This is where I publish my regular member reports, keeping you informed of my local board events and activities. These are also published in the local board meeting minutes.
May-June 2019 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipātiki Local Board Activities for May to June. Some big projects and developments are underway, but as always with local government work, it’s the small things that really count.
Te Kete Rukuruku: Bringing back Māori names and narratives to Auckland's parks and places
I am fully in support of Te Kete Rukuruku, and I’m proud that the Kaipātiki Local Board is one of the 11 local boards participating in the first two years of the programme (with a further three that have also come on board).
For this project, Auckland Council is working with mana whenua to ensure parks and other public spaces better reflect our Māori heritage and language through adding names in reo Māori. Most parks will be gifted a dual name.
Local boards are contributing funding to the research process, while regional funding helps with programme management. We hope to see the first round of narratives made public in 2020. I look forward to this celebration of names and narratives of historical significance and of bringing more te reo into our daily lives.
Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Pest Free Kaipātiki and Auckland Council
The board hosted the signing of a MOU between Pest Free Kaipātiki and Auckland Council.
This MOU is the formalisation of an already strong relationship, and will enable Council to better support Pest Free Kaipatiki with the our ambitious pest-free vision.
Tuff Crater Perimeter Track Renewal
We approved the Tuff Crater Perimeter Track Developed Design to be progressed through to consent. A staged approach for physical works will take place over 2019/2020.
Greenslade Reserve Redevelopment
The board granted approval for the redevelopment and upgrade of Greenslade Reserve. Works are expected to commence September 2019, with most of the works completed by the end of summer and the re-establishment of the playing surface grass to follow. This is a huge step forward for stormwater management in the area, with sporting, recreational and ecological improvements all part of the plan too.
Urban Streams Update
We received an update for another urban stream project that I ensured was on our work programme: ‘Small Sites Ambassador'. This project was in response to multiple concerns I have fielded over the years regarding poor sediment controls at building sites, for example with a site near Kauri Glen reserve in previous years.
The Small Sites Ambassador encourages efficient and compliant building sites, and initial findings are revealing. Small building site visits across Kaipātiki showed that approximately 20% of sites had poor controls; 55% average and 25% good. The main issues are concrete run-off (an absolute disaster for freshwater ecosystems), site entranceways (trucks spreading mud) sediment run-off, and management of rubbish. Through the implementation of this programme, officers have been working hard in the areas of education and compliance, and there are educational materials now available for building site managers.
It is clear to me that Auckland Council still has some way to go in terms of stronger enforcement, if we are to deter poor practice at building sites. On the upside, however, Council now has a stronger focus on issues such as sedimentation, and the initiation of this project has added prominence to water quality issues for the wider Council. I am proud to have played a role in that.
And the little things that count:
In other news, bike repair stations are to be installed at Onepoto Domain, Shepherds Park, Marlborough Park and Birkenhead War Memorial Park.
Twelve reserve tracks already fully or partly closed are to be upgraded to meet kauri dieback prevention standards.
The Auckland High Tides Initiative installed an educational sign at Little Shoal Bay to help people learn more about sea level rise, thanks to a community grant from the local board. The water level on any given tide can be measured against historic, current, mean and projected high tides. During extreme weather, we can see the variation in water level. Communities are encouraged to capture and provide water level data to King Tides so we can learn more about the impact to our coastlines.
There are many more Kaipātiki Local Board projects - both big and small - and my member report gives only a glance of some of them, mostly across the key themes of parks, the natural environment and water quality.
Out and About May-Jun 2019: a few highlights
· Filming with Pest Free Kaipātiki for the Ministry of Primary Industries, 9 May
· Reserve Management Plans sub-committee meeting, 22 May
· ‘Kaipātiki Sounds Great’, landmark youth music event, 24 May
· Inaugural EnviroHui North, AUT Campus, 25 May
· Kaipātiki Restoration Network bi-monthly meeting, 27 May
· Morning tea with Glenfield Library and Auckland libraries to celebrate new installation, 12 June
· Citizen Science Group meeting and promotion with Pest Free Kaipātiki, 16 June
· Matariki celebration, Birkdale Community House, 22 June
· Safer Streets Community Place-making initiative, Bayview Community House
· Coastal Walkway meeting with community stakeholders, 24 June
· Celebration for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Pest Free Kaipātiki and Auckland Council, 26 June
· Matariki Kapa Haka Festival, Birkdale North School, 28 June
First Quarter 2019 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipatiki Local Board activities Jan-Apr 2019. Due to a busy start to the year, instead of producing monthly reports I have instead written a member’s report that covers the first part of 2019. This report covers just a few of the projects currently on the go in Kaipatiki.
