks to be removed on shared paths).

The final Auckland Domain Committee of this term of Council voted to remove 40 car parks from in front of Auckland Museum to improve safety and open up views to an iconic building and war memorial. This is an important step towards improving accessibility in one of our premier parks. The Museum is right behind it and doing their own bit by increasing public car parks at the southern entrance and reducing fees in their car park.

Auckland’s City Centre

We’ve seen major changes to the city centre since 2010 when the residential population was approximately 20,000. It is now almost 60,000.  The majority of commuters arrive other than in private cars, and vehicles entering the city centre continue to decline.

Opening of the restored Ellen Melville Centre with Mayor Phil Goff, Kaumatua Bob Hawke, amd members of the Melville family

In anticipation of the growth and the needs of the city centre residents, the refurbished Ellen Melville Centre was opened in 2017 as a vibrant community centre (photo right).  Programming at the centre is becoming more focused on the needs of residents.  We have also allocated funds so that the Central Library can open for an extra hour on weekends.

We’ve adopted the role of toilet “champions” by advocating for a full review of amenities in the city centre and the identification of gaps in the available toilets and information about locations. We’ve taken up the issue of the need for the new CRL train stations to have toilets available other than behind ticket barriers.

We’ve worked with Auckland Transport to identify locations for new toilet blocks that include drinking fountains and bus driver facilities (photo right: new toilet on Victoria Street).

The local board contributed to the development of the 2012 City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) and Waterfront Plan.  We’ve been supportive of the CCMP refresh that presents a vision of a city centre that is more family-friendly, more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally-friendly.

The CCMP has recently gone out for consultation with eight place-specific transformational moves that will unlock the potential of the city centre.

Climate Action

Waitematā Local Board welcomed the decision in June by the Environment and Community Committee to declare a climate emergency. This followed a resolution passed by the local board a week prior calling on Auckland Council’s Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region.

We have funded for a number of years low carbon initiatives projects aligning with the Live Lightly themes: Eat, Move, Shop, Grow, Talk and Energy including:

    • Low carbon lifestyles project – behaviour change actions such as reducing shower times implemented at 165 households resulting in savings of 19,356kg of CO2
    • Low carbon Multi-unit Dwellings – energy and carbon assessments resulting in savings of $27,000 and 37,178kg of CO2. Three more apartment blocks will be assessed in 2019/2020 to move towards a tool available to property managers
    • Waitematā Low Carbon Network – a platform to connect individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to empower and enable local climate champions to meet the Local board’s respective carbon emissions reduction targets. The network members were instrumental in taking the Climate Emergency declaration to Council
    • And a business food waste initiative

Going forward the aim of just “low carbon” is looking woefully inadequate. Auckland Council’s new goal is to achieve a zero net emissions by 2050, but bold moves will need to come out of the Climate Action Framework currently out for consultation until the end of September if we are going to have any chance of limiting temperature rises to the IPCC recommended 1.5 degrees.  (photo right with the School Strike for Climate student organisers).

A model of the proposed community recycling centre at Western Springs

Another important goal that we have consistently supported is to achieve Zero Waste by 2040.  Following strong community support through our first local board plan consultation we identified the need for a local Community-led resource recovery centre as part of a regional network that developed into the Western Springs joint project with Puketāpapa and Albert-Eden Local Boards.

It is fully funded with plans ready to go for consent but unfortunately the project has been held up by the Horticultural Society wanting to remain in the main building and not shift to a repurposed Western Springs community hall (image right: a model of the proposed centre at Western Springs)

Civic Duties

Richmond Road School assembly

I have really enjoyed all the civic duties that come with being Chair especially officiating at citizenship ceremonies, delivering the Anzac Day address at the Grey Lynn RSC service and attending events and school assemblies.

Most recently I attended the Richmond Road School assembly on behalf of the Mayor. Anna and Daneka (photo right) wrote to him with their concerns about so much plastic going into the ocean. The assembly was led by the school’s Mua I Malae (the Samoan bi-lingual unit) and celebrated Tongan language week as well as the students’ environmental projects.

Local Government New Zealand

Auckland Council’s Local Board chairs 2019

It has been a privilege to serve on National Council, LGNZ, as an ex-officio member since May 2018 representing local boards with the support of all the local board chairs.

Next term a local board representative will be voted on to National Council following a rule change at the LGNZ conference in July.  The rule change is the accumulation of many years of advocacy seeking appropriate local board representation and recognition and was made possible with the support of LGNZ CEO Malcolm Alexander who works tirelessly for the sector.

I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to attend the annual LGNZ conference when all of local government comes together to network and share ideas and information (I have reported back on every conference I have attended).

Looking ahead

There are a number of key projects that I’m excited about but it will be for the incoming Chair to lead including:

  • the refurbishment of the Plunket building in Heard Park
  • the Waipapa Valley Greenway connecting Newmarket to Parnell via the old Parnell train tunnel (image right)
  • Myers Park underpass
  • upgrade of Hobson Bay walkway
  • Myers Park Cottage restoration
  • Meola Reef improvements including new pathways, improved off leash area, restoration work and closing the end of the reserve to dogs
  • New paths and playground in Basque Park
  • Bi-lingual park naming
  • Accessibility Plan refresh
  • Rose Road Plaza (a project identified in the Ponsonby Road masterplan- indicative image right)
  • Establishment of the community-led resource recovery centre at Western Springs

In addition to the many transport projects and issues that are currently underway (Attachment 4 – to be tabled).

There are also regionally significant projects supported by the local board that I would like to have seen delivered by now, but I hope to stick around to see them through including:

    • Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway (Skypath)
    • Restoration St James Theatre
    • Removal of the Dominion Road flyover
    • Grafton Gully Boulevard (first supported in principle by the local board in 2016 and now part of the City Centre masterplan refresh)
    • Major corridor enhancements including Hobson/Nelson streets, Broadway and Ponsonby Road
    • Implementation of slower speeds in the city centre.

Acknowledgements and Thank Yous

We are fortunate to be supported by an amazing Local Board Services team.  I would like to thank them all for their support, quality advice and good humour.

Thanks to those who have been part of my term as Chair: Relationship Managers: Kathryn Martin (on secondment) and Trina Thompson; Senior Local Board Advisor: Simon Tattersfield; Local Board Advisors: Corina Claps, Caroline Teh and Heather Skinner; Democracy Advisors:  Sybil Mandow and more recently Liz Clemm. Engagement Advisors: Carlos Rahman, Maria Hernandez-Curry and Zigi Yates. PA Supports; Tammy Hendricks and Priscila Firmo (photo right with some of the team on a visit to Ellen Melville Centre).

We have always been able to rely on the support of Dee Sims, David Kemeys and Cathy McIntosh as our Communications Advisor; Shamila Unka, our Strategic Broker, and Pramod Nair and Mark Purdie as our Finance Advisors.

Karl Beaufort and Jacqui Thompson Fell are doing a tremendous job on behalf of the local board in Community Facilities.  Ben Halliwell as our Auckland Transport Liaison has been instrumental in ensuring so many of our transport projects have progressed. I’m also thankful for the constant support and guidance provided to me personally by Otene Reweti, Senior Advisor Maori Relationships.

Across the council family I’m impressed by the dedication and hard work of the many people who are all committed to making Auckland a better place.

I’m grateful to be Chair of a local board with members who are positive, skilled, constructive and focused on achieving results. My heartfelt thanks to Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, Richard Northey and Adriana Christie, who are both standing again, and Vernon Tava, Denise Roche and Rob Thomas.

In my latest Ponsonby News update  I acknowledge all the retiring board members.   All board members have embraced taking on responsibilities through portfolios, are passionate about serving Waitematā and work hard for the community.

A special thanks to Vernon Tava, my co-portfolio holder for transport and portfolio lead for Planning and Heritage with me as he co-portfolio holder.  I’m grateful that in practice he does all the planning work for the board leaving me to focus on my role as chair.  Vernon has been a huge asset to the board, he is smart, focused and super-efficient at reviewing and reporting on the substantial number of resource consent applications (far more than any other board).  Among his many achievements, that he has detailed in his own report reflecting on his time on the board over six years, is the mapping of all the amenities in the city centre long before council got on to the task.

Throughout this report I have highlighted Shale Chambers’ leadership in a range of areas. His contribution to establishing the local board and setting the foundations for strong local decision making across council can’t be underestimated.  His ability to work tirelessly and make difficult decisions at crucial times has achieved impressive results for Waitematā.  As the Chair and Deputy Chair combo over nine years I have been fortunate to have learned a huge amount from Shale.  I thank him for his support, guidance and for becoming such a strong advocate for making Auckland a great place to cycle even though he has no wish to ride a bike!  I wish Shale and all the board members the best for the future

Chair’s monthly report August 2019

This is my penultimate monthly report after almost 9 years on the Waitematā Local Board.

It covers the highlights for the period 9 July until 12 August 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 20 August 2019.

Achievements report

Every financial year the Waitematā Local Board produces a summary of achievements from the year. Thanks to Shale Chambers initiating an Achievements Report in 2011 we are the only Local Board to have published a report each year.

The Achievements Report contains summaries of projects and initiatives completed over the past year with the help and support of a wider range of community members, stakeholders, iwi partners, staff and volunteers. The 2018/19 report has been printed and is now online.  

LGNZ conference report back

New Zealand’s Mayors and Chairs

I attended the annual Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in Wellington 7-9 July as a LGNZ National Council member representing local boards and as one of four Auckland Council delegates to the AGM.

The 2019 conference theme “Riding the localism wave: Putting communities in charge” was focused on communities and empowering them to take charge of their social, economic, environmental and culture well-being through localism.

My conference report back at Attachment 1 to my report. 

High Street pedestrianisation

Supporting the Mayor’s announcement with Cr Chris Darby.

The Waitematā Local Board has been a long time champion for the pedestrianisation of Queen St. It is an advocacy position in the Local Board Plan 2017.  It has also been prioritised in the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board supported work programme funded by the targeted rate.

On July 26 Mayor Goff announced that High St is moving towards pedestrianisation with the start of “tactical urbanism” trials like pocket parks before construction gets underway.

As the Federal St contra flow cycle lane has shown (marked out with planter boxes and paint) we know that tactical urbansim works. With the massive growth in users of e-bikes and e-scooters and ever congested footpaths that must be prioritized for feet we just need to get on with more trials and temporary bike lanes to create a safe network for everyone.

Plastic Free July

Drinking station at Grey Lynn shops

Plastic Free July heralded in some lasting changes that are going to have an impact including the Local Board supported ban on single use plastic bags.

One of my favs is making use of refill stations. Auckland Council has joined the ‘refillution’ with selected libraries and all pools and leisure centres registering as official ‘RefillNZ Stations’. In Waitematā we’ve also been working on installing drinking fountains at playgrounds and in plazasso it is never necessary to buy plastic water bottles.

Transport updates

Parking on berms

As I reported last month, I spoke at the Local Government New Zealand AGM  in support of a remit seeking a change to the berm parking rules.

The kerbed area of the footpath sitting between the pavement and road that is often planted with grass and trees is known as the “berm”.  In the urban areas of Auckland it is a long standing custom that this area is not for parking vehicles except in emergencies.  It is a recognised as an extension of the paved footpath where kids walk to school in bare feet on hot days.  Parking on the berm can cause damage to underground utilities,  damage to trees and creates safety issues for pedestrians and drivers.

Unfortunately Auckland Transport has taken the position that berm parking is not an enforceable offence unless “no parking” signage is in place.  This is non-sensical when applied to the hundreds of kilometres of urban roads with berms that need to be kept clear for pedestrians.  Nor is it desirable or cost effective to install signage especially in areas where the berm is a long-accepted part of the footpath.

Until recently I have supported Auckland Transport’s recommendation that a rule change is required to remove the requirement for signage.  However more recently I have reviewed the relevant provisions myself. I’ve come to the view that all the necessary rules are already in place and it is just a matter of Auckland Transport taking a firm position that berm parking is not acceptable where the berm is clearly part of the footpath.  I am not proposing a sweeping berm parking “ban”. I would just like Auckland Transport to act on complaints, under the existing rules, where parking on the berm is happening to avoid on street parking charges, causing a safety issue or damaging public property.

 Return of a bus service to Williamson Ave

Thanks to a campaign led by Sophia Fiossetti and with the support of Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has agreed to re-instate a bus service on Williamson Ave from 18 August 2019.

