Month: September 2012

Unitary Plan Problems

Could The Unitary Plan Actually Hinder Auckland?

 

Meaning to get on top of this particular topic for a while but have been busy dealing with literally a million other things.

 

Recently there was a Herald article from our Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse on the logic and reason behind the current tact of the writing up of the draft Unitary Plan before it goes out for consultation next year. Whale Oil – Cameron Slater has been keeping a close eye on this Unitary Plan development, especially around the fact that we could lose the right of appeal in the Environment Court on Unitary Plan decisions.

 

Lets take a look at Deputy Mayor Hulse’s remarks in the Herald:

 

From the NZH:

 

Penny Hulse: Plan will boost Auckland’s growth

By Penny Hulse

 

Council is working with Govt to speed implementation and ensure consultation.

This month, Auckland Council is starting extensive engagement on the region’s new planning rulebook – which will set out where and how our city grows for years to come.

It will determine how we protect our wonderful environment and built heritage and how we improve urban design.

This rulebook, called the Unitary Plan, is the next step in bringing the region together, replacing the various district and regional plans of the old councils with one document focused on delivering the vision of the Auckland Plan.

The plan’s role in protecting our environment, character and heritage, while helping meet our growing housing needs, is clear. Perhaps less obvious is just how essential it will be to our economy. And that’s important, because our economy needs action, fast.

Yes, there are many excellent, productive businesses across many industries employing many highly-skilled people throughout our region.

But consider a few basic truths. Our GDP per head is three-quarters that of Sydney or Melbourne: we’re each generating nearly $10,000 less – every year.

We lose too many talented workers overseas. Business growth is held back by too little space.

And our city’s sprawling layout and choking congestion means too much of our time and productivity chugs out of exhaust pipes on motorways.

On top of that, our shortage of affordable homes means too many families are spending too much of their money on rent or mortgages rather than seeing that money circulating through the productive economy or invested in new businesses.

So what can we do? Plenty.

A simple example. A refurbished train station will benefit existing homes and businesses. But if we enable more homes – and a wider choice of housing – near that station, along with more business development, more retail and other local facilities, then the bang gained from our buck will be far greater.

And that’s what we’re looking at, right across the city. Auckland Council has planned the biggest infrastructure investment in the city’s history, in everything from regional transport to local community facilities. As we develop the “compact city” that Aucklanders have asked for (loud and clear, through 18 months’ consultation on the Auckland Plan), we’ll ensure more people and businesses benefit from each piece of that investment.

It will mean “communities with stronger local economies: more customers for more local businesses, more people closer to more jobs, more sustainable facilities and livelier neighbourhoods.

We need to ensure land is available for development, with an extra 1400ha of business land needed over the next 30 years – the equivalent of 46 rugby fields a year. So one of the commitments we made in the Auckland Plan is to ensure an average of seven years’ forward supply of land, zoned and with bulk infrastructure in place.

All the evidence shows that bringing businesses closer together boosts productivity. Having related industries side-by-side stimulates the exchange of ideas and innovation, which itself creates more jobs and higher-paying jobs, while more attractive locations will be a magnet for further growth. This in turn will boost our city’s competitiveness in global markets. Our ongoing partnership with businesses is therefore essential as we develop the plan and then seek to implement it.

Then there are the other benefits of a simpler, consistent set of planning rules: less cost, less time and less hassle. Around 20,000 pages of existing plans – many more than a decade old – will be replaced by one, user-friendly online e-plan.

And, meanwhile, the economic boost from a building industry expanding from 2500 homes a year to our expected growth demands of nearer 13,000 – will be huge.

So we need to get on with it, but we also need to be smart. Which is why we want all Aucklanders to play their part, to help ensure the Unitary Plan protects what makes our city special, while delivering opportunities for growth. We are working with Government to find ways of speeding up the plan’s implementation and ensuring people can contribute. The last thing Auckland needs is for the plan to be held up in long legal processes where those with the deepest pockets tend to do best.

We have been developing the plan over the last 18 months, with input from businesses, environmental and community organisations, technical experts and other stakeholders.

