May 2021 Board Report

I had a bit of feedback that having my board reports uploaded as a Word document was a bit unwieldy, so will post them directly to here from now on. You can read past reports at Monthly Board Reports

Jonathan Turner Board Member Report

1st April – 30th April

Roles assigned by the local board

  • Deputy Chair.
  • Transport portfolio.
  • Chair of the Manukau Harbour Forum.
  • Appointed to the Weed Management Political Advisory Group.

General / assigned roles update

Transport portfolio:

  • I followed up on an OIA with Waka Kotahi about the planned cycle link between Queenstown and Hillsborough Road. I received information that the investigation has been deferred until the route for light rail has been investigated. I will continue to push for better cycling improvements here.  Following this, I received word from Waka Kotahi that work is planned to upgrade the crossing on Queenstown Road. I am waiting for more information on this.
  • I attended the Single Stage Business Case for cycling hosted by Auckland Transport. This was the initial discussion around how AT will implement cycling within the Connected Communities Program, which focuses on getting commuters into the city. I raised that we need to be doing more cross-town routes, such as Mount Albert Road and Balmoral/Greenlane roads, key examples of this.
  • 388 Hillsborough Road footpath, which I logged in March, has been fixed.
  • 12 Memorial Avenue footpath, which I logged in March, has been fixed.
  • Frost Road speed bump marking, the contractor advised that this is an ongoing issue at this site due to heavy vehicles (buses/trucks) coming out of a private driveway that is in poor condition. The markings have been repainted.
  • Alex Boyd Link bus shelter- there are ongoing discussions about whether to move the shelter and where to. This has been closed since the new network began and could be better used elsewhere.
  • Beagle Avenue – disappointing result in our advocacy to have this become a formalised pedestrian crossing. Auckland Transport found a lack of demand but will be proposing new broken yellow lines adjacent to the existing crossing to improve visibility between pedestrians and cyclists crossing and approaching drivers.
  • Hillsborough Road bus layover discussions between residents and Auckland Transport are ongoing, with a final design on its way.
  • One of the May Road pedestrian improvements has been put into place while the others await the enabling infrastructure works further along the road to be completed.
  • Broken yellow Lines on Olsen Avenue and Hillsborough Road. An engineer visited the site during the afternoon peak hours. During the site visit, the traffic volumes observed exiting Olsen Avenue were relatively low. There was a car parked in the parking space closest to the intersection during the time of the site visit. Congestion was not considered to be a significant issue. During a 30-minute period, the longest queue observed was approximately 20m (equivalent to 4 vehicles) from the intersection with Hillsborough Road. Queues extended that far only once during the site visit.
  • Visit to Freeland Reserve with Kainga Ora and the surrounding areas of development was interesting, with rain gardens, one-way streets and improved footpaths a highlight.
  • Auckland Light Rail discussion with the Minister of Transport at the Fickling Centre.

Green Pavlova Conference

I attended this on behalf of the board on the 25th- 27th May. It was an incredibly useful conference with some extremely valuable workshops and speakers.

  • The first panel was on Climate Change and the role Parks can play in response to it. Auckland’s very own Pippa Sommerville spoke and talked about how Auckland has developed Te-Taruke-a-Tawhiri to guide our response, based heavily on the idea of walking backwards into the future, looking at the past. She highlighted the importance of parks in a crisis, referencing Christchurch Earthquake and Covid as well as a financial crisis. We also heard from Rumi Satoh, the Park manager for 72 parks in Tokyo, Japan, with a large focus on volunteer-led initiatives in the parks.