I’ve organised an event with Sophia to celebrate the first No.134 bus from Henderson to be re-routed from Great North Road.

Victoria Park underpass light installation

Victoria park underpass on a bike ride with NY’s Janette Sadik Khan Photo credit: Bike Auckland

Lighting is coming to the Victoria Park underpass. This is a project I’ve been working away at for some time so really delighted that we’ve finally secured the budget and the installation is underway. Once the Daldy St upgrade opens we’ll have a safe, smooth and attractive pathway from Ponsonby Road to Wynyard Quarter via Franklin Road.

Karangahape Road enhancement project 

Karangahape Road Enhancement project underway

Work on the Karangahape Road Enhancements project got underway on 29 July.  It coincided with the release of the annual cycling data showing that cycling numbers have grow. by 8.9 per cent in a year. 3.77 million cycle movements were recorded for the year of July 2018 to June 2019, an increase of 8.9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The winter weather is also not stopping people riding.  Across 26 Auckland Transport cycle counters, 272,000 cycle movements were recorded in June 2019, an increase of 16.7 per cent when compared to June 2018.

School safety

In November 2018 I was invited by a Marist Primary mum on the school run to see just how tricky it was to walk, scoot and cycle to school because of the lack of a safe crossing. Thanks to her lobbying, support from the school and the Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Transport has installed a zebra crossing outside the school gate.

I was invited back again on the morning of 4 August to see what a difference the new crossing on Kelmarna Ave has made to ensuring a safe journey to school.

 Waiatarau Freemans Bay Park

This community-led project is transforming the newly named Waiatarau Freemans Bay park.

An enthusiastic group of locals showed up at a community planting day on 10 August organised by park designers Mark van Kaahoven and Tony Murrell and the Freemans Bay Residents Association.

Symonds St Cemetery

New paths in the Catholic section of the cemetery funded by the local board are almost complete including new steps to the Grafton Gully shared path.

Myers Park stage two – Mayoral Drive

 At our July business meeting the Waitematā Local Board endorsed the  preferred concept design for stage two of the Myers Park project – Mayoral Drive underpass, which maintains above ground storage of stormwater, to progress to the developed design phase.

The allocation of $1.85 million additional funding from the city centre targeted rate to the Myers Park stage two project was supported by the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board to enable this long standing project to move forward.   The local board has been working to improve the underpass and open up the connection to Myers Park since before the Rugby World Cup 2011 when it was on the Fan Trail route so it is great to see progress.

Waitematā Local Events Development Fund allocation 2019/2020

The Franklin Road Christmas Lights, the Farmers Santa Parade and Auckland International Buskers Festival will all receive support from the local board to carry out their events this year.  At the Local Board meeting in July we allocated a total of $73,813.09 for community events. Our Auckland reported on Community events get support from Waitemata Local Board Another recent article covered other Local Board priorities for 19/20 Parks, arts and community prioritised by the Waitemata Local Board. 

Meetings and workshops: 10 July until 13 August 2019

  • Recess week for the local board 8 – 12 July
  • Meeting with the new Director of the Auckland Art Gallery on 10 July
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 10 July
  • Auckland Transport quarterly briefing with local boards on 15 July
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 15, 22, 29 July and 5 and 12 August
  • Meeting with mana whenua representatives regarding the draft Te Wai Ōrea Western Park Development Plan on 16 July
  • Auckland Transport stakeholder meeting on 16 July
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 16 July
  • Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
  • Regular catch up with the GM, Newmarket Business Association on 18 July
  • Introductory meeting with reporter Ripu Bhatia, Stuff Auckland Reporter on 19 July
  • Meeting on 22 July to hear about the Blind Foundation / Generus Living Group proposal – Parnell Road
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 23 and 30 July, 6 and 13 August
  • Wynyard Quarter Traffic Management Association board meeting on 24 July
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 24 July
  • Presented to the Hearings Panel on the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw and amendments to the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw with Richard Northey on 26 July
  • Trafinz Exec meeting on 31 July
  • Meeting with Deborah James, Head of Diversity and Inclusion on 31 July to discuss speaking on behalf of Auckland Council at the International Women’s Caucus on 13 August
  • Heads up meeting with ATEED representatives to discuss the significant filming coming to Auckland
  • Catch up with Heart of the City CEO on 1 August
  • Meeting with Isthmus group and the Chair of the Domain Committee regarding the Design Concept for Court of Honour, Auckland Domain
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport’s Exec GM Risk and Assurance on 5 August to discuss AT’s berm parking position
  • Meeting with RFA’s Head of Strategy to discuss the Aotea Square masterplan process
  • City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 5 August
  • Meeting with 254 Ponsonby Park group and the project team on next steps for delivering the project on 7 August
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 8 August
  • Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 8 August
  • Chairs Forum on 12 August
  • Local Board cluster “wha” catch up on 12 August

Events and functions:  10 July until 13 August 2019

  • Spoke at the Low Carbon Network meeting at Sustainable Coastlines on 10 July
  • Campaign for Better Transport AGM on 16 July
  • Auckland Conversations: The Future of Auckland: Is density a dirty word? on 17 July
  • Auckland International Film Festival opening night at the Civic on 18 July at the invitation of ATEED
  • Interview on bFM on 19 July with local board member Adriana Christie
  • Pollinator Path working bee on 20 July organised by Andrea Reid . Photo right of the group of awesome volunteers who had fun tidying up and adding a few more plants at Hakanoa Reserve, the first pathway of the Pollinator Paths (I popped by in support)
  • Nga Puke on 24 July at the Herald Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live and WAITĪ Productions
  • Presentation to Parnell Rotary on 24 July Parnell Rotary on the new Parnell Plan and city transformations including a proposed boulevard for The Strand. It was a great opportunity to share the positive changes happening in central Auckland and lovely to see former Waitematā Youth Collective member Nurain Ayesha Janah there.
  • Destination AKL – One Year On presentation organised by ATEED at Ellerslie Racecourse on 25 July
  • Turama Festival in Albert Park on 28 July
  • AKL Street Talks event on 30 July at the Central Library about that most contested of spaces – the humble footpath with a panel of perspectives.
  • Urbanerds AUCKLAND meet up on 31 July
  • Bike Auckland’s Bike Breakfast supported by the K’Rd Business Association on 1 August
  • GLBA networking function on 1 August at the Surrey Hotel
  • Celebration for Kaumatua Matt Maihi on 2 August at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Marae.  It was very special to join the celebrations for Kaumatua Matt Maihi. He has dedicated years of service to his marae, iwi and community. Matt has been a big part of numerous Council significant events.
  • New Zealand’s “Fittest Cities” launch by AIA Vitality on 5 August
  • Art unveiling in the Historic South British Building lobby on 5 August
  • Dawn karakia for the 8th anniversary of the opening of Wynyard Quarter on 10 August (photo right of the “originals” who were there on opening day 2011)
  • Waiatarau Freemans Bay community planting on 10 August
  • Joined the official party for the final Citizenship ceremony of this term at the Town Hall on 12 August
  • Spoke at Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae at the first International Women’s Caucus meeting to be held in Auckland on Auckland Council’s commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In the photo with host Denise Ewe, President Pacific Women’s Watch and Head of Diversity & Inclusion Deborah James who put together my presentation (Attachment 4)
  • Attended the Auckland Foundation’s first lunchtime seminar at the Northern Club with speakers John Hynds and Sir Stephen Tindall on 13 August
  • Te Tuhi artists collective open evening at Parnell Station
  • Opening night of PINAY at Basement Theatre (the the Waitematā Local Board allocated a quick response grant to the production)

 

 

 

Chair’s monthly report June 2019

This report covers the period 15 May until 11 June 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 18 June.

Climate Emergency Declaration

Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makaurau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action. Photo credit: Cr Richard Hills

At the local board meeting on 4 June we supported member Denise Roche’s Notice of Motion calling for an Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency.

Notice of Motion – Member D Roche – Ecological and Climate Emergency Declaration

MOVED by Member DR Roche, seconded by Member A Avendano Christie:

That the Waitematā Local Board:

a)                  note its concerns about the ecological and climate crisis

b)                  support any Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region

c)         urge the Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region

d)         note that the Governing Body will shortly be consulting on Auckland’s Climate Action Plan

e)         forward these resolutions to the Environment and Community Committee, all local boards and to Auckland Transport for their consideration and immediate action.

Denise spoke at the Environment and Community Committee on 11 June on behalf of the local board.  The Committee voted unanimously to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognised the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.

“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the committee.

Photo credit right Cr Richard Hills: Rangatahi o Tāmaki Makau Rau (and Grant Hewitson from the Waitematā Low Carbon Network) speaking up for climate action.

Attachment 1:  Our Auckland article Waitematā Local Board welcomes Climate Emergency

Transport

The local board is committed to road safety and street design which delivers “slower traffic speeds, safer intersections and footpaths and cycle lanes built to international best practice” (Local Board Plan 2017).   The transport portfolio has been working on a number of safety related projects.

Solent St intersection

We have supported AT removing the slip lanes at Solent Street intersection design as part of the Tamaki Drive cycleway project (photo right: a truck using the slip lane at speed).

In a very surprising and disappointing letter the Ports of Auckland CEO has outlined why he opposes the removal of the slip lanes. Auckland Transport has provided a response robustly outlining why the preferred design has been chosen,

Attachment 2: Correspondence with Ports of Auckland.

Pedestrian crossings

We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians.  This has resulted in improved crossings on Parnell Road (photo right).

The local board has also successfully advocated for new crossings on Kelmarna Ave by Marist School and College Hill by St Mary’s College.

Community Safety Fund

Local Boards have been allocated a share of a new one-off Community Safety Fund. This fund is $20 million split over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial Years and is designed to address safety issues raised by local communities, that don’t meet Auckland Transport’s regional prioritisation for funding. The fund is divided between the 21 local board areas using the area’s numbers of Deaths and Serious Injuries, as a major component of the funding formula.

Waitematā Local Board has been allocated approx. $1.4m from the fund.  A decision on which projects to progress to the next stage (AT preparation of rough order of costs) will be made at the business meeting on 18 June.  Attachment 3 ( Item 24 ) outlines the projects considered for funding from the Community Safety Fund and additional projects the transport portfolio would like AT to progress.

Tactical Urbanism

Auckland Transport is working NZTA on a new Innovating streets toolkit to allow for quicker interventions that promote healthy and safe roads.

I have asked AT to consider the following projects for the quick win/tactical urbanism approach.

  • Midtown to the Domain route needing minor physical changes and wayfinding: Wellesley St cycle lane connection to the Princes St slip lane alongside Wellesley St up to Symonds St Bridge (cycle crossing phase at the intersection Wellesley/Princes St) crossing to Whitaker Place with ped crossing phase via Grafton Gully cycleway to Grafton Road “shared path” on northern side to the Domain
  • Painted cycle lane connection to the current feeder lane on Williamson Ave at Ponsonby Road. Eg connection to start at MacKelvie St intersection alongside the service station through Pollen St intersection (markings already exist as an oversize vehicle lane and no parking has to be removed)- this will create visibility of people on bikes as currently a safety issue with number of vehicle crossings into service station
  • Alex Evans Drive connection between Symonds St and Upper Queen St bridge/start of Ian McKinnnon cycleway – plans were developed about four years ago by AT
  • Crummer Road contra flow at Scanlan St – currently blocked to through traffic but ideal to create a cut through for people on bikes (currently used informally) – first logged with AT in 2011

Western Springs shared path

Local board advocacy has resulted in construction of the Western Springs shared path on Great North Road.  NZTA and AT first undertook to progress this work in 2013 as part of the St Lukes interchange project.  I escalated the unacceptable delay to the project after a cyclist was seriously injured in a crash with a driver coming off the motorway.

We are however disappointed that the final design doesn’t include raised tables on the off ramps as recommended by AT.  NZTA has advised as follows:

We have been working with AT but we are finding it challenging to find a solution that keeps all our vulnerable uses (cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclist) safe. The issue is that there is a lack of a policy position on raised tables at motorway interchanges. We have recognised this as an issue and we are working as quickly as possible to form a view. We are very cognisant that the world is changing and that we need to work with our partners (AT and stakeholders) to ensure our policies keep up with urban form and urban development.

