Things are moving once again! Your intrepid Community-led Design group (CLD) presented to the Waitematā Local Board at their November meeting, sharing our vision of a swift restart of the Ponsonby Park development.
At that meeting, we were told that the Board was scheduled to meet with Council staff on 30 November for a workshop to plan how Ponsonby Park will be part of next year's “workstream”.
With half of the budget for the development of Ponsonby Park currently available and held in Council’s coffers, we are concerned that it is devaluing and being eroded by inflation. The longer the project is delayed, the less value we get from those funds. The CLD group believes development on- site needs to start in the next financial year to maximise the existing and allocated budget. Council has many precedents where projects are commenced without being fully funded, as they are designed to be developed in stages - Te Ara Tukutuku in the Wynyard Quarter* is an example of this.
Before funds from the sale of an endowment property at 200 Victoria Street were allocated to provide half of the budget for the Ponsonby Park development, the Park was intended - and planned - to be developed in two stages. So in the interests of fiscal responsibility, meeting community needs, and good old-fashioned fairness, we think it behooves us all for physical work to commence on Ponsonby Park in the next 2022-2023 financial year.
It has already been 21 long years since the need was first identified. This is more than long enough to wait!
As 2021 draws to a close (or as many might say, as 2021 streaks by) we turn our thoughts to what we have achieved this year. Our volunteer CLD group has continued to advocate for the development of Ponsonby Park, the much-needed and desired civic space. We also remember our friend and colleague Andy Smith, whose sudden and unexpected death has been a tragic loss to our group. It is with sadness that we acknowledge that the Ponsonby Park project would have been nearing completion were it not for the impacts of Covid-19 and that Andy would have lived to see work on the project underway.
The Ponsonby Park project aligns with ALL Council objectives, plans, and outcomes be it; Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri - Auckland's Climate Plan, Te Rautaki Ngahere ā-Tāone o Tāmaki Makaurau - Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy, Te Tahua Pūtea Tau 2021-2031 - The 10-year Budget 2021- 2031 and Mahere Huarahi o Ponsonby - The Ponsonby Road Plan. In addition, Ponsonby Park is also the Waitematā Local Board’s “One Local Initiative” project.
So let’s do this!
Clearly, we have another busy year ahead. But for now, our volunteer CLD group wishes you all a very happy holiday period and we would like to thank you all, for your ongoing support as we continue to advocate to give Ponsonby not only the amenity it needs but also the community heart it deserves.
Arohanui and stay safe. (JENNIFER WARD) PN
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Published 3 December 2021