This month begins a year of wider engagement. The intensive burst of workshops and forums over the next couple of months – with significant input from the local boards – will test the plan before its draft release in March, when we’ll be consulting right across the region.

I cannot stress just how important it will be for Aucklanders to have their say.

This is our chance to ensure the Auckland our children and grandchildren inherit will not only be more inclusive, sustainable, vibrant and beautiful – but also stronger and more prosperous as a result.

Penny Hulse is Deputy Mayor of Auckland.

 

 

 

And from a Right-Wing perspective – Whale Oil’s perspective of our Deputy Mayor’s article

 

From Whale Oil:

 

DO AS PENNY SAYS, NOT AS SHE AND LEN DO

by Whaleoil on September 26, 2012

Hypocrisy is a deadly label in politics.  These days hypocrisy oozes from every rotten pore of Auckland Council.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse is doing her boss’s bidding in Granny Herald, arguing for shit-box apartmentsaround train stations:

“A simple example. A refurbished train station will benefit existing homes and businesses. But if we enable more homes – and a wider choice of housing – near that station, along with more business development, more retail and other local facilities, then the bang gained from our buck will be far greater.”

This is a case of “live where I say, not as I live”.  You see, Penny herself does not live on the fourth floor of an apartment building above the train station at New Lynn.  She lives in tranquil Swanson, and a quick surf of Google Maps illustrates the kind of compact city living that she calls home.

This same double standard is practiced by Len Brown, who talks a good game: apartment living … compactness … public transport …. blah, blah, blah.  The only issue is another quick surf on Google Maps illustrates the spatial living arrangements that the Mayor enjoys, replenished with double garages (not a train station for miles).

So Penny and Len are involved in a game of seduction.  But it isn’t a seduction of ratepayers in Swanson or Flat Bush.  It’s called the seduction of Environment Minister Amy Adams, and the proposition is the removal of appeal rights, and the prize is a squalid Auckland based defined by tiny apartments.

The deputy mayor is all too keen to stress the importance of public input into the compact city plan.  But privately the strategy is to do the opposite: denying people appeal rights so they will be forced to live around train stations.  She figures it is better to crowd the masses on top of one another rather than have them migrate near those leafy retreats where hypocritical councillors live.

 

My reaction to all this? Rather scathing actually for many reasons. I will run another post of the Environment Court and the Unitary Plan later on (as I want to see this play out some more over the rest of the year first) but for the most part I disagree strongly with the following:

  • Compact City
  • Smart Growth
  • UN Agenda 21
  • “Solid” Urban Limits
  • Anything that will contravene my mix urban development ideals and proposals seen in my submission to The Auckland Plan

Why? Again for a more fuller explanation check my submission to The Auckland Plan, but in short it is these reasons found in my What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland page – mainly the:

8) Stay out of my way: I believe in the following strongly “Individual Freedom -> Individual Choice -> Individual Responsibility (oh and do not forget the consequences)”   I am an adult who can make choices for myself (whether it was right or wrong), treat me as such rather than a child.

And that rule extends to where I want to live and in part Auckland’s urban development and choices as well (mainly people should (within reason) be free (yes I know of limitations) where to live and work).

 

I am awaiting for the Unitary Plan to come out in which I will be looking over with a very fine tooth comb before writing up an extensive submission back to Council on my thoughts of this “rule book of Auckland planning.” Needless to say that my submission to the Unitary Plan as well as any other submissions I have done since 2010 to either Auckland Council or Auckland Transport will also form the backbone of any policies for my campaign to Papakura Local Board next year.

 

But in the mean time you can (again) check my submission to The Auckland Plan below where I adopt the Liberal K.I.S.S rule for urban development, as well as this piece about Democrats against Agenda 21 (by the way if I was a US vote I would be a Democrat supporter and voter).

 

Submission to The Auckland Plan

 

 

Democrats Against Agenda 21

 

 

 

 

Note: My method while I do have ideology, values and beliefs is one: consensus, action and best of both worlds (if possible). Divisiveness is not my style but if a strong hand is needed especially in leadership – I can and am known to show it to see something through.