To confirm where we are at:

  • The Transport Agency is happy with the off-ramp realignment, where the curve has been straightened
  • The Transport Agency is happy with the on-ramp alignment, although we would prefer that it is re-aligned to reduce entry speed
  • The Transport Agency has not made a decision on raised tables at motorway interchanges at this point. The AT proposal sets significant precedence and the lack of an Agency policy position has serious implications on other projects in Auckland and wider New Zealand
  • Until a policy can be confirmed we are advising that the Agency is not in support of raised table junctions at these locations
  • We have engaged with parties internal to the Agency to establish a path forward so we can have a clear direction going forward
  • This has been escalated to the highest point in our organisations and they are aware of the issue (Tier 2 in NZTA and CEO at AT)

As mentioned our safety team is working as quickly as possible to establish a path forward. It has been suggested that the works could be completed without raised tables, which could be retrofitted at a later date should it become policy.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path

On 22 May NZTA announced a preferred design for the Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path (formally known as SkyPath). The local board has been advocating for this project for many years.

NZTA is currently analysing the current consent and conditions and working to see if the preferred design fits within it.  A variation is a possibility. A detailed business case is being currently being developed.  Best case scenario is a Dec 2020 construction start.

A drop-in session is planned for 4 July between 4-8pm at Ponsonby Cruising Club, 141-151 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven. NZTA has reaffirmed this project is a priority for the Government.

https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/auckland-harbour-bridge-shared-path/

Western Springs resource consent – next steps

On 4 June the Waitematā Local Board received a briefing on the outcomes of the resource consent hearing for the removal of pine trees at Te Wai Orea – Western Springs Lakeside Park and received recommendations on the next steps in order to progress the local board’s native forest restoration project. The resource consent has been granted for the removal of 200+ pine trees with a set of conditions.

The local board has accepted the advice of officers to proceed with the project. We considered the additional conditions and noted as follows:

  • The independent commissioners reviewed all the evidence presented and determined that removal of the pines in one operation as now proposed is a practicable approach to enhancing the indigenous biodiversity values of the SEA and providing for the appreciation of the park as an urban forest (para 145 of the decision)
  • The commissioners accepted that removal is required due to ongoing and increasing health and safety concerns in relation to the trees continuing decline and failure (para 117)
  • The alternative option of allowing the pines to fall and the indigenous vegetation to continue to develop was considered, but rejected as this would require the closure of the pine tree area and involve no access and no pest control. This will lead to the proliferation of pest plants and hinder the regeneration of the indigenous vegetation (para 119).
  • The methodology has been revised to focus on the aim of restoring and enhancing the park’s SEA values. The access track will only be to the width of the digger (up to 4m wide is consented, but likely to be less) and for 200m (50 per cent less area than originally proposed).
  • Removal of tree trunks will be limited and most will be mulched on site.
  • An independent ecologist will provide oversight to limit the damage to the understory. This will be minimised as much as possible – at the most extreme there could be up to 50 per cent damage to low level plants but due to the change in methodology damage is likely to be a lot less. Soil erosion and silt run off will also be minimised.
  • An independent arborist is required to oversee the works and will work closely with the independent ecologist to minimise damage from the tree felling
  • Planting will be from a “species palette” consistent with the SEA values. Up to 15,000 plants are available, but with the reduction in the plantable area (due to the trunks remaining in situ) there is likely to be space for approximately 10,000 plants
  • As part of the conditions Council will appoint a community liaison person to be available 12 hours per day; updates will be provided every second day on a purpose-built webpage

The next window for pine removal is now Feb/March 2020 (to avoid bird roosting season, wet weather etc). The whole operation including planting will take approximately 6 weeks.  There will then be the opportunity for community engagement and involvement to determine the management going forward and potential track upgrades.

Officers have advised that unfortunately it is not possible to open the walking track in the interim. A buffer zone would need to be created alongside the track and as the trees are over 60m tall nearly all would need to be removed.

The commissioner’s decision can still be appealed.  This will further delay the restoration project and limit the park’s use for public access and recreational purposes.

Western Springs Lakeside Park update

I have been providing a regular update on path cleaning and other maintenance matters at Westerns Springs Lakeside Park.  Following my Ponsonby News update in May I received a complaint about the park and the accuracy of my reporting.  I provided the following response (published in the June Ponsonby News):

I have visited the park and followed up with Mr Hay to confirm that what I reported in my Ponsonby News update is correct. I agree that we want Western Springs Lakeside Park to be well maintained but the huge amount of geese poo is an ongoing issue.  Here is a summary from Council’s Senior Maintenance Delivery Coordinator about the action being taken:  cleaning of the pathway is being completed a minimum of five times a week. The contractor has been instructed to check the path every day and if cleaning is required it is to be completed that day. The contractor has been using a combination of a sweeping vehicle and water blasting to clear the path. Recently Community Facilities has also been trialling some methods to keep the geese from congregating on the path. The most recent trial involves a low level temporary fence. It has been successful at keeping the geese off a portion but unfortunately the geese just move on to another area of the path and cause the same issues. Council’s long-term solution to reduce the number of geese will greatly improve the situation and at this stage we are aiming to begin control in late June.

The water quality and sediment issues that Mr Hay referred to have been forwarded on to Council’s Healthy Waters department. The rubbish floating at the water’s edge should be removed by the contractors as loose litter. A recent inspection has confirmed that the bins that should be in place are in place. There are still park benches that require replacement following last year’s storm.

City Centre amenities

The local board is championing the provision of public toilets in the city centre. Work is currently underway on a City Centre Amenities strategic review following the local board raising concerns that the public toilets at the new CRL stations  will be located behind gate barriers with no plans to install accessible facilities and no part of council responsible for mapping the location of public toilets (the most up to date resource has been created by board member Vernon Tava on his personal website).

In the meantime Auckland Transport is rolling out a Bus Driver Exeloo Programme in the City Centre that also provides a public toilet in a number of locations.  The programme includes a Exeloo on Lower Albert St that was installed last year and a new Exeloo opened on Victoria St at the beginning of June (photo right).  The local board provided input into the locations and suggested including drinking fountains.

AT has provided the following update on other locations:

Quay Street (seaside 120m east of Tapora Street):     This site supports bus layovers for some 24 buses opposite Vector Arena.  The unit will sit between the new cycle path and the old footpath with access from the footpath side only.  Because of the cycle traffic through this area, AT will also be installing a drinking fountain (with dog drinking bowl) to the specification requested by the LB.

City Works Depot:  AT could not find a suitable site on Nelson (Wellesley St or Cook Street) and City Works Deport did not want an Exeloo on their Sale St frontage which they are developing.  So we again approached CWD with a lease proposal.  The agreement is to build a bespoke, secure keypad access, single-unit toilet within the CWD site, next to customer toilets in the Nelson St retaining wall.  Drivers will access the toilet via the spiral stairs from Nelson Street.     The agreement sees CWD designing, constructing, cleaning and maintaining the toilet for the exclusive use by bus drivers in exchange for an annual lease fee; ultimately the asset will pass to CWD once permanent bus layover facilities are created in the CBD.

FY19/20 Forward Plan:  FY19/20 funding has yet to be confirmed, however AT Metro Service Delivery have approved a project mandate to investigate further Exeloo sites as follows:

  • Bus Driver Exeloo sites: Mayoral Drive (near AUT); Nuffield Street Newmarket; Hobson Street (between Wolfe & Wyndam St) Avondale Terminus (Copsey Place); Waikowhai Terminus
  • Rail Exeloo Sites: Parnell Station; Grafton Station; Ellerslie Station; Glenn Innes Station; Papatoetoe Station; Middlemore Station

Auckland Domain

We’re fortunate to have an excellent maintenance manager for Waitematā. Karl (photo right) is passionately on the case sorting out issues in our parks.

On June he was happy to meet me for a site visit at the Domain (along with his boss) to look at a few maintenance issues that have been logged with me.  Lots of work is underway to make the Domain a world class premier park.

For the first time Auckland Museum has an accessible (very grand and beautifully landscaped) pathway to the front door. On 27 May, the Mayor announced the new official name Te Ara Oranga (Attachment 4: Our Auckland Domain Pathway Officially Opened)

At the Domain Committee meeting on 5 June four new paths funded by the local board were approved (details on the agenda under Item 24).

In another milestone for the Domain the new Wintergarden nursery glasshouses were blessed on 11 June by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.  Cr Mike Lee spoke at the opening.

Homelessness initiatives

We’re continuing to look at ways to fund small initiatives that complement Housing First Auckland and other regional projects that address homelessness. From a $20,000 allocation Lifewise Auckland will receive a $10,000 grant to support the initial scoping of an Auckland Housing Help Centre; an $8,000 grant will go to Heart of the City to support their Street Guardians Programme, and $2,000 will go towards volunteer training facilitated by the Auckland City Mission.  (Attachment 5: Our Auckland Homeless Community shown support in Waitemata)

The city centre targeted rate paid by businesses and residents contributed $2million to the upgrade of James Liston Hostel in Freemans Bay. On 5 June the Mayor, joined by Minister Phil Twyford opened the newly revamped facility providing 55 emergency beds with wrap around services. It has been a tremendous effort by the Hostel Trust team led Dame Diane Robertson and supported by Lifewise and the City Mission.

Enhancing Auckland’s tree cover

On 2 June Stuff journalist Charlie Mitchell reported on The Aotearoa Chainsaw Massacre.  In 2013 the former National-led government removed general tree protection rules leading to the loss of many urban trees. Here’s what the local board has been doing to enhance and protect tree cover:

  • opposed the RMA changes and have continued to advocate for tree protection
  • worked to identify trees to be scheduled in the Unitary Plan – this was work led by former board member Tricia Reade
  • included as many trees as possible in our projects (eg Teed St upgrade) and have pushed AT to identify new opportunities for tree pits
  • supported the revised City Centre Masterplan revised target of increasing streets trees in the city centre by 25 per cent by 2021.
  • support Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy and the Mayor’s 1 million trees project
  • working to develop a local urban ngahere implementation plan
  • funding tree planting for Arbor Day (Photo right: planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June)
  • funding volunteer plantings and regeneration projects
  • allocated a grant the Urban Tree Alliance for an Adopt a Tree event in Western Park
  •  funded the LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) data mapping to calculate the “canopy cover” of Waitemata
  • part of the team that helped Save the Western Springs Pohutukawas
  • planted fruit trees in Grey Lynn Park
  • Deputy Chair Shale Chambers was part of the City Centre Advisory Board working group who have successfully secured agreement from AT to include more street trees in the Albert St upgrade design
  • And at Western Springs up to 15,000 new trees will be planted as part of a native bush regeneration project.

Annual Budget 19/20

At a business meeting on 4 June we approved the Waitemata local content for the Annual Budget 2019/2020 which includes a Local Board Agreement, a message from the chair, local board advocacy, and a local fees and charges schedule for 2019/2020. Each financial year, Auckland Council must have a Local Board Agreement between the Governing Body and each local board, for each local board area. On 20 June 2019, the Governing Body will meet to adopt Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2019/2020, including 21 local board agreements.

