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