Waitematā Local Board July 2019

Ngā mihi nui o te wa Matariki!

On Saturday 22 June I joined hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in darkness at the foot of Pukekaaroa Hill in Auckland Domain before Kiingi Tuheitia, accompanied by the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and dignitaries from iwi manaaki (host iwi) Waikato-Tainui, led a gentle walk to the hilltop.

It was a poignant occasion as Matariki Dawn Karakia opened 2019’s Matariki Festival. Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council, in partnership with Waikato-Tainui brought the festival to the Auckland region from 22 June until 14 July this year.

This report covers the highlights for the period 12 June until 9 July 2019. It is on the agenda for the local board business meeting held on 16 July.

Parnell Plan Launch

 Waitematā Local Board co-hosted with the Parnell Business Association the launch of The Parnell Plan; a 30-year plan for Auckland’s first suburb developed collaboratively by community representatives, local board members and Auckland Council staff, in partnership with mana whenua. It was a true community empowerment approach.

The plan details a key vision for the suburb and outlines a series of objectives, strategies and actions which work together to achieve the vision; that Parnell is a thriving, creative, and collaborative community that celebrates its unique natural, cultural and historic environment.

Five key action areas are defined and focus directly on achieving the plan’s vision and objectives. These are:

  • making Parnell Station a key gateway to Parnell and the Domain
  • realising the Waipapa Greenway through the old Parnell rail tunnel
  • reinforcing the core of Parnell town centre as the heart of Parnell
  • revitalising the St Georges Bay Road warehouse area
  • enhancing key east-west links and realising the Parnell Parks Link Greenway.

 Community Grants

 At our June local board meeting we allocated $13,492 from our final community grant round for the 18/19 financial year.  A community grant round is currently open until 2 August. 

Transport updates

New bus shelter on Parnell Road

Over 3 years ago Gloria Jenkins approached me about the need for a shelter at her bus stop on Parnell Road. Installation of the shelter was held up while AT consulted on new bus lanes and decided to move the existing bus stop.

On 28 June member Adriana Christie and I held an unofficial opening to celebrate the new bus shelter with Gloria cutting the ribbon. We were joined by Gloria’s neighbour and her son about to take the bus, and Gloria’s nephew Brian.

Pedestrian crossings

We support the programme Auckland Transport has underway to upgrade crossings to slow drivers down and make streets safer for pedestrians.

New crossing installed recently are on Khyber Pass  and at Western Springs as part of the shared path project.

Community Safety Fund

At our June business meeting we confirmed our support for the community safety projects listed in the Community Safety Fund document I attached to my Chair’s Report with the addition of Parnell Train Station underpass and requested Auckland Transport work with the local board to progress these projects using the Fund:

  • safety improvements at Newton Central School from the Safe Schools Tool Box
  • a new pedestrian crossing on West End Road / Fife Street by the bus stops next to the Westend Tennis Club
  • iii.   improvements to the pedestrian crossings on Lower Domain Drive at Lovers Lane and at Domain Drive
  • a new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Domain across Park Road
  • a new pedestrian crossing outside ACG Campus on Davis Crescent to Olympic Reserve
  • safety improvements to Hopetoun Street
  • vii.  Cook Street Project – Area 5 Shared Path Cycleway

Transporters on Great North Road

How car transporters off load on Great North Road is a long standing issue I have been following up with Auckland Transport.  Car deliveries have been taking place in non loading areas for decades. I’ve made it very clear to  Auckland Transport and the industry (at meeting in April and in follow up emails) that parking illegally to unload is no longer acceptable especially on Great North Road with changing land use and increasing numbers walking and cycling.

AT has investigated locations for new loading zones and is about to start consultation. It is frustrating how long AT is taking but in the meantime there are options for unloading legally and safely. I’ve asked the industry rep who I met at the meeting with AT in April to look at putting in place traffic management plans and to clearly communicate to the transporters what practices are acceptable. A new pedestrian crossing is also needed on Great North Road but AT doesn’t have any funds available and the local board community safety fund is oversubscribed.   I’ve also asked AT to confirm how the new loading zones are consistent with the proposed GNR cyclelanes but I am yet to receive a response.