Attachment 6: Our Auckland Youth leadership developed with spoken word poetry (funding provided from the local board community grant fund 18/19)

Meetings and workshops: 15 May until 11 June

  •  Planning Committee workshop on 15 May
  • Meeting to discuss SBN’s GulfX project on 15 May
  • Meeting with University of Auckland healthy homes researchers on 16 May
  • LGNZ National Council meeting in Wellington on 17 May (photo right with Mayor Justin Lester who recently announced his intention to make Lambton Quay car free)
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 20 May, 27 May and 10 June
  • Meeting on 20 May hosted by Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, local board representatives and Auckland Transport to discuss the speed bylaw implementation
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 21 May
  • Monthly catch up with the GM of the K’rd Business Association on 22 May
  • Communications meeting on 22 May
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 22 May
  • Meeting on 23 May with Civic Events and Regional Facilities Auckland to discuss the organisation of citizenship ceremonies at the Town Hall
  • LGNZ Zone 1 meeting on 24 May
  • Meeting with the Pop Up Globe team on 24 May
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 28 May, 4 and 11 June
  • Transport portfolio meeting on 29 May
  • Joint Governing Body/Local Board Chairs meeting on 29 May
  • Meeting with Trevor Dunn and Boud Hammelburg, Advisors to Westhaven Forum Trust at Royal NZ Yacht Club on 31 May
  • Meeting with Community Facilities managers on 5 June to discuss Victoria Park car park driveway renewal
  • Domain Committee workshop and business meeting on 5 June
  • Meeting with Newmarket Business Association GM on 1 May
  • Domain Committee meeting on 5 June
  • Meeting with GM Parnell Business Association on 6 June
  • Attended meeting on 6 June organised by Hon Nikki Kaye with businesses impacted by CRL works
  • Meeting with Parnell Business Association GM on 5 June
  • Informal catch up with the Chair, Waiheke Local Board on 6 June
  • Local Board Chairs Monthly Forum on 10 June

Events and functions:  15 May until 11 June

  • Good Citizens Awards ceremony on 16 May (Attachment 7 Our Auckland and featured in Ponsonby News June update Attachment 8)
  • Auckland Writers Festival opening night party on 16 May
  • Literally Lorne, Auckland Writers Festival free event on 17 May
  • Te reo with Scottie Morrison, Auckland Writers Festival on 18 May
  • Spoke at Trash to Trade event organised by Grey Lynn 2030 on 19 May
  • Tripartite 2019 (An economic alliance of LA, Guangzhou and Auckland coinciding with Tech Week) Welcome Reception for our international delegates and speakers on Sunday 19 May and attended an Innovation Showcase for Tripartite 2019 followed by lunch 20 May. I was interested to hear from Stephen Cheung, President World Trade Centre, LA  about Los Angeles’ Clean Air Action Plan based on data and innovation to force changes to deal with the pollution and health implications of dirty bunker fuel. He was part of a panel on new trends in public and private sector data sharing.
  • With Tapata Wehi, founder The Haka Experience at the Go with Tourism Expo

    Auckland Museum stakeholder breakfast on 23 May

  • Joined the community of St Matthew-in-the-City for a Powhiri and reception on 23 May to welcome our overseas guests who belong to an international network of inner city churches
  • Opened the Go with Tourism Expo on 24 May at Auckland Showgrounds
  • HiTech gala dinner on 24 May at the invitation of ATEED
  • Opening of the new walkway Te ara Oranga connecting Auckland Museum on 27 May
  • Pride Pledge launch on 28 May at Coco’s cantina at the invitation of Krd Business Association
  • Officiated at the Town Hall Citizenship Ceremony on 28 May
  • Attended Friends of Sustainable Coastlines event on 28 May
  • Opening of the Doc Edge Festival at Q Theatre on 29 May
  • New citizen Constable Pavee from Thailand and Karem Colmenares, Event organiser

    Join the Dante Auckland at Winger Maserati to celebrate the Italian Republic Day on 2 June

  • Attended Open Iftar (dinner) 2019 hosted by New Zealand Eid Day at Ellen Melville Centre on 2 June
  • Mt Albert Electorate community morning tea with the PM on 5 June
  • Opening of James Liston Hostel by the Mayor on 5 June
  • China Business Awards dinner at Shed 10 on 6 June at the invitation of NZ China Council
  • Newmarket Business Association awards dinner on 7 June
  • Arbor Day tree planting in Newmarket Park on 8 June
  • Attended the opening of the Wintergarden nursery glasshouses at Auckland Domain on 11 June
  • Again Again co-founders Melissa Firth and Nada Piatek and Sustainable Business Network, CEO Rachel Brown

    Spoke at the launch of Again Again, reusable cups as a service system, at The Store, Quay Street on 11 June

  • Delicious Oblivion, Cabaret Season Launch on 11 June at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of Auckland Live

Chair’s monthly report October 2018

This report covers the period 13 September 2018 until 9 October 2018.

 Summary

Completed projects

The new stairs with an improved handrail between Hopetoun Street and Western Park are now open.

A constituent wrote to say “I have just discovered the new stairs to Western Park off Hopetoun. This is amazing and within metres it’s hard to believe you are not in the Waitakeres. Congratulations. You have created a wonderful place for those of us in the inner city”

Poynton Terrace connection between St Kevin’s Arcade and Myers Park (funded from the City Centre Targeted rate).  A safety audit is still to be completed on the design.

An interpretation sign in Te Hā o Hine place has been installed.  It explains the background to the Women’s suffrage memorial commissioned in 1993 for the suffrage centennial.

New Trees

10 elm trees at Grey Lynn Park’s Schofield Street entrance were removed because of Dutch elm disease. They have now been replaced by a mix of tanekaha and puriri.

 Representation Review

Every six years a review of Auckland Council representation arrangements is required including whether the wards properly reflect their populations. The outcome of the review applies at the next local body election (2019).

The Auckland Council review of the ratio of population to number of elected members showed four wards did not comply with the 10 per cent (more or less than the average) guideline. The Waitematā and Gulf Ward population differs from the average per member by 43 per cent.  The submission I gave at the Representation Review hearings (photo right) on behalf of Waitematā Local Board focused on the proposed Waitematā and Gulf ward boundary change (attached as an agenda item).

Following the hearings the council’s joint governance working party responded to submissions on the council’s proposal and decided to recommend changes to the council’s initial proposal.

The changes include retaining all of Grey Lynn and Westmere in the Waitematā and Gulf Ward. This was in response to submissions and public concern from the Grey Lynn area.

The working party also recommended to the council’s governing body that an area of Grafton should become part of the Ōrākei Ward in addition to the proposal for Newmarket and Parnell to become part of the Ōrākei Ward. (the recommendations were to be considered at a governing body meeting on 18 October)

The review does not impact the Local Board boundaries. Working party recommendations to the governing body meeting 18 October.

 Auckland Domain Committee

 At the Auckland Domain Committee meeting on 30 August 2018 a working group was set up to review the Accessibility Improvement Review Programme and its long-term implications.

The working group met on 14 September 2018 agreeing to a range of proposals to improve walking connections and parking management. The working group’s recommendations will be referred to the Domain Committee meeting to be held on 29 November.

At the same time the Local Board is progressing options for funding improved paths in the Domain.  At our September Business Meeting we requested Auckland Transport prepare rough order of costs for the following walking and/or cycling connections in the Auckland Domain as identified in the Auckland Domain Masterplan and/or Waitematā Greenways Plan and work with Community Facilities to identify the renewals budget available for each project:

  • Titoki Street carpark to Football Road from Parnell Train Station through the woodchip yard to meet the track leading to Lovers Lane
  • loop around Watsons Bequest, including path on north side of Domain Drive
  • upper connections to Kari Street Commons
  • Centennial Path to Grafton Mews
  • Park Road entrance to Grandstand Road South
  • path on The Crescent to connect the Wintergarden to the Auckland
  • Museum
  • path extension on east side of Domain Drive off Parnell Road to meet
  • Lower Domain Drive
  • path on east side of Domain Drive to meet Lower Domain Drive – not costed – part of Greenway and Auckland Domain Masterplan for cycling

Local Government New Zealand

As the LGNZ national council member representing local boards I attended the LGNZ strategy meeting on 4 October in Wellington.  LGNZ is focused on four priority areas – water, housing, climate change and localism.  Minister Mahuta attended the meeting to discuss the three waters review and water regulation.

Minster Phil Twyford attended the National council meeting on 5 October to provide an update on the new Urban Development Authority.

Helen Clark Room at Ellen Melville Centre

To coincide with the one-year celebration for the revamped Ellen Melville Centre, former prime minister Helen Clark was welcomed at an event hosted by the Local Board and the Auckland Branch of National Council of Women held in the room named in her honour. (Our Auckland story).  Photo right: With Helen Clark and Auckland’s National Council of Women chair Carol Beaumont

125 Suffrage Day celebration

The National Council of Women – Auckland Branch, Auckland Council and Auckland Live hosted a Sunrise celebration to mark 125 years since New Zealand became the first country where women were able to vote in a general election. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a parade from Te Hā o Hine Place to Aotea Square (photo right) for speeches and performances by Annie Crummer and New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh MC’ed by Jennifer Ward-Lealand.   It was a very special morning to honour the fight for gender equality in Aotearoa.

I reported on why I am grateful for all the women who fought vigorously for the right to vote and for the right to stand for public office in my latest Ponsonby News update. 

Meetings and workshops 13 September until 9 October

  • Monthly comms meeting on 13 September
  • Domain Committee working group meeting at Auckland Museum on 14 September
  • Presented an ADO lunchtime learning talk “Auckland as a Cycling City: Dare to compare – Learnings from Velo-City Conference in Rio de Janeiro”  at Auckland Central City Library on 14 September at the invitation of Darren Davis
  • Catch up with Cr Darby
  • Meeting with Big Street Bikers to discuss their Ebike network strategy on 14 September
  • Weekly chair’s catch up held on 17, 24 September, 1, 8 October
  • Regional Cluster Workshop for local board elected members on 17 September
  •  NZTA road show discussion on the new National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) at the end of August that gives effect to the new Government Policy Statement (GPS).  This NLTP helps create a transport system that is safer, more accessible, better protects the environment and delivers value for money transport solutions for all New Zealand. The Transport Agency invites you to a conversation with our new Board Chair Michael Stiassny, Board representatives, Chief Executive Fergus Gammie and Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton to hear about how we’re partnering with local government to deliver on this new direction for transport. It’s all about enabling our economy to prosper and helping people get the most out of life.  By working together, we will create liveable cities, thriving regions, stronger communities and achieve the best outcomes for New Zealand by giving people choice on how they move about
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 September
  • Meeting with Housing NZ representations on 19 September regarding the HNZ development at 139 Greys Avenue discussion prior to lodging Resource consent
  • Attended the Parnell Trust board meeting on 19 September
  • Catch up with K’rd Business Association GM on 20 September
  • Presented to the Joint Governance Working Party on the Waitemata Local Board’s submission on the representation review (attached as a report item on the October business meeting agenda)
  • Tour for members of the Western Springs Lakeside Park rock forest with Elizabeth Walker and Sel Arbuckle from STEPs – St Lukes Environmental Protection Society Inc on 21 September (photo right)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 25 September and 9 October (the board had a recess week so no workshop was held on 2 October)
  • Central City Community Network meeting on 27 September hosted by Central City Library and guided tour of the Wahine take action Suffrage exhibition
  • Housing NZ bi-monthly meeting
  • Monthly catch up with the Board’s relationship manager
  • Meeting with the GM of the Newmarket Business Association and representatives of Newmarket Pool on 28 September
  • LGNZ strategy meeting in Wellington on 4 September
  • LGNZ National Council meeting on 5 October in Wellington
  • Monthly Chairs Forum on 8 October
  • Parnell Plan Working Group meeting on 8 October
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly meeting on 9 October

Events attended 13 September until 9 October

  • Morning tea in honour of the Rt Hon Helen Clark in the Helen Clark room at Ellen Melville Centre on 13 September (one year anniversary of the opening of the Ellen Melville Centre)
  • Hīkoia te Kōrero: a parade in celebration of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori at Aotea Square
  • GLBA networking drinks held at Malt to discuss the West Lynn upgrade proposals
  • Opening night of Mr Burns at the invitation of Silo Theatre on 14 September
  • Auckland Pestival 2018 held at Aotea Centre on Saturday 15 September Pest Free Auckland is a community-led conservation programme, facilitated by Auckland Council, to eradicate pests (pest plants, animals and pathogens) and concurrently restore the region’s native ecosystems. Partnerships with mana whenua, community groups, landowners, schools, the Department of Conservation, and the private and philanthropic sectors are key to the success of this programme.  As part of the Pest Free Auckland programme, Auckland Council hosted the annual Auckland Pestival to showcase community-led conservation, provide a networking opportunity and seek feedback on initial plans to support expanded delivery funded by the natural environment targeted rate
  • Launch of Mātātuhi Foundation on 17 September by the Writers Festival Trust at Auckland Central City Library – a new initiative to support the literary landscape of New Zealand
  • Sunrise Celebration with the PM on-Suffrage Day 2018
  • Opening night of Rendered on 20 September at the invitation of the Auckland Theatre Company
  • World Park(ing) day installations on Tyler Street and High Street as part of the Festival of Architecture (photo right)
  • Bad Jelly the Witch gala opening at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions on 22 September
  • Heritage Festival Opening on 26 September at Ellen Melville Centre
  • Auckland Boat Show on 29 September at the invitation of ATEED
  • Foreshore Heritage Walk guided by member Vernon Tava on 30 September for the Auckland Heritage Festival (photo below)
  • Hosted a significant birthday morning tea for board members and local board services team on 2 October
  • Beauty and the Beast at TAPAC at the invitation of TAPAC (four tickets) on 2 October
  • Late Night Art event on 9 October for Art Week
  • Biondi Brunialti duo concert at St Matthew in the City on 9 October at the invitation of the Italian Ambassador

 

Conference report back: Velo-city Rio de Janiero 12-15 June 2018

This report was included in my monthly Chair’s report on the Waitemata Local Board July business meeting agenda.

