We held a very successful meeting with around 200 people attending. We covered 3 main topics: AT proposals for safety improvements in Mission Bay; noise and fireworks issues in Mission Bay, and the proposed retirement village at John Rymer Place. We also gave updates on the Mission Bay 8 storey development and our plans to convert the old Mission Bay Bowling Club land and buildings into a community asset.
The meeting was lively and occasionally a bit unruly, but that simply confirmed that these are issues that local residents feel strongly about. We are pleased to have been able to provide a forum where information and concerns could be shared.
For anyone who was unable to attend the public meeting on 30 November, here is a link to the presentation.
What's happened to all the election meetings?
Normally, before an election, we would expect to have had the opportunity to attend pre-election meetings where the candidates could set out their policies and answer questions from local residents. But this year, there have been none in this area? Why?
The answer is COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on gatherings.
Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association was organising such a meeting, with particular emphasis on the two referendum questions. We had speakers lined up to present the arguments for and against each of the referenda issues, and we had the main electoral candidates speaking as well.
Unfortunately during Level 3 and Level 2.5 it was not possible to hold meetings with more than 10 people, and later under Level 2 no more than 100 people. Our previous meetings have attracted over 200 attendees, and so it was not practical for us to hold a meeting until Level 1. It is now too late to organise a meeting, and voting has already started, so unfortunately we have had to drop our plans.
Perhaps the most interesting aspects of this election are the two referenda questions:
We apologise for being unable to hold an election meeting to ensure that you are well informed on the issues, but hope that the links above help you understand the referenda questions.
"The Selwyn Reserve Playground will be tidied up and the equipment made safe for use this summer, with a playground re-build planned to proceed over winter next year. The Orakei Local Board looks forward to seeing an imaginative playground built based around the creative concept drawings, with elements that reflect the iconic location." - Sarah Powrie - Deputy Chairperson, Orakei Local Board
The images provided are indicative at this early stage but, along with the OLB, we are hopeful that budgetary constraints will allow this upgrade to progress over the coming year.
The Orakei Local Board has been working on their plan to cover the activities they will pursue over the next 3 years. This has obviously been complicated by the Covid crisis which has meant that the Council and Local Boards have less money to spend, but they have produced a draft document that they feel sets the right priorities, striking a balance between all the competing demands.
That's what they think, but they are keen to find out what you think and whether they need to make any changes! You have only until Thursday 13 August to get your feedback in, so please take a look at their plan and offer any comments you may have.
You can view the plan here, and offer any feedback you may have here.
Our view is that the OLB has done a good job overall. We do, however, want to emphasise one project in particular. The old Mission Bay Bowling Club land (Tagalad Reserve) had been given to Panuku for sale. We strongly object to selling land that would make an ideal park, just when the Council is planning to intensify Mission Bay. We will have a lot more people living in this area, with most of the new residents living in apartments with little access to outdoor space, and we believe that we need more green space to support this influx. The OLB has included the retention of this land as a priority, with one of their initiatives (on page 20) being:
Retain valued open space to enhance local residents’ physical health
and mental wellbeing. This includes working to resume governance
over Merton Reserve and Tagalad Reserve
It would really help the OLB in pursuing this initiative if they could demonstrate strong local support for retaining this land as a community resource. One way to demonstrate such support would be for you to make submissions specifically mentioning this initiative as a priority, so if you would like to do something to help retain this reserve, please make a submission. All you have to do is write something in Question 11 (Do you have any other feedback?) about strongly supporting the retention of the Tagalad Reserve land as a community resource.
19 June 2020
Today is the last day that you can provide input into the Council’s Emergency Budget. The coronavirus crisis has severely impacted the Council’s revenue, leaving them with a $500M hole in revenue that had not been anticipated in the earlier budget. They are now considering how to deal with this and are looking for input from residents.