Chelsea Estate Heritage Park
The Chelsea Regional Park Association (Inc.) delivered a presentation at our Community Forum in March to outline many ongoing concerns regarding maintenance and management of the park. I am working alongside Chair John Gillon on a letter to Stephen Town, Auckland Council CE, to call on the Council to address these issues and help ensure that this iconic asset is properly sustained and protected for generations to come. Concerns cover a range of areas including a need for improved overall council staff coordination of pest plant, tree and track maintenance, lake quality, heritage protection and security.
On a personal note, it is disappointing to see many aspects of park maintenance appear to slip through the cracks and community concern is great. Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has outstanding credentials - 38 ha of green space and historic buildings that serve as a reminder to Auckland’s early history. The park holds both regional and national significance. It is home to New Zealand’s only sugar refinery and is recognised by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 Historic Place. The park’s unique historic heritage is further recognised in its Historic Reserve classification under the Reserves Act 1977. Chelsea is Auckland’s largest coastal reserve.
I have always believed that a significant reserve like Chelsea deserves its own standalone reserve management plan, but with the compromise position of omnibus plans, I believe the minimum we can do is fulfil the vision for the park that is outlined both in the draft 2010 reserve management plan, and the 2013 conservation plan.
Northcote Town Centre Update
It’s been a long time in the making. The Benchmark Masterplan for the Northcote Town Centre has been released and can be viewed online. The Kaipatiki Local Board has been working alongside Panuku Development on the plan, to help secure a new community building to accommodate community services (including the Northcote Library), an open town square, pedestrianised areas, and of course, the Greenway.
Construction is expected to start after September 2021 and the redevelopment will be phased over the next seven to 10 years, so it will continue to be a place for people to dine, shop and socialise. My hope is that the developments will still maintain many of Northcote’s current distinctive character and cultural elements.
Birkenhead War Memorial Park Update
Public consultation went out on a new draft masterplan for the Birkenhead War Memorial Park – a plan that aims to meet the changing needs of the surrounding community. The Park is home to numerous sport, leisure and recreational activities and facilities such as the Birkenhead Pool and Leisure Centre, BMX pump track, skate park and the Birkenhead Cricket Club. As soon as the masterplan is completed and adopted, we’ll create a business case for a new multisport facility to replace the grandstand.
Improving North Shore’s Waterways
It may come as no surprise that a January nationwide survey found that more than 80 percent of New Zealanders want tougher rules protecting rivers and lakes from pollution. The Kaipatiki Local Board has been taking action for urban streams. For the last two years we have funded the successful Business Pollution Prevention programme that supports local businesses to avoid or mitigate pollution. The programme has successfully worked with businesses on Enterprise St in Birkenhead, Bay Park Place/Kahika Rd industrial area in Beach Haven. The local board has supported moving this programme further to Wairau Valley businesses which will have a positive impact on the wider catchment.
At the end of last year, feedback was sought from local boards on proposed topics for inclusion in the Auckland Water Strategy. I moved feedback at our November 2018 business meeting, endorsing a focus on urban streams and covering impacts of pollution events, sedimentation, sewage and stormwater overflows and the frequent problems around mitigation, monitoring and enforcement.
In June 2019, a report on the feedback received on the ‘Our Water Future’ discussion document will go to the Environment and Community Committee. This committee will develop the water strategy over the 2019/2020 financial year. The strategy is expected to be complete by September 2020.
Safe School Streets
An Auckland Transport initiative, but worth a mention because this is something I really support – improving safety at the school gates. Willow Park is one of six participating schools in Auckland undergoing a three-month trial that involves changes to reduce the number of cars very close to the school (along with other speed and road design changes). I look forward to seeing the results of this trial.
The local board is supporting many other safety improvements across Kaipatiki, including a new project that was proposed by AT for a new footpath, kerb and channel, and drainage project connecting Glendhu Road east and west sections through an existing footbridge at the scenic reserve. The objective is to provide safe access to school children, but I believe there may be an additional advantage regarding stormwater management as improved drainage will address flooding and berm washout fronting the reserve. Having held a stream rally here at the beginning of the term, I can vouch for the importance of better stormwater management in this area!
Reserve Management Plans Continued
I am part of a working party where we are working through the Kaipatiki Local Parks Management Plans process at regular meetings. It has become more and more evident as different scenarios arise at the local board level, how problematic it is having outdated management plans for our reserves. We will have a further update in May.
Proposal to revoke delegations to local authorities - Reserves Act 1977
In March the Department of Conservation wrote all local authorities seeking feedback on a proposal to revoke some Ministerial powers currently delegated to councils under the Reserves Act. This proposal follows a review of the delegations, whereby it was found that some appear to be potentially unlawful and would put Councils in a position of conflict of interest.