Report back from  Velo-city conference: Access to Life

I was fortunate to attend and present at the annual Velo-city Summit 2018, a premier international conference on cycling and urban mobility.

Velo-city conferences bring together those involved in policy, promotion and the provision of cycling facilities and programs. Engineers, planners, architects, social marketers, academic researchers, environmentalists, business, and industry representatives join forces with government at all levels ranging from municipal politicians, policy makers and educators in knowledge sharing in order to build effective trans-national partnerships to deliver benefits worldwide.

 Velo-city 2018 Rio focused on the main theme Access to Life, linked to the overall goal of cycling inclusion. Building on topics of previous Velo-city conferences such as Health, Infrastructure, Technology, Governance and Data, Velo-city in Rio explored the fusion of these discourses through cycling inclusion.

I found Velo-city to be energising, informative and inspiring. I have previously attended Velo-city 2014 in Adelaide. At that time, it seemed as if Auckland had reached a tipping point, but still had a long way to go to catch up with cities that had embraced cycling as a legitimate mode of transport.  Four years later I was able to present the Auckland story (surprising many people with the progress that has been made) and found it encouraging to have it confirmed that Auckland is on the right path to a sustainable, smart city.

As highlighted at the conference the benefits for all of investing in cycling are overwhelming. Attending the conference reinforced for me that we’re now at a stage in Auckland where we know why we need to do it, we’ve heard from plenty of overseas experts how we need to do it, we have the funding confirmed, community support and the political will – we just have to get on with it!

My top take outs from the conference:

Access to life The bicycle can literally mean access to life for communities around the world. We heard from Mozambique where a bike can save 3 hours of walking to access water (photo right: Rui Mesquita, CEO of Mozambikes).  In Chicago a bike is a vehicle for community transformation and provides benefits such as reducing violence and the creation of jobs (opening plenary speaker: Oplatunji Oboi Reed from Equicity, Chicago). In Brazil bikes are empowering black women and creating the conditions for gender equality (Livia Suárez Founder of La Frida Bike Café, Preta vem de bike and Casa La Frida – photo right- and Jamila Santana, Artistic Coordinator of La Frida Bike ). Access to life can also be achieved for children by making cities child friendly “A city envisioned through the eyes of children is likely to be a bike city not one for cars” (Eliana Riggio, International Child Friendly Cities Secretariat at the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, in Florence)

It is so much more than just the bicycle The focus of debate that I often hear in Auckland is whether people personally want to cycle that is often framed misleadingly as an attack on those wishing to drive.  The conference reinforced for me that cycling is part of a far bigger response to the challenges of our time.  When a city provides its citizens with viable access to cycling as mobility it creates an environment for everyone that is healthier, more sustainable, less polluting and acts as a generator of happiness.

Just to give one example that was highlighted at the Global Policy panel discussion session.  The obesity crisis is a bigger problem world wide than malnutrition. To add healthy activity to daily lives walking and cycling must be must be a “hidden” physical activity.

A city for everyone   A common theme from speakers across the conference was the need to prioritise inclusion in transport planning so that the city works for everyone. Rubbish infrastructure such as poor-quality footpaths is a huge barrier.  For example Rafaella Basile from Cidade Ativa gave an overview of problems pedestrians face in Brazil – lack of infrastructure, insufficient width, surface quality or lack of maintenance. She stressed that insufficient pedestrian infrastructure harms the most vulnerable part of society.

Getting the infrastructure right can promote social inclusion, accessibility and equity.

In Auckland the barriers to children walking and cycling to school has been recently highlighted by the AA.  Their surveys found that Auckland parents and some schools actively discourage children from walking and cycling to school due to a lack of safety infrastructure.

Mixing up mobility The transport sector likes to refer to “intermodal” to describe getting around by difference conveyances.  It would be great to come up with a new term as I don’t think a session at the conference on “intermodality” really explains itself to most people (at least not in the Auckland context anyway). However, what it aims to achieve when mixed up with cycling is worth signing up for.   As Pascal Smet the Minister of mobility in Brussels highlighted it is about moving away from a city for cars to a city for people “We need to talk about objectives, not about the means” 

From a number of speakers we heard the many ways in which the integration of high quality public transport, transport orientated design, bike parking, bike share and quality cycle highways can increase the range of riders can travel and the number of people cycling.

The presentation on Brussels had some great before and after photos (eg the car park transformation above) very similar to projects we are working on in Auckland such as repurposing the Eastern Viaduct car park into a new plaza and removal of the Dominion Road flyover.

 Build it and they will come, but we’ve got to get on with it There were many technical experts at the conference particularly from the Dutch Cycling Embassy and the Danish Cycling Embassy.  They can boast impressive infrastructure resulting in a high proportion of people cycling for transport.  As is well known the key to achieving this is a network of high quality safe, separated cyclepath.

However the presenters took care to note that cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen were not always great places to cycle.  They just got started a lot earlier to re-prioritise road space. Photo right: Mirjam Borsboom from the Dutch Cycling Embassy showing a “before” example.  The Netherlands started on the path to embracing cycling in the 70’s after the “Stop child murder” campaign.

Mirjam was also generous to say that the Dutch had things to learn from other places such as on her visit to Auckland with the Embassy last year.

The importance of a Vision Zero framework – starting with slower speeds

Road fatalities are the first cause of death for 5-9 years olds worldwide killing a total of 1.3 million people annually. In a presentation on Vision Zero we heard that Mexico City are adopting an approach of putting the safety of children first. (Clara Vadillo Quesada, from “Vision Zero for youth” in Mexico City) Clara presented examples of tactical urbanism using paint to improve the safety of school zones (quick, cheap, effective methods that we sometimes struggle to do in Auckland).

In Auckland and New Zealand we are on the verge of adopting Vision Zero to address our road safety crisis of increasing deaths and serious injuries (In the past three years, Auckland deaths and serious injuries have increased at almost triple the rate of the rest of NZ and around five times the growth of travel).  I was interested to hear more about Sweden’s ‘Moving beyond Vision Zero campaign that was launched in 2017. As presented by  Lars Strömgren, ECF Vice-President (photo right) Sweden, aims to encourage traffic planners and transport decision makers around the world to improve upon the 20-year-old campaign “Vision Zero” by factoring in the health benefits of active transport. A new goal should lead to traffic that saves lives and improves quality of life in addition to reducing traffic fatalities and injuries by promoting active mobility in the form of cycling and walking (ie not implementing vision zero to make safety improvements on roads that make it less attractive to walk and cycle)

 What was also emphasised by other speakers is that where there is no separated infrastructure the best safety tool is to reduce speeds to 30km on residential streets. Work is underway on Speed Management Plans for Auckland that will bring in long overdue speed reductions.

Cycling as “new” technology  The technology plenary session discussion at the conference was excellent for providing insight about what is happening right now at the front line and how cycling can be considered “new” technology.

Tim Papandreou, former Chief Innovation Officer with the City of San Francisco, Transportation Agency with experience working on Waymo (Google’s autonomous vehicle project) spoke to the sunsetting of traditional transport as technology changes (where don’t need drivers operating systems in the same way people have been removed from operating machinery) and how the bicycle fits into the platform of tech and a menu of transport choices.

Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Senior of Technical and Environmental Affairs at the City of Copenhagen (photo left) took a no nonsense approach to technology. Her city is adopting leading Intelligent Transport Solutions for mobility, especially some of the unique innovations for cyclists’ traffic management. “Technology should make lives better for people, not be a goal in itself, and although low-tech, the bike is very effective in Copenhagen”

Kevin Mayne, Development Director at ECF, stressed the importance of cycling advocates and policy makers engaging with the emerging policy challenges and not leaving it all to the automotive sector to dictate. He sees cycling as part of “new” tech with the opportunities coming from bike sharing and ebikes to play a role in Mobility as a service (MAAS).  However, the first question to ask is “where is the walking”?

I took away from the discussion the need for Auckland to identify the problem we are trying to solve and to create and dictate the space that technology is invited into.  As Tim cautioned “AV technology has no moral compass” so AV tech will just go where it is allowed to go.

Blast them with data Tim also took part in the interesting Big Data session with Philippe Crist, Strategic Advisor for Innovation and Foresight, International Transport Forum at the OECD facilitated by Kevin Mayne.

Philippe strongly emphasised the need to start with “Why do you need the data?” in order to make good decisions about what data is requested from companies. Cycling gets overlooked because not “big transport” and traditionally detected. An issue that AV tech looking to solve however he warned against accepting a solution of “tagging” riders (or walkers). He also provided a warning about the in built data bias because of the different economic profile of owners of Apple or Android smartphones which can distort analysis.  Cycling at all levels has to get into the Big Data space and engage, in order to create data that works for our needs. As Philippe said “Don’t wait to be invited into the room, we have to create our own room where the technology people talk to us”.

Tim also spoke of the need for a city to establish first “What data is wanted for” to avoid a power struggle for data particularly where there are privacy concerns. However, the good news is that data science is changing fast so there are ways of extracting data without revealing personal information.

Tim provided some very practical and relevant advice about how best to use data to sell an idea. When advising decision makers, he starts with the story-telling rather than the data because we’re all emotional and that is what we respond to.  However, he puts this firmly in the context of the decision makers’ own agreed strategic framework backed up with data. Tim showed me the direct result of this approach on a tour of San Francisco at the end of my trip (see below). Safety inventions like kerb build outs are now going ahead without push back because San Francisco has adopted Vision Zero and they have the crash stats to identify dangerous intersections where intervention is required (eg photo right of a temporary safety measure).

Cashing in on the economic benefits:  We heard more on the overwhelming evidence that investment in cycling reaps economic benefits (eg Shopping by bike session).  Cycle tourism is more lucrative in Europe than the cruise ship industry (and less polluting).  650,000 jobs are as a result of the cycling industry (more than mining and quarrying).  From one study a 1 Euro investment has resulted in 35 Euros of benefit (Economic Benefits ECF research). I plan on following up with ATEED (Auckland’s economic development organisation) to find out what work they’re doing to promote cycle tourism.

In Vienna the largest shopping street has been transformed for walking and cycling. The opposition evaporated once opened due to the big lift in economic activity (photo right Robert Pressl, Project coordinator, CIVITAS).  ).  This was described as a “Lighthouse” project.  I think Karangahape enhancement project will come to be viewed in exactly the same way once finally completed.

Auckland’s story “I’ll just take the bike”

I presented as part of a session Cities for people? Rethinking Urban Planning  together with Mirjam Borshboom from the Dutch Cycling Embassy and Firoza Suresh from the Smart Commute Foundation, India . The session explored the necessity to refocus our planning away from a planning model based on individual motorized transport towards people-centre low-carbon sustainable mobility systems.

My presentation outlined how in Auckland we’re making the thought “I’ll just take the bike” a reality for Aucklanders and considered how far we are actually rethinking our urban planning.

A number of people approached me after the presentation to say how surprised and impressed they were to see the progress made in Auckland. I was proud to represent Auckland at the conference.

Summing up the conference

The conference was spread over four days with too many presentations to  attempt to sum up (check out the ECF website for the full write up about the conference). In addition to the key themes I found it really inspiring to hear from people working in really challenging places to bring about better conditions for people to ride bikes. For example Nikita Lalwani, the Bicycle Mayor of Baroda in Gujarat, India (appointed in May 2017 by BYCS, a Dutch NGO) who promotes cycling in a city with huge congestion but no cycle facilities. She does it because commuting by bike is still healthier and more convenient for her.

I enjoyed hearing about the compost business powered by a cargo bike and creating jobs (photo right). This is exactly what we need to be looking at in Auckland. The conference was an amazing opportunity to meet people from around the world doing really interesting things to create the conditions to encourage cycling such as Sile Ginnane from Liberty Bell in Dublin using a citizen-led low cost auditing system to gather qualitative data about the cycling and walking environment.

The conference was not without its controversies.   Participants from developing countries received a discounted registration that was still well beyond the means of average Brazillians.  The sessions were by a diverse range of speakers that wasn’t reflected in the make up of participants.