  • Hononga Tangata, Hononga Whenua looked at a co-design process with Rangatahi from a Kura Kaupapa in Glen Eden. This looked at working with youth to design what they want to see in a local park and provided them with the chance to earn NCEA credits, experience what a Landscape Architect does and connect with Te Ao Māori. I thought about our ‘new park’ in Roskill South and how we have an opportunity to do something similar there. We could look at working with the communities we have in the area and come up with something that reflects local stories and dreams.
  • Targeted Community Programmes was hosted by Martin Van Jaarsveld. He spoke about the loss of connection to nature that people have experienced and the effect of that on physical and mental wellbeing, a sentiment that was shared in probably every workshop I attended. As a way of getting people who don’t feel comfortable with parks into them, the council runs a number of “connect to nature” programmes, with a highlight being bush camps targeted to primary schools and families, providing all the equipment and experience needed for a family to experience a night in the bush. Hopefully we can have one of these in our area, potentially at Waikōwhai Park.
  • Community Empowerment, Codesign and active parks. This workshop focused on the experience of a group in Marton who fundraised over 1 million dollars to build their neighbourhood a ‘dream park.’ They discussed the issues they faced with codesign, as well as the huge benefits of the process and the incorporation of Māori values into the design.
  • Live Nature Wise –  this was presented by an Australian group who focus on the disconnect from nature that people have and the effects of this on mental health. They highlighted that since 2005 the majority of the world live in an urbanised setting, the increase in mental health issues and chronic diseases, and the fact that people who live in greener, leafier suburbs have better health outcomes on all fronts. Their solution is a range of ‘micro doses’ of immersion into nature, including a ‘nature locator’ that allows people to find ‘nature’ near and far. This was super important during the Covid lockdowns, allowing people to get into nature without having to travel from their homes.
  • The right to Risky Play – this focused on Article 31 of the UN human rights declaration – the right of a child to play. NZ is signed up to this and the workshop questioned whether we provide enough ‘risky’ play to satisfy the proclamation. Risky play can happen ‘beyond’ the playground – such as going into the bush, riding bikes, going for walks in the neighborhood.
  • Urban Ngahere –  I couldn’t miss this one as Howell Davies has worked extensively on our Local Board Urban Ngahere plan which we signed off this month. His program highlights the need to ‘plan ahead’ when planting trees – how will they look in 10, 30, 50, 100 years? Auckland’s area is as big as the next 12 biggest cities combined so we have a lot of room for trees and a great need for them. He discussed the science used to create the Urban Ngahere strategy and acknowledged the Local Boards who have worked with him on creating this.
  • International Indigenous Presentations – How is your indigenous knowledge influencing sustainable and environmental management of parks and open spaces- This panel discussed how different countries allow indigenous knowledge to thrive within our parks. Ihirangi Heke spoke about the Atua Matua framework for good health. In his research, he found that the single best way to improve Māori health outcomes was to reconnect with the environment. They focus on teaching rangitahi how to read the environment, the signs that it tells us and how that connects to western science. We then heard from Aboriginal elder Jeffrey Newchurch, who spoke about reconnecting with long lost land and the effects of climate change, and Adrian Goulet, a first nations Canadian who spoke of the importance of connecting elders with youth in developing environmental knowledge and reconnecting with the land.
