Friday, March 21, 2014

Decouple, Disconnect or Deliberate Plan?

This leaflet was delivered widely in the Bayswater and Hauraki suburbs of Devonport/Takapuna Peninsula, and I went along to see what happened....
The hall was full. About 100 attended.I was sitting toward the front. It was very well organised: flip charts to record comments, sound system.

What was especially interesting about the meeting, and also the earlier one at Belmont which was also well attended, was that they were instigated by the local community groups (not by the Local Board). So this one, and the one at Belmont were organised by the Belmont-Hauraki Residents Association. I understand a similar meeting was held at milford which was organised by the Milford Residents Association. Auckland council officers attended in each case, and so did members of the Local Board.

These meetings, and the interest, and the swelling membership of these local resident associations, have obviously been in response to concerns raised by the intensification proposals that are in the Unitary Plan. They are grassroots responses, and should be taken seriously by council. They are an indication of what can be expected across Auckland as awareness of the implications of the intensification proposals grows in communities.

Local resident, and Belmont-Hauraki Residents Association member Tony Keenan chaired and facilitated the meeting. Local Board members Mike Cohen, Grant Gillon, Jospeh Bergin and Jan O'Connor attended. Cllr George Wood arrived toward the end of the meeting. Richard Burton and Ms Hanson from Vision 2040 were present, as were officers from Auckland Council (Ross Moffat) and Auckland Transport (Scott McCarten).

Tony explained that the community had expressed strong views about the intensification proposals that were in the draft unitary plan. And that people were worried about infrastructure provisions - because the unitary plan effectively de-coupled infrastructure provision from intensification. He said that "normal planning integrates that". He said that "now we have that gap-filling in planning via the Area Plan..."  The question now is what infrastructure is needed upfront, and what level of infrastructure maintenance is needed to ensure infrastructure and services don't erode.We need to plan for their upgrades...."

Three questions were to be put for the views of the meeting:

1)  What do you like and value in your area?
2)  What would make it an even better place to live?
3)  What services and amenities ought to be provided?

The meeting was informed that the earlier meeting at Belmont (on Monday) had expressed concerns about transport infrastructure, ferries, buses, schools, wastewater and stormwater. Burton for 2040 talked about "residential character".

There was an animated discussion and notes were taken which will be provided as feedback. There were many comments about Lake Road congestion. One or two wanted the cycle lanes taken out to provide more space for cars (thankfully only one or two!). Scott from Auckland Transport indicated that a $56 million provision to improve Lake Road (not sure what this entailed) had been pushed back in the plan to 2022, to provide for "higher priority projects". AMETI, CBD Bus Upgrade, CRL, Onehunga motorway link, and Whangaparaoa roading projects were mentioned.

This was the resolution that was adopted by the meeting. There was significant concern at the lack of connection, integration, coordination between intensification plans and infrastructure provision.

In my opinion, this disconnect is deliberate, because the objective of the approach pursued by Council is to remove obstacles to building and development activity across the Auckland urban environment. That is why the Unitary Plan has a few simple zones - with few rules, and that is why there is no obligation imposed on developers to upgrade infrastructure, and it also why there are no structure plan requirements for urban areas that have been up-zoned. These requirements are seen by some as obstacles to growth and economic activity.

However these requirements are the minimum in most other western countries, where people expect systems to be in place to protect them and their communities from the effects of up-zoning, through comprehensive area planning which includes infrastructure and suchlike.

Again, in my opinion, Council is making a rod for its back, and for the backs of it communities, by pushing ahead with this market-led approach to urban regeneration. Communities will resist it.

It begins with agitation, moves into education (as residents inform themselves and get to grips with urban planning and what is reasonable and fair), and then to organisation. These local groups are getting very organised.

Auckland Councillors need to take notice.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Hall said...

As to the disconnect, I also see one where the Regional lack of development and investment has led to a migration to Auckland leaving the rest of the country bereft of citizens,infrastructure and diversity. One of the answers surely is to target immigrants and students to settle for a minimum of 5 years in rural areas and also to invest finding long term alternative uses for workforces in places such as the aluminium smelter in Tiwhai point,and fix up infrastructure, in Gisborne the railways is used to transport produce and the government would rather have a phalanx of security personnel around the Prime Minister costing about the same amount as it would to repair the Gisbourne line

Friday, March 21, 2014

Decouple, Disconnect or Deliberate Plan?