The cycling parade is a highlight of every Velo-city (photo right) but it wasn’t so great for the locals who had to put up with central streets being shut down for our convenience and enjoyment.

From a visitor perspective it was amazing to experience Rio and the spectacular waterfront ride.   On my trip I also enjoyed waterfront rides in Montevideo, Palma, Seattle and San Francisco.  It highlighted the huge potential to transform Auckland’s waterfront along Tamaki Drive into an even better mecca for tourists and locals.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference (made possible by the generous airfare gift from a friend) and to have met so many amazing people.  I was able to explore new ideas and come home equipped with the questions to ask to ensure we deliver best practice.

Joke told by one of the speakers:  How do you recognize a cycle path in Germany?  There is a car parked in it.

(sound familiar Auckland?  Photo credit: Bike Auckland)

Presentation summaries

There are excellent write- ups of many of the speakers on the European Cycling Federation website.  I acknowledgement the assistance of referring to these summaries in writing up my report.

Attendance costs

  • Conference registration $NZ870.00 – covered by Auckland Transport (the abstract for my presentation was originally submitted by Auckland Transport)
  • Accommodation (3 of 5 nights) $NZ432 – covered by Auckland Council
  • Airfare – a birthday gift from a friend
  • All other expenses – transfers, accommodation (2 nights), meals etc – personal cost

Velocity Conference Side Event: The Big Picture: A Safe System for Cycling in Cities

At Velo-city I met Anna Bray Sharpin, a Kiwi based in Washington DC who works for World Resources Institute. She invited me to present my Auckland case study at a conference side event. Participants were from 12 developing countries with the potential to incorporate cycling as part of transport solutions.

Melinda Hanson from NACTO (National Association of Transportation Officials) gave an excellent presentation on Strategies for Scaling up Cycling.  Her 10 points summarizing the politics of “How” are really relevant to Auckland right now.

1. Show it works

2. Measure & promote

  • Bike counts
  • Economic benefits – speak to what politicians need to hear
  • Use new technology to track metrics eg origins and destinations

3.Reach out – move away from images of people on bikes wearing helmets to humanize cyclists

4.Support allies – eg bike advocates

5. Emphasise safety with a focus on speed reduction

6. Make cycling mainstream

7. Leverage the private sector – eg dockless bike share

8.Think about cycling as a big infrastructure project. Will be more eligible for multi funding

9. Be bold (Auckland’s Te ara I whiti/Lightpath was used as the example in Melinda’s presentation – photo above)

10. Don’t back down – example of Seville (StreetFilms: How Sevilla got its cycle network) that demonstrates the importance of a  bold vision (18km network built within 18 months for 32m Euros to achieve 8% mode share). Know there will be push back but trust the process and the outcome.

Checking it out up close – cycling tour of San Francisco

On route back from my trip I stopped off in San Francisco and was treated by Tim Papandreau  to a tour of cycling infrastructure that is transforming the city and significantly increasing cycling numbers.

 

Chair’s monthly report April 2018

This report covers the period 14 March until 10 April 2018.

 Highlights

Newly elected board member Denise Roche was sworn in at the board’s business meeting on 20 March. (photo left)

 

Consultation on the 10 year budget

Have your say month wrapped up on 28 March.  The Board hosted 2 public meetings, a hearings style meeting where 19 groups and individuals presented and four drop-in session at our libraries (photo right: Parnell Have your say public meeting attended by board members and councillors Penny Hulse and Christine Fletcher).  Spray free parks is one of the priority issues that was consulted on by the Board (Attachment 1)

A summary of the consultation feedback will be available in May.

New public space at the Viaduct

In October 2017 I reported that Panuku had made the decision to close the Eastern Viaduct car park to create a new public space in line with the Waterfront Plan. This followed advocacy from the local board and councillors Richard Hills and Chris Darby.

Following the space being used increasingly for temporary events it has now been permanently closed.  I attended the karakia on 26 March led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to acknowledge the closing of the Eastern Viaduct as a car park and the commencement of the construction and installation process of a public space.

Over the Easter break I enjoyed having lunch with a friend at the new communal table (photo above).   See Attachment 2 for more details.

Homelessness

Chronic levels of homelessness in the city centre is a major concern. The board wishes to support solutions and is looking to provide appropriate public facilities (one of the priorities we highlighted in the recent 10 year budget consultation).

I attended the Heart of the City organised “ending homelessness” event on 20 March at the Ellen Melville Centre to hear the latest update from Moira Lawler, CEO of Lifewise,  and Chris Farrelly, the Auckland City Missioner on how they are working to end homelessness in central Auckland.

They talked about the collaborative approach underway, including Housing First and the redevelopment of James Liston Hostel and the recently announced Mission Homeground (incorporating accommodation and wrap round services) to be developed on the Mission’s Hobson St site.

 Western Springs Native bush restoration project

Residents were recently provided with an update (Attachment 3) on the Western Springs Native bush restoration project.  Attachment 4 the Our Auckland story on the project.  In addition, Deputy Chair Shale Chambers spokesperson for the project has provided this update on 10 April via Facebook in response to concerns about the process.

The elected members of the board do not, nor have they in the past, had any direct involvement in the selective cutting of the pine trees. This has been a decision of arborists and Council parks staff who are making health and safety decisions to keep the track and park area open, and keep property and lives safe. No assurance can be given that those decisions, where necessary will not be made in the future (for example, as a result of today’s winds) but this will only be done for genuine health and safety reasons, not any early implementation of the plans. That is in line with the local board’s advice that the trees are failing at an increased rate. The restoration project is shortly to go to a notified public hearing process. Those who wish to question the reports and advice that the local board has relied on in making its decision, in its view in the public interest, to proceed with the restoration project and the removal of the remaining 200 pines will have their opportunity there to have their say. The board will be bound by the outcome. The ‘consultation’ is therefore a publicly notified resource consent hearings process available to all interested in the outcome of the plans. We invite and welcome that involvement. Council advice can be tested there. If it is correct and the project is granted consent, the first stage pine removal phase of the project will proceed. Locals and interested parties will then be involved by way of consultation on in the detail post-pines future of the area and the park restoration project, as promised.

Victoria Quarter Petition

 At the Board’s March business meeting we received a petition presented by Emily Reeves, city centre resident, calling for safer pedestrian access in Victoria Quarter. (Attachment 5)

We passed a resolution requesting staff to refer the petition to the Development Programme Office for consideration in the allocation of the targeted rates projects in the Victoria Quarter and Auckland Transport for consideration for improvements in the road corridor.

Work is already underway by Auckland Transport on significant safety treatments in the Cook St off ramp area of Victoria Quarter.  The proposals will go out for consultation shortly.

 Great North Road – car transporters

I’ve previously reported on the issue of car transporters illegally unloading on Great North Road. This high risk activity continues despite AT regularly issuing fines (this is just considered a cost of doing business).

I’ve met with AT’s manager of parking who is calling a meeting of operators and NZTA to discuss the options available for increasing the number of loading zones and for businesses to undertake more activities within their premises. If car transporter operators continue to unload illegally NZTA has the power to revoke operator licences.

Quay Street cycleway extension greening

The board has asked Auckland Transport to look at options for further greening Quay St as part of the cycleway design.

At our March meeting we requested Auckland Transport to develop a rough order of cost for including a green bus shelter roof as part of the Quay Street project to be funded from the Local Board Transport Capital Fund (photo above right: cycleway under construction showing inclusion of a strip in the design for planting)

Events

March was a big month for events in Waitematā.  Pop, the Board funded annual series of interactive art projects is now a fixture of the Auckland International Arts Festival (photo right pop marbles in Freyberg Place).

At Pasifika the mayoral and government’s entourages joined forces for the first time to visit stages in nine of the villages. (Photo below: At the Tuvalu village with Fala Haulangi)

Meetings and workshops: 14 March until 10 April 2018

  • Weekly chair’s meeting held every Monday with the local board services team
  • Site visit on 14 March to berm on Beresford Street where poisoning has taken place (photo right)
  • Meeting with the Newton Residents Association representatives on 14 March
  • Fortnightly meeting with comms adviser on 14 and 29 March
  • Dropped by the Auckland Transport Karangahape Road parking plan consultation open days on 14 and 16 March
  • Meeting with Parnell Business Association representatives on 15 March
  • Have your say Grey Lynn Library drop in session on 15 March
  • Have your say Parnell public meeting hosted in partnership with Parnell Community Committee on 15 March
  • Have your say Leys Institute Library drop in session on 16 March
  • Surrey Cres/Garnet Road Community Liaison Group meeting hosted by Auckland Transport on 19 March
  • Have your say cuppa with Splice at Ellen Melville Centre attended by inner city resents particularly new migrants (supported by Auckland Council translator).
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 20 March
  • Auckland Transport’s quarterly briefing for Local Boards on 21 March
  • Drop in session on 21 March for elected representatives at Albert St re: Sale and supply of Alcohol Renewal of Licences Amendment Bill (No2)
  • Participated in Auckland Transport’s consultations sprint at Customer Central (exploring AT’s end to end consultations process from the customer lens)  with a face to face interview on 21 March
  • Local Economic Development Masterclass; Supporting economic resilience hosted by ATEED at GridAKL on 22 March
  • Have your say Waitematā Local Board hearing on 22 March.  The Board received 19 presentations from a range of groups and individuals
  • Briefing from Housing NZ representatives on 23 March re the redevelopment plans for 139 Greys Ave
  • Hui on 23 March between Local Board Chairs and the Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority and to discuss some activities planned for 2018 by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
  • Have your say Central Library drop in session on 23 March
  • Have your say Parnell Library drop in session on 26 March (photo right)
  • Parnell Plan working group meeting on 26 March
  • Board all day workshops on 27 March, 3 and 10 April
  • Catch up with KBA general manager on 28 March
  • Wynyard Quarter Transport Association board meeting on 28 March
  • Joint governing body and local board chairs workshop on 28 March
  • Relationship Manager catchup on 29 March
  • Monthly transport portfolio catch up on 4 April
  • Meeting with Manager, AT parking on 4 April
  • Meeting on 5 April with representatives of the Parnell Business Association to discuss Paws in Parnell event debrief
  • Catch up with CEO, MOTAT on 6 April
  • Meeting on 6 April with KBA and NZPC to discuss public facilities on Karangahape Road
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee meeting held on 10 April

Events and functions:  14 March until 10 April 2018

  • Grey Lynn 2030 AGM and Green Screen showing of Living Dangerously on 19 March
  • Ending Homelessness in Auckland’s city centre organised by Heart of the City at Ellen Melville Centre on 20 March
  • Far Side of the Moon at the Aotea Centre on 22 March at the invitation of the Auckland Arts Festival
  • Pasifika Festival walkabout with the Prime Minister and the Mayor
  • Government’s Unitec Housing announcement at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae on 25 March (photo right)
  • Karakia on 26 March led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to acknowledge the closing of the Eastern Viaduct as a car park and the commencement of the construction and installation process of a public space.
  • YMCA – Ride and Refresh Launch Event on 27 March (new service providing showers and secure parking for bike commuters) Photo right
  • Women in Urbanism discussion with NZTA on 28 March
  • Part of the official party for the Citizenship Ceremony in the Town Hall on 3 April
  • Associate Minister Transport Julie Anne Genter opens the Road Safety Summit

    Bike Breakfast on 5 April at Bestie café sponsored by KBA

  • Opening of the Uptown Business Association movie night in Basque Park on 7 April
  • Jam on Toast at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 8 April
  • Opening of the Auckland International Cultural Festival at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park on 8 April
  • Attended the Road Safety Summit in Wellington on 9 April and gave a presentation on Auckland’s road safety crisis as part of a panel discussion on Local Government’s view about what more can be done to improve road safety (Attachment 6).

Chair’s monthly report December 2017

Report covering the period 8 November until 12 December 2017.

Local board members present Tim Coffey with a Good Citizens Award

This is my final report for the year and the end of my first year as Chair.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow board members, the Local Board services team and everyone who works to make Waitemata a great place. Our Achievements Report 16/17 really highlights the diversity of the board’s responsibilities and how we can make a difference locally when we respond to and partner with the community.