Normally, we try to pressure the Council to first look for savings internally before proposing large rates increases. Under the current circumstances, however, any cuts will result in job losses which will compound a slowing economy, making it harder for NZ to recover. We therefore recommend continuing with the proposed 3.5% rates increase, and primarily covering the revenue hole by borrowing more. If there is ever a time to increase debt, it is during a short-term downturn such as this, when the increased borrowings can allow continued spending which in turn helps the economy recover, and subsequently allows for earlier repayments.
We believe that the Council should also look at trimming further waste and at selling assets that we do not absolutely need to own, but the primary way to bridge the gap should be through increased debt.
Click on this link to give your feedback
YESSSSS! Level 2! This step gets us a long way back towards normal, but not all the way yet. There is still some risk, so we need to keep using common sense and hopefully we can banish this virus forever.
Lockdown has stopped or slowed a lot of things, but here are a few updates on local issues that you might find interesting.
In this issue:
Update on Mission Bay development
The proposed 8 storey development in the Mission Bay village continues to slowly work its way through the system. You will recall that the resource consent application for this development was declined by the Auckland Council Hearing Panel last year, after which the developer appealed to the Environment Court. The Environment Court requires the parties to participate in mediation to see whether a compromise solution is possible, and this was held over two days prior to the lockdown. The outcome of the mediation was that no acceptable compromise was found, and so the project now proceeds to the Environment Court.
During the first day of mediation, the parties opposed to the development (Auckland Council, Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association, Support Mission Bay Inc., and two private residents) laid out their primary objections again. In particular, we were concerned about the visual impact of the development when approaching Mission Bay from Patteson Ave and Tamaki Drive, where the development would look totally out of character with the surrounding area. We also outlined serious concerns over the apparent bulk of the development.
The developer undertook to review their design to see whether they could reduce those impacts. They came back by the second day of mediation with a modified proposal which slightly reduced the height of some of the buildings and changed the appearance of the blank concrete wall facing south towards Patteson Ave. Unfortunately they left the 8 storey building at the original height, and removed both the movie theatre and the second level of restaurants. We saw this as a poor compromise; it made minimal improvements to the visual impacts while removing most of the public benefits of the development. We, along with the other parties, rejected the compromise.
So now we go to the Environment Court. The developer has now decided that they want to pursue their alternative design, and so will spend the next few months developing the new plans. After that, we will get an opportunity to review the new design and submit our evidence relating to it, and then we have a court hearing. This is expected to be early next year.
We find it hard to believe that the developer would even consider modifying a design for a Local Centre Zone in a way which removes local centre services and results in much less restaurant space than we have already, making the development almost purely a collection of apartment blocks. But that is the approach they are taking and so we will need to engage our experts again to review the new plans and be prepared to testify in court.
We will share the new design once it is available.
Temporary cycle lanes on Tamaki Drive
You will have noticed a line of cones and “no parking” restrictions around the points between the bays on Tamaki Drive. This AT’s attempt to create temporary cycleways to relieve congestion on the existing shared path.
With nice weather and limited places to exercise, the crowds trying to use the combined cycling and walking path make it difficult to keep a safe separation. The initial implementation of the new lanes was poor, with the “No Parking” signs blocking the lane, no signs to indicate what the new lane was for, and nothing to indicate cyclists could not use the existing shared path. However AT quickly removed the signs blocking the lane, so it is now available for cyclists to use. So far very few cyclists are using the lane, but it is there for us all to use, so please make use of it in particularly when the shared path is busy.
Mission Bay playground renewal
As we move into Level 2, playgrounds will be reopened. Many of you will have noticed that the Selwyn Reserve playground has been looking a bit sad lately, with several items of play equipment broken or unable to be used. The Orakei Local Board (OLB) has a plan to deal with this and has engaged a playground design firm to redesign and replace the existing playground.
As always, you get what you pay for, and so the OLB is considering where the best balance point is between cost and quality. We will let you know when a design is available for review.
