Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waitamata Local Board Plan

I presented this submission on Thursday 26 August 2011

I agree that we need to protect our built heritage and character both in our town-centres and our residential houses. Individual heritage and character buildings that are commercial also need protecting and I support the plan to protect them.
• I support the Board in developing projects that promote, identify and celebrate our heritage. I favour the immediate undergrounding of electric power cables and the extension of Victorian lights from Grafton bridge along Karangahape and Ponsonby Rds to the West and Grafton to Khyber Pass Rd, along Broadway and down Parnell Rd. Ideally the whole link bus route should be uniform .[I realise The Heart of the City may have other considerations ].
An exception that I favour is the strip along Park Rd out side the Starship children's hospital the lights be in the shape of space craft. For children hospital can be a traumatic experience so lets create a little fun for them. In principal the older historic neighbourhoods should have paving, lighting and verandas which indicate to locals and tourist that they are somewhere special. St Marys Bay Rd from Ponsonby Rd to Dublin Street should immediately have the undergrounding of electricity and street lights replaced to indicate the importance of this small strip of important heritage buildings.
• I support quality and creativity in new developments but they should be built to the District Plan rules. I support planning for growth with housing that meets the needs of residents however it should not come at the expense of destroying our heritage.
• I support a more sustainable approach to new and old buildings. To protect heritage buildings I favour more provision for mixed use of buildings ,rate relief in to compensate owners who retain their buildings who could demolish and build higher buildings
• I support attractive higher density housing in places like the old Lion Breweries site but we must should ensure that there is ‘social housing’ for lower income Aucklanders, and apartments for families.
• Because we are inner city and city fringe dwellers I support ways to make cycling and walking safer for those who choose to make this transport choice. I support improved cycle infrastructure with dedicated and connected cycleways and improved bike parking in shopping areas.
• I support an audit of intersections that can be improved for pedestrian safety and increasing the number of low speed zones.
• I support a cycleway and walkway over the Harbour Bridge, and the third harbour crossing needs to be a tunnel.
• The City Centre rail link is the most essential public transport asset for the super city and has my support. I support a heritage rail station in Parnell, and the new trams from the Wynyard Quarter to Britomart and up Queen street .
• I support a greater network of bus lanes to improve the efficiency of buses, and the visual signal that it is a ‘bus, motorbike and cycle only’ lane needs to be emphasized to motorists with increased green marking of the lane.
• I support a re-prioritizing land use away from the provision of parking so that the public are encouraged to use public transport on longer journeys into the city.
• I support more events for our local communities and events which cater for our youth. The music in the parks programme should be extended to provide opportunities for youth and consideration given to a summer arts programme targeted at youth .This would need to be worked in conjunction with government agencies . It is beneficial for all to have our youth involved in activities rather than hanging out all summer with their skateboards. however to engage with youth we could have a skateboarding competition.Whatever is done youth must have a say and their involvement will be to crucial to a successful out come.
• We need both the St James and the Mercury theatre in Council hands and refurbished to become flourishing arts venues.
• I support community gardens and fruit trees in public places to teach our children where food comes from, and be part of the glue that holds our communities together.
• I support as accessible Auckland that enables all of those in our community to enjoy and participate in what Auckland has to offer.
• I support the upgrade of Myers Park for our inner city apartment dwellers and developing the Waitemata coastal walkway so both visitors and local can enjoy it.
• The site at 254 Ponsonby Road will make an excellent village square and be a focal point for the centre of the ‘Ponsonby mile’.
• Many of our Park management plans need to be updated to protect the parks from ‘exclusive’ commercial activities that prevent locals and local clubs using them.
• With thousands of new residents due to be housed in the Wynyard Quarter the facilities such as parks and community facilities needs to be assessed and I support the Board in conducting a needs assessment.
• Public spaces are critical to residents and workers alike in the city centre and we need improved signage of the dozens of ‘through site links’ that Council negotiated for us from developers. I support the Board in ‘bringing back’ public spaces through improved signage.
• I support developing a localised plan to cut carbon emissions so that residents and workers can have clean air to breathe.
• Waste minimisation and resource recovery are key components in establishing sustainable communities and local initiatives are the best way to make us all aware of the rubbish we produce. I support your plans to help us locally find a solution.
• I support a holistic approach to caring for our streams which involve the local community being involved. Coxes Bay is a shining example of the Council and community working together over many years and this needs to occur in more areas in Waitemata.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Symomnd Street Billboard Decision IS Appalling

Published in the New Zealand Herald Tuesday 16 August 2011

Shale Chambers is right to protect the interests of our community as local boards do need more say in resource consents.
The decision of the Independent Planning Commissioner, Karyn Sinclair to override council officers decisions was appalling in these circumstances. She allowed an inappropriate billboard on a building which will impact on residents directly and from a tourist and commercial point of view will impact on the Symonds Street local business community.
The terms of reference of these independent planning commissioners should be reviewed. They may be planners but do they understand local communities?
Do they understand tourism?
With Symonds Street being on the official rugby world cup walk, this can be only the worst possible decision to highlight the best of Auckland. This decision needs to be reviewed urgently.
The council should empower our local community boards with the right to stand up for their residents and local businesses and have more say . They should have the right to question short sited decisions such as this .
Community Boards should also take into account the importance of Tourism and Heritage to the life and economic contribution to Auckland.

Gerard Hill

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mr Joyce Please Explain

Mr Joyce and the National Government should explain with more detail why the rail link will not work .It is an Auckland decision however, with his decision to rip $14million out of the public funding for Auckland public transport it makes everything a little harder for our council to deliver.
There are government decisions involving billions of dollars which they made with competitively little discussion or no discussion .For instance the tax cuts , labour law changes and direct subsidies for the Hobbit movie. In economic terms do they stack up? The bailing out of South Canterbury Finance was that justified or in the national interest?
The decision to relax gambling legislation in favour of sky city was done over dinner. Once upon a time this would have gone to a parliamentary select committee What changed?
With tax cuts and increase in GST the jury is still out. Did these decisions get put through the ringer to the ninth degree like is happening to the inner city rail loop ? The northern motorway extension is being pushed through regardless of any economic benefit.
In short, the government subsidies have gone to the South Island wealthy who made foolish or greedy decisions, to Sir Peter Jackson, Warner Brothers and a subsidy on Wellington jobs, Sky City shareholders.
None of these proposals were named by Dame Judith Mayhew from the City of London when she came here in April. This respected kiwi who has run the City of London made two recommendation to get the Auckland and hence national economy moving .One was a broadband net work and the other was the inner city rail link .With respect to Mr Joyce, Dame Judith does know how to make international cities work .Her opinions and suggestions should be treated with respect and not lightly dismissed.