It has been a challenging but rewarding year. The new way of working introduced this term which focuses on the board’s work programme has limited the role of portfolios and made it more difficult for board members to effectively keep on top of project delivery (this will be reviewed in the new year). Internal restructuring and the changeover to a new maintenance contract in July has resulted in far more complaints to the board. In October the only Auckland Future member of the board resigned forcing a by-election to be held in February 2018.  The year is coming to an end with the cycleway programme in the spotlight and robust discussion about how Auckland Transport delivers on local priorities (this is covered in detail in Attachment 1).

On 14th December we are launching the Waitematā Local Board plan which sets our three-year direction. Consultation in May and June this year guided development of the plan and confirmed strong support for the direction of the Board.  At the December business meeting we are confirming budget priorities for 2018/19. These priorities will be extensively consulted on as part of the 10 year budget consultation starting on 28 February 2018

Achievements Report 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017

 The Board’s annual report of highlights covering major projects and initiatives, community grants, advocacy and local governance is now available online.

The report overlaps with the last term so provides a good opportunity to acknowledge the work of former board members and Chair, Shale Chambers who originally kicked off the annual record of achievements.

 Waitemata Safe Routes Projects- update

In Attachment 1 I provide an update on two of the inner west walking and cycling projects that have created a great deal of controversy and scrutiny of Auckland Transport’s engagement and delivery practices.  This has provided an opportunity to reflect on the board’s role through the process.

As covered in the update the board is actively working with Auckland Transport on the solutions and agreed process for further consultation.

Teed Street upgrade

 The now complete Teed Street upgrade as featured in Paperboy

 Domain Committee

 There has been a long standing issue in the Domain of drivers parking on the grass.  Currently Auckland Transport does not have enforcement power to prohibit parking on areas of the Domain outside of formed roads.

At the Domain Committee meeting on 30 November we resolved to delegate the authority that Auckland Transport needs to enforce the no parking on the grass signage.

Prior to the Committee meeting members were led on a site visit around the southern area of Auckland museum where construction on a new pathway is about to start (photo right).  We also observed the significant amount of commuter parking in this area.

Currently a parking survey is underway with recommendations planned to come to our February meeting regarding options for effective parking management that will potentially open the way to freeing up far more on road space for visitors to the Domain.  It has long been my goal, now supported by the outcomes in the Domain Masterplan, to greatly improve accessibility, connectively and mobility in our premier park.

Vision Zero and report back from TRAFINZ conference

 The Waitematā Local Board has led the way supporting Vision Zero, the philosophy that has, as its bottom line, the principle that no deaths or serious injuries on the roads are acceptable.

In order to further the implementation of Vision Zero I attended the Trafinz conference in Nelson and have joined the Trafinz Executive Committee. (Trafinz represents local authority views on road safety and traffic management in New Zealand).  My report from the conference is attached (Attachment 2)

Dr Matts Ake Belin was the guest speaker at the Trafinz conference and guest of Auckland Conversations. The timing of his visit coincided the new Minister of Transport and Associate Minister announcing strong support for a new approach to road safety at time of a rising road toll.

Photo: Stand for Zero organised by Brake road safety charity to commemorate World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Parking consultations

The roll out of residential parking zones in the city fringe suburbs continues with the support of the board.  Auckland Transport’s consultation on Parnell parking improvements has just ended. The Grey Lynn and Arch Hill Residential Parking Zones consultation ends on 20 December.  The Board will consider the public feedback before providing our input in the new year.

Events

The year ended with a huge number of events supported the Local Board including the Grey Lynn Park Festival, Santa Parade, West End Tennis Tournament, and Franklin Road Christmas Lights.  We also successfully held the Parnell Festival of Roses for the 24th year. The Festival has developed as an exemplar for Zero Waste management and accessibility.

It was an honour to open the new exhibition Changing Gear at MOTAT on 8 December. There is a lot to celebrate about cycling in Aotearoa. However very much on my mind in giving my speech was the most recent rider to needlessly lose their life only the night before. (Speech at the opening Attachment 3)

Meetings and workshops: 8 November until 12 December

  • Weekly Chair’s meeting with the Local Board services team every Monday morning
  • Chair’s forum on 13 November
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 14, 21, 28 November and 5 December
  • Civic Trust AGM at the Ellen Melville Centre on 12 November
  • Auckland Transport Powhiri to welcome Dr Belin (Swedish Vision Zero expert) on 13 November
  • Vision Zero session for Local Board members on 15 November at Auckland Transport
  • Lower Queen Street Plans – Brief members from CRL on 15 November
  • Meeting with Teed Street retailers and Newmarket Business Association on 16 November
  • Auckland Harbour Bridge lights update with Mayor Phil and Vector representatives on 16 November
  • Meeting with Age Concern Auckland on 16 November
  • Traffic calming workshop for board members organised by the Albert-Eden Local Board on 16 November
  • Grey Lynn Business Association meeting with new committee on 16 November
  • Herne Bay Residents Association AGM on 16 November
  • Meeting with the Chair of the Wynyard Quarter Transport Association on 17 November
  • West Lynn shops site visit with Auckland Transport on 17 November (Attachment 1 details the issues that were identified at the site visit that are now being followed up by AT)
  • Local Board input into Regional / sub-regional decision making – CENTRAL on 20 November
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 21 November
  • Catch up with General Manager, K’rd Business Association on 22 November
  • Domain Committee pre-agenda meeting on 22 November
  • Attended a site visit with Auckland Transport and the Occupy Garnet Road group on 22 November including a walk of the route to the West Lynn shops
  • Joint Governing Body / Local Board Chairs Meeting on 22 November
  • Attended the Governing Body meeting on 23 November to support Deputy Chair Shale Chambers and board member Richard Northey’s presentation regarding the location of the America’s Cup Village
  • Myers Park / Waihorotiu public artwork (Mayoral Drive underpass) – review of developed concept at the officers of Warren & Mahoney on 23 November
  • Update on 2018 Auckland Arts Festival programme with the Festival Artistic Director and Chief Executive
  • Site visit to the rehearsal space at 313 Queen Street on 24 November (prior to the beginning of renewal work and confirmation of a community lease tenancy of the space)
  • Meeting with the co-chairs Grey Lynn Business Association on 24 November
  • Grey Lynn Business Association hosted meeting regarding the issues at West Lynn shops at the Grey Lynn RSC on 28 November
  • Tour of the refurbishments at the Central Library on 29 November
  • Meeting with the board’s communications adviser on 29 November
  • Meeting to discuss LTP (10-year budget) consultation material
  • Domain Committee site visit and business meeting at Auckland Museum on 30 November
  • Grey Lynn Residents Association AGM on 30 November
  • Meeting with Soala Wilson from the Occupy Garnet Road Group on 1 December
  • Leadership for Local Board Leaders – session one on 4 December
  • Ponsonby Community Centre AGM on 4 December
  • Auckland Paths Project Refresh – Workshop 1 on 6 December
  • LGNZ Governance and Strategy Advisory Group meeting in Wellington on 7 December
  • Catch up with GM Parnell Business Association on 8 December
  • Meeting with Parnell Trust on 8 December
  • Chairs’ Forum on 11 December
  • West Lynn community reference group meeting with Auckland Transport on 11 December
  • Ponsonby Business Association meeting and Christmas breakfast on 12 December
  • Parnell cycleway progress update with Auckland Transport on 12 December
  • Waitemata Local Board business meeting on 12 December

Events and functions:  8 November until 12 December

  • Attended the Trafinz conference 8- 10 November in Nelson (Attachment 2)
  • Armistice Day Commemoration Ceremony at Auckland Museum on 11 November
  • Women in Urbanism Vision Zero presentation with Dr Belin and panel discussion at Ellen Meville Centre on 13 November (photo right- on the panel with Dr Belin, Caroline Perry from Brake and Jessica Rose, Albert-Eden Board member)
  • Westpac Regional Business Awards- Central at the Langham Hotel at the invitation of ATEED on 14 November
  • Gave the vote of thanks at Auckland Conversations Vision Zero event on 15 November
  • Auckland Harbour Bridge lights update and morning tea with Mayor Phil and Vector representatives on 16 November.  The Harbour Bridge will be the first bridge in the world to have its lighting powered entirely by solar energy. The LED lights will be individually controlled and will transform our bridge with lighting shows for special events and occasions.
  • Launched the Adopt a Tree campaign organised by the Urban Tree Alliance with a grant from the local board. Held at Western Park on 18 November
  • Ellen Melville Centre community day on 18 November (photo right with board members Adriana Christie and Richard Northey and the EMC team)
  • Grey Lynn Pump Track opening party on 18 November (Photo below right Johnloyd, aged 7 in his winning race)
  • Parnell Festival of Roses on 19 November
  • Stand for Zero at Silo Park to commemorate international day of road traffic victims on 19 November
  • Fire and Emergency NZ stakeholder function to meet Chair, Hon Paul Swain, board members and the Chief Executive Rhys Jones at Rydges Hotel on 20 November
  • ASB Classic 2018 Launch at Holy Trinity Cathedral on 22 November
  • Opening of the Latvian honorary consulate in Auckland on 23 November
  • Grey Lynn Park Festival on 25 November
  • Santa Parade at the invitation of Crackerjack Productions on 26 November
  • Low carbon Christmas organised by the low carbon network at Studio One on 29 November
  • Rainbow Youth sponsors breakfast on 30 November
  • Lifewise Christmas function at Merge Café on 30 November
  • Annual Enviroschools celebration at Western Springs Community Hall on 1 December. I presented to Newmarket School with a certificate to recognise their commitment to sustainability (photo right)
  • Opening Night of the Franklin Road Christmas Lights on 1 December (photo right with Governor General, Mayor Phil Goff and lights coordinator Roscoe Thorby)
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 2 December
  • Lightpath Festival on 2 December (photo below with Minister of Transport Phil Twyford)
  • Wither Hills West End Tennis Cup Tournament finals on 3 December (at the invitation of the West End Tennis Club)
  • At the Lightpath Festival with Minister of Transport Phil Twyford

    Sugartree Design showcase at Sugartree apartments on 5 December

  • Attended Basement Theatre’s Patron’s night and Christmas show Santa Claus on 7 December
  • Opened the exhibition Changing Gear: Celebrating cycling in Aotearoa on 8 December (opening speech Attachment 3)
  • Italian Christmas market on 9 December at Freemans Bay Community Hall on 9 December
  • Joined the official party at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Town Hall on 11 December

Opening Changing Gear exhibition celebrating cycling Aotearoa

E nga mana, e nga reo, e rau rangatira ma

E te kaumatua David, Tena koe

Ka mihi whānui ki a koutou katoa,

E nga hau e wha

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Greetings to everyone gathered here today

It is a great honor to be opening an exhibition at MOTAT on behalf of Auckland Council. I know the Mayor Phil Goff very much wanted to be here and Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of the Planning Committee.  As you’ll discover in the exhibition we can thank the bicycle for the emancipation of women and opening the way for women to vote and enter politics. So I am very happy be representing my political colleagues this evening including Councillor Wayne Walker who just snuck in.

It is wonderful to see a collaboration between MOTAT and Auckland transport to celebrate 200 years of the humble pahikara.   Thank you for everyone who has worked hard to bring this exhibition together.

There are fantastic quotes about the bicycle.  My mum painted on to the front door of our family home the HG Wells quote :  “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

Iris Murdoch sums it up for me as I rode here this evening “The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.”

There is much to discover in the exhibition that highlights the importance of the bicycle for transport, recreation, health, sport, winning the America’s cup – it is inspired to have the cyclors as part of the exhibition – and just lots of fun. Thank you for the sneak peak in advance of the formalities.

Many of my cycling heroes feature in the exhibition including Mr T who is transforming lives in Mangere.  I’ve long been fans of the Kennett brothers.  How people mocked John Key when he talked of riding from one end of NZ to the other and creating jobs on the way – it is really happening thanks to NZ cycle trails Nga Haerenga and Jonathan Kennett’s Tour Aotearoa.  Great to see the Kennett  brothers recognised for their ground breaking work going back to the 80’s.

I love the kiwi ingenuity, creativity and innovation on display in the exhibition that seems a perfect fit with mucking around with bikes.   There is the telling of familiar stories  and new cycling stories emerging as young people embrace cycling again. After a very tense time of “bikelash” I  found it really refreshing to view on line the other day the short film Auckland Cycling by Western Springs College students Isaac Keating and Finley Parker-James.  They have informatively uncovered some of the issues that Auckland faces integrating cycling into the city landscape.

