As there is much to discuss as part of Councils ten year budget, I’m sending you a second newsletter this month to update you on more subjects we are consulting on.
Last week I covered general rates and the UAGC, the proposed new Water Quality rate and the proposed new targeted rate for Natural Environment, the mayors fuel tax along with funding issues for the Auckland Art Gallery and new charges for rubbish collection.
This newsletter will cover- Funding for Remuera’s Ohinerau (Mt Hobson), managing pests, adding more community recycling centres, heritage focus and funding and sport and recreational funding.
- Desley Simpson
Councillor for Auckland representing the Orakei Ward
Funding for Ohinerau (Mt Hobson) and Mt Wellington
Fourteen of Auckland’s distinctive Volcanic Cones are managed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority. This authority was set up by the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 and its membership includes representatives of iwi and Auckland Council who manage the maunga (mountains) for the common benefit of iwi and all Aucklanders. Their plan for the maunga is being consulted upon as part of the Long Term Plan.
Although we have several maunga (mountains) nearby, Ōhinerau/Mt Hobson is the only maunga within the Orakei Ward administered by the authority and I think this treasured landmark is worthy of a specific mention. The plan includes an increase in operational expenditure next year, primarily in pest and vegetation management, with capital works including enhancements to the track network and signage coming over the next three years.
Do you agree Ohinerau/Mt Hobson needs designated funding for Pest and vegetation management, track enhancements and upgraded signage?
Managing pests in Auckland (rats, stoats, possums, pigs and cats)
The Regional Pest Management Plan is another area where council wants to know what you think this month. This plan is to replace the previous plan that dates all the way back before the creation of Auckland Council. The plan is a mix of regulatory rules (e.g. what species are controlled and to what level) and proposing works to maintain and improve Auckland’s ecosystems. The activities suggested would be funded in part through the proposed Natural Environment targeted rate and the total work programme will depend on the funds made available through the long term plan.
A part of the plan which has attracted early attention is that it clarifies when and where cats are considered a pest cat vs a pet cat. It is proposed that Cat control will only occur around certain high ecological value sites where other pest animals are also being controlled e.g. Shakespear Regional Park. None of these sites are in Orakei or on the urban isthmus. Affected communities will be notified well in advance of any action being taken, and ensuring cats are microchipped will prevent any moggies from being mistaken for feral.
Do you think this will work and is the right thing to do?
So what else is changing? This iteration adds 11 new animal pests and 55 new plant pests to the list of controlled species. Several of the new species are currently sold by the pet or nursery industry, however gardeners and pet owners will still be able to retain existing plants or pets that they already have just won’t be able to purchase new individuals of the banned species.
Examples of animals proposed to be listed as a new pest species are bearded and eastern water dragons which have previously been allowed as pets.
Examples of a new plant species included in the proposal as pests are short-form agapanthus (with some exceptions for low fertility cultivars) and several species of bamboo.
Particular priority in this plan goes to preventing the spread of Kauri dieback, particularly to Hauraki Gulf Islands and the Hunua Ranges and eradication of pests on gulf islands.
Find the full proposed plan here
Find the feedback form here
Adding more Community Recycling Centres
Auckland’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP) is a refresh of the 2012 plan which set a vision for “Zero waste by 2040”. While some progress has been made: household waste dropped 10% from 2010-2016, there is a long way to go and other sectors of waste are increasing (especially construction and demolition waste).
One of the proposals is to increase the number of Community Recycling Centres to twelve – currently there are 5, in Whangaparaoa, Helensville, Devonport, Waitakere and Waiuku. The centres are Council owned and run by community enterprise, turning unwanted goods into saleable items. So far, these centres are reportedly effective in diverting waste from landfill (exceeding expectations by diverting more than 60% of materials received away from landfill). The network at present has noticeable gaps particularly in central and south Auckland which would be covered by new facilities, for example at Western Springs and Mt Wellington/Panmure.
What do you think about expanding the network? Do you think you’d find it useful?
You can read more here and have your say here.
Auckland Councils first Auckland Plan had 14 pages designated to Heritage. The draft Auckland Plan has none, not mentioned at all. To those keen on built heritage and the many heritage groups we have, this is very concerning. Staff say that while heritage is no longer given the status as a separate chapter in the plan, it is something that underpins other objectives such as creating/maintaining a sense of belonging and identity for Auckland. This iteration of the Auckland Plan has focused on narrowing the number of priorities so that the plan is more focussed. While the Auckland Plan is not a funding or regulatory document, it sets the direction for Council’s work.
One example of Council’s work in this area is the grants programme, where landowners who have heritage homes are able to apply to the Council’s Regional Historic Heritage Grant to assist with maintaining their heritage buildings for the future with activities such as seismic strengthening. The size of this fund has been $80,700 for the past few years and change to this is not proposed at this point. In addition, the 21 Local Boards have funded heritage work from their contestable grants to the value of $86,927 between them in the past year.
Historic buildings owned and maintained by council in the Orakei Ward include the Remuera Library and the St Heliers Library. Funding for their maintenance and upkeep whilst regionally based comes through the OLB. I do know that the full cost of work proposed for the St Heliers library is unable to be funded from existing budgets.
What do you think, does council spend enough on heritage? Is it something that the Auckland Plan should explicitly deal with, or is it best placed as something that supports other priorities?
Sport and Recreation
The Parks and Community Budget covers a wide range of council facilities including parks, community halls and public spaces. Whilst the LTP shows that the Parks and Community area has a 10 year Capital budget of $3.2 billion (an increase of $800 million compared to the previous LTP), I have heard concerns from the sporting sector that this may be insufficient investment into sport and recreation. This is concerning. Not only do facilities need to be upgraded and maintained to ensure their longevity, but new facilities are required to address the current shortfall and the rapid growth in Auckland’s population – these needs are applicable to both indoor and outdoor spaces.
If there is inadequate investment in sport, recreation and physical activity in Auckland risks driving participation rates down. Physical inactivity cost New Zealand’s health care system over $200 million in 2013. 32% of New Zealand children are expected to be overweight or obese by 2025, with 21% of 4-year-old children in Auckland already overweight or obese.
Furthermore, the availability of spaces and facilities is already failing to meet demand in certain areas. Known, current, and well-researched regional facility plans prepared by sports codes demonstrate current, short-, and medium- term shortfalls in facility provision, including gaps of approximately 30 indoor courts 70 outdoor netball courts and 40 outdoor tennis courts; as well as winter sports fields shortfall in hours the equivalent of circa 50 artificial turfs.
Without sufficient investment, our current and future community sport and recreation spaces are further compromised. This means our growing, increasingly diverse population won’t have adequate access to suitable infrastructure to participate in physical activity – whether it’s a competitive rugby match, social tennis or sports events. Even with the increase in funding for renewals indicated in the draft LTP, Council has acknowledged that there will be a decreased level of service, deteriorating assets, and risk of failure and asset closure.
Having invested so much of my efforts to upgrade Madills Farm, Colin Maiden Park, Ngahue Reserve, Michaels Ave and Glover Park during my time as Orakei Local Board chair, I would like to see this investment continue so all codes were catered for to meet current and future demands. Do you agree? Tell us what you think.
Have Your Say
Remember you can Have your say at akhaveyoursay.nz - feedback is due on or before March 28.