Let us continue to be careful and cautious so we in Auckland can remain at Covid-19 Alert Level 1 for summer and autumn so we can work, play, meet up with family and friends and participate in and enjoy public events.The America’s Cup races, the Auckland Arts Festival, Pasifika, St Patrick’s Day, the Nepal Festival, and the International Cultural Festival are great Auckland events in March. The Waitemata Local Board will publicly celebrate the reopening of its revamped Home Street Reserve on 25 March at 3pm.
Our main focus currently is on the public consultation on the Council’s proposed Recovery Budget. People’s expressed views will be vital in our Board’s advocacy to Council’s Governing Body as part of its decision making on Council’s 10-year Budget (Long-Term Plan). The early restoration of the Leys Institute buildings for library and public use and the creation of a park at 254 Ponsonby Road have been major points in the Board’s own advocacy to the Governing Body. We also believe higher priority and more resources than the Budget proposes be given to maintaining our community facilities like our libraries, community centres and Studio One, cleaning up our beaches and waterways, transport and road safety projects and action on climate change.
The impacts of Covid-19 mean that most local councils are needing to increase rates by a double figure percentage next year to maintain services and infrastructure and the Waitemata Local Board is recommending a one-off 8% increase in the general rate and in the water quality targeted rate if we are not to go backwards in meeting these vital needs.
When the time for public submissions comes, from 22 February to 22 March, it would be helpful for you to make a submission about these and other issues and priorities for Council. Waitemata Local Board members will be out and about to hear your views on the Long-Term Plan including at the Grey Lynn Market on the morning of 7 March, a public meeting on water quality issues on 7 March at 2pm at Parnell School Hall, and at a formal hearing on 9 March from 4.30pm at the Board’s office. You can find out more and have your say online from 22 February to 22 March at www.akhaveyoursay.nz/recoverybudget
Our first Waitemata Local Board meeting on 15 February was under lockdown and so by Skype. It dealt with Council’s Alcohol Control Bylaw and requests for liquor bans for events at Western Springs and the Domain, transport issues, and the Board’s submissions on the Water Services Bill and the Auckland Museum’s Annual Plan. Our next meeting is on 15 March from 1pm and, COVID permitting, will be a public meeting at the Board’s office at the corner of Federal and Swanson Streets.
Currently applications are invited from community groups for grants to support facilities, activities, and projects of community benefit. For the Waitemata Accommodation Grants applications close on 19 March, as do those for the Regional Sport and Recreation Facilities Grants. Applications for Waitemata Board Local grants close on 2 April. You can find out about these grants at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/grants
Ponsonby Road is one area for the Innovating Streets Tactical Urbanism Programme. Ponsonby community and business members have worked hard for you at several meetings on activities to make the Ponsonby Road corridor safer and more user friendly for fun, getting around and business growth. To find out more about the project, visit www.at.govt.nz/ponsonbyroad
Because of the continuing drought we all still need to limit our water use. The Board office has reopened after another COVID closure. (RICHARD NORTHEY)
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