Kia Ora Everyone

Well this is my last board report of the term.   While it’s been quite hard trying to keep up with what’s been happening and then phrase it in a way that makes sense, it’s been an interesting way to check in with all the projects.

Waidrive launched last week at adult education. Thank you to Pat Knight from the police and Fiona Gregory from Waiheke Adult Learning who scraped together resources, energy and good will to bring us a double-pedalled instructor car, a business model to keep it working over the long term, as well as the training of a local instructor. There was a bit of Board funding both for the instructor training and the development of the business model.   What I love is that it’s a great example of facilitating and resourcing community to get what we need.  Although it seems easy, the project has taken three years to get here and is now on track with good support from Waiheke High School and Waiheke Youth Voice. While we can argue that there are already too many cars on the roads, being able to drive opens up work opportunities and keeps everyone safe from unlicensed drivers.

There has been a governance review of Auckland Council and feedback is being sought from outgoing and incoming local boards. The prevailing feeling in Council is that the Regional governance has worked better but that local boards are feeling disenfranchised.   There are some interesting ideas around what kind of model could work for Waiheke, which I’m sure have been influenced by the One Waiheke discussions.   It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next term.  The big limitation is that CCOs haven’t been included in the review and this lack of accountability is a source of concern.

The tourism forum met last week with ATEED to discuss the implications and opportunities of the Lions Tour and Masters Games in 2017.   The tourism forum is holding their AGM on Tuesday 5.45 for a 6.00pm start at The Venue in Onetangi.

Auckland Transport are aware of traffic issues at Countdown and the streets around Ostend, including the effects on Putiki Road. There is also an awareness of the parking issues with goods vehicles, taxis, and temporary parking all vying for space. Unfortunately with the way parking changes are decided and enacted and the need to get it through committees and paperwork, this will take time to sort out.

A public meeting was held about Matiatia on Tuesday night at Palm Beach Hall. While people seemed generally happy with the long term plan, there were a few queries as to how long it would take and a lot of concern around parking.

My view on parking at Matiatia (please don’t shoot the messenger), is that there are a number of issues which need to be addressed.   There just isn’t enough space for everyone who wants to park so we need to be a bit more thoughtful around taking the bus, cycling or carpooling. While the island doesn’t have park and ride facilities, could you drive somewhere that you can park close to a bus stop?   At the same time, the bus service needs to reflect real time journeys better (which it doesn’t outside of commuter ferry times), and the road to Matiatia needs to feel safe for cyclists.   This would free up parking for those with mobility issues, heavy bags, those who have errands to run and kids to pick up. The population of the island has hardly increased, but the car ownership per household has and there are perhaps more people commuting than before.

This Summer there will be 8 parking spaces that are available only after 12pm to allow later travellers to find a parking space. My view is that we should have time zoning in some of our car parks (e.g. no parking before 9, or 11 or whatever) to allow more flexibility so that early commuters don’t fill the parking.     The alternative is that Auckland Transport put up parking prices but in my view it is unfair to manage parking needs through price as some people need to park but may not be able to afford the fees.  We are also expecting a bus review next year.

AT are currently working on a process for the tendering of space at the terminal and sprucing up the toilets there.

There also seems to be a big push to get the Backpackers open before the biggest part of the season. While it’s disappointing that things are taking so long, it seems that some of the compliance, maintenance and zoning issues are coming close to being resolved and will come right before the biggest part of the visitor season.

The board has had over $100,000 worth of grant applications for the last round and we’re giving away around $12,000 so as usual it’s a bit of a hard decision.

It’s been an interesting three years. I’ve learnt a lot about people, myself, trying to get things done in a bureaucracy and being positive when things don’t go to plan.   I hope that people have felt that I took concerns seriously and did what I could in situations where the outcomes weren’t always achievable or the responsibility does not sit with the board.

Lastly I’d like to acknowledge my fellow board members.   It’s not easy being on the Waiheke Local Board and having different approaches and solutions has certainly been a challenge but I think we have all worked in the best way we know how.   I’d also like to acknowlege council officers, particularly our local staff and the people who live locally.   The vast majority of Council officers I’ve met work incredibly hard across a number of different boards.   Many of them have been with Waiheke for a long time and really understand and work hard for our community.     And lastly I’d like to acknowledge those people in my family, friends and the community who have helped me look on the bright side, and stay positive and laugh through the challenges.

Nga mihi nui

Shirin