Franklin Road upgrade opening

Franklin Road upgrade opening on 3 July was an opportunity to acknowledge the many people who have been involved in this $21m project over a long period of time. For decades it was put in the too hard basket until former Auckland Transport COO, Greg Edmonds found a way to make it happen with partners Auckland Council, Vector, Watercare and Chorus.

The results are stunning and include:

  • Underground service works and street lighting
  • New sewer lines and watermain pipes with new connections added to homes
  • Sewer separation
  • Undergrounding power lines
  • Stormwater upgrade
  • New roundabout at the Wellington St intersection
  • New cycleway (semi Copenhagen style) on both sides of the street
  • Footpaths were replaced.
  • The paths have fibre reinforced concrete to keep the trees from lifting them up again
  • New raised speed tables at every side street intersection to improve the walking experience and to slow vehicle speed •
  • Installation of more than 40 new catch pits to improve stormwater drainage
  • Construction of well-defined parking bays and improved tree pits
  • Upgraded street lighting with new catenary street lighting design using energy-efficient LED luminaries
  • Road rehabilitation and resurfacing

Attachment 3 : My speech at the opening of the Franklin Road upgrade.Attachment 4 Our Auckland: Rebuilding Franklin Road from the underground up

Parking Fund

Waitematā Local Board’s has a legacy Parking Fund that is available for parking improvements and is made up of the following:

AreaAmount
City$259,641
Freemans Bay$26,785
Grey Lynn / Westmere$27,842
Parnell$619,952
Ponsonby-Herne Bay$242,987

At our June Business meeting we voted to support utilising the Parnell portion of the Waitematā Local Board’s Parking Fund, in the order of $489,225 to deliver improvements in the Auckland Domain related to:

i)        installing temporary gates at the entrance and exit to the Titoki Street carpark and at the Carlton Gore entrance to manage commuter or long stay parking to ensure parking is available to Domain users; and

ii)       developing a new carpark to support the natural play area and provide safer pedestrian and cycling use of Kiosk Road.

In doing that we confirmed our support the removal of on-road parking from Kiosk Road and Football Drive following the parking improvements, consistent with the outcome of the Auckland Domain Masterplan and the Auckland Domain Accessibility Improvement Programme.

The Governing Body now has to make a decision to release the funds from the Parking Fund for the projects to go ahead.

Bike to football 

 Over the years I’ve often heard it said by grownups that kids will never bike to sport. But look what happened at the first bike to football on 15 June.  The team behind Pt Chev Bike to Football pilot scheme planned hot drinks and sausages for the first 30 people to arrive by bike; they expected maybe 20. 74 showed up at Seddon Fields and the numbers have increased every week. And this is without the safe cyclepath that was meant to have been delivered by now (the bike train rode on the footpath)

Parking on berms

Councils voted on a record 24 remits at the AGM on 7 July, held in Wellington as part of the 2019 LGNZ Conference.

Covering issues as varied as climate change, fireworks, tourist accommodation, building defects, campgrounds, alcohol, road safety and the beauty industry, remits are a further opportunity for councils to direct the advocacy work of LGNZ .

I attended the AGM as one of four designated delegates of Auckland Council and spoke in support of the seeking an amendment to clause 6.2 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 to prohibit parking on urban berms with out the need for signage.

“In urban areas the berm is part of the footpath.

An interpretation of the current rules requires signage to be able to enforce the prohibition of parking on the berm.

This is a compliance issue. Signage is expensive, impracticable and clutters up the footpath.

There are often good reasons to enforce the prohibition and to be able to act on a complaint.

Berm parking creates safety issues for all road users. It can damage the kerbs, trees and wreak the grass and it  can damage underground utilities creating costs for all ratepayers.

In Auckland berm parking is occurring where parking exists to avoid paying parking changes.

This is an urban issue but we seek support from all the membership for this sensible and common sense change to the Land Transport (Road User ) Rule.