I support the revocation of delegations based on information I received from DOC. I do not agree with Auckland Council’s position to not support the proposed revocations.
Out and About Jan-Apr 2019: a few highlights
- Northcote Community Digger Day, Cadness Reserve, 19 Jan
- NorthArt exhibition openings for Chinese New Year, 3 Feb
- Birkenhead public meeting on freedom camping and Little Shoal Bay, 7 Feb
- Northcote Chinese & Korean New Year Festival, 9 Feb
- Annual Bayview Neighbourhood Picnic, 15 Feb
- Awataha Greenway blessing, 2 Mar
- Pest Free Halo Meeting, Kauri Park, 2 Mar
- Birkdale Beach Haven Community Project, Auckland North Newcomer’s Network & WISE Catering community dinner, 8 Mar
- Birkenhead Primary School 100-year celebrations, 10 Mar
- FiaFia Fanau Northcote Town Centre, 7 Apr
- Anzac ceremonies, Birkenhead RSA and Northcote RSA, 25 April
- BikeStock Kaipatiki Bike Gala, 28 April
- Chelsea Estate Heritage Park weeding bee, 28 April
July-August 2018 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipatiki Local Board activities during July and August 2018.
Summary of key events:
- Kauri Dieback continues as a key theme in many of our workshops, board meetings and community forums with constituents filling the public gallery and offering invaluable local insights to support faster action and temporary track closures
- I am part of the Open Space Network Plan political working group with some fellow board members to feed into the Open Space Network Plan
- The Northcote re-development is pressing ahead including plans for the Northcote Greenway
- NZTA developed a proposed route for the SeaPath walking and cycling path and this went out for consultation
- Road safety was on the agenda with road improvement projects around Kaipatiki
- I was pleased to support Chair John Gillon’s resolution to end rate-payer funded lunches for the local board
Pest Free Kaipatiki Annual Chew Card Survey Results
I attended a thoroughly interesting Pest Free Kaipatiki (PFK) event to hear about the latest chew card survey results. This is the largest single annual sample of predators completed in Auckland. We now have crucial data – two data points (over two years) to help us see what’s happening predator-wise within our reserves.
All citizen scientists and key organisers involved in the Chew Card Survey deserve credit for this huge feat. Special thanks to Fiona Smal of PFK and Dr Craig Bishop of RIMU for the presentation.
Can we stop KDD in its tracks? An update on dieback prevention and our iconic kauri tree in Bayview
I attended a public meeting at the Bayview Community Centre, organised by locals Angi Müller and Alex Wilson who presented on kauri dieback to help promote community action. I was joined by Danielle Grant and John Gillon. Protection for the largest kauri on the North Shore in Lynn Reserve was raised as a particular concern, this has also been voiced loud and clear over the last few months.
The Kaipatiki Local Board and Auckland Council has since temporarily closed a number of bush tracks in our reserves as a pre-emptive measure. The tracks are likely to be closed for 3-6 months, and while they are closed the tracks will be assessed and prioritised for upgrading or re-routing. Cleaning stations will also be installed where possible. The tracks will then be re-opened as soon as they are up to the new standard.
Business Pollution Prevention
I’m particularly proud of this project. The local board has implemented a Business Pollution Prevention programme in Birkenhead as well as Bay Park Place to help improve water quality in the Le Roys Bush stream, and in Hellyers Creek, Kaipatiki Creek (and ultimately the harbour).
This involves spill training and education for industry and business owners about the impacts their activities may be having on local waterways. There's been good feedback from local businesses - they have appreciated the approach from council staff, and businesses have adopted ways to stop pollution. We'll be taking this programme further to the Wairau industrial area.
Northcote Awataha Greenway progress update: School’s Edge
Design is underway for the ‘School Edge’: a green corridor as part of the Northcote redevelopment that aims to create spaces for residents to walk, cycle and play. This will be achieved through a mixture of shared paths, green space, kick a ball space, play spaces, nature trails and daylighted stream.
The local board received a simulation presentation from Panuku to help visualize what the space will look like. I am supportive of this project and look forward to the ‘citizen science’ opportunities that could potentially arise with regards to the daylighted stream.
Save Our Parks
The ‘Parks and Open Spaces’ Value for Money report, commissioned by the Mayor, proposes a sell down of parks in Auckland to meet financial targets in the 10-year budget. The price tag of $200 to $600m has been floated through selling parkland and open space to developers and others over the next few years.
