Here’s our roundup for the week.
The Council and Auckland Transport have put out a new video on Te Wananga, the new public space being built over the water next to the ferry terminal. Construction is due to be completed by the end of April and the space open to the public in May, though planting will continue through to June and includes returning the large Pohutukawa to the area. The video highlights just how much work has gone into building the structure and making it strong enough to both ‘float’ out over the harbour but also support the weight of all the trees being planted.
In addition, they say the NX1 along with western buses will use the new Lower Albert St bus interchange by the end of April.
We’re rapidly approaching the end of all the downtown works and I’m really looking forward to being able to enjoy it all.
City Rail Link
The CRL team keep reaching new milestones and one at Karangahape is the completion of the station walls for the Beresford Square Entrance. Some of those walls are up to 40m deep. Now that they’re completed they can start work on the floors and digging out the station box. They also shared this image of the station, we’ve seen versions of this before and which is great for understanding what it would look like underground once complete.
They’ve also published a few videos of drone footage of the three construction sites with Mt Eden remaining the largest and most interesting
Some lobbyists don’t like us
We’re one of the subjects of a new research paper titled “Digital social innovation and civic participation: toward responsible and inclusive transport planning” and which looks at how sites like ours have helped improve public participation and empowerment, focusing on how we advocated for the City Rail Link for years.
Perhaps my favourite line from the paper is this:
Some lobbying groups are concerned about how GA feeds too much of critical and technical information to policymakers which reduces leverage for the respective lobbyists
It makes you wonder how many of the decisions that got Auckland to the point it is were made on the back of backroom dealings to further those lobbyists interests rather than being about the evidence and what’s best for Auckland.
Golf Club Zoning
Last week it was reported that the Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club had submitted a private plan change to modify the zoning of the club in order to save money on rates.
A prominent Auckland golf club is looking to rezone its 80 hectare course in a bid to stave off future development.
But not everyone is pleased with the Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club’s proposal.
Under the Auckland Unitary Plan, the Papatoetoe property is zoned for residential mixed housing urban and residential terraced housing and apartments.
However, the club wants to use a private plan change to make it an open space – sport and active recreation zone.
Auckland Council officers agreed in late 2020 to accept the plan change proposal so it could go out for public consultation in November, and submissions closed on December 17.
The change in zoning is also expected to save the club paying a hefty annual rates bill.
According to Auckland Council planner Roger Eccles, the club sees the plan change as a way to support the long-term future of the golf course and bring it into line with the zoning of other golf clubs in the Auckland area.
Of the 19 submissions the council received, 16 were opposed, two were in favour and one was neutral.
Here’s the thing, they have the zoning they do, or at least some of it, because they asked for it. During the Unitary Plan debate, they submitted specifically asking for their land to be zoned residential.
That same land they now want changed back.
Who knows if it will go through but the local board oppose it.
The Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board voted on Tuesday to unanimously oppose the proposal. But despite the board’s decision, the exclusive golf club is still expected to present its case to an independent hearings panel.
The board said the club’s zoning had been included in the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP), which had been the subject of widespread public consultation.
“There were extensive processes during the public consultation for the unitary plan that resulted in the current land zoning. This planning regulatory tool must be recognised as the primary reference and given due weight, rather than be taken lightly to serve private interests.”
The board said there was already a housing shortage in Ōtara and Papatoetoe, which had to be factored in when considering the club’s rezoning proposal.
“The benefits of retaining the current residential zone far outweighs the reasons for the request for a plan change.”
It surprised me that in the summary from council planners about the proposal that they didn’t mention the golf club requested that zoning in the first place.
The golf courses are ideal for more housing with them being entirely within 1.5km of the existing Middlemore Train Station and some parts less than 100m away. Certainly a better place for housing than out the back of Drury.
Speaking of Middlemore, I came across this recently which shows how Kiwirail plan to get the third main through the station. The Third main will go to the west of the current tracks with the existing northbound platform turned into an island with extended to cater for future 9-car trains. The existing pedestrian overbridge will be extended over the tracks and a new drop off zone to the existing carparking building, which itself will be altered to change how it is accessed.
A future fourth main would likely go on the eastern side and need to take part of Hospital Road and many trees between it and the existing tracks.
They have them, why don’t we?
Wellington has them, Nelson now has two, so why doesn’t Auckland have any of these bike parks scattered around the city?
— Alan Gray 🇳🇿🇺🇸 (@alangraynz) February 17, 2021
The Rainbow Crossing is in
The Rainbow Crossing on Karangahape Rd has now been installed and it looks fantastic. Good work AT
Make it permanent!
The lockdown earlier this week highlighted that once again it is easy for Auckland Transport to make pedestrian signals automatic, thereby improving things for pedestrians but that normally they just choose to make it difficult. They should make the pedestrian signals permanent. It’s never a great experience to get to a crossing and discover you’ve just missed the pedestrian phase and that had you been there a second earlier you could have triggered the crossing immediately.
To minimise the number of public surfaces you touch in Alert Level 3, we have rolled out automatic pedestrian crossings to over 200 locations across Auckland. This means you won’t need to push the button at a signalled pedestrian crossing if the red pedestrian signal is on. pic.twitter.com/qimM8dBfQZ
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) February 15, 2021
Have a good weekend.