Our Facebook group and website
We established a Facebook group recently, Mission Bay -Kohimarama Residents Association. The intent is to provide both a way for us to communicate with residents, and for residents to engage and discuss issues that impact our area. A group like this is only useful to the extent that people use it, so we encourage you to join the group and to raise any issues you would like to see discussed. You can find the group here.
We also continue to upgrade our website. One area of interest is the section we have put together on the history of Mission Bay and Kohimarama. This is a work in progress, but already includes lots of old photos from the 1800s through to the 1980s. It also has a simple timeline of major historical events in the area going back to pre-European times, and contains links to various historical articles and documents.
Take a look, and let us know anything that should be added (or corrected).
Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association
Mail: PO Box 133050, Eastridge, Auckland 1146
Just a quick update on a couple of developments over the past few days..
In this issue:
Christmas Carols on the Green
Today (Sunday 1 December) we have the Christmas Carols on the Green event at Vellenoweth Green, St Heliers. This event starts at 5pm. For more information, click here.
World Championships 49er and 49er FX classes
You may have noticed a lot more yachts racing off Kohimarama, Mission Bay and Okahu Bay lately. This is because the World Championships for the 49er and 49er FX classes are being held here in a few days. The boats are based at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club at The Landing.
The first real racing starts on Tuesday 3 December, but practice racing has been going on for some time already.
You may remember that Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are the reigning World Champions, and are keen to defend their title.
For further information, click on this link.
Our Facebook group and website
We have a Facebook Group,the Mission Bay -Kohimarama Residents Association. While this has been around for some time, it has not been run by us until very recently. We intend to use this to post frequent bits of information that might be of interest to our members, and to get the views of residents about a range of issues. Check it out, join the group, and feel free to post on whatever subject you are interested in. Membership of the group is of course free, and there are no commitments, so just go ahead and join.
We also continue to upgrade our website. We have added an Event Calendar which sets out upcoming events in this area. Feel free to contact us to add events that you think would be of interest to our members.
Another area of interest is the section we have put together on the history of Mission Bay and Kohimarama. This is a work in progress, but already includes lots of old photos from the 1800s through to the 1980s. It has a simple timeline of major historical events, going back to pre-European times, and contains links to various historical articles and documents. Take a look, and let us know anything that should be added (or corrected).
Auckland Transport safety measures for Mission Bay
The Working Group is making progress on determining what measures will improve safety without unduly compromising traffic flow.
The Residents Association is represented on this group. In order to decide what options are good or bad, we have a few key principles:
What's happening at the Nehu St Triangle in Orakei?
There has been a lot of construction activity on this small reserve, and I am sure many people are wondering what is going on.
It is quite simple. This area is being temporarily converted into a staging area for the Okahu Bay waste water separation project. This project aims to dramatically improve the water quality of Okahu Bay by separating the storm water from waste water so as to not overflow the system every time it rains.
You can read more about the project here.
Latest update on Mission Bay development
As previously reported, the resource consent application for the Mission Bay 8 storey development has been declined by a panel of commissioners, and the applicant has appealed against this decision to the Environment Court.
The Council must now defend their decision. In addition, four groups have registered as parties to the proceedings, to ensure that their views and concerns are recognised. One of those parties is the Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association. We intend to take this right through to the Environment Court to ensure that our expectations for our suburbs as defined in the Unitary Plan are not undermined by some kind of deal on the way through.
The first major milestone is that all parties will shortly be invited to participate in mediation. This is likely to be scheduled around February. Prior to that, we will try to gauge the feeling of the community on this project so that we can speak with authority when representing the community interests.
Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association
Mail: PO Box 133050, Eastridge, Auckland 1146
Here are some things that are happening in our area that you might be interested in.
In this issue:
Mission Bay 8 storey development - we won!!
The verdict is in and the proposed development has been rejected by the Hearing Commissioners. All of our hard work has paid off, and we have avoided having an inappropriately tall and bulky development undermining Mission Bay's character.
