Spring update: What’s happening ?
- Local body elections
- Residential parking zone
- Activity updates
- Auckland Unitary Plan
- Harbour tunnel
- Ponsonby paid parking zone
- Urban cycleway
- Local Government Act amendment bill
- Membership – time to renew
- AGM date
After the flurry of activity in late summer and autumn, we have had a period of watching and waiting in the winter months. It’s time to update you on the outcome of events reported in our last newsletter, and talk about what spring heralds for members.
First, an encouragement to have your say in Auckland’s government for the next three years: we want representatives who are alive to our issues and are prepared to speak out about them.
Local body elections
Voting papers for the Auckland mayoralty, the Waitemata ward (council representative) and the Waitemata local board should be in your mailbox about the end of this week. Without wishing to downplay the significance of choosing a mayor who can lead an effective council, we need local area representatives who will champion our interests as well as work for a better city overall. Hopefully this newsletter will prompt your thinking on what you want your representatives to do for this area.
You may have seen the article in the NZ Herald on 13 September about the candidates for our Waitemata ward. We are about to put a few questions to them on key issues for St Mary’s Bay, and will send out a special newsletter , hopefully late next week, with their responses.
For more information see Auckland Council’s website: http://showyourlove.co.nz/ .
St Mary’s Bay residential parking zone – starts this week
At long last we have received advice from Auckland Transport of the start date for the St Mary’s residential parking zone – next Monday, 19 September. For full details about how the parking zone will operate see https://at.govt.nz/driving-parking/parking-permits/resident-parking-permits/residential-parking-zones/#allocation .
Auckland Transport wrote to all St Mary’s Bay residents at the end of June, inviting applications for annual permits by 24 July. AT informs us that the level of applications has allowed permits to be issued to everyone who applied.
All residents are also entitled to 50 free single day parking vouchers (AT calls them coupons) per year. You can apply online at https://at.govt.nz/driving-parking/parking-permits/resident-parking-permits/residential-parking-zones/residential-parking-zone-permitcoupon-application-form/ . You will need to attach recent proof of residency at an address in St Mary’s Bay (note that a rates statement or water bill is not accepted for parking permit/coupon purposes as they are issued to owners, who may not live at the property).
If you are unable to provide the proof of residency electronically you should contact one of AT’s customer service centres (https://at.govt.nz/about-us/contact-us/customer-service-centres/ ) to find out how to get your coupons.
Initially the application form on AT website did not provide specifically for the free coupons. That has now been corrected but if you have trouble with it, AT has given us a form to submit by email. Contact us email@example.com if you would like a copy of that form (and AT’s instructions on how to complete it) emailed to you.
We are nearly there in getting our website up and running. We have engaged a website designer to do the technical work and that is largely complete. We will let you know when it is operational.
In the meantime, who may have interesting photos of St Mary’s Bay (either new or historic) and/or interesting information about the history of the Bay, we invite you to share it with us to help enhance the website and make it more attractive as an information repository.
(a) Auckland Unitary Plan
You may be aware from media reports that the Independent Hearing Panel made its recommendations to Auckland Council in mid July, and Council accepted most of those recommendations on 19 August 2016 (so that the Auckland Unitary Plan is now in being). The appeal period expires today (16 September). It is unclear at present whether the parts of the plan that are not subject to appeal will become fully operative from today, or whether the two-tiered system that has applied over the past few years (the old “legacy” plans plus the Auckland Unitary Plan) will continue until all appeals have been decided.
Several appeals have been filed – including an appeal by the Independent Maori Statutory Board in relation to the treatment of sites of significance to Maori, of which there are two in St Mary’s Bay (one is at the foot of St Mary’s Road extending eastward from the right hand side of the carpark, and the other is Point Erin which as is an old pa site). It is too early to say definitively that no appeal will affect St Mary’s Bay, but that appears to be the case. In particular, it is most unlikely that there will be any effect on zoning or the special (heritage) character of our area.
One aspect of the new plan that has some significance for us is the zoning towards the top of College Hill and at the start of Jervois Road. The proposed unitary plan introduced a Business-mixed zone for the northern side of College Hill from New Street to the old Post Office, and on the northern side of Jervois road from Seymour Street to Shelly Beach Road. SMBA and the residents of Dublin Street made submissions on permissible height for developments in this area. As a consequence the Auckland Unitary Plan has reduced the initial height limit from 18.5 metres (four floors) to 13.5 metres (three floors) – far more in keeping with the character of the area.