Carving up and building over the Takapuna Golf Course - 44 hectares next to the Northern motorway - would be a disaster for flooding. Flooding is the most frequent hazard event in New Zealand and this part of the North Shore is vulnerable. Climate change impacts mean heavier rainfall.
The promise to Aucklanders was to build up to create more green space, not less. In my opinion, this park sell-off proposal is not a winning strategy.
Out and About – a few highlights:
5 July – Open Space Network Plan political working party session
1 Aug – Kauri dieback working group meeting with Pest Free Kaipatiki
1 Aug – Mural celebration, Glenfield Community Centre
15 Aug – Exhibition and get-together with NorthArt board
16 Aug – Public meeting on kauri dieback at Bayview Community Centre
20 Aug – Bayview mural celebration
20 Aug – Pest Free Kaipatiki Chew Card survey results and presentation
21 Aug – Bayview Community Centre Governance meeting
25 Aug – Short Shorts student film competition screening, Birkdale Intermediate
May-June 2018 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipātiki Local Board activities for May and June 2018. We have approved some excellent environmental initiatives. Meanwhile kauri dieback remains at top of mind for the community and for the local board.
Environmental Funding Boost
I’m pleased that the environment will benefit from $400,000 of funding from the Kaipātiki Local Board’s locally driven initiatives budget for the 2018/19 financial year. This is a 38% increase towards environmental initiatives compared to the previous financial year.
Consultation on our local board plan certainly showed that residents overwhelmingly support environmental initiatives as a key priority for our area.
Approved projects include:
Industry Pollution Prevention: $30,000 to deliver site inspections, spill training and education for industry and business owners about the impacts their activities may be having on local waterways.
Small Building Sites Ambassador: $20,000 for a new project to reduce the environmental impact of small building sites. An ambassador will work alongside council’s compliance team to reduce the amount of sedimentation and litter entering our waterways.
Pest Free Kaipātiki Strategy Implementation: $100,000 for continued pest animal and plant removal together with habitat and species restoration.
Kaipātiki Project Environmental Centre Operational Funding: $45,000 provided for the continued support of the operations of the Kaipātiki Project Environmental Centre.
Stream Quality Monitoring: $20,000 for a new community-based stream monitoring and restoration project.
Kauri Dieback Strategy for Kaipātiki: $10,000 towards a strategy for reducing the risk of kauri dieback disease in the Kaipātiki Local Board area.
Open Space Management Plan: $80,000 towards the creation of a single management plan that sets out actions needed to protect and enhance all of our local parks and reserves.
The budget boost also includes support for park volunteers, a new project to increase the ecological value of parks (such as food forests, pollinator pathways, natural meadows) and a contribution to Auckland’s Ngahere Strategy to increase urban canopy cover.
Thankfully the kauri tree at Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has been cleared of kauri dieback disease. It was found to be infected with Phytophthora cinnamomi. Of course, we can’t count on Kaipātiki being dieback free and the potential for the spread of kauri dieback remains. We are working through options with parks and biosecurity staff for preventative measures we can take. We understand the need for urgency, and sometimes the cogs turn slower than we would like, but there is an overall commitment from all parties to get on top of this problem.
Like kauri dieback, Phytophthora cinnnamomi is also spread via soil movement. Further testing will continue in Chelsea Heritage Park and other kauri in the area.
Other Local Issues
In other news and events, Chair John Gillon and Deputy Chair Danielle Grant represented the Kaipatiki Local Board at the Finance and Performance Committee in May regarding two big issues: prevention of kauri dieback in Kaipatiki and replacement of the grandstand at Birkenhead War Memorial Park.
Both issues were well received. Councillors voted to approve funding for the Kaipātiki Local Board to demolish the grandstand and replace it with a new sports facility.
I’m pleased to see the Birkenhead main street upgrade going ahead, and the Frank Larking's Boat community steering group has been set up including representatives from interest groups and Members John Gillon and Adrian Tyler. They are assessing community offers, as well as council quotes, to help reduce the costs for the project to conserve the boat.
Out and About
Events listed below are additional to our regular (weekly) local board workshops, business meetings and community forum.
15 May – Bayview Community Centre Governance meeting
15 May – Northcote Town Centre Association meeting
16 May - Coastal walkway visit at Hobsonville Point
17 May - Northcote Unlock Awataha Greenway session with Panuku
28 May – Pest Free Kaipatiki office warming at Fernglen
6 June – Tour of Glenfield Leisure Centre and Activzone
17 June – Consultation on the draft Sunnynook Plan, Rewi Alley Reserve
19 June – Northcote Town Centre Association meeting
20 June – Meeting with the political working group for the open space network plan
23 June – Forest and Bird Conference, Wellington
March - April 2018 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipātiki Local Board activities for March and April 2018.