While a big part of our success comes down to the quality of the submissions and presentations by our team led by Barrister Gill Chapell, we cannot underestimate the impact of the sheer weight of numbers of people attending the hearings. This clearly demonstrated that the proposed was not welcomed by the local community, and that so many people felt so strongly about it that they made the effort to come along to the hearings. This is unusual in hearings of this type, and so made a big impression on the Hearing Commissioners. Thanks to everyone who was able to support us in this way; you can be proud that your efforts did make a difference.
Likewise the strong arguments put forward by our barrister and planner that carried so much weight with the Commissioners was only possible because of the strong financial support from our members. It is an unfortunate fact of life under the planning laws that it costs a fortune for locals to defend their communities from the impacts of non-complying development. Regardless of whether this is fair or not, that is the way it is. To be successful we have to ensure we have the funding to allow us engage with the community and put forward a strong technical case.
Here is a rough summary that will help you understand the costs and where we got our funding for this campaign.
Public meeting and flyers$2,500
Barrister and planner$24,500
Sources of funds
Orakei Local Board grants$2,500
Donations from members$13,500
Funds from our reserves$11,000
As you can see, the fantastic level of donations from you, our members, was absolutely critical in allowing us to make such a strong case opposing this development. Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously.
It is perhaps worth noting that other local groups, particularly the Support Mission Bay Group, also had to spend heavily to help achieve this result. Collectively, local organisations spent well over $100,000 to defend Mission Bay against a proposal that was outside the rules of the Unitary Plan. This doesn't seem much like democracy, more like "money talks".
We don't know what happens next. The Applicant could file an appeal to the Environment Court, they could just accept the verdict, or they could redesign the project and resubmit it. All will become clear over the coming weeks.
Thanks once again for your support.
Auckland Transport speed reduction proposal
The Auckland Transport are putting their recommendations for speed reductions throughout Auckland to their Board on 22 October. This proposal is separate to the engineering solutions proposed for Mission Bay and St Heliers, involving multiple pedestrian crossings and various other changes, but is simply to determine whether to proceed with reducing speed limits on various rural and urban roads and 7 town centres. The town centres include Mission Bay and St Heliers.
You will recall that the engineering proposals for Mission Bay were taken off the table, and a working group set up, of which we are part, to determine whether any changes are justified, and if so, what they should be. Rightly or wrongly, the 30 km/h speed reduction was always a separate consultation and process, and so despite us continuing to work on the pedestrian crossing proposal, the speed limit decision will be made independently.
While this seems foolish, we don't consider it to be a major problem. Traffic through Mission Bay is typically travelling at speeds close to 30 km/h already, so new speed limits will have little impact. Our concern was always more about putting in multiple speed humps and pedestrian crossings that would severely impact traffic flow through Mission Bay, and we are in a good position to influence the final outcome on any changes of this nature and ensure that they are sensible.
The bottom line is that it is likely that while there will shortly be a decision to reduce the speed limit in Mission Bay and St Heliers to 30 km/hr, this will not impact our work with AT to ensure any engineering changes or pedestrian crossings are sensible and balance the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and other road users.
If you are interested, there are a lot of papers going to the AT Board that you can find here. The relevant item is 13.1
Mayoral Debate a great success
The Mayoral Debate meeting on 30 September was a great success. It opened with all three of the Orakei Ward Councillor candidates outlining their positions and answering questions on specific issues, and then moved on to the head to head debate between Phil Goff and John Tamihere. All of the candidates spoke well, capturing their positions concisely, and keeping to our time limits.
Around 250 people attended and were entertained and informed by the speakers. The Selwyn College Theatre is a great venue with comfortable seats and excellent viewing, making for a thoroughly successful evening.
Mayor - Phil Goff
Orakei Ward Councillor - Desley Simpson
Orakei Local Board (in order of votes received)
Check out our new website
We have launched an updated website which we hope will be easier to navigate, more informative, and also provide an easier way for you to comment on issues. It will also be much easier and cheaper for us to maintain.
There is not much point describing it further; why don't you just take a look for yourselves here. Feel free to let us know any comments, corrections or bugs you find.
Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association