Thank you for your support this year and the hundreds of submissions, emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages – listening to you and responding to your queries and concerns is a key part of my role and one which is very important to me.
A last update before we farewell 2018.
Your views are important
There are two Auckland Council consultations open and relevant to our community that I encourage you to submit on. As always, I will be closely following the feedback from the Orakei Ward and supporting your views.
Palmers Garden Centre and Cafe
176-182 Shore Road in Remuera has been leased by Palmers Garden World Limited for the last 15 years. This lease was the result of an agreement between the Minister of Conservation and Auckland Council in 2005. The agreement says that the lease can be extended for a further 15 years, provided it is in the public's interest. Do you want it to stay? Please share your views.
Consultation is open until 12 December 2018.
Some of our visitors to Auckland over summer are ‘campers’ who use our parks and public spaces to overnight while they enjoy the city. Whilst we welcome people to explore the many beaches, parks and tourist spots in this way, we also need to ensure that their presence doesn’t prevent others from also enjoying these spots. The proposed bylaw out for consultation includes preventing freedom campers in such areas as the Michael Joseph Savage memorial and Selwyn Reserve in Mission Bay, while allowing self-contained campervans to park at Orakei Domain and Churchill Park. Consultation is open through to 18 February 2019 with the decision making scheduled for April.
Auckland Transport Consultation
There are also several Auckland Transport consultations open that will shape the way we travel from and around the Orakei area. Again, I encourage you to submit to ensure our communities views are represented.
Pedestrian Crossing Improvements
A number of pedestrian crossings, identified as higher risk in Auckland Transport crash data, are being investigated for safety updates.
Regional Public Transport Plan
The Regional Public Transport Plan is one of Auckland Transport’s strategic documents for 2018-2028. This plan outlines AT’s proposed public transport network improvements in the coming decade in order to accommodate significant infrastructure projects, such as the City Rail Link, the Eastern Busway, and light rail.
It also discusses the prioritisation of buses in some road corridors. Consultation is open until Friday 14 December. Those who are concerned re school bus routes will be particularly interested.
Upcoming – 30km/h zones
Auckland Transport are also consulting in February on their desire to reduce speed limits to 30km/h in the CBD and the town centres of Mission Bay and St Heliers. The ‘driver’ (pardon the pun) is the fact that a car hitting a pedestrian at 50km/h will be fatal 80% of the time, whereas a car hitting a pedestrian at 30km/h will be fatal 10% of the time. Whilst I agree with efforts to make our streets safer, I am also very interested in your thoughts as to whether slowing traffic down is the best way to do this when vehicle congestion is such a problem, and we have approximately 33,000 plus cars and buses entering the city from the east. There is also the significant investment we have made on some of our streets separating pedestrians from cyclists, busses and cars. Should we then still slow everyone down when these improvements have been done to increase safety. At time of writing specific dates for consultation are not known so please keep an eye out on my Facebook page or website for further details.
Rubbish collections over the holiday period
Rubbish and recycling will be collected as normal on Monday 24 December and Monday 31 December.
No collection will take place on Christmas day – the regular Tuesday collection will instead take place on Wednesday 26 December. Similarly, no refuse collection will take place on Tuesday 1 January – it will instead take place on Wednesday 2 January.
From 26-28 December and 2-4 January, refuse and recycling collections will be a day later than usual. Friday collections will be picked up on Saturday.
Security tips for those going away
With many of us heading away for the summer months, I’ve checked in with Neighbourhood Support for some security tips.
· Use timers on radios and lights
· Cancel newspaper and mail deliveries – consider adding a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker (available at Citizen’s Advice Bureaux)
· Lock away garden tools and ladders that could be used by a would-be thief to gain access to your home
· Do not leave a message that you are away and be careful what you post on social media
This summer is the second swimming season that we have had the enhanced Safeswim website which gives the public an up to date forecast of the water quality at any given beach. Auckland’s struggle with water quality is well documented. Combined stormwater and sewerage in older parts of Auckland, many of which are in the Orakei Ward, cause overflows into the harbour when it rains. We also have problems with dry weather sewerage overflows which are usually caused by blockages in the pipes due to things like fats, oils and wet wipes being tipped down the sink or flushed down the toilet. All of this conspires to reduce the quality of our water and create a health risk to swimmers. Last summer about 10% of readings taken at Orakei’s beaches along Tamaki Drive showed that the water failed to meet national water quality guidelines with a further 5% unsafe for children and the elderly.
