Myers Park Underpass...The pre-dawn ceremony to celebrate the new Graham Tipene light installation under Myers Park underpass and park improvements was an enormous treat at the end of last year.
In attendance was Ngati Whatua Orakei, the Mayor, confidently speaking in te reo, and members of the local board. The project was first initiated a decade ago under the leadership of City Vision’s team and it is a pleasure to get so much positive feedback around bringing this vision to reality – and more elements are to come so, literally, watch this space!
Katoa Ka Ora – Safer Speeds – endorsed in December After hearing from Students Against Dangerous Driving, local police, academics and passionate local resident Boopsie Maran, the Transport and Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously to support the strategy to lower speeds on urban streets, in particular around schools. City Vision has strongly supported this important move which will make it easier and safer for kids and adults alike to move around locally whatever their travel mode.
Just as efforts are being made to reduce the climate and wellbeing impacts of land transport, high-emitting, noisy helicopters can land and take off from Auckland’s coastline, disturbing, upsetting and infuriating neighbours and beach users. In December, following pleas from the Herne Bay Residents’ Association and Quiet Skies Waitematā, City Vision’s Alex Bonham and Richard Northey led a notice of motion advocating to the Governing Body to prohibit non-emergency helicopter landings and take-offs in urban residential areas which passed unanimously. We urge that the Governing Body fund a plan change as soon as possible.
Long Term Plan – what Auckland should be doing for the next 10 years?
Public consultation on the Long Term Plan (aka the Ten Year Budget aka the LTP) will get underway in late February, and will set out the funding priorities for council services and projects for the next decade. The LTP covers all council costs, from electrifying the ferry fleet to improving water infrastructure, to maintaining local assets like libraries and swimming pools.
It’s important your elected members know what you think. Does the level of rates rise reflect the amount of work you want council to do?
Should council: · reduce efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change?
· reduce services and sell off assets to enable a lower than inflation rates rise?
· establish and invest in a Future Fund as a means of self-insurance? · cut investment in public transport, walking and cycling?
Look out for local and online opportunities to give input from mid-February, including the Waitematā Local Board’s hearing session on March 12.
The Ports of Auckland proposal
In December, the council voted on whether to consult on putting the Ports of Auckland out for lease. City Vision is concerned that leasing is a form of privatisation and locks the port into the current location for 35 years. After some bad years, Ports of Auckland is now operating well, safely and with a good relationship with staff. We note that overseas multinational-run ports often have poor relationships with their local workers, and we are worried about the impact on the harbour health and climate impact of the port operation being out of council hands. Councillor Julie Fairey voted against putting the port lease proposal out to the Long Term Plan, joining with other councillors from across the region, but the numbers were slightly more in favour, so it will now go out for broader input.
Changes to the elected member structure of Auckland Council
The governance structure of Auckland Council is being reviewed. It is proposed to shift from 21 to 13 local boards for the 2025 elections, while keeping the existing 20 ward councillors plus a mayor elected at large (Governing Body). There will be a full public consultation process on this in June and July, before the Governing Body votes whether to put a new system to the Local Government Commission to consider. It is early days yet, and the status quo remains an option. Any changes need to bring tangible advantages that offset the disruption, and less local focus, oversight and democratic representation that would ensue. At this stage it is not clear what advantages there would be that could not be found through other means.