 

 

 

Council and The Auckland Waterfront

What The Mayor and Councillors Think  – In Regards to The Auckland Waterfront

 

Today is the last day of the NZ Herald‘s campaign about The Waterfront – to which I have run on commentary here. My basic take on The Auckland Waterfront can be seen in my “PORT OF AUCKLAND – CAN IT BE MOVED?” post from yesterday in which I spell out where I see The Auckland Waterfront by 2040!

 

In today’s particular article in the Herald, Auckland Councillors plus the Mayor were asked where they see The Auckland Waterfront now and where they think it should be going in the future.

From The NZH:

 

Creating right balance for future of waterfront

By Michael Dickison

5:30 AM Friday Sep 28, 2012

 

What our city’s leaders think

Council members’ views City leaders comment on the best idea for the waterfront and the balance between public spaces vs industry, where
0 = Put all emphasis on public spaces
5 = The balance is just right
10 = Put all emphasis on industry, including the port.

Len Brown Mayor
len.brown@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6.5

The Waitemata Harbour was a stunning backdrop when the world came here for the Rugby World Cup. The event’s legacy is that Aucklanders now see the waterfront as our waterfront. People from across the region tell me they are proud of Wynyard Quarter. It’s becoming the place to take visitors, and gives us a glimpse of what is possible.

We have a way to go to realise our waterfront’s potential and truly connect the city with the sea but we are on the way to getting it right.

We want fishing boats and ship chandlers mixed with parks and cafes, hotels and apartments, markets and open spaces to attract as many people as possible.

We want real connection with the harbour, so people can walk right down Queen St to the water’s edge and dip their feet in the sea.

With extensive input from the public, the council has formed a suite of plans giving us a co-ordinated vision for our waterfront, rather than the piecemeal approach and lost opportunities of the past.

Our waterfront has an important and evolving part to play in the life of Auckland, and while the port plays a vital role in our economy – it’s up to us to structure that role. The best is yet to come.

Councillors:

Christine Fletcher
Albert-Eden-Roskill
christine.fletcher@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 2

I’m proud of being part of kicking off our waterfront development with Viaduct Harbour and Britomart. In its next phase let’s consider its role as gateway to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Tourism and recreational activities make a significant chunk of the total pie. Marine reserves, island sanctuaries, great walks, multisports, volunteerism, cultural journeys, education programmes, historic places and top recreational fishing spots should draw visitors to and beyond the waterfront.

Link this to high-value, uniquely marketed seafood, boutique wines and foods, a regulatory framework demanding environmental integrity and investment and we have a powerful engine for growth.

Arthur Anae
Manukau
arthur.anae@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 3.5

The waterfront is an iconic asset, and I’m in strong favour of a cruise ship terminal and attracting as much of the cruise ship market to downtown Auckland as we can.

I also support all the projects in the pipeline – the Wynyard Quarter, opening up the wharves, having pedestrian areas – to attract domestic visitors, who are an untapped market.

Sandra Coney
Waitakere
sandra.coney@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

The waterfront is a working waterfront, not just an entertainment zone. It has a port, ferries and fishing vessels. These things make the waterfront gritty and interesting. A huge amount of waterfront has been opened up to the public and more will over time. But it all costs ratepayers’ money, so a “big bang” approach is unpalatable.

Cathy Casey
Albert-Eden-Roskill
cathy.casey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

I spluttered over my cornflakes this morning to read the vision of Tony Gibson (Ports’ chief executive): “This year’s industrial dispute is a distant memory. We reached an amicable settlement with the unions …”. That vision is easily achieved if the Ports engages in good faith bargaining. For me, the most pressing need on the waterfront is for the Ports to end the prolonged industrial dispute.

Penny Hulse
Waitakere
penny.hulse@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

Having been born in Cape Town, where I spent a lot of time on the V&A Waterfront, my vision is an open, vibrant waterfront and port that can be a tourism attraction and an area loved by locals. Let’s cut holes in the red fence and get people to the waterfront. It doesn’t have to be either/or with the port. We just have to be more imaginative about how we use our assets.