However, the Auckland Unitary Plan also extended the zone from Shelly Beach Road to Curran Street (that area was initially zoned Terrace Housing and Apartments), without a similar restriction on height – meaning that developments in this area could go up to 18.5 metres.
(b) Harbour crossing tunnel
NZ Transport Agency’s planning for a further harbour crossing continues to evolve, with a significant development this month being the release of the final report of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project. This project is a collaboration between Auckland Council, Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport, NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission to set a strategic approach to Auckland’s transport system over the next 30 years. The report recommends an aligned strategic approach, including an indicative package of transport investment. It is available online: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Land/Documents/ATAP-Supporting-Information.pdf .
St Mary’s Bay was represented at a NZTA briefing meeting in July, at which NZTA said:
- It was now looking to develop an integrated transport solution rather than a roading-only solution;
- It is likely that it will need to prohibit heavy vehicles from using the outer lanes (1 and 8) of the harbour bridge by 2030;
- The proposed harbour tunnel won’t be needed before 2030 – 2040;
- It will be starting a land designation process after the local body elections, with community consultation likely at the beginning of 2017.
At this time it seems unlikely that the designation process will affect St Mary’s Bay/Westhaven, but we will know more in early 2017. SMBA will continue to monitor this.
(c) Ponsonby paid parking zone
We have not yet been told of the outcome to Auckland Transport’s consultation exercise.
You may have read that all but one of the appeals against the grant of a resource consent for Sky Path have been withdrawn.
Auckland Council affirmed its commitment to SkyPath at a public meeting in July. SMBA informed the Waitemata ward councillor (Mike Lee) and other interested persons of its position on SkyPath, ahead of that meeting. In summary, it was:
- SMBA supports pedestrian and cycle access across the Auckland Harbour Bridge in principle, but believes there are real concerns about the viability of the existing SkyPath proposal that need to be resolved. Most, if not all, of the technical concerns are likely to be resolved, one way or the other, in the course of NZTA’s consideration of SkyPath’s application for a licence to use the bridge.
- The concerns expressed by Herne Bay Residents’ Association and Northcote Residents’ Association about Council’s legal ability to fund SkyPath (as a public private partnership) are properly matters for Council against a backdrop of oversight of its exercise of its statutory responsibilities by the Auditor-General.
Essentially, the future of the project now lies in the hands of NZTA – as far as we are aware it is still assessing the project and planning to make its decision whether to grant SkyPath a licence to use the harbour bridge at the end of this year, or early 2017.
(d) Urban cycleway
Auckland Transport issued a report this month on the public feedback it received on the Pt Chev to city fringe section of the cycleway, and its decisions following that feedback. The report is available online on AT’s website: www.at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/pt-chev-to-city-cycle-improvements/ .
AT is still working on design improvements, and will be consulting further on the revised design. It has not yet announced the timing of this consultation. It has given the end of 2018 as its completion date for the present proposals (phase one). We will continue to monitor this.
Local Government Act amendment bill
There is a bill currently before a parliamentary select committee to amend several aspects of the Local Government Act 2002. SMBA made brief submissions to the committee in July supporting:
- The general policy of improving local authority governance, with the objective of lifting the ability of local authorities to meet emerging challenges;
- Giving the Local Government Commission the ability to initiate investigations into activities of local authorities, and members of the public the right to ask the Commission to initiate an investigation;
- A submission by Herne Bay Residents’ Association calling for provision in the bill for a requirement on large local authorities (such as Auckland Council) to seek staffing efficiencies (prompted by the failure of the present Council to achieve the staffing efficiencies anticipated when the super-city was being established).
Membership: time to renew and encourage your neighbours to join
It is membership renewal time again. The committee is wishing to build membership as part of making St Mary’s Bay a great place to live for all its residents. We hope not only that that you will renew, but also that you will encourage any neighbours who are not members to join.
Please use the following link to join or renew online: http://tiny.cc/smba2016 . Note that this is a two-part process: (a) complete joining/renewal information online, (b) transfer your subscription amount to the SMBA bank account, adding your name and street address as proof of payment. Many thanks.
The annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday 9 November 2016 at the Richmond Yacht Club in Westhaven. A formal notice of meeting will be sent out closer to time. In the meantime, please note this in your diaries. We are keen to get a big turnout, and to get your views on issues for St Mary’s Bay – either ahead of time, or at the meeting.
16 September 2016