So what might 2016 look like for me
2016 is here and as often it starts wet thanks to a system out of the sub tropics. Not that I mind given the garden needs a good soaking and our main dams in the Hunua’s could do with a top up.
With 2015 gone I ponder (with the noise of the rain falling in the background) what 2016 will bring to Auckland? Answer: plenty!
A quick look at what Auckland has lined up for the 2016 year:
- Unitary Plan: the Rezoning exercise is due to be heard in March and April before the Panel sends the Recommendations back to Council in August. From there the Plan goes live subject to appeals. Expect more teeth gnashing from NIMBYs and the like as we get closer to the Unitary Plan goes operative. Despite what the Isthmus and North Shore might tell you threatening to unelect your Ward Council in the elections in October wont change the course of the Plan. It is operative and faces a stand down period in regards to Public Plan Changes for at least two years… Simply put a new Council post 2016 can not change the course of the Plan so don’t even go there.
- #Auckland2016: The elections for Mayor, Local Board members and Ward Councillors. Commentary will be running through 2016 as candidates vie for your vote and a new Governing Body gets elected in October. All I’ll say on the matter in this post is: All roads lead to our current Deputy Mayor!
- Airport Rail: With Auckland Transport having a fetish for light rail to the Airport it seems the battle lines for light verse heavy rail to the Airport has started in earnest – To Auckland Transport: Here is Your Heavy Rail to the Airport Route. I am preparing a presentation for the Auckland Development Committee in February advocating for heavy rail to the Airport from Otahuhu. Why? Because it is the natural and most logical choice (see link previous). Light rail has its place in Auckland but not to the Airport.
- Manukau: this will be the big one for me (apart from number two (child) arriving) as two projects come through the mix this year:
- Manukau Interchange: the tender for the enabling works was have meant to have gone out and work starting already – apparently. However, I am told that the final designs (again?) are due at the end of January with the enabling works to start February through to April and main construction due to start after that with completion due August 2017. Given consultation closed in November I wonder what AT are doing now? Don’t tell me they are doing a sixth set of designs….
- Manukau Transform – Panuku Development Auckland: This is the one to watch as Panuku develop the High Level Project Plan that should guide the transformation of Manukau City Centre. Those who have followed the blog since its inception know Manukau is a project I have being pushing since the Super City was formed and finally such advocacy paid off in December (see: Presenting to Auckland Development Committee on Transform Manukau #BetterAuckland and @DevelopmentAKL Announces Manukau and Onehunga to Spearhead Transformation Agenda #BetterAuckland). Advocacy continues with Manukau though to make sure that the community is in the drivers seat of the transformation of Manukau through collaboration and empowerment.
- City Rail Link: According to Metro Magazine the Prime Minister is meant to be announcing the funding package to the City Rail Link on January 27. What this entails is not yet known.
Of course many other things will happen in 2016 that I have not mentioned? What other big highlights or happenings do you think will happen in, for or to Auckland this year?