Unfortunately the remit was lost creating even more media interest in “bermageddon”.  What is particularly frustrating about this issue is how AT has interpreted the current rules.  AT has legal advice that signage is needed to be able to enforce prohibited parking. However as Heidi O’Callahan has written for Greater Auckland:

Under the present law, in a typical Auckland street, a grass berm or verge that is retained by a kerb is simply an unpaved part of the footpath.

The rules around parking are in the Road User Rule. Rule 6.14 covers parking on the footpath – you cannot park on the footpath. Rule 6.2 covers parking on the road, and says you should park off the roadway if possible. In urban areas with kerbs, this applies to parking bays and marked carparks. Otherwise you park on the roadway. Rule 6.2 does not override Rule 6.14 and authorise a driver to take over an unpaved part of the footpath.

AT could apply Rule 6.14 to ticket cars parked off the roadway on any part of the footpath, paved or unpaved. This includes the verges and vehicle crossings

Walking Summit

I attended the two day Walking Summit organised by Living Streets Aotearoa and hosted by Auckland Transport on 20 -21 June.  I introduced the session I chaired on the theme Walking to School and Play by quoting Jeff Speck the author of Walkable Cities and a supporter of 8-80 cities

The healthiest, wealthiest, most sustainable and vibrant communities in cities around the world are unique in many ways. But there is one factor above all others that these communities have in common: they are, nearly without fail, highly walkable places.

In the session Alex Bonham presented on her Children’s play in the city research and Claire Dixon from Auckland Transport on Safe School Streets.

On the second day I stepped in for Cr Chris Darby, chair of Auckland Council’s Planning Committee to provide introductory comments about Why walking connections to public transport is important (Attachment 5)

  • Every public transport user is effectively a pedestrian at some point their journey
  • Public transport just one part of an overall end-to-end journey
  • If the walking component is not acceptable or accessible to the public, the whole journey becomes unattractive
  • Walking is a universal but fragile transport mode. An uncomfortable or hostile walking environment will deter anyone who is able to avoid it – deters people from using public transport
  • Public transport, like public space, is for everyone. Public transport is best when it is inclusive. A Universal Design approach to roads, streets and public spaces also ensures that nobody is excluded from access to public transport. Every part of the journey needs to be designed to be accessible to everyone.
  • Public transport and walking are complementary because of spatial efficiency
    • A 3m traffic lane can move about 1,000 cars per hour, or 9,000 pedestrians
    • A 3m light rail line can serve up to 25,000 people per hour, per direction

Living Streets Aotearoa is committed to ensuring over 50% of children and adolescents walk all or part of their journey to school by 2025.  Waitematā Local Board is looking to fund safety improvements around Newton Central School. Photo right with the walking school bus mascot

Karangahape Road enhancement project

The much-anticipated enhancements to Auckland’s iconic Karangahape Road are finally about to get underway.   I attended the dawn karakia led by mana whenua on 27 June (photo right).

Our Auckland: Enhancement of Karangahape Road to begin in July

Symonds St Cemetery

The Symonds St cemetery suffered from decades of neglect until Shale Chambers started championing a long-term enhancement programme first initiated by the Waitematā Local Board in 2012. The results are amazing – new paths, monument conservation, ecological restoration and community volunteer events in the cemetery. Along the way Symonds Street Cemetery Friends led by Patricia M Reade have been doing fabulous work to protect, preserve, enhance, restore and educate the public about the cemetery.

Attachment 7:  Our Auckland Symonds Street Cemetery enhancements showing good results

Sturdee Street Mural project

We are supporting the Auckland Council  process for requests Expressions of Interest (EOI) from qualified artists who wish to be considered for the commission of a new Sturdee Street Mural. EOI’s are now open, closing 1 August 2019.  For more information, contact: WaitemataLocalBoard@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Attachment 8: Stuff report Mural in downtown Auckland to be replaced for America’s Cup