This beautiful early summer weather is bringing out people in unprecedented numbers on their bikes.  Kathryn King, AT’s walking and cycling manager just told me that the latest stats show a 19% increase on November last year.  MOTAT is perfectly positioned to attract visitors on the NW cycleway – an off road path to the front door perfect for cycling with children.  There is also a poignancy for me in opening this exhibition.   Those who chose to ride are going lightly on the planet, contributing to better health outcomes, less congestion, less pollution but at the same time are incredibly vulnerable on our vehicle prioritised roads.

Just up the road from here a protest about poor design – which we can all agree on – but has turned into an occupation demanding an end the entire cycleway programme!

Now more than ever we need to double down on our efforts  to build a network of safe cycleways.  I want to acknowledge those who are leading the way  – with Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter who have made active transport and safety a priority – and those working at the coalface to make Auckland a great cycling city building on the last 200 years of cycling history to shape a low carbon, sustainable city for the future. A city that is built for people to ride bikes is a much safer city for everyone.

OK that is enough of me going off piste with my speech. Ko whea te haere a ko ake nei? (as I read at the entrance of the exhibition full of te reo signage)

Time to change gear to bring it back to what we are here to celebrate what is sure to be a a very popular exhibition this summer.

I would like to declare Changing Gear celebrating cycling Aotearoa  officially open!

Kia ora

 

 

Chair’s monthly report November 2017

Report covering the period 9 October until 7 November 2017.  (Attached to the November business meeting agenda)

Highlights

 Good Citizens’ Awards

Every two years the Waitematā Local Board hosts the Good Citizen Awards first initiated in 2013 by Shale Chambers with great support from former member Tricia Reade.

The awards are the Board’s way of recognising community leaders and groups for going above and beyond for the benefit of the community and the environment. At our third Good Citizens’ Awards ceremony held last month we celebrated the huge contribution of volunteers and heard the amazing stories behind each of the nominations. We’re very privileged to have such fantastic individuals and groups out there doing good.

Awards were made in four categories – Children and Young People, Individual, Community Group, Special Award for Long Service to the Community – to a diverse range of recipients from across Waitematā. (Attachment One: Good Citizen Awards citations and photos for all the recipients)

10-year budget – One Local Initiative presentation

For the first time Local Boards are focusing on one priority advocacy project (referred to as an OLI – One Local Initiative) for inclusion in the 10 year budget that goes out for consultation in February 2017.  On 2 November all local boards were given 15 minutes to present their OLI to the Finance and Performance Committee. I was joined by Deputy Chair Shale Chambers, members Adriana Christie and Richard Northey presenting on 254 Ponsonby Road known as “Ponsonby Park”  (Attachment Two: presentation)

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei marae visit

On 26 October Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei marae hosted the Waitemata Local Board. It was a great opportunity to strengthen our partnership and to hear about some of their aspirations and projects, and vice versa. Ngati Whatua showed us around the marae, and introduced us to some of their projects including the nursery and worm farm.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei  were led by Rangmarie Hunua, Chief Executive of Whai Maia.

 Asia–Pacific Cycle Congress 17 – 20 October in Christchurch

I was fortunate to attend the Congress as a presenter and judge of the Cycle Friendly Awards presented at the Congress dinner.  The Congress brought together excellent international speakers including the Dutch Cycling Embassy and local presenters. Attendees covered elected representatives, practitioners, researchers and advocates.

A key takeaway for me from the Congress is the importance of planning the places and streets we want that work for everyone rather than focusing on “cycling” for “cyclists”. The planning has to start with addressing the car and parking (“what really determines how cities look and move is their parking rules”).  A smart city is one that focuses on walkability and mobility to tackle challenging environmental and health issues.  As Steve Hoyts McBeth from Portland said there is “nothing more unsafe than a sedentary kid”

The presentation I gave with Christchurch Councillor Phil Clearwater  (Attachment Three: From the fringe to mainstream: the politics of gaining community support and delivering successful cycling infrastructure for the future) was part of a community engagement session where lessons were shared from the Island Bay Cycleway project in Wellington about the importance of bringing the community along on cycle projects that they can end up feeling proud about.

Congratulations to Te Ara Mua: Future Streets for winning the Supreme Award at the Cycle Friendly Awards organised by Cycle Action Network and NZTA (photo of Mangere-Otahuhu Chair, Lydia Sosene, Kathryn King Auckland Transport, members of the Future Streets team and judges Richard Leggat and Peter King).

My flights and one night’s accommodation were paid for by NZTA. Registration and two night’s accommodation were funded from the Board’s professional development budget.

Dockless bike share arrives in Auckland

Interestingly just after the Congress a dockless bike share scheme started in Auckland with the arrival of 100 Onzo bikes. The company did not seek permission from Council or Auckland Transport before launching.

At the Congress we heard about the phenomenal growth of dockless bikes worldwide. Philip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, highlighted the benefits of getting more people riding but said we need to be aware that dockless bike companies are “not interested in transport just data.”

In Auckland concerns have been raised regarding the use of public facilities for parking the bikes and the potential for vandalism and dumping.

AT has since advised that NZTA has drafted a Code of Practice based on best practice from overseas cities, with the intention that it be adopted and modified by councils nationally to ensure that any bike share schemes that come to New Zealand, have bikes that remain maintained and do not obstruct the public realm.

AT is in the process now of working with Auckland Council’s Compliance team and Auckland Transport’s legal team to ensure the Code of Practice aligns with Auckland Council’s bylaws.

 Project updates

 Teed Street upgrade

The final work has been completed on Teed St with the installation of planting and street furniture. (Attachment Four: Newmarket Business Association media release).

 I have been following up on potential Board support for promoting the completed upgrade to bring shoppers back to the area to support the businesses who have struggled through the construction period.

 Ponsonby Road pedestrian improvements project

 Works is now complete on Brown Street (photo right) and continuing on Pollen Street.

Night work was planned for 14-17 November to install line markings and the pedestrian refuges at Norfolk St and Angelsea St intersections that have been out of action for too long raising safety concerns.

West Lynn walking and cycling improvements project

The West Lynn project featured in a NZ Herald story on 11 November: Auckland’s Grey Lynn sidelined by cycleway project

“Everyone agrees the fault lies with AT and a ‘tick the box’ consultation process that left the mega transport body and businesses on a different page when a genuine partnership was needed”.

I have made the following comment on Facebook:  I agree with the Grey Lynn Business Association & retailers that there are issues with this project that need to be sorted out by AT. The sloping footpath and drainage needs to be fixed. I also don’t think the bus stop outside Nature baby is in the right place. The consultation process was undermined when AT went out for feedback during the election last year (the Waitemata Local Board strongly opposed this). AT has done a poor job communicating the need for the project and the final plans.

What I do support is the need for improvements to safety and accessibility for everyone. The project addresses years of complaints and issues that have been raised by locals. For example the parking outside Harvest has changed to allow for a pedestrian build out at the Warnock Street intersection (this narrows the distance to cross). There is a new zebra crossing in the village. The design will reduce speeds. The construction has been a difficult time and businesses are receiving support to make loss of income claims. The aim is to create a more pleasant and safe walking environment that is good for business that will bring benefits to West Lynn.

Four bus stops have been replaced by two new bus stops opening up new parking to serve all the businesses (three new parks across the road from Harvest, 10 new ones outside Oranga Tamariki, and more outside Cherry & White). With further changes coming to the parking restrictions there will end up being more short term parking.

Also to note that the project isn’t finished yet. It is work in progress. More changes might need to be made to the design if the improvements don’t work as intended, but it is too early to judge. In addition, there are further upgrades coming such as a new roundabout at the Peel Street intersection. Locals have been asked for this for many years.

[Note: since providing this update I have done a site visit with Auckland Transport to identify issues and confirm remedial action. Auckland Transport is now completing reviewing the design. Simon Wilson has written an excellent article about the issues for the Spinoff  The fiasco in West Lynn: how did Auckland Transport get a shopping village makeover so wrong?]

Resignation from Board triggers by-election

Mark Davey resigned from the Local Board on 16 October due to his escalating business interests. Mark has told board members he that he looks forward to seeing the continued good work the Waitemata Local Board does in the community.

Nominations will open on Friday 24 November 2017 and close at noon on Friday 22 December 2017. Voting packs will be delivered from Friday 26 January 2018 and voting will close at noon on Saturday 17 February 2018.

Meetings and workshops: 9 October until 7 November

  • Weekly Chair’s meeting every Monday morning
  • Chair’s forum on 9 October
  • Ponsonby Business Association monthly meeting on 10 October
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 10, 24, 31 October and 7 November
  • Meeting with the Ponsonby Park group and board members on 11 October
  • Franklin Road Community Liaison meeting on 12 October
  • Chair’s recommendations run through
  • Meeting with officers on 12 October to discuss Grey Lynn Park multi-purpose facility
  • Catch up with Michelle Prior, Director within the Department of Transport in Western Australia prior to Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress
  • Meeting with Andrew Bell, Auckland Transport to discuss membership of TRANIZ and road safety issues
  • Meeting to discuss the Board’s One Local Initiative to be presented to Governing Body for inclusion in the 10 year budget (Attachment Two)
  • Local Boards sub-regional workshop on 16 October
  • Attended the Asia-Pacific Cycle Conference in Christchurch 17- 20 October and gave a presentation with Cr Phil Clearwater, Christchurch City Council (Attachment Three)
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 17 October was chaired by Deputy Chair Shale Chambers in my absence at the Asia-Pacific Cycle Conference
  • Local board briefing on 24 October – budget and policy issues in the lead up to the 10 year budget
  • Site visit with Claire Walker, Walker Landscape at Te Hā O Hine Place to discuss interpretation signage
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei marae visit for board members and Local Board team on 26 October
  • Meeting with Karen Soich to discuss resident’s parking issues
  • Meeting with representatives of Richmond Rovers to discuss next steps to progress new clubrooms in Grey Lynn Park
  • Site visit with Cr Mike Lee to discuss Newmarket Station Square access way from Broadway
  • Meeting with owner of Gypsy Tearoom to discuss West Lynn improvements project construction
  • Meeting with Chair, Grey Lynn Business Association
  • Feedback session on 27 October on the progress of the City Centre Public Amenities Project after the research phase which reviewed the public amenity provision in the City Centre
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM on 29 October
  • Ponsonby Park governing body presentation run through with community-led steering group
  • Rates briefing for Local board members
  • Workshop for local board chairs and nominees to discuss their presentation to the Finance and Performance Committee on the 2 November.
  • Presentation to board members of the K’rd business plan and yearly review
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss Levels of service & safety for pedestrians in the city centre
  • Ponsonby Business Association AGM on 30 October
  • Finance and Performance Committee Workshop LTP 2018-2028 on 2 November Civic Spaces theme – Advocacy: one local initiative discussion with the Finance and Performance Committee (Attachment C)
  • Communications & Engagement Elected Member Reference Group on 3 November
  • Western Bays Community Group AGM on 6 November
  • Auckland City Centre Residents Group AGM on 6 November
  • Grey Lynn Community Centre AGM on 7 November

Events and functions:  9 October until 7 November

  • Late Night Art on 10 October – Art Week event
  • Coxs Bay playground celebration on 12 October
  • Good Citizens’ Award ceremony on 12 October (Attachment A)
  • Diwali Festival Opening in Aotea Square on 14 October
  • From the Deck spring gathering of the Ada/Bassett/Swinton Community Group looking to restore Newmarket Stream with Gecko Trust
  • Attended the Cycle to the Future awards dinner on 19 October at the Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress as a guest judge (return airfares and one night accommodation provided by NZTA).
  • Citizenship Ceremony in the Town Hall on 24 October
  • Sustainable Business Network 15th birthday celebrations at Pocket Bar on 26 October
  • Service of consecration for Holy Trinity Cathedral on 28 October (photo right with Rod Oram and Jo Kelly-Moore, former Dean of Holy Trinity now Archdeacon of Canterbury)
  • Trash to Trade launch at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on 29 October
  • McConnell Property 20th Anniversary at the Cloud on
  • Opening night of Auckland Theatre Company’s Red Speedo on 2 November (at the invitation of ATC)
  • Auckland Street Choir performance and visit to Stuck in the Maze at Auckland Central Library on 4 November
  • 2017 Auckland Consular Corps flag raising at Auckland Town Hall on 3 November (photo below)
  • Glenfield Primary School assembly on 6 November: Brake Road Safety Charity poster competition winner (I attended as a judge)