Richard Northey: Waitemata Local Board Chair

Spring has brought wet and windy weather and the continuation of a Covid lockdown.

We are hopeful of moving down the levels and the Council has worked hard to relax the rules on using footpaths, parklets and carparks for outdoor dining to help cafes and restaurants under Level 2. If we continue to obey the lockdown rules, mask up, and not use playgrounds, sports grounds, or other shared facilities, we should be able to come through again. I have had both my Covid jabs, and I strongly urge you all to get yours to ensure that we get back to Level 1 as soon possible.

Our Board will once again be holding its bi-annual Good Citizens Awards Ceremony at the Town Hall reception lounge on the evening of Friday 26 November. Nominations for the Awards are now open until 17 October. These awards are to recognise and celebrate those who go above and beyond for the benefit of our diverse communities and environment in the Waitematā Local Board area. The award categories are: individuals, children and young people under 25, and community groups. Please think about those who deserve this recognition.

Make your nomination using the online nomination form at our website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/waitemata.

Contact our local board office for assistance if you’d like to make your nomination by phone, email, or post: 09 301 0101 or waitematalocalboard@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

At our last Waitematā Local Board meeting on 21 September, held entirely by Skype, we had a very busy agenda. We acknowledged the death of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's kaumatua Bob Hawke, heard from the community through deputations, public forum presenters and ward councillor Pippa Coom.

Then the Board considered giving up our Board Members’ carparks to ensure we all use public and active transport; a renewed lease for the sea scouts in Cox’s Bay; Business Improvement Districts Policy; adding a possible loop track for the Western Springs forest; forthcoming CRL works in Basque Park; making our Local Board grants to community organisations; the Victoria Street Linear Park Project; Auckland Transport’s Parking Strategy; Bylaws for the Water Supply and Wastewater Network, Public Trading Events and Filming and Animal Management; Kerbside Rubbish Collection Charging; Age-Friendly Auckland Strategy; and our feedback on the Government’s Three Waters Reforms. It was a very busy meeting.

Council is supporting the seismic strengthening and restoration for public use of the Leys Institute buildings. A start had been made on developing a detailed business case for the restoration and a Project Guidance Steering Group for it appointed, including myself and a representative of the Friends of the Leys Institute, Ponsonby Community Centre and the Business Association, mana whenua and local residents’ associations. The Board is also actively seeking ways in which the first stage of the Ponsonby Park project could be commenced by Council.

The Board is aware of community concerns about the possible effects in our area of the application of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development. Council elected members and staff, including the Board’s knowledgeable Deputy-Chair Alex Bonham, are meeting frequently to develop proposals for an appropriate and beneficial Council response. These proposals would be the subject of widespread and extensive public consultation before anything is implemented. Alex and our Board want to make sure that any changes to enable more housing in our area also properly protect the character housing and communities in our inner suburbs and help maintain and develop a high-quality liveable environment here.

The Waitematā Local Board has instituted a system of bimonthly community clinics. In these the Board members meet with a series of community groups and individuals for 15 minutes each, in a convenient suburban location, to have a dialogue that is not possible at our formal Board meetings, on issues of concern to them. The August meetings went well, and we look forward to those interested booking in with the Waitematā Local Board for our next sessions on Wednesday 13 October from 7pm onwards. The October sessions will be held via Skype due to uncertainty around alert levels. We are also organising community forums hosted by groups we don’t hear enough from, starting with a Forum hosted by the Chinese Community before Christmas.

We look forward to the resumption of the community festivals and events that the Board supports after lockdown. These include Festival Italiano in Newmarket on 7 November, the Parnell Festival of Roses on 14 November, and the Grey Lynn Festival on 20 November. (RICHARD NORTHEY)

I can be contacted at richard.northey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or 021 534 546.

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