George Wood
North Shore
george.wood@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

Opening up the harbourside area between the Ferry Building and Britomart Place must be given the highest priority. Allowing Aucklanders and our visitors to break through the red fence to gain access to this part of the waterfront will be a huge accomplishment. The main attractor is the wonderful location itself. Integration to cafes and bars with outdoor dining should be part of the presentation. We have a plan – let’s do it over time.

Sharon Stewart
Howick
sharon.stewart@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

Most people would agree what has been achieved in the Viaduct/Wynyard area is a vast improvement. However, I am against over-developing the waterfront, creating public space to the detriment of the ports. I was pleased that the cruise ship terminal was scaled down. I am not convinced further development in public areas will improve Auckland as a tourist destination. The CBD/waterfront areas will still be used by a small proportion of Aucklanders. Let’s not put the city into huge debt with further grandiose ideas.

Wayne Walker
Albany
wayne.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

The boulevard along the waterfront gets my most backing. It ties the waterfront together and will make it buzz with life more than anything else. People like to see other people and be seen themselves, walking, sitting, eating – having fun. They will be able to browse through pop-up weekend markets, enjoy the busker musicians and artists playing to the crowds and dine out or catch a coffee at a waterfront cafe. All of this for modest money and cheap running cost. Create a welcoming free public space and people will make it work for themselves.

Alf Filipaina
Manukau
alf.filipaina@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

I just agree with the direction we have at the moment. I voted for the Waterfront Plan and I support it. There will be interaction between our public and our assets down at the waterfront. Business and the public aspect will both be there – there has to be a good mix.

Cameron Brewer
Orakei
cameron.brewer@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6

It’s great that Aucklanders love the opening up of the waterfront around the old Tank Farm. However, it’s important we now activate the other part of the Wynyard Quarter plan, which was always to have the private sector move in. That’s who the council needs to start paying the bills. Ratepayers have poured in tens of millions of dollars lately to create some fabulous public spaces and amenities but it’s probably time for a cup of tea. The 25-year vision for Wynyard Quarter was never about transforming it for the general public alone. Rather, this area promises to accommodate a mix of residential, retail and commercial development.

Richard Northey
Maungakiekie-Tamaki
richard.northey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6

What is most needed is a long-term plan and vision for Queens Wharf. This space, the continuation of our main street, Queen St, into our Waitemata Harbour, should be the jewel in the crown for publicly accessible, exciting vibrant public space on the harbour. Let us have a thorough, creative and participatory look at what will succeed the Cloud. The next thing to do is to develop an equally exciting, albeit cheaper, vision for public spaces on the Manukau Harbour at Onehunga and Mangere Bridge.

Dick Quax
Howick
dick.quax@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6.5

People at work and people at play. That’s my vision for the waterfront. People create atmosphere, not buildings. Too much of the waterfront is lifeless. Over 70ha have been opened up and that’s a lot of space. Give the new Waterfront Plan time to work before we open up more. Let’s not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The commercial port pours millions into the council coffers. Every container, every car, every cruise ship, is a few more dollars off our rates bill.

Ann Hartley
North Shore
ann.hartley@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 7

The best idea for the waterfront was recognising that one, single governance agency would take responsibility for its redevelopment, avoiding the piecemeal actions of the past. The waterfront is much loved by its owners – the people of Auckland – however, the public purse will never be able to afford the revitalisation of this whole area. It needs commercial support and Auckland needs to start thinking about what kinds of private investment it can court to share the rewards and the risks of the redevelopment.

Mike Lee
Waitemata and the Gulf
mike.lee@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

Over the past six years, a significant amount of waterfront space has been opened to the public. More is to come. Remember, the port occupies only 2km of a continuous recreation waterfront of 13km from the harbour bridge to Achilles Point. While I oppose further encroachment of the port into the harbour, it would be foolish to talk about closing it down.

