A massive council consultation is underway (28 February - 28 March). This is the opportunity, occurring every three years, to look in depth at Auckland’s 10-year budget.
As Aucklanders, we have major decisions to make about how we fund the infrastructure needed to deal with the pressure of growth and bring existing services up to a sustainable standard for a world-class city. As part of this budget cycle, local priorities for the next financial year 18/19 are also up for discussion.
The Mayor is leading the regional consultation on what is also known as the draft Long-Term Plan (LTP) that determines the level of rates. You can respond to questions covering the proposed introduction of
a regional fuel tax to pay for improvements to transport and targeted rates to fund protection of endangered species such as kauri and the cleanup of our habours, beaches and streams.
As the board representing the main area in Auckland without stormwater separation, we are particularly focused on the long overdue infrastructure investment being brought forward by council and Watercare to stop the flow of sewage into the Waitemata Harbour. The big question will be whether the wider region is willing to support with funding through additional rates.
Other plans that are out for consultation include the Regional Pest Management Plan, Waste Management and Minimisation Plan and the refresh of the Auckland Plan. The draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) budget that was 'inadvertently' released in January by Auckland Transport with a massive reduction to the cycle budget, low prioritisation of light rail and cuts to rail operating funds is now due out for consultation in April.
The AT Board has directed management to redraft the RLTP budget to more accurately reflect priorities that council and the new Government give to walking and cycling, public transport and reducing carbon emissions. If the family-friendly Bike to the Future ride organised by Generation Zero on 17 February is any indication, there is strong local support for safe cycling infrastructure and funding for transport choice. At the same time we welcome that the new CEO of AT, Shane Ellison, who attended the ride, has committed to the organisation taking a fresh approach to community engagement and working with local boards so that mistakes are not repeated.
Further transport funding for projects like streetscape upgrades, safer speed zones and greenway connections is possible through the board’s transport fund. We’ve got a question on how we should allocate the approximately $500k available per year. This is in the local board section of the online feedback form along with questions about our priority project, Ponsonby Park (covered elsewhere in Ponsonby News), and funding the elimination of agri-chemical spraying, public facilities and further waterway restoration.
Finally, congratulations to Denise Roche for winning the Waitemata Local Board byelection. She brings passion, extensive skills and experience to the role. (PIPPA COOM)
Details of consultation events and submission details on the Auckland Council website www.akhaveyoursay.nz
Contact Pippa Coom, Chair of Waitamata Local Board, email@example.com,