Submission on the Auckland Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2011/2012

Grey Lynn 2030 submits on the following issues:

We ask for the Auckland Council to reprioritise the Annual budget 2011/2011 to support initiatives and projects that contribute to the Mayor’s vision of making Auckland the world’s most liveable city and that build community resilience, vibrancy and connectedness. This refocus is particularly important if Auckland is going to become an Eco- City and achieve significant carbon emission reductions without diminishing our economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing.

Community sustainability projects

As a community group we would like support for the following type of projects and ask Auckland Council to include our work in the annual budget.

  • Community composting facilities
  • Urban bio-corridors – planting on berms to create beautiful and diverse urban landscape that supports a rich mix of flora and fauna.
  • Community gardens such as the Wilton Street garden and the garden at St Columba church
  • Waste minimisation programmes and support for the development of a local resource recovery centre
  • Fruit tree planting on Council land
  • Community festivals and events such as the Eco-space at the Grey Lynn Park Festival
  • Community-led initiatives that harness the skills and enthusiasm of volunteers to make a contribution to their neighbourhood
  • Localised energy descent plan to encourage blocks of neighbours to participate in ways to reduce energy use (for example through the installation of solar panels)
  • Community – led traffic calming initiatives that slow the traffic on residential streets (for example encouraging more activity on the street)
  • Support for social enterprises such as the Grey Lynn Farmers Market (a Grey Lynn 2030 initiative)

Waste and recycling services

  • The inorganic collection discourages recycling, the safe disposal of potentially toxic items and directs unnecessary rubbish to landfill
  • Grey Lynn 2030 does not support the continuation of the inorganic collection as a free service and would like it discontinued with a move to local transfer stations to encourage recycling and reuse of unwanted household items together with increased information for residents about the safe disposal of potentially toxic waste

We support:

  • the Council adopting of a zero waste goal
  • local waste iniatives that reduce outputs and transport of waste
  • Adopting Option 3 of the Waste Assessment as the new strategic direction for waste management and minimisation
  • Second-Hand Sundays supported by community groups

Transport

A focus on walking and cycling will be a key factor in supporting sustainable local communities and meeting Auckland’s integrated transport needs. Auckland Council, and in particular Mayor Len Brown, was elected on a platform of significantly improving the city’s public transport system. Given that, it is disappointing to see such an extreme “roads-focus” to capital expenditure in particular.

We support:

  • Expenditure on cycling infrastructure as a high priority to encourage the majority of trips under 5km to be made by bike
  • Urgent review of the Regional Cycling Network to provide for new cycleways and to prioritise existing gaps especially in Auckland’s central suburbs
  • Improvements to waterfront cycling connections including the Auckland Harbour Bridge walkway and cycleway
  • Urgent re-establishment of the Public bike hire scheme with Council support as it offers transport choice in CBD, reduces car dependency for door to door trips and adds to visitor experience.
  • Increased investment in school travel planning and associated capital works to ensure all children can walk or cycle safety to school
  • The Council giving strong consideration to shifting money away from road network capital projects and into public transport projects – to reflect growing public transport patronage, rising petrol prices and static traffic growth rates.
  • Greater expenditure on shared use walking cycling trails and footpaths.

EcoMatters Environment Trust

  • Grey Lynn 2030 has collaborated with and received support from the Trust even though its focus has been on educating people on sustainability and environmental best practice in the Waitakere area.
  • We support their work and would like to see the breadth of work provided by the Trust continued and spread across the region. It is the logical way to implement the Mayor’s EcoCity vision.

Wastewater

  • Grey Lynn 2030 supports the introduction of a user-pays system for wastewater in order to control demand.
  • We fully supports the programmes to address infiltration and inflow in order to control wet weather overflows, which are extremely damaging to the environment,
  • Grey lynn 2030 also supports the rehabilitation of local streams and waterways and their riparian margins.  Most of these are severely compromised by waste and stormwater input and suffer from poor water quality and lack of native acquatic life.  We would like to see Auckland City adopt a programme based on the Twin Streams model so successfully implemented by Waitakere City.  The worlds most liveable city must have clean streams!

Other Comments on the Draft Annual Plan in support of the Waitemata Local Board Agreement

We strongly support:

  • the desire to maintain and protect existing natural and built heritage in our community
  • Increased provision for cycleways and walkways
  • Effective public transport
  • Improving  pedestrian safety, with slower traffic on residential streets, better footpaths and pedestrian oriented street design
  • Developing and enhancing our open spaces and providing for improved access to the waterfront
  • Public art and local events that engage communities and are environmentally responsible.

In addition we support the Board’s overall focus on developing and fostering vibrant, connected and sustainable communities.

Submission on the proposed policy changes

Regarding the Treasury Management Policy:

According to the Local Government Act, the Auckland Council is accountable for the environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of its constituents. Holding such a large amount of funds, it will be important to develop ethical investment criteria. As an example, it was found that ACC was investing in Nuclear weapons up until 2007. If Auckland is to become an Eco-City, where we put our money also makes a difference.

Within the Treasury management policy it says “The council’s key investment policy objectives are to” and one of the objectives is “practise an ethical investment approach” where an ethical investment approach is specified as ” Ethical investment involves avoiding investing in companies whose business activities or products the council deems to be inappropriate, e.g., arms manufacture, gambling, alcohol or pornography.”

A more comprehensive understanding of ethical investment can be found and built upon from the Council for Socially Responsible Investment in NZ http://www.csri.org.nz

Within the Proposed Accountability Policy: CCO Accountability for Auckland Transport, it states as expectations:

“- Transport choices – Auckland Transport is to connect the region’s people and places by helping to provide easy and affordable access to a range of safe and sustainable transport options.

– Effective and efficient transport system – Auckland Transport to contribute to an efficient, sustainable, energy saving and cost effective land transport system to support Auckland’s social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being. ”

This is sufficiently broad and vague and also needs to also include:

– “Emissions reduction- with transport making a significant contribution to emissions, Auckland Transport shall report on its contribution to support reductions of transport emissions in Auckland”

We will not be able to achieve the Mayor’s goal of 40% reduction unless Auckland Transport has it as an explicit goal and is required to report on it.

In relation to the Significance Policy amendment, given the criticality of integrated decision making to ensure carbon emissions are reduced, we recommend and insist that in the ‘general approach to determining significance’ that another criteria is added:

7. The impact of the decision on furthering dependence on fossil fuel (for transport or energy) and/or not supporting greenhouse gas reductions.

We would like to speak to this submission

Grey Lynn 2030 Steering Committee

April 2011

Contact:
Mandy McMullin,  greylynn2030@gmail.com