This leaflet was delivered widely in the Bayswater and Hauraki suburbs of Devonport/Takapuna Peninsula, and I went along to see what happened....
The hall was full. About 100 attended.I was sitting toward the front. It was very well organised: flip charts to record comments, sound system.

What was especially interesting about the meeting, and also the earlier one at Belmont which was also well attended, was that they were instigated by the local community groups (not by the Local Board). So this one, and the one at Belmont were organised by the Belmont-Hauraki Residents Association. I understand a similar meeting was held at milford which was organised by the Milford Residents Association. Auckland council officers attended in each case, and so did members of the Local Board.

These meetings, and the interest, and the swelling membership of these local resident associations, have obviously been in response to concerns raised by the intensification proposals that are in the Unitary Plan. They are grassroots responses, and should be taken seriously by council. They are an indication of what can be expected across Auckland as awareness of the implications of the intensification proposals grows in communities.

Local resident, and Belmont-Hauraki Residents Association member Tony Keenan chaired and facilitated the meeting. Local Board members Mike Cohen, Grant Gillon, Jospeh Bergin and Jan O'Connor attended. Cllr George Wood arrived toward the end of the meeting. Richard Burton and Ms Hanson from Vision 2040 were present, as were officers from Auckland Council (Ross Moffat) and Auckland Transport (Scott McCarten).

Tony explained that the community had expressed strong views about the intensification proposals that were in the draft unitary plan. And that people were worried about infrastructure provisions - because the unitary plan effectively de-coupled infrastructure provision from intensification. He said that "normal planning integrates that". He said that "now we have that gap-filling in planning via the Area Plan..."  The question now is what infrastructure is needed upfront, and what level of infrastructure maintenance is needed to ensure infrastructure and services don't erode.We need to plan for their upgrades...."

Three questions were to be put for the views of the meeting:

1)  What do you like and value in your area?
2)  What would make it an even better place to live?
3)  What services and amenities ought to be provided?

The meeting was informed that the earlier meeting at Belmont (on Monday) had expressed concerns about transport infrastructure, ferries, buses, schools, wastewater and stormwater. Burton for 2040 talked about "residential character".

There was an animated discussion and notes were taken which will be provided as feedback. There were many comments about Lake Road congestion. One or two wanted the cycle lanes taken out to provide more space for cars (thankfully only one or two!). Scott from Auckland Transport indicated that a $56 million provision to improve Lake Road (not sure what this entailed) had been pushed back in the plan to 2022, to provide for "higher priority projects". AMETI, CBD Bus Upgrade, CRL, Onehunga motorway link, and Whangaparaoa roading projects were mentioned.

This was the resolution that was adopted by the meeting. There was significant concern at the lack of connection, integration, coordination between intensification plans and infrastructure provision.

In my opinion, this disconnect is deliberate, because the objective of the approach pursued by Council is to remove obstacles to building and development activity across the Auckland urban environment. That is why the Unitary Plan has a few simple zones - with few rules, and that is why there is no obligation imposed on developers to upgrade infrastructure, and it also why there are no structure plan requirements for urban areas that have been up-zoned. These requirements are seen by some as obstacles to growth and economic activity.

However these requirements are the minimum in most other western countries, where people expect systems to be in place to protect them and their communities from the effects of up-zoning, through comprehensive area planning which includes infrastructure and suchlike.

Again, in my opinion, Council is making a rod for its back, and for the backs of it communities, by pushing ahead with this market-led approach to urban regeneration. Communities will resist it.

It begins with agitation, moves into education (as residents inform themselves and get to grips with urban planning and what is reasonable and fair), and then to organisation. These local groups are getting very organised.

Auckland Councillors need to take notice.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Hall said...

As to the disconnect, I also see one where the Regional lack of development and investment has led to a migration to Auckland leaving the rest of the country bereft of citizens,infrastructure and diversity. One of the answers surely is to target immigrants and students to settle for a minimum of 5 years in rural areas and also to invest finding long term alternative uses for workforces in places such as the aluminium smelter in Tiwhai point,and fix up infrastructure, in Gisborne the railways is used to transport produce and the government would rather have a phalanx of security personnel around the Prime Minister costing about the same amount as it would to repair the Gisbourne line