Councillor Glenda Fryer has been a real crusader on heritage issues in Auckland over many years. Here is a speech she gave recently at a candidate forum about heritage in the new Supercity:
City Vision is part of a community based political group that has a proud track record of protecting heritage, both natural and built heritage. We are a coalition of Labour, Green and community independents and have had Councillors on Auckland City Council since 1998. We work with Labour Councillors from Tamaki-Maungakeikei. I have been an Auckland City Councillor for nine years and was Chair of the Planning and Regulatory Committee 2004-7 that oversaw significant heritage plan changes. Three priorities are: funding upkeep of heritage buildings, ecological heritage protected in District Plans with removal of tree protections through recent RMA ammendments, and volcanic cone protection and management.
What’s our record?
We have focussed on residential character, village centre character and heritage, ecological heritage with Plan Change 88, and the heritage protection and management of volcanic cones.
Firstly in terms of residential housing
It is our residential heritage that is familiar to most Aucklanders. City Vision promoted Plan Change 163 which sought mainly to protect from demolition Residential one and two character houses…in the main villas in Parnell, Mt Eden, and Ponsonby, and bungalows on large sections with mature trees such as in Epsom, Herne Bay, Remuera and built before 1940.
I believe that the present Citizens and Ratepayers led Council has sold us short at the Environment Court on PC 163.
Village Centre Character and Heritage Buildings
Everyone acknowledges Auckland has lost many of its wonderful heritage buildings, and the most secure way to protect any remaining is to schedule them in the District Plan. In the last term of Council we initiated Plan changes which protected dozens of character and heritage buildings all over the city of Auckland. I Chaired Plan changes which scheduled dozens of CBD buildings and character overlays of shopping centres like Kingsland, Grey Lynn, West Lynn, Eden Valley, and Ellerslie.
What will City Vision and Labour do under the supercity
The protection of any heritage is about weighing up the property rights of individual owners with the community and public good of protecting heritage.
City Vision and Labour views are that while we will do all we can to work with property owners Council must have the right and ability to retain heritage buildings through a process of scheduling if it is in the public good.
Citizens and Ratepayers are of the view that buildings should only be scheduled if the property owners request it.
Of course the key issue then is to assist the building owner to upkeep their scheduled buildings. Heritage buildings are more expensive to refurbish. At the present time Auckland City Council has a $50,000 fund to assist scheduled building owners to upkeep their buildings. City Vision and Labour has moved over a dozen times during annual plans to substantially increase that fund to make us a real ‘international world class city’ but Citizens and Ratepayers has only funded a ‘third world city’ amount. Christchurch City Council has a million dollar fund for some years and that has been instrumental in strengthening important buildings in privately owned hands like churches.
There is a range of innovative ways to protect and modernise our heritage and City Vision and Labour Councillors will look at all the options. Leaving it all to private trusts and philanthropists may only assist Heritage in more wealthy areas to be preserved while the poorer parts of the city are left to fend for themselves or loose their heritage.
Ecological heritage. As of Jan 1 2011 tree protections are gone as a result of recent ammendments to the RMA by the National Government. The Banks and Citizens and Ratepayers Council has refused to initiate a Plan Change to protect any trees not already scheduled. I will undertake to fast forward a Plan change for tree protection of mature trees that have community, ecological or heritage significance.
Lastly volanic heritage. Cone need to receive protection from development that destroys the visual amenity of the cone. I chaired Plan Change 92 to give this protection on some cones like Mt St John, Mt Hobson Maungawhau and Owairaka. More cones need this added protection. In addition heritage management of cones is needed if the archeological heritage is not to be destroyed by cattle, mountian bikes, buses or weeds.
City Vision and Labour are committed to protecting and restoring Auckland’s heritage.