City Vision’s Albert-Eden Local Board members Liv Roe, Julia Maskill, Margi Watson and Christina Robertson report back on a full 2023.

The year has been full of highlights but also some significant challenges. The Anniversary Weekend floods resulted in Albert-Eden having the largest number of homes go underwater, by Local Board area. We know it was traumatic and many had to swim out to save their lives – and many have not yet returned home as repairs and potential buyouts are still being worked through. In addition, further issues occurred during Cyclone Gabrielle and ongoing heavy rain events throughout the year. Several tracks including the precious Te Auaunga-Oakley Creek walkway are still closed due to unstable land, slips and wash outs. As a result of the flooding, along with support from Councillor Julie Fairey and Council staff, we worked to deliver community information sessions throughout the year in the hardest hit areas.

There have also been challenges around budget cuts and with many buildings as they age and are starting to fail.

Some of 2023’s highlights include:

Roles. Margi was been re-elected as the chair of the Albert-Eden Local Board up until April 2024 and appointed onto the Kerr Taylor Foundation with Liv taking up liaison roles with Kingsland’s Business Assn, CRL and the CAB, Julia with Eden Park, Local Government NZ and Watercare’s Meola Group and Christina with the Mt Albert Grammar School Community Pool Trust, Sandringham Business Assn and the Uptown Business Assn. We also hold other roles and take a wide, inclusive approach to our work.

Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre. After a 10-year City Vision-led journey, we opened the centre at 990 Great North Rd, Pt Chevalier. Open three days a week, there is a focus on recycling, education and community engagement.

Community events. 2023 saw us funding our local board’s signature event even in the face of Council’s budget pressures. The Albert-Eden Schools Cultural Festival hosts over 1,000 local students from Cornwall Park to Pt Chevalier School to take the stage and celebrate their culture. In addition, we were able to support other events such as Big Gay Out, the Sandringham Spring Festival, Matariki, Moon Festival, Dragon Festival, the inaugural Gribblehirst Summer Festival, Sustainable Garden Tours and arts events in the community.

Community funding. We were able to retain over $800,000 in funding for community groups who provide services that make Albert-Eden special and a great place to live. We also continued the Albert-Eden Neighbourhood Arts programme  and recently funded Kaumātua by Sara Orme.

Pt Chevalier Library. The 1989 building is closed as it leaks and needs major work. We funded a feasibility study to consider options for a new, integrated library and community centre hub so it is both fit-for-purpose and meets the predicted population growth in the area. We hope to have a path to the future facility agreed by mid-2024. In the meantime, a temporary pop-up library space is filling the gap. 

Open spaces. We are working with developers on options for open space in the new Wairaka (Carrington) development along with Kainga Ora in their larger developments that border parks in Kingsland and Ōwairaka. We opened the much-anticipated basketball court at Coyle Park. We also finalised a solution for stray golf balls being hit onto SH16 from Chamberlain Park. The permanent solution for the golf course will be delivered over 2 years and also ensure the western community park, stream restoration and cycleway connections can be delivered as funding allows.  

Safer streets and transport. We have agreed to a $1.7m package using Auckland Transport funding to deliver bicycle shelters, a pedestrian crossing outside a school, a signalised crossing across Great North Rd by Western Springs Lake to ensure safer access for visitors to the park and community halls and improvements around the Greenwoods Corner intersection. We repeated our support for the Pt Chevalier to Westmere project to rebuild the sinking road, new stormwater pipes, undergrounding of the power and safer walking and cycling. We are pleased to see construction has now commenced but do note that the disruption will be significant in the early stages. We also supported AT’s Katoa Ka Ora project to decrease speeds in our areas (and sadly note that the Albert-Eden rate of deaths and serious Injuries on our roads has increased faster than in any other local board area).

Environment and the planet. We continue to fund projects including Urban Ark–Manawa Taiao who work in most of our suburbs on backyard pest control initiatives with residents along with restoration groups in open spaces across Te Auaunga-Oakley Creek, Waitītiko-Meola Creek and other parks. Our Climate Activator continues to work with the community to deliver our Climate Action Plan. Next year we are consulting on whether we should introduce rubbish bin-free parks as in regional parks to deliver better environmental outcomes and to minimise waste.

Next year we will focus on securing community representation when local boards may change in size and number. This will significantly impact on Albert-Eden and we encourage people to have their say in 2024.

 We wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer. Please connect with us in 2024.