Calum Penrose
Manurewa-Papakura
calum.penrose@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

If Auckland Council think that we are exempt from what is happening across the globe then they live in dream land; the spinoff is hitting our shores daily. I would like to see the council defer the waterfront projects for the next 3-5 years.

Noelene Raffills
Whau
noelene.raffills@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

The waterfront is one of the truly amazing features of our city. For Kiwis the coast and beaches are part of our lifestyle, family life and informal enjoyment – and for the first time on the waterfront there are some family-friendly places for eating. The mix feels about right.

Did not contribute:

Michael Goudie, Albany
michael.goudie@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Des Morrison, Franklin
des.morrison@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

John Walker, Manurewa-Papakura
john.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Penny Webster, Rodney
penny.webster@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

The campaign

This week, we examine the key issues in a campaign to break open Auckland’s waterfront. This means:

1 Opening up what’s already there for everyone’s use – particularly Queens Wharf, which is still far from reaching its potential.

2 Looking ahead to more wharves being opened, notably Captain Cook Wharf.

3 Planning the entire waterfront – importantly, including ports land – as urban space, whether or not the working port is retained or developed.

Monday: What readers want on the waterfront
Tuesday: Auckland Architecture Association sketches the all-time good ideas
Wednesday: Tourism on the waterfront
Yesterday: The working port and its vision for Auckland
Today: Where our city leaders stand.

 

Interesting and a rather mixed array of results which will make December rather interesting when PwC report back on their review of the upper North Island ports including POAL.

I suppose if I gave a rating it would not fit on the Herald’s scale as I am for shifting the port south and redeveloping the ENTIRE Waterfront with both urban residential and commercial development, AND civic/public/green spaces to boot.

But enough of me giving my spiel on The Auckland Waterfront, what is your spiel? Comments can be left below as always!

Follow Up To Mayor Has a Moment

Following Up on Milford and The Mayor

 

After comments both here at BR:AKL and BR:AKL’s Facebook Page (by the way I checked three times over – The Auckland Plan is Operative or we have a a few Councillors and bureaucrats giving out wrong information here) I thought in doing a follow-up post to the MAYOR HAS A MOMENT (AGAIN?) post published on Monday.

 

The actual post is still being composed (got a few other tasks at hand taking up scarce time) but what I will cover is the following:

  • Difference between Low, Medium and High Density in regards to developments
  • Why I think Milford can support some taller residential buildings (not as tall as what is proposed in Takapuna)
  • Some replies to the comments generated from the Moment post
  • And observations around current situation with the Unitary Plan and The Environment Court

 

So stand by while I get the post composed (should be up tomorrow)

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light –
To a Better Auckland

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

Waterfront Issue Back Again

Auckland Apparently Wants Their Waterfront Back – Again

 

It must be another slow news day at the NZ Herald with them running a story based on a survey about Auckland’s Waterfront. Either that and credit is due to keep this matter at the front of civic leaders minds.

 

From the NZ Herald:

 

Aucklanders’ plea: Give us back our waterfront

By Michael Dickison

5:30 AM Monday Sep 24, 2012
Wynyard Quarter and the World Cup gave us a taste of harbour fun… now we want more.

More than three-quarters of Aucklanders questioned in a Herald poll want more wharf space opened up to create world-class public areas on the waterfront.

Local authorities have responded by saying bringing Aucklanders to the harbour area around the end of Queen St will be the next chapter in the city’s development.

A thousand Herald readers have given their views on the waterfront, presenting a wide range of ideas that reflect their pride in the Waitemata Harbour.

Ninety-six per cent of respondents said the waterfront was important for the city.

The Herald today starts a five-part series investigating options for a more vibrant, people-friendly waterfront.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden, who oversaw last year’s Rugby World Cup tournament, said this was the city’s chance to get it right.

“Right here, right now, Auckland has a wonderful waterfront opportunity,” he said.

It needed people’s support to give it “character, heart and buzz”.

Reader views focused on bringing more public attractions to Queens Wharf and its vicinity.

More than three-fifths did not like the wharf’s current facilities. It has the Cloud and Shed 10 for generally exclusive events – but otherwise is mostly vacant space.

