On January 27th the world changed for many Aucklanders, and some are still living in uncertainty.  Climate change in our city has become more obvious than ever; homes were inundated around stream catchments while the land slid on hillsides and around the coast.  Some of the worst flooding in the northwest quarter of the isthmus was around the streams of Newmarket, Ōpoutūkeha/Coxs Creek, Edgar’s Creek, and Waitītiko/Meola, as well as around Vermont Reserve, and the Strand/Beach Road area.

City Vision elected members across Waitematā, Albert-Eden and Puketāpapa have been working with the community, council, central government and the Auckland Council Recovery Office, contributing to a number of initiatives such as:

  • Local community information sessions for specific neighbourhoods, including Grey Lynn in March, Balmoral/Sandringham in April, Epsom and Mt Eden in June
  • A dedicated section of the Our Auckland website for Recovery matters, as an online one-stop shop
  • A regional e-newsletter from the Recovery Office to keep people up to date
  • An official online information session for impacted properties, attended by over 700 people
  • Emergency preparedness training sessions offered for key community leaders
  • Community connectors and navigators being trialled in low-income areas
  • Increased maintenance of catch-pits and clearing of drains
  • Council’s Flood Viewer for easier to access info on individual properties and streets (Google search for “Auckland Flood Viewer”)

We’ve also participated in sharing information through social media, creating info sheets, and speaking at online and in person sessions hosted by others.  We have picked up dozens of individual cases to assist people where they have got stuck with council processes.  Hundreds of placarded properties have been resolved however there are still many to go, and the property categorisation process will take some time yet.

Council’s “Making Space for Water” proposal will see the creation of blue-green networks to reduce flooding to homes in the future, building on projects many of us have already been involved in like Freeland Reserve in Roskill South and the Roy Clements Treeway in Mt Albert.  Through park upgrades and stormwater improvements like these we can increase the amount of water that can be soaked up in times of downpour creating places for water to flow to and collect safely, and at the same time improve the water quality of our streams and harbours.

The autumn and winter rains fell on already saturated ground, causing delays in repairing council’s parks, but tracks are starting to re-open as they can be safely fixed.  Please do take care, as council’s work has been focused on safety for homes and businesses, and restoring vital transport links, so there is still a lot to address.  Many trees were lost, and this year’s planting season impacted too; the full catch-up and clean-up of parks and streets will likely take until next year at least.

This journey is going to be long and we have only just started.  It is part of the broader climate action we need to take as communities and as a city; adapting as we continue to mitigate.

Please do get in touch with your local City Vision reps for any assistance, or further information.  You can message us on most social media platforms (search “City Vision NZ”), email us [email protected] or you can text Alex Bonham for Waitematā on 021 643 575, or me (Julie Fairey) for Albert-Eden- Puketāpapa on 0279113030.

First published in the October 2023 Ponsonby News