by Dr Grant Hewison, Specialist in Local Government Consultancy
The RBA made submissions last month to the Whau Local Board Priorities for 2019/2020.
The Whau Local Board said that progressing the Whau Pool and Recreation Centre would be the number one priority for 2019/2020, which should be delivered as soon as possible. Work is underway to find a suitable location. The Board is also working with neighbouring local boards to progress the project.
The Whau Local Board has also prioritised supporting the Whau Coastal Walkway Trust to progress Te Whau Pathway boardwalk connections as well as continuing to work closely with Auckland Transport to progress the shared pathway, New Lynn Train Station to Avondale Train Station and the town centre streetscapes.
Other projects for the Board this year include: the Archibald Park Playground – advancing this to detailed design; the Memorial Drive and Memorial Square upgrade; the New Lynn Transit Lane repair and improvement, including a public art component; and Te Rewarewa Pathways – improving the stream environment.
The Avondale town centre redevelopment as part of the Panuku Unlock programme will also be an important focus in 2019/2020.
While the RBA said it is generally supportive of the Whau Local Board Priorities 2019/2020, it would have liked the Local Board to have placed more of a priority on resolving transport issues in the Rosebank area and a focus on local economic development.
In particular, the RBA asked the Whau Local Board to consider the following:
- the RBA said it believed that rates (whether they be targeted, residential, business differentiated, or otherwise) need to always carry an overall objective which simply asks: “Do these rates represent value for money” – especially for small-medium enterprises (SMEs)
- bearing this in mind, the RBA raised concerns that the Auckland public transport modes are not sufficiently able to transport 9000 people to and from work each day in the Rosebank area, especially without encountering even moderate traffic congestion
- the RBA also said it was concerned with unmanaged (or ‘out of control’) pest plants on the Council reserves to the east and the west of the Rosebank Peninsula (with the west side adjoining the Whau River and Kurt Bremer Walkway). The RBA noted surveys undertaken as part of the Auckland Regional Pest Strategy from 2007/12 clearly illustrating this problem.
- the RBA said it was also concerned that businesses are continued to be asked to pay for the berm grass to be cut when the berms are owned by Auckland Council and managed by Auckland Transport.
- finally, the RBA said it was concerned that plans are only just being progressed on how to fund maintenance and development of waste-water/sewage infrastructure and the rehabilitation of all aging underground piping in the Whau area.
The RBA asked to be heard at any hearings of the Whau Local Board to consider these and other submissions.