Meetings and workshops: 12 June until 9 July

  • Planning Committee City Centre masterplan workshop on 12 June
  • Transport portfolio catch up on 12 June
  • Monthly catch up with city centre residents group representative on 12 June
  • Meeting with John Elliott, Ponsonby News to discuss Council’s use of glysophate (My July Ponsonby News update Attachment 7)
  • Meeting on 13 June with Cr Lee to discuss proposed priority projects to be funded from the Community Safety Fund
  • Meeting with Auckland Fringe Festival Trust on 14 June
  • Weekly chairs catch up held on 17, 24 June and 1 July
  • Attended the meeting on 17 June with the Mayor and Fuller’s CEO to discuss issues with the operation of the Waiheke ferry
  • Local Board members cluster workshop on 17 June
  • Meeting regarding the Erebus National Memorial project with representatives from the Ministry for Culture on 18 June
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 18 June
  • 25th Central Government and Local Government Forum on 19 June at Premier House, Wellington (photo right)
  • Attended the Walking Summit on 20 and 21 June at Auckland Transport
  • Engagement strategy interview with Local board engagement adviser on 24 June
  • Attended Marine Protection public meeting on 24 June organised by Hon Nikki Kaye on Waiheke
  • Waitematā Local Board workshops on 25 June and 2 July
  • Auckland City Centre Advisory Board workshop and meeting on 26 June
  • Meeting with new trustees of the Grey Lynn Park Festival Trust on 27 June
  • City centre network meeting at Ellen Melville Centre on 27 June
  • LGNZ  AGM briefing on 28 June
  • Ponsonby Business Association committee monthly meeting on 3 July
  • Communications meeting on 3 July
  • Meeting with Denise Cosgrove, new CEO of Presbyterian Support
  • City Rail Link Community Liaison Meeting on 3 July
  • Auckland Zoo briefing and guided tour redevelopment project on 5 July
  • Taskforce on alcohol and community safety in the central city meeting on 5 July
  • LGNZ National Council meeting on 7 July
  • Attended LGNZ AGM as an Auckland Council delegate on 7 July (photo right)
  • LGNZ annual conference in Wellington 7-9 July ( I will report fully on the conference in my August Chair’s report)

Events and functions:  12 June until 9 July

  • Auckland Conversations: Making Auckland an Age Friendly City on 13 June
  • Opening night of A Fine Balance at Q Theatre on 15 June at the invitation of Auckland Theatre Company
  • Friends of Symonds St Cemetery AGM on 18 June
  • World Refugee Day celebration at the Auckland Art Gallery  on 20 June.
  • Opening night of War Horse at the Civic on 21 June at the invitation of Auckland Live
  • Matariki Dawn Karakia at Auckland Domain Pukekawa on 22 June
  • School Strike for Climate organisers presentation for The Fabian Society monthly meeting at the Auckland University Business School on 25 June (photo right with Rachel Brown and Denise Bijoux with the organisers)
  • Launch of the Parnell Plan at Jubilee Buildings on 26 June
  • Pre-construction karakia for the Karangahape Road Enhancements project on 27 June
  • Red hat dinner for city centre residents on 27 June
  • World Press photography exhibition opening function on 28 June
  • We’re going on a Bear Hunt at the Pumphouse Theatre at the invitation of Tim Bray Productions on 29 June
  • Hāngi at Takutai Square for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
  • Maori Film Festival Screening of Te Rua at Ellen Melville Centre for the Matariki Festival on 30 June
  • Marilyn Waring book launch hosted by Zonta on 1 July
  • Eat Drink Love Ponsonby launch on 2 July
  • Spoke at the opening of the Franklin Road upgrade project on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board on 3 July
  • Abley new office opening on 3 July
  • Matariki Function for the Downtown Development project team at the Cloud on 3 July
  • Opening of Te Auaunga Project on 6 July (photo right)
  • Aotea Great Barrier Island protest against marine dumping in Aotea Square on 6 July
  • Te Hono a collaboration between Inside Out Productions and story-tellers Rewi Spraggon (Te Kawerau a Maki), Taiaha Hawke (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) and Pita Turei (Ngāti Paoa) held at the Concert Chamber as part of the Matariki Festival
  • Touch compass Inmotion Matariki parade on 6 July
  • LGNZ conference opening reception on 7 July and conference dinner on 8 July