I’ve attended every Local Board meeting this year as part of learning what this is all about. I wanted to work out if I could add value. I believe and hope I can. In addition to being a responsible part of the Council I’ll also use the role to lobby on things outside the Board’s control.
First and foremost, I want to act as far as possible to return LOCAL to the idea of Auckland Council as a Local Government authority. So much of Council seems remote and inaccessible. As I have watched a myriad of Council Staff present to the Board, there is a quite apparent desire to impose central control on locals. I don’t like that. It may be somewhat confrontational to begin with but I hope we can bring more Local in to this “thing”. I really like that some Board members are keen to try to make the wider Council accountable to the Board and I’ll back that 100%. So my over-riding guide will be, are we doing right by our Locals.
To some more specific things, if I am elected it will be by the voters of the Hibiscus sub-division of the Board. Our Board is called Hibiscus and Bays. It comprises eight members, four from the Bays subdivision and four from the Hibiscus subdivision. You can vote for me if your residence is, roughly speaking, between Waiwera in the North, State Highway 1 in the West, just north of Okura in the South and the Ocean in the East. Orewa, Millwater, Silverdale and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula are obviously the large population groups within that area. My home in Stillwater is just 10 minutes from Silverdale.
Transport and gridlock in the area are probably our area’s largest single concern. I back and will support all efforts to build Penlink as soon as possible. I’m 100% supportive but not involved in the recently touted public/private partnership idea to get the road underway as early as next year. At the moment it’s not a priority for Auckland Council till after 2025. That’s despite their willingness to permit more and more residences down the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. I believe that Penlink will ease current congestion more than any other option that has been raised. Even more importantly it provides substantially faster emergency access to Stanmore Bay and East. I want those ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get to you faster and if need be, get you to hospital faster. Penlink is needed now. Let’s just do it with as much empathy and care for the most affected residents, those in the Scott Road and Stillwater areas. Let’s also be sure Stillwater gets some benefit from it with full on and off access in both directions.
Continuing with transport, across our entire Board area and indeed across the entire Auckland region, I am a massive believer in buses. For our area the most urgent needs are the extension of the Northern Busway all the way to Silverdale and a massive commitment to park and ride facilities. In addition to expansion at Silverdale we also need facilities down the Peninsula and in Orewa. This is all vital to facilitate more local use of buses. This takes more cars off the congested roads all round our area and gets us on to the Shore or through to the CBD faster and cheaper than our own cars. Speaking of our own cars we do need to come to understand the true cost of parking, particularly in the city. The land street parking takes up is enormous. It needs to be subject to pricing that reflects full cost recovery. This will make the choice between cars and public transport much clearer. That said its pricing should also reflect demand times.
Let’s be proactive at Council level in assisting in any logical way with delivering a 24 hour A&E clinic in this area. We have many kids keen to break themselves at all times of the day and night, and many older folk who need help quickly when they need it. I have visited the local Ambulance station in Silverdale and spoken with one of their managers. I was surprised to learn that this station covers from Rosedale Road in Albany to just below Warkworth with just two ambulances. One of these you’ll see parked at Manly Fire Station quite a bit to expedite help at that end of the Peninsula if needed. They need a third ambulance badly. This will enable them to cope with this massive area and our population growth. Just think of how many more people we will have locally when the Wainui developments are completed. The station has the space, but it’s a multi million dollar investment to buy and crew it. Based on what I was told, it’s my guess that by the time the funds are raised we’re looking at a big part of $300,000 capital cost and then it’s close to the same amount again each year to crew it. I hope, as a Local Board member, I can support a team that will help raise this funding for St John’s, probably largely outside of the auspices of Council.
Family Focused Amenities
These are something this Board has always believed in and been committed to and I’ll be 100% behind new initiatives that will enhance this further within our communities. One of the things that the wonderful Whangaparaoa 2030 project has identified is that a Family Centre is badly needed in the heart of the Coast. They’re already working with the Board on gaining space on Council land near Pacific Plaza. I’m totally supportive of such a move and will work hard to enable this initiative to get going. The aging Whangaparaoa Hall is not readily accessible as it once was. A new purpose built family centre in the same general area will greatly enhance community services. Let’s do what is possible to make this happen. Let’s always back and maximise the success of our community through amenities that deliver for our people.
Chemical Free Weed Control
A recent scientific study by chemical manufacturers has declared that Roundup may not be a carcinogen. Hardly a conclusive study! It is my belief and seemingly the view of most of our local residents that we don’t want Roundup or any other chemical based weed control in our area. I am 100% behind moves to ensure that any Glyphosate based chemicals be banned from Auckland Council weed control programmes. I’m more than happy that manual and water based weed control may cost more, but will ensure that we have invested in healthy ways to deal with the issue. Do we really want the possibility of looking back in 30 years and finding that a little more money would have prevented multiple negative health incidents?
Growing Local Business and Jobs
The more we can do to promote businesses near home, the less traffic congestion we will have. I’ll work alongside anyone who wants to promote business and work initiatives in our areas. Working closer to home is good for congestion and good for the personal well being of our ratepayers. Let’s do what we can to bring business in to our areas. Let’s make Hibiscus and Bays the place businesses want to be to get great local workforces.
I look forward to the opportunity to represent the community within Auckland Council’s structure. I’d appreciate your vote in the ballot when it’s counted on the 8th of October. If you have a community meeting you’d like me at between now and then, email me on email@example.com or call me on 0273978920.