  • Issues facing Parks Panel: this was a wide-ranging discussion looking at the 3 big issues facing parks. The speakers highlighted a range of issues including access for seniors to parks, pointing out that over 25% of the population will be over 65 very soon; money being given out to build new parks while we cannot pay for upkeep of parks we already have; getting ethnicities who are nervous about parks into them and using them; the need to see urban parks as ecological zones and the tension that may cause with current park use and the need for parks to be multi purpose and multi functional.
  • A Māori world view –  this was a brief rundown of some of the concepts within a traditional Māori world view. The presenter Paora Te Hurihanganui discussed aspects of traditional atua, matariki, the ‘triangular’ world view, how humans are affected by the environment and how we affect the environment. Health was traditionally environmentally centred rather than human centred ie, understanding whakapapa connections to certain environments such as the maramataka, may lead to improved health outcomes. He discussed how humans fast to replenish the body, but when do we give the environment a chance to “fast” and have a break and replenish itself?
  • Can sports clubrooms be more sustainable and add more value if seen as community spaces? This workshop looked at how we can make better use of clubrooms, particularly single-use ones that are underutilised. The presenter highlighted that there are between 3 to 4 thousand clubrooms, which could be worth between 3 to 4 billion dollars. They also represent hundreds of millions of dollars in liability. There is a tendency for there to be ‘too many clubrooms’ for one park, although this isn’t a problem we generally face. Many of these club rooms are not fit for purpose in the modern world and are ‘time locked’ in the 20th century. Bowls New Zealand says that the “future of clubrooms is as community facilities first and bowling second,” and the presenter was keen to see this extended out to other sports codes. There is a need to relook at what success looks like for sports clubs and facilities, with a focus on them becoming high occupancy and high use venues.
  • Tree Cities of the World – this was presented by Mark Roberts and spoke about the setting up of this organisation across the world. Over 100 cities are signed up to this programme, which aims to help councils meet the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN which we have signed up to. I hadn’t realised Auckland was signed up to this, and that it ties in very well with our Urban Ngahere strategy. I particularly liked the idea of signposting trees with information on their age, type, carbon sequestration and how much oxygen they produce in a year as a way of highlighting the importance of trees.
  • Thinking Water- Napier recently developed a water conservation plan for their parks. This was driven by their water take guidelines as well as a recognition of the increasing frequency of drought there. The plan set out to identify how much water parks used, where it went and what could be done to reduce water usage. They limited the scope of the plan to water features, amenity gardens and sports grounds, and chose representatives of these rather than every single park. This allowed for this to be both quicker and cheaper than doing every single park. They found a lot of water was wasted in summer on watering amenity gardens during the day, which causes shallow root growth and loss of a lot of water to evaporation. They also identified issues with water features and the prior avoidance of reticulating the water supply to these to save costs. The plan made a number of high level recommendations, including the importance of Council ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to water restrictions and modelling good behaviour for the public.
  • Welcome to Te Urewera, you may want to buckle up – Tamati Kruger of Tūhoe spoke as the final keynote speaker on the experience of Tūhoe in Te Urewera. This land was taken from Tūhoe in the 19th century, turned into a national park in the 20th, and very recently, Tūhoe have become caretakers for Te Urewera, which exists as a ‘living park.’ He spoke of the initiatives Tūhoe have taken in the park, including creating the first “living building” outside of the USA, which is the most sustainable a building can possibly be. The goal for Tūhoe is to be as autonomous as possible while living with the land, and this was an interesting and thought-provoking discussion as to how that can become a reality.