Having been given a mandate by you to support the water targeted rate I have been working hard to confirm projects in our ward to address this problem. These include, suburban Orakei’s stormwater separation and outlet upgrades at Okahu Bay along with dredging of the Portland Road creek prior to the road raising. Further to this, we will be conducting detailed investigations of the networks in the Judges Bay, Mission Bay and St Heliers areas to identify and eliminate sources of contamination.
While this is taking place, please check Safeswim for water quality information before swimming.
The leading cause of pre-school children drowning in pools are unsupervised access to pools through faulty gates and barriers, ladders left against the pool and gates propped open, and small portable pools remaining full of water without supervision.
As we move into summer I ask our community to please check their pools are safe. I was devastated to read that an average of three pre-schoolers die in home pool drownings in Auckland every year and hope we can all play our role in preventing this.
If you are visiting one of our stunning islands in the gulf please make sure you check, clean, and seal your gear so we can keep them pest free.
The Harbourmaster has lists of regulations and maps of restricted areas for anyone navigating Auckland’s waters this summer.
Please remember to take and wear lifejackets when boating this summer. A speed restriction of 5 knots applies within 200m of the shore or 50m of another boat or person in the water.
Blue Christmas Services
There are many in our community for whom Christmas can be a difficult time – particularly those experiencing grief or loss. Blue Christmas services are peaceful and reflective services run through many of our local churches to support those in need through this season. I lost my own father at Christmastime so know how ‘difficult’ this time of year can be. My thoughts go to those who find this time challenging.
The legal interpretation of the way churches were rated was not the same prior to Auckland becoming the supercity. Following approaches from several members of the community concerned by the level of rates being levied on property that had previously been identified as non-rateable, I requested that this matter be brought before Councillors for decision making. Council staff had made new rates allocations for the 2018/2019 year without any political input; something I believed was inappropriate.
The Finance and Performance Committee on 20 November decided to hold the rating of religious properties at the 2017/2018 levy for the full 2018/2019 year. Those of whose rates decreased will keep that decrease, but those who received an increased bill will not pay that increase. I would also especially thank those church representatives who came and spoke at the meeting to assist the mayor and councillors in understanding the issues.
Further proposed changes to the way religious properties are rated, will be consulted upon as part of the Annual Plan between February 17 and March 17 next year. It will be open and transparent and you will have a chance to have your say.
Finally as I look back on 2018, it has been a long, and at times fraught year, but we have achieved some positive change for our region and the Orakei Ward.
Re our open space, we have bought a new park in Orakei, - one of 13 new parks for the region. We provided investment for local and sports parks, including Michaels Avenue Reserve and at Colin Maiden. A special highlight was the $750,000 to enable the renewal of the artificial turfs at College Rifles, a key venue for rugby in Orakei and a key part of our sports network. Over the next 10 years we have increased our investment in Parks and Community facilities to $3.7 billion for the region - an increase of 54% from the previous budget.
On top of this I have championed the value for money workstream which is all about getting independent assessors to peer review how we do things, check we are operating efficiently and getting the best value for the ratepayer dollar spent. To date this programme has realised $208m in benefits with more to come as improvements are identified and made. The 2018-2028 Long Term also includes efficiency savings of $61m over the first three years – equivalent to 5% of the Council’s (parent) direct expenditure.
I lobbied NZTA to get the Orakei Basin walkway balustrade lowered, supported locals to fast track the dredging of Martyn Wilson Field in Remuera and worked with Auckland Transport to get a drop off zone for Kings school at no cost to ratepayers,
For the first time in Auckland Councils history I have ensured the local Boards priority project is funded and have as I have promised to do, always voted as per the majority view on your feedback when asked.
In no way is this an exhaustive list….but a small balance against some of the not so positive stories Auckland Council gets.
Again, thank you for your support. I couldn’t do what I do without it.
I wish you all the very best seasons greetings and the happiest of summer holidays.
I’m taking a well deserved break myself and I look forward to seeing you all in 2019.