Kaipātiki Local Board workshops are now open to the public. In my view this is a great step forward for local democracy and helping further a culture of transparency.
Excluding the public means they may only see edited highlights of the decision-making process, but this change means residents can now hear debate before the decisions that are formalised at our monthly business meetings.
There may still be some items of workshops that will be discussed in closed session, as happens already with monthly business meetings, to protect individuals' privacy and commercial sensitivity.
We are only the second board in Auckland to take this step.
The Auckland Council-owned Rosie Bolt Reserve has been identified as ‘potentially surplus to council requirements’ through a review process. At our April business meeting, a majority of Kaipātiki Local Board members voted to oppose the sale. The final decision will rest with the Finance and Performance committee of the governing body.
Rosie Bolt reserve, around the size of a netball court, is just one green space on the North Shore that may be considered for disposal. It is my view that our green spaces belong not only to us, but to future generations who may not have backyards to play in. Once community open spaces are gone they can never be retrieved again. This also highlights issues around encroachment and general maintenance of our open spaces, as surrounding residents can't ask for reserves to be kept if they don't know they exist. I hope that the final decision is in favour of keeping Rosie Bolt reserve, which has wonderful pocket park potential.
Out and About March-April 2018
- ‘Have Your Say’ Event, Monarch Park, 4 March
- Northcote Town Centre Association meeting, 6 March
- ‘Have Your Say’ Beach Haven Fun Run/Walk, 11 March
- Bayview Governance meeting, 20 March
- Kauri Dieback public meeting, 26 March
- Place-making Workshop with David Engwicht, 13 April
- Korean Day at North Shore Events Centre, 14 April
- Northcote Town Centre Association meeting, 17 March
- Bayview Community Centre governance meeting, 17 March
- Bayview Kids Market, 21 April
- Anzac Day, Northcote War Memorial Hall, 25 April
Dec 17 - Feb 18 Local Board Member Report
This report covers my Kaipatiki Local Board activities for Dec-Feb. Consultation on council’s 10-year budget 2018-28 has begun, leading to the delivery of our local board plan outcomes. This includes our one key advocacy project: budget for redeveloping Birkenhead War Memorial Park.
Our Key Advocacy Project
Last year we had the opportunity to present one local initiative to the governing body: budget for redeveloping Birkenhead War Memorial Park.
The current grandstand is at the end of its natural life. We don't have sufficient resources to deliver certain aspects of the masterplan, hence why we have advocated for additional funds from the Governing Body to complete the upgrade. The park is home to numerous sport and recreational clubs and council-run facilities, who are concerned about the degradation.
The masterplan is now underway to help guide our decisions and ensure a new grandstand or other replacement facility is ‘fit for purpose’ for the next 50 years
Local board members took part in a walk-through and audit of the park with council officers before Christmas. There have also been workshops made up of user groups and other stakeholders, collaborating with the project team to discuss ideas for the park. We have a good canvas to work from, with the potential to bring better walking and cycling connections, cultural and heritage elements, sport, recreation and restoration in an altogether improved space.
Northcote Town Centre Regeneration
Another significant project for the board is the redevelopment of the Northcote town centre and surrounding area.
I’d like to see that funding in the Mayor’s 10-year budget matches the work that we, and residents want to see in a revitalised Northcote town centre. This includes a greenway; enhanced public spaces such as a new town square, pedestrian-friendly boulevard incorporating cycle lanes and fit-for-purpose community facilities.
The Northcote Chinese and Korean New Year festival was a hit despite the pouring rain. Congratulations to the Northcote Town Centre Association for the wonderful celebrations, and special thanks to the organiser Harbour Sport Events.
Other significant projects
Uruamo Marae: The Kaipatiki local board voted at our February business meeting to support the Uruamo Maranga Ake marae development project progressing to the resource consent stage. It is inspiring to see this dream become a reality. The next stage is for staff to work with the Uruamo Maranga Ake Marae Committee to investigate the preferred site option of Shepherds Park, Beach Haven for building the marae.
Out and About Dec 17-Feb 18
- Birkenhead Santa Parade
- Birkdale Beach Haven Christmas Fiesta
- Birkenhead War Memorial walk-through
- Rawene Landslip public meeting, Birkenhead
- Chinese and Korean New Year celebrations, Northcote
- Middle Eastern Open Day with Babylon Charitable Trust, Marlborough
- Birkenhead War Memorial User Group workshop
- Meet the Neighbours picnic, Bayview
- Day of the Chilli Fiesta, Birkenhead
- Te Onewa Pa Upgrade dawn blessing, Northcote Point