Kia Ora everyone,

I was away for part of June-July so am making a combined report.

Thank you Auckland Transport for more buses meeting the Explore ferry. There are still some issues around service levels and how level that playing field is. The timetables were even the brunt of a joke at the marina hearings – referred to as more complicated to follow than the RMA. Notwithstanding I think the community are incredibly pleased to have them. I’m still holding out for the review of the service planned for next year, and will be continuing to ask for a quicker service of smaller buses to the different suburbs. We continue to look for Explore to be using Pier 2 in Auckland which is sheltered and has easier access to wharves. Thank you to Explore for looking at providing a comparable combined bus and ferry ticket for their service.

Decisions were also made on the Local Board Transport Capital Fund last month. These focus on safety for cyclists on Ostend Road, going uphill from the Rocky Bay turnoff, increased safety for children and visitors cycling from Surfdale to the schools on Donald Bruce Road and to the Sealink ferry.

Auckland Transport have done another review of the Esplanade. Disappointingly, the number of unaccompanied child bike riders is very low, and the number of walkers and cylcists is stagnant. There is continued discussion on how we can keep everyone safe on this road.

Community and Economic Development
I missed the Community Awards but heard all about the people and organisations who were nominated. Thank you to WICCOS who went above and beyond to provide a thoughtful event for the participants.

It is lovely to see the old library space reinvented as The Learning Centre. Waiheke Adult Learning have now moved in and have already noticed how the increased visibility is bringing in more foot traffic. It’s lovely to see the lights on, people in the space and the couches are very comfortable!

In June two business meetings were held at the local board offices and there is currently a group working on Winter promotions I believe. Following these meetings the Auckland Chamber of Commerce have also done a community presentation on how they can support business at all stages from inception to exploring the export potential of goods and services, as well as managing finances, complaints, staff and all the other issues businesses have to deal with. This meeting was also supported at the Learning Centre as was an An ATEED clinic to support businesses wanting to “Start out Right”.

Remember that the discretionary funding round is open and people/organisations can apply for amounts that are either less than or more than $4,000. The criteria are slightly different so please read these before applying and be aware that events are also considered in these rounds.

ATEED organised a tourism exit survey for visitors to the island which captured a snapshot of what the island experience was like for them, how they found about it and what they particularly enjoyed. For 95% of the visitors the experience was positive and there were particular accolades for swimming and walking opportunities. We are in the process of organising a time for ATEED to present those findings to the community. It’s a huge pat on the back for everyone who lives here that survey was so positive. I’m personally mindful of the fact that it is thanks to the consistent hard work of people in the community that we are able to maintain some semblance of a rural environment so close to Auckland City.

Events and Arts & Culture
Really enjoyed the Raft by the Waiheke Theatre Company. Some very talented new faces. The fashion show at the Gallery was also very enjoyable – especially as I believe all the vintage clothing had been sourced locally.

In June we were fortunate to visit constituents in Rakino to talk about their concerns and were also able to visit the island. Did you know that they have the only free telephone in the country? It is placed strategically on the hill and runs on solar power.

We were also able to attend a Council Working Bee on Rangitoto which was really informative both in terms of finding out about island pest and weed management as well as the process for working with partnership groups to provide great Gulf experiences and promote care of the Gulf Islands.

The marina hearings finally ground to a close… I believe we are now just waiting on a judgement. It has not been an easy process for any involved and has already come at considerable cost in time, effort, and money to all the parties. There ought to be a simpler solution to dealing with development aspirations on the island.

Nga Mihi
Shirin Brown