Feedback on Local Board projects: Brickbats and bouquets

Ponsonby News update November 2018

As Chair of the local board I welcome feedback on our projects and performance whether good or bad.  Of course it is always lovely when a constituent gets in touch with positive comments.  Recently I received a message about the new stairs that connect Hopetoun Street with Western Park. The constituent wrote  “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.”

The stairs project includes new handrails to improve accessibility and re-decking the viewing platform on Hopetoun Street.  It shows the value of having a masterplan for our parks so that any development is undertaken holistically and priorities identified for funding.

Since the Western Park Tuna Mau Development Plan was adopted by the Waitematā Local Board in August 2015 footpaths have been upgraded, new lighting and fitness equipment installed, and a new playground opened with a 25m tunnel slide one of the longest in Auckland.   With the completion of the Hopetoun Street steps nearly all the projects identified in the plan have now been realised. The improvements are part of the long-term vision in the Plan and Waitematā Local Board’s drive to provide quality parks and open spaces for our community.

I also welcome the feedback I receive either directly or indirectly via Ponsonby News. Last month Mort was moved to write a letter to the editor about the derelict Western Suburbs Amateur Harriers club building. He’d like to see it made available as a community asset and shared space for activities like a bike clinic and a bike riding school.  The local board investigated options for the building but unfortunately it is in such poor condition it would be a very expensive renovation.  Instead the board is progressing with a new building to house changing rooms and toilets. The facilities will be available to all codes including the Richmond Rovers Rugby League club who have been located in Grey Lynn park since 1913.  The club are in the process of securing a new lease and renovating their building. There is lots of potential for wider community use.

Investigation on the best location and design is currently underway for the new building. The secured budget for the changing rooms includes demolition of the athletic clubrooms. The preferred site and concept will be confirmed during November with the aim to start construction by the end of 2019.

A Ponsonby parent got in touch to let me know the new playground in Vermont Reserve is an “extreme hit”.  Hopefully the new playground in Sackville reserve will also prove popular with locals who can take advantage of picnic area with a BBQ and improved access.  When I checked out the playground recently I bumped into Grey Lynn local Richard who was there with his son Alfie enjoying the new equipment.