May 2016 Newsletter

What’s happening?

As you can see from the issues reported on in this newsletter the Association has a lot to keep tabs on. We want to keep you well informed and also to understand your views – with more frequent newsletters, the upcoming launch of a website and a membership drive we aim to do just this. This historic suburb is your community, help support us in continuing to shape its growth in a positive direction.

Parking zone

There is an old saying that “a watched pot never boils”. You may be excused if you think that that is the case with the implementation of the St Mary’s Bay residential parking zone – remember that we were told last year that the technology to monitor and enforce the new system would be in place by late 2015/early 2016, and we could expect implementation of the permanent scheme early in 2016. That has not happened. However, at a recent meeting with Auckland Transport we were told that the delay has been due to technical issues over the enforcement process, and those issues are largely resolved. Auckland Transport expects to be in a position to open permit applications by mid June, with the start date to be a month or so later. For full details about how the parking zone will operate see


You’re receiving this newsletter because you’re a member of the St Mary’s Bay Association. However, many of our newer residents may be unaware of the Association – or indeed the many issues that impact on this suburb.

A residents’ association is only as strong as its membership, so we’d really appreciate it if when you’re chatting to your neighbours you could ask them if they’d be interested in joining and supporting the St Mary’s Bay Association. They can do this by simply right click on and opening the hyperlink. Please note that joining is a two-part process: 1. Fill in the membership form online. 2. Deposit the subscription fee into the SMBA bank account, referencing your name and address. The bank statement record is the only proof of payment.

Of the issues mentioned in this newsletter some are specific to St Mary’s Bay, for example zonal parking; others, like the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, are Auckland-wide and highly complex, requiring careful study, sometimes paid professional advice and a submission. We need to study all these consultation documents to understand that impact, if any, on St Mary’s Bay.

As issues become increasing complex and the call for submissions more frequent, the Association needs funding and feedback. Members can expect more regular news about local issues, with more frequent newsletters and the launch of a St Mary’s Bay Association website.

Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

We do not have anything to report on substantive aspects of the proposed Auckland unitary plan, additional to the information in earlier newsletters. The zoning hearings went ahead without Auckland Council giving evidence on its controversial “out of scope” changes.

After a marathon exercise (243 hearing days), the Independent Hearings Panel expects to complete its hearings this month. It is required to make any recommendations to Council for changes to the proposed unitary plan by 22 July 2016. Those recommendations will be available on the Auckland Council website from 27 July. As reported previously it seems unlikely that there will be any recommendations that directly affect St Mary’s Bay.

Council has 20 working days (until 19 August) to consider the recommendations and notify its decisions on what will be included in the plan. It says that it will make its decisions in public council meetings on 16, 17 and 18 August.

For more information go to “Latest news on Auckland Unitary Plan”.

Although there are differences of view across Auckland (and, very likely, within St Mary’s Bay) about the Auckland 2040 group’s resistance to parts of the unitary plan, the Association recognises that Auckland 2040 has done a great service to us all in bringing important issues about the democratic process before the residents of Auckland, at a very considerable cost to it. The Association has decided to make a modest donation of $500 towards those costs (modest in terms of the scale of its costs, but not insignificant for us as a small organisation).


The appeals by Herne Bay Residents’ Association, Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society and Northcote Residents’ Association against grant of a resource consent for SkyPath (the proposed combined pedestrian and cycle pathway under the eastern lane of the harbour bridge) are currently “on hold” while a wind load study is undertaken to assess the feasibility of the project.

The report was to have been completed by April, but NZ Transport Agency has told the court that it could be up to 16 weeks from the time it receives the report before it will decide what its response will be. Auckland Council is due to file a report in the Environment Court by 27 May 2016, advising the court of the status of the wind testing and what progress has been made on resolving issues raised by the residents’ groups over traffic and parking effects of the SkyPath proposal.