Manukau Harbour Forum role:

  • On the 14th May the forum and a range of community and council representatives boarded the Ratahi for a field trip around the Manukau Harbour. Jim Jackson was generous enough to allow the trip to leave from his place in Clark’s Beach, and after a round of introductions and a karakia from George Flavell of Ngati Te Ata we headed out. We first went down the Waiuku River to see the Glenbrook Steel Mill and heard from them about the operations and the upcoming resource consent. Following this, we went up the Waiuku Channel, past Clarks Beach township, and alongside the Awhitu Peninsula, looking at the cliff erosion that creates significant sediment loadings into the harbour.

We heard about the CREST project, a community conservation project that aims to protect coastal wildlife along the coastline from Clarks Beach to Karaka; Te Korowai o Papatūānuku, a 1 Billion Trees project on Āwhitu; Healthy Waters Water Quality work programmes in the Franklin area; public wharves boat ramps sedimentation; fish, seaweed and shellfish stock in the harbour; long term economic redevelopment of the harbour including the potential for a frequent ferry from Onehunga to Clarks Beach; establishment of cycle and walking tracks along the harbour’s foreshore; development of a marine facility at Kahawai Point and a Manuka planting plan for Awhitu Peninsula. We went across to Cornwallis Wharf and then headed back.

During the trip, Jim Jackson and Ian Ruthe raised concerns about non-functioning navigational markers on the harbour, and I subsequently raised this with Auckland Transport. Interestingly the lights in the Wairopa channel are ‘owned’ by Panuku since purchasing the port but are maintained by AT. The lights in the Papakura channel are owned by Liquigas, and it was raised that these also have issues that are being looked into. 

This has been a long-sought for trip and was vital for the Forum members and high-level Council staff to get a feeling for being on the harbour and seeing a side of it many of us don’t usually get to see. We all have our connections to different parts of the harbour and being able to experience it through a new lens was a great opportunity.

  • As part of the LTP process, I raised concerns with councillors around the lack of funding earmarked for the Manukau Harbour out of the Water Quality Targeted Rate. The “Southern catchments programme” is focused on the Tamaki Estuary and Manukau Harbour, intended to leverage other major infrastructure projects which will need to invest in improving water quality. There is also investment into the safer networks programme which looks at investigating the ‘high problem’ areas and finding the illegal connections which often exist in areas of high pollution. There was widespread agreement that there is a need to tell the story of what is being done in the Manukau across the Council’s spending better. I note that in the final LTP consultation report, four local boards specifically expressed support for using the Water Quality Targeted Rate to improve water quality in the Manukau Harbour.

Meetings / events attended

  • 1st May – Kāinga Ora Whānau Fun Day at Hay Park School
  • 1st May – spoke on behalf of the Local board at the Puketāpapa Business Voice event at the Fickling Centre
  • 3rd May – Finance and Performance Committee workshop based on the targeted rates proposals.
  • 4th May – Cycling Single Stage Business Case workshop.
  • 5th May – Meeting with Local Area Manager, Chair Fairey and Local Board Staff.
  • 5th May – Catch up with Chair Fairey
  • 6th May – Extraordinary Puketāpapa Local Board business meeting.
  • 6th May – Puketāpapa Local Board workshop. 
  • 6th May – Community Forum at YMCA Lynfield Rec Centre. Discussion with constituents focused largely on Footpaths and Cycling.
  • 7th May – Auckland Light Rail discussion with the Minister of Transport at the Fickling Centre.
  • 8th May – Mount Roskill Community Patrol AGM at Roskill South Oasis Hub.
  • 12th May – Local Board input at the Finance and Performance Committee on the LTP with Chair Fairey. Presented on the Local Board’s feedback on the RLTP.
  • 12th May – Meeting with Local Board staff and Chair Fairey
  • 13th May – Puketāpapa Local Board workshop. Included the Puketāpapa Community Network meeting at which I volunteered to take the minutes.
  • 14th May – Manukau Harbour tour.
  • 17th May – Represented Puketāpapa at the Chairs’ Forum discussion around selecting a Local Board representative for the Light Rail Establishment Unit.
  • 18th May – meeting with Manukau Harbour Forum coordinator and MHF Deputy Chair Cole on a comms plan for the Forum.
  • 19th May – Meeting with Local Area Manager , Chair Fairey and Local Board Staff.
  • 20th May – Puketāpapa Local Board business meeting.
  • 20th May – Puketāpapa Local Board workshop. 
  • 21st May – Meeting with the Ministers Association regarding the Christmas event.
  • 24th May – Kāinga Ora tour of Freeland Reserve and surrounding development.
  • 25th May – Zoom meeting with Minister Wood and Chairs from Mangere Otahuhu, Maungakiekie Tamaki, Albert Eden and Waitemata.
  • 26th May – 27th May – Green Pavlova Conference. 
  • 28th May – Ngāti Tamaoho hui with members Doig and Shen

Disclosures

  • I am working with Friends of Wairaki stream in an admin role and will excuse myself from any decision making relating to this group. 
  • I am a volunteer run director at Owairaka parkrun.

Recommendation

That this report be received. 

Note: if other recommendations are proposed they may be subject to a Notice of Motion (refer to Standing Orders or Appendix 1 pg. 5-6 in the guidance document).

One thought on “May 2021 Board Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s