Shale Chambers, Chair, Waitemata Local Board

While the 18 Paget Street demolition of an 1880s heritage home may be out of the media spotlight, within the bowels of Council much has been afoot.  The Internal Review of the resource consent clearly said ‘a different conclusion could have been reached which would have equally been defensible’.   That’s Council speak for ‘we fouled up’.  The system of ingrained ‘secrecy’ that helped the developer obtain the demolition away from ‘public eyes’ let heritage and our community down.  In a win for more ‘public eyes’ the Review gave the Waitemata Local Board a new role and we will be briefed now on any proposed demolition in Residential 1 and 2 zones and our views will be included in the Planner’s Report.  The more eyes overseeing the management of the resource consent department and making them accountable for elevating the importance of assessment of relevant character heritage in planning decisions the better!

A newly formed local heritage group, the Western Bays Community Group that had its inaugural meeting in late February will be a welcome additional set of eyes to help preserve our heritage.  I am sure they would welcome any new members into their fold.   Local Ponsonby resident and long-time heritage campaigner Gerry Hill is a good contact on 3765527.

After what must seem like an eternity our Waitemata Local Board Agreement, with its 10-Year Plan budget proposals is out …in Draft of course as part of Council’s overall first draft 10-Year Plan awaiting your comments.

Our initiatives focus on upgrading our parks and facilities for our growing inner-city population; identifying, protecting and promoting our heritage; making our city centre a more accessible child and family friendly place to be; and protecting and enhancing our natural environments with a focus on clean water, carbon emission reduction and better management of waste.

On the transport front we are advocating for the delivery of initiatives by Auckland Transport that improve pedestrian and cyclist safety through slowing traffic, improving intersections, increasing cycle infrastructure and developing masterplans for two of our local roads.

We are advocating to ensure good local governance of our assets – like our parks, the waterfront and ports, swimming pools and streets.  Policies must be developed that improve connectivity of decision-making responsibility and budgets between local boards, the governing body and council controlled organisations.

Pt Erin poolsTo put our Plan in everyday ‘doing’ language, below are some of our 2012/3 and beyond local board priorities:

  • Provide Western Park lighting
  • Provide drinking fountains in parks
  • Identify and signpost historical buildings and sites
  • Develop and support events that are locally specific and environmentally responsive
  • Restore Symonds Street Cemetery through enhanced maintenance
  • Develop the Waitemata coastal walkway from Parnell to Meola reef
  • Enhance Pt Erin Pool
  • Improve  signage of public spaces
  • Upgrade Myers Park
  • Support an urban food economy through fruit trees in parks
  • Upgrade Grey Lynn Park Athletics Clubroom
  • Provide two all-weather turf fields at Seddon Fields
  • Develop a localised plan to cut carbon emissions
  • Explore the development of a community-led waste minimisation and resource      recovery programme and centre
  • Renew the Pioneer Womens Hall
  • Improve cycle infrastructure through an increase in connected, dedicated cycleways
  • Conduct a need assessment of community facilities in the city centre and provide  recommended facilities
  • Advocate with Auckland transport to develop masterplans for Ponsonby and Richmond Roads; upgrade Franklin Road; install advance cycle stop boxes with feeder lanes and slow traffic on residential streets and local shopping centres
  • Advocate  with Auckland Council Investments to ensure the Ports stay in full public ownership and follow a socially responsible investment.
  • Advocate to Watercare to develop a medium and long term approach to resolve the issue of non-separated storm water and waste water in Cox’s Bay
  • Advocate to the Governing Body to develop an approach and related budget for local boards to support economic development and ensure that a strong position on Heritage is reflected in the Unitary Plan.

Please tell us what you think.  The draft Long Term Plan and Local Board Agreement and a submission form can be accessed on www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/longtermplan or in libraries or the local board office. We would love to see your submission and remember it has to be in by 23 March 2012.   You have only a few days left.

The Mayor’s Alternative Transport Funding discussion document – Getting Auckland Moving is also receiving submissions.  Graeme Easte gives a good summary on: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10783927

Another successful Pacifica event was held a few weekends ago in Western Springs opened by champion kapa haka students from Western  Springs College and the Mayor.    It was bigger than ever and a real tribute to those volunteers who have put the festival together for 20 years.

Contact me: shale.chambers@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Edited from Ponsonby News article in the March 2012 edition

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