Speech by Shale Chambers for launch of community engagement on Waitemata Local Board Plan

Kia koutou katoa Nau mai Haere mai Ki tenei whare I tenei rangi Tena koutou Tena koutou Tena koutou Mauriora

Welcome to the opening of the Local Waitemata Board offices and the launch of our community engagement on the Waitemata Local Board Plan.  I’m Shale Chambers, Chair of the Local Board.

Thank you for taking the time to help us celebrate the opening of our offices here in the centre of our diverse community.  The Board offices symbolize the joint governance of the super-city by the Governing Body and Local Board in the Waitemata Local Board area and are part of the formal acknowledgement of the role played by the Local Boards in both governing the city at the local level and connecting local communities to the Auckland Council.

Whilst these are our new offices, our Local Board formal monthly meeting each is held on a rotating schedule, here in the City Centre, in Parnell and Grey Lynn.

My fellow Local Board members will be introduced to you at the conclusion of this introduction.

Ours is a diverse community. Aucklanders in greater numbers than any other area in greater Auckland come to live, work, play and learn in the Waitemata Local Board area.

We span the city centre fringe historic residential communities of Parnell, Newmarket, Grafton, Newton, Eden Tce, Freemans Bay, St Marys Bay, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Grey Lynn and Westmere.  We encompass the urban renewal communities in the City Centre. The original Auckland City. We’re now Waitemata.

We traverse the strong and vitally important business communities of the new International City Centre of the CBD and Newmarket, and the diverse and eclectic business communities of Parnell, Ponsonby, Newton, K Rd, Grey Lynn and Eden Tce, all of whom play a critical role in greater Auckland’s economic success.

We acknowledge within our midst are the important Learning Quarter, and Arts facilities and institutions, both visual and performing, like the War Memorial Museum, MOTAT and Art Gallery, New Zealand’s busiest port and extensive waterfront land.  They are all an integral part of the economic and intellectual life of the inner city and the Board acknowledges and celebrates this.

Local Boards now have allocated responsibility for decision making on local matters, specifically for local parks, events, arts and recreational services and facilities, community facilities, libraries, and environmental management.

In addition local Boards have local place making and shaping responsibilities, which necessitate active involvement in wider transport and heritage, urban design and planning issues affecting the local level.

The vision and plans for our communities at the local level are to be incorporated into the Local Board Plan; a 3 year plus plan for our communities. If you wish to see your vision and plans for your organization or community in the Auckland Council Long Term Plan and then Annual Plans then we as a Local Board need to share your vision and incorporate your ideas into our 3 year Local Board Plan. It won’t make the cut in any Auckland Council overall Plan otherwise.

Waitemata’s natural heritage…our streams, beaches, parks, trees…. is highly valued by the Board and we want to ensure that our environment is enhanced by the actions and activities of Council. Clean water, clean air and reigning in waste volumes to landfill through reducing, reusing and recycling are part of our ethos.

We treasure the heritage, the public spaces and the arts and culture in Waitemata. We want to do all we can to protect the heritage in the spatial and district plans and keep public space open free for the public.  We are fully supportive of the galleries, theatres and studios that support our thriving artistic communities.

All the big skyscrapers are here, and the challenge of good urban design and sustainability of commercial and residential buildings are integral to our Board’s vision.  Green rated buildings are firmly on the agenda, as is facilitating Council processes to encourage developers to invest in a more sustainable livable city.

Waitemata is the transport hub of Auckland. Britomart is the beginning and end of the public transport line here, although we plan for it to be the key through station in the inner city loop.  We want the future tunnel under the harbour to convey Aucklanders to Waitemata by car and rail. We want cycling and walking on the Harbour Bridge.  We want healthy and connected transport solutions for the inner suburbs including better recognition of walking and cycling, and slowing traffic down in our inner suburb streets.

Waitemata contains the hub of the city and that of course brings its own challenges as we carefully coax the CCOs operating and residing here … ATEED the Tourist and Economic Development Agency, Waterfront Development Agency, Regional Facilities, Auckland Transport… talk to each other and to us about their plans and aspirations to ensure they align with our plans and aspirations.

In summary we have a vision for our city and our ward to be one that has:

  • A  high quality and distinctive built environment
  • A  world class international city centre
  • Connected and healthy transport options
  • A high quality protected natural environment
  • Places for people
  • Strong, healthy and vibrant communities with engaged citizenship

Waitemata is blessed with dozens of active community, arts, faith, heritage, public transport, environmental, business and residents groups and associations that many of you represent here today, advocating for and representing all our interests.  We welcome you here today to start the process of telling us your priorities.

Thank you.