Urban cycleway

The Association made a general submission to Auckland Transport in March in response to AT’s request for feedback on the proposed cycleway from Pt Chev to the city. We understand that some members have given separate feedback. If you are one who has done so, and you have a copy of your feedback that you would be happy to share, please send it to us .

AT currently is assessing all the feedback. It will prepare a report on this feedback, which will be made available in mid-2016.

Ponsonby paid parking

Thanks to all members who took up the invitation to give feedback to Auckland Transport on its proposals for a paid parking zone in Ponsonby. Again, if you have a copy of your feedback that you are happy to share, please send it to us.

The Association gave its feedback to Auckland Transport on 29 April. We had previously met with AT to discuss aspects of the proposal, including the apparent extension into some of the streets in the St Mary’s Bay residential parking zone. We were told (as were others who contacted Auckland Transport direct) that the plan attached to an e-flyer given to us by AT was incorrect, and that it was never intended that the zone would extend into Dedwood Terrace and Seymour Street.

We understand that the feedback will be analysed over the next two months, and a final decision will made in July.

Annual plan

The Association made submissions, through the Waitemata Local Board, in March on Auckland Council’s annual plan, and subsequently David Abbott has met with the chair of the Board. We have a good relationship with the Board, and will continue to work with it on various issues raised by members, such as maintenance on the reserve beside the motorway (colloquially known as St Mary’s Reserve), and concerns over visual effects of billboards in the city.

We have suggested that there be a re-planting of the verges of St Mary’s Road with appropriate native trees. This was too late for the current year, but will be considered for 2017-2018.


The Association is still seeking definitive answers from Watercare over the cause of a high bacteria reading in Westhaven marina in January, and is continuing to liaise with Development Auckland (operators of the marina) over work being done to find a short term remedy, as distinct from the longer term extensive overhaul of the stormwater and sewage infrastructure. We are hopeful that short term measures will include early warning of overflows/high bacteria counts to all users.


The Waitemata Local Board tells us that there is a lot of work is going on behind the scenes at present to address concerns about the intrusive effect on residents of large brightly lit billboards in the city, some of which are visible from parts of St Mary’s Bay. We will continue to liaise with the Board on this.

Weeds i

Members recently raised concerns about the state of maintenance of the “St Mary’s Bay” reserve, running between the cliff-face and the motorway. This has been raised with the Waitemata Local Board. We are told that regular maintenance is undertaken, and that the perceived lack of maintenance is attributable to overgrown parts of private land on, or at the foot of, the cliffs (abutting the reserve). While we acknowledge the problem of weeds on the privately-owned cliffs, we contend that maintenance schedules have not been effective in preventing rampant weed growth in the council-owned part of the reserve.

The Association is intending to work with the Board on possible solutions including a close watch on Council’s maintenance programme. This may require discussions with adjoining land owners.

Harbour crossing

The Association remains in contact with NZ Transport Agency over planning for an additional crossing for the Waitemata harbour (to relieve the pressure on the harbour bridge). We had understood that experts were being engaged at the beginning of this year, to start some specific planning of routes. We have been advised recently that NZTA has changed its timeframes and that the first steps to designate land possibly needed for the crossing has moved from mid-2016 to November 2016. We are told that the change is needed to allow time for it to consider studies by other agencies, such as the Foundation report coming out of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project and Auckland Transport’s rapid transit study.

NZTA has suggested a further consultation meeting in the next month or two, by which time it hopes to have more information about “the route protection process including potentially some indicative designs”.

Temporary closure

It’s a bridge you can’t see, but have probably walked, cycled or driven over many times – and it’s about to close for repairs. The almost 80-year-old bridge (actually part of the road at the lower end of Curran St leading to Westhaven and Wynyard Quarter) will be closed from June 1 to September 30 for repairs. Now surrounded by reclaimed land, the bridge simply looks like part of the road.

It is anticipated that access will be provided for walkers, cyclists and runners