About the same number wanted the adjacent Captain Cook Wharf to become public space.

Ideas for the waterfront stressed the importance of making it accessible to everyone, including families and pedestrians.

Suggestions for achieving this ranged from markets, parks, festivals, walkways and fishing spots to sports fields, art galleries, convention centres and stadiums.

“It’s entirely understandable that people want more access to the waterfront, and over time we’ll make more wharves available,” said Ports of Auckland spokesman Matt Ball.

“It is our ambition to release Captain Cook Wharf and to open Marsden Wharf for public access.”

But the ports company would have to replace the existing facilities on the wharves first, Mr Ball said, and that could take 10 years.

The Auckland Council’s policy planning manager, Ludo Campbell-Reid, said authorities acknowledged that the waterfront had a problem where the city met the sea.

“The surprising thing is there’s no place on the waterfront that’s necessarily for pedestrians,” he said. “You have to go left or you have to go right. You don’t go down the middle.

“We’re competing with the world every day for jobs and investment, and the waterfront is our biggest opportunity.”

The central wharves would be the next area to be worked on, following the opening of the Wynyard Quarter.

Auckland architect and urban planner Graeme Scott said Waterfront Auckland, the council’s waterfront agency, had listened to submissions and put together a good blueprint.

One problem was having too many passive concrete areas, he said.

“Queens Wharf is a good example of what’s wrong with hard paving and buildings. If there are thousands of people on Queens Wharf, it’s fantastic. But if you walk out there mid-week or Sunday morning, it’s not a very nice place to be.”

The Herald poll was taken during the first week of September, assisted by Nielsen Research.

Last year’s opening of Wynyard Quarter and Rugby World Cup festivities opened the eyes of thousands of Aucklanders to new waterfront possibilities.

Since then, local authorities have been issuing plans sketching out possible developments, in line with Mayor Len Brown’s plan to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.

And a review of the waterfront’s long-term future is being made after a public outcry against expansion of port facilities.

 

You will need to see the actual Herald article for the graphic attached at the bottom of their story.

 

But my question is ‘Why are we raising this again – when this has been asked in The Auckland Plan and subsequent documents despite their apparent short-comings?’

 

Never-mind as to be honest Thank You NZH for keeping the issue bobbing along and in our minds – because it needs to if we want our Auckland Water-Frontier.

 

The Herald is asking for ‘your views’ on this as well. Well my views can be seen here at BR:AKL through The Auckland Waterfront Index which lists my commentary on both the Port of Auckland and opening our Waterfront to turn it into our Auckland Water-Frontier. The work and graphics on both my projects is still a work-in-progress but none the less you can see what I am pitching so far.

Yes it is bold, but we need bold here for the sake and vibrancy of a 21st Century Auckland.

 

Now then, time to pester the Herald with my indexes again 😛

Getting Ready For Summer

 

Getting Ready For Summer on The Home Front

 

One of my hobbies is a spot of gardening. Currently Rebekka and I are preparing our first home for our first summer in our new home (purchased January this year) as well as the many more years building memories that we shall have in our own little place down in Papakura.

 

Being the green-thumb that I am and Rebekka being the DIY-er she is this is what has progressed so far with the landscaping on our property:

 

Enjoy the pictures

 

Garden 2012 – Papakura

 

 

And for those more inclined not to click – the slide show

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Will upload more tonight including an endorsement 😀

 

Happy Gardening Folks

 

Response from AT

Letter From AT on RLTP

 

Got a letter from Auckland Transport acknowledging and thanking my submission to the Regional Land Transport Program. The letter I will show in the embed below, but upon reading it I can appreciate what could be just about literal hell for everyone concerned as the city goes about not building a world-class transport system – but rebuilding the existing system so THEN we can build that world-class system (the only other method is start afresh and I don’t think we will like that option much (Christchurch?))

 

The letter from AT on the RLTP and difficulties that are going to be faced:

 

And as I write this, the CRL debate is still going around and around the same circle again – more on that later