Thursday 22 September 2016
Ranges Local Board Office
Waitākere Ranges Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
13 New community lease to The Roundabout Society, 4 Lookout Drive, Laingholm
18 Chairperson's report - September 2016
24 Portfolio update - Member Saffron Toms
26 Waitakere Ranges Local Board Plan 2014 - 2017 Progress Report
22 September 2016
The Waitakere Ranges Local Board area is made up of some 80% native forest and contains approximately 40% of Auckland Regions biodiversity. It is unique in this country being so close to the largest urban centre in Aotearoa, New Zealand. We have an awesome community of dedicated volunteer conservationists and activists who’ve achieved remarkable outcomes for they place we love. The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act, 2008 (WRHAA) acknowledged the importance of the area with national legislation that protects its biodiversity, landscape and cultural heritage.
Notwithstanding this significant legislation, we face new challenges to the management of this taonga area with the amalgamation into the new Super City. Through the amalgamation we have seen a loss of local knowledge, changes to management regimes and funding cuts. Our Local Board’s biodiversity responsibilities are huge, and yet the budgets we receive from the governing body do not represent that. In addition, we have had to advocate against cuts to the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Programme, which is a responsibility of Council’s under law (the WRHAA 2008). Pest animal management has declined under the new Council, and where previously residual trap-catch of possums and rats was managed to 2%, it has now risen to 5%. This explains why we are constantly getting feedback from the community that there are more possums and rodents.
Budgets have been cut substantially for biosecurity, meaning a lot of ground has been lost in areas such as kauri dieback and pest animal and pest plant control. While in some cases community groups have stepped in to try to fill gaps, there is still a lot to catch up on if we are to maintain this treasure as we should.
Early on in the term, this Board partnered with Forest and Bird Waitakere to produce an A3 “Worst Weeds and how to control them” poster which was delivered to all residents in the Heritage Area. We also commissioned a Strategic Weed Management plan which was delivered by ex-head of Auckland Council Biosecurity, Jack Craw. It outlined several issues to be dealt with ad how the different parts of council can work together to deliver more efficiencies in terms of pest plant control.
Weed control has been a major focus for this board and responding to the recommendations fromt eh weed Plan, we are now in the second year of a strategic climbing asparagus, attempting to eradicate the weed from the setllements of Piha, Huia and now Karekare. This is an ambitious project that attempts to get as much community buy-in as possible, because it is only by everyone working together that we will achieve adequate control of these ecological weeds. The programme is delivered by Ecomatters but managed within council by Holly Cox, our most senior weeds management officer and aligns strategically with other projects such as the Sustainable weed initiative (SWI).
While weeds are a serious concern for the health of our native flora and fauna, our communities have called for substantial reduction in the use of toxic sprays in our urban parks and streets. We have stood with our communities and advocated for the retenetion of mechanical edging in parks and argued strongly against the review of the Council’s Weed Management Plan, which is a great document that
We are proud to have created a role for a community liaison to assist our communities to take control of Kauri dieback disease. Managed in the biosecurity team, Christine Rose has held the role for over 2 years and is invaluable to both our local and the regional effort on kauri dieback control. There is still so much more that Council could do.
We have been staunch advocates for the biodiversity of the Manukau Harbour. Elected Deputy Chair of the Manukau Harbour Forum, I have advocated strongly for the health and wellbeing of the harbour to be dominant in the forum’s Terms and Conditions. Changes to the LGA meant committees had to be re-established and this was a great opportunity to ensure the health and wellbeing of the Manukau harbour, the wellbeing of its creatures, such as the endangered Mauis dolphin and adherence to the WRHAAct 2008 were included in the terms of reference. I also argued that the MHF should advocate first and foremost for a hydrodynamic model before Council embarks on a Marine Spatial Plan. We need to know a lot more about the harbour before Council moves ahead to allow more development in the catchment. It has always been my opinion that the model should be funded independently of key stakeholders such as Watercare. However, WaterCare’s announcement this year is a reflection of the strength of the forum’s advocacy on the matter and the announcement has been met with much enthusiasm from many Forum members.
I have represented the Board on the Ark in the Park Governance Committee, the body that governs the partnership between Auckland Council and Forest and Bird NZ. Ark in the Park is Forest and Birds flagship conservation project and attracts huge numbers of volunteers to work in the “Ark” throughout the year. I have learnt a lot as chair of this committee and hope to continue to work with the group in coming years. It has been most satisfying to see the work programmes and achievements, as Forest and Bird and their volunteers work hard to restore the area to a predator-free and biodiversity-rich area. Work in the Ark involves huge levels of volunteer time taken up in large part by trapping and monitoring pest animals. This work is essential for the ongoing projects which include reintroduction of kokako and whiteheads. Success in the Ark has also been complimented by successful translocation of juvenile pateke into Forest and Bird’s own reserve land in the Te Henga Wetland. We have extended our bat research and monitoring programme, stipulating that we’d like to know more about the roosting locations of bats.
We have ventured into new territory with our concentration on the marine environment. We stood proudly with our communities on beaches on the West Coast to protest the governments’ petroleum bock offers, we advocated for stronger Auckland Council submissions against petroleum exploration and we wrote our own submissions. We undertook a public awareness campaign on the plight of Mauis dolphins, producing several sets of flags and informational posters to be used at events on our harbour and west coasts. We have now committed $50 000 to a state of the environment-type report on the WRLB marine area with the aim of bringing together all the information we have about biodiversity on the dunes and beaches and into the water, the human activity, etc.
We have also allocated $50 000 per year worth of grants to assist in a regional initiative to clean up lagoons at key sites along the West Coast. In the first year we had 6 successful grant applications and are working on better promotion of the scheme. There is also scope to extend the offer to other place in our area including the Manukau coast settlement such as Huia and Parau. Laingholm and Titirangi infrastructure needs investigation too as these areas often do not do well in monitoring exercises.
The failure of the Huia Seawall led to such an interesting and valuable community engagement process. Our Parks staff and coastal engineers did an incredible job working through the issues with the community and as a newly elected member I learned so much about process. I believe we got to a really good place in the end!
We held our second Kauri Karnival in March this year and maintained a steady audience. With better way-finding material on the day and more promotion we are confident the event will keep growing. The aim of the carnival is to raise awareness on kauri dieback, and celebrate our natural heritage and environment. We hope to grow the conservation community and this year we put extra funds into youth oriented and youth delivered entertainment. I hope to be able to partner with community organisations to deliver more sustainable living workshops at the event next year.
Recently we have been informed of a major education for sustainability restructure. We have not yet had a proper briefing, but we will be doing what we can to try to retain these programmes as much as possible. The current Parks restructure is also a major concern I the environment space as it looks as though Council is moving to a more privatised model of parks and fundamentally changing the way parks and projects in parks are managed. This will have profound effects for biodiversity, quality and character of infrastructure and community input and involvement.
We have grown our relationship with Glen Eden Transitions Towns (GETT) group, who are an amazing group of sustainability leaders. The good people of GETT have advocated for imporoved cycleways, which we are acting on. They have partnered with the Glen Eden BID, Glen Eden Fresh Choice to campaign for no plastic bags in the town centre and have become the first group to sign an MoU with Council to take over the management of a section of cycleway near their community garden.This si so that it can be managed in a spray-free manner. This model is attracting attention in the wider community and we hope to replicate in elsewhere, including Parau.
The current proposed Unitary Plan is in danger of weakening protection for the WRHA as the “prohibited” status for new subdivisions has now been downgraded to “non-complying”. There have been well over 100 appeals on the current PAUP, so we will be watching with interest to see whether this change remains. Fingers crossed!
It was awesome to end the term with a celebration of some of the environmental heroes of our Local Board area, with the Love Your Place awards hosted by EcoMatters Environment Trust. Here we celebrated people who’d put in decades of work in this area, such and Bruce and Trixie Harvey, June Henderson and Dick Bellamy, as well celebrating the work done in primary schools. We also celebrated newer activists and heroes including the Cornwallis Petrel-heads, Kristy Lorsen and Sarah James for sustainability leadership among many, many others.
In sum, this Board has put considerable time, energy, budget and in-house resource into the Environment space and it has been the highlight of my work programme. We live in an incredible place, with an amazing and diverse community. I hope to be able to continue to expand on the work we are doing, and especially look forward to more focus on climate change issues and the marine environment.
22 September 2016
Under Outcome The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area is protected
The second Heritage Area Monitoring Report is being scoped for development and delivery in 2018.
Under Focus on protecting heritage
Working with our communities on World War One commemorations and heritage celebrations
“New Stories of the Old West” heritage conference organised for implementation on 2 October
Funding for history of Soldiers’ Memorial Church, Titirangi, military history of Waikumete Cemetery, book on Exhibition Drive, book on military aspects of Waikumete Cemetery, book on Maori history of Huia, restoration of WW1 memorials at Glen Eden School and Oratia School, booklet on heritage trail at Titirangi, restoration and interpretation of Soldiers’ Memorial Reserve in Tititrangi, restoration of Wallis Angel at Waikumete.
Street names in Penihana, Swanson, named after WW1 soldiers from area.
Survey of heritage sites throughout the heritage area to identify condition of recorded sites, extent of sites and any new site, with the object of updating the Cultural Heritage Inventory and schedules of the Unitary Plan.
Support for interpretation of historic radar site and buildings at Piha
Page 11 – addition to bullet point 2 – the cost of providing community weed bins increased significantly in the 2015-2016 year to around $90,000.
Protecting and restoring our natural habitats and biodiversity
Continue to support the environmental restoration projects of local communities including sprayfree parks
Provide volunteer programmes in parks such as Perris Road (Swanson walkway), Milan Reserve and Gill Esplanade
Underway - discussion document on marine environment of our coastlines
Funded Titirangi village clean-up through Gecko Trust.
Inaugurated the Love Our Space Awards with Ecomatters
Page 16 Under Ongoing support for Hoani Waititi marae
Support for Waitangi Day commemoration
Recreation facilities that meet the needs of all
Exercise equipment in Parrs Park
Junior skatepark at Swanson under development
New dog rules developed for whole Local Board area
Design for Huia Seawall restoration resolved with local community
Laingholm Hall rebuilt after fire damage
Improvements to Titirangi War Memorial Hall
Grants to local communities to maintain community halls
Revitalising Glen Eden
Value proposition for Glen Eden under development
We have high quality parks and open spaces that meet the needs of our communities
Advocacy to acquire former Byers property at Piha, Ministry of Education land at Piha. Support for addition to McCreadies Paddock.
Luckens Land, in Sunnyvale Road, Massey, was acquired as a local park in 2014 following advocacy from the local board for the purchase.
Advocacy to retain properties in Glen Eden as future parks
Opening playground at Parr’s Park
New toilet block opened for Piha Campground and visitors
Support small businesses
Continue to encourage filming in the Local Board area parks and on beaches.
Arts and Culture Flourish
Commitment towards creating a Writers in Residence at Shadbolt House through the Going West Trust.
West Coast Art Festival and Open Studio event are ongoing rather that “complete”