Waitematā Local Board 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

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:

  • note its concerns about the ecological and climate crisis
  • support any Auckland Council declaration of an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
  • urge the Governing Body to declare an ecological and climate emergency for the Auckland region
  • note that the Governing Body will shortly be consulting on Auckland’s Climate Action Plan
  • 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.

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,

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.  ( 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